President's Day

Speaker/Program:  President’s Day, Melanie McNeill, 2017-18 Club President

Topic:  2017-18 Accomplishments, plus remarks from 2018-19 incoming President Dee Dee Whitaker

Takeaways for Rotarians:

-President Melanie thanked the club for their support and hard work toward accomplishing this year’s goals toward the Rotary International theme of “Making a Difference.”   She also gave special thanks to Rotary staff and leadership for their service, and to her employer, Paducah Bank, for their support and encouragement throughout the year.

-She outlined the club’s three areas of focus for the year:  Strengthening the Club, Increasing our Humanitarian Service, and Enhancing the Club’s Public Image.  She shared various club programs and activities that helped support the acres of focus.

-Strengthening the Club:  President Melanie saluted Membership Chair Joe Framptom for leading the club toward recruiting and retaining members.  The club’s demographic focus for the year was to increase the number of female members, and attract new members under the age of 50.  The overall goal was to strengthen the club through more diversity.  The club welcomed 23 new members bringing the total to 196.  A Membership Orientation session was held in June.

-Increase Humanitarian Service:  Rotary Foundation Chair John A. Williams, Sr. was recognized for an outstanding job of helping Paducah become a STAR Club for contributions to the Rotary Foundation Shared Fund.  Paducah’s annual fund per capita giving is $222 per member, reached primarily through the Every Rotarian Every Year donations.  A portion of those funds return to the local club in the form of grants for local clubs.

-Increase Humanitarian Service:  Four Paducah club members were recognized for donations totaling $10,000 or more to the Rotary Foundation:  John Williams, Sr., Joe Framptom, John Williams, Jr., and Missy Eckenberg.  10 Paducah Rotarians became Paul Harris Fellows this year and 25 were recognized as Paul Harris Plus Fellows. 

-Increase Humanitarian Service:  Co-chairs Ralph Young and Shawn Turner coordinated the club’s ImpactOne Initiative.  ImpactOne was founded by Paducah native Whitney Morreau that provides “hope and a future through education to children in Zambia.”  Paducah’s club and seven others teamed up for a Rotary Foundation global grant to equip existing community schools in Zambia with e-tablets through iSchool Africa.  The project was awarded “Best International Service Project” at the recent Rotary District 6710 Annual Conference.

-Increase Humanitarian Service:  On Valentine’s Day 2018, club members donated 35 sweet treats for the annual Polio Plus Dessert Auction.  Those desserts, thanks to generous bidding and an anonymous matching grant, raised $21,210 for the fight to eradicate polio.  Rotarian Susan Carr served as event Chair and Robert Alexander and Jamie Futrell worked as auctioneers.  The event was awarded the “Best World Polio Day Awareness Event” at the recent Rotary District 6710 Annual Conference.

-Increase Humanitarian Service:  Under the leadership of Co-chairs Cathy Crecelius and Jim Brown, our club awarded $32,000 in donations to 38 local charities for community service.

-Increase Humanitarian Service:  The 30th Annual Rotary Antique Quilt Show again raised money for the Rotary Education Assistance Program (REAP) which provides scholarships annually to local students attending West Kentucky Community and Technical College.  This year’s Quilt Show Chair was Rotarian Randy Bridges.

-Increase Humanitarian Service:  REAP, Rotary’s 501c3 fundraising project for education, donated $20,000 toward scholarships at WKCTC.  In addition, 6 $1,000 scholarships were awarded to local students.  Thank you to REAP Chair L.V. McGinty for another year of service.

-Increase Humanitarian Service:  Steve Bright again chaired the 3rd Grade Dictionary Project, delivering 824 dictionaries to students at 10 local schools.  Bill Robertson chaired the 2nd Grade Summer Reading Backpack Project.  800 Backpacks were given to second graders at 10 local schools.  The backpacks contain fun educational projects for students to do over the summer to keep them in the habit of learning.

-Increase Humanitarian Service:  Rotarians Betsy Burkeen and Susan Baier chaired our World Rotary Day event on February 23rd.  33 Club members volunteered to read books to 364 students in 11 local schools.  Rotarian Laura Duff chaired this year’s Rotary High School Speech Contest, which produced a number of excellent speeches by local high schoolers on the topic of “Rotary-Making a Difference.”

-Increase Humanitarian Service:  Ashley Wright chaired the annual Rotary Youth Leadership Award project, sending two local students to Rotary Leadership Camp.  Also at the high school level, our club-sponsored Interact Club at Paducah Tilghman High School sent a contingent on a mission trip to El Salvador this year.

-Increasing Humanitarian Service:  As a result of Rotarians staffing Salvation Army donation kettles and “ringing the bells”…and the generosity of an anonymous matching donor…the club raised $16,387 for the Salvation Army.  Rotarians Joni Goodman and Bruce Akin again provided leadership to the project.

-Increasing Humanitarian Service:  37 Pints of blood were donated during a Rotary-sponsored blood drive under the leadership of Rotarian Megan Thomason.  Rotarian Mike Resnick chaired the can sorting project to help the Paducah Cooperative Ministry organize donations made during Christmas in the Park. 

-Increasing Humanitarian Service:  A large number of Rotarians volunteered to park cars during the first annual Fall Quilt Show fundraiser.  Rotarians Hutch Smith and Bill Robertson helped supply tents, cones and tape for the lot.

-Enhancing Public Image:  President Melanie stressed that a ‘positive image’ improves our club’s relationship with the community, and helps attract new members.  She thanked Rotarian Terry Reeves for chairing the Public Image Committee.  Members Megan Thomason and Susan Baier, and Brad Clark used their talents to promote the club through social media platforms.  Phyllis Russell used her photography skills to grab pictures of all members for our DACdb page.  Eddie Grant diligently took pictures at each week’s meetings, and Steve Shrewsberry and Terry produced the weekly Gearteeth newsletter.

-Enhancing Public Image:  After constructing the Rotary Playground in the summer of 2016, Rotarians were proud to be part of the celebrating designating the playground as part of the Pat and Jim Brockenborough Rotary Health Park project. The playground has become one of the “faces” of the club in the community.   In addition to the playground and other park features provided by grants and city funding, our club accepted the responsibility to add a Challenge Course to the park.  Three elements of the course will be in place this summer, with additional pieces slated for the future. Rotarian Ralph Young donated many hours researching grants for the park addition.

-Enhancing Public Image:  Each week we are joined by student guests from local high schools who observe, and often participate in, our weekly meetings thus giving them an introduction to public service through civic organizations.

-Enhancing Public Image:  The Kentucky Historical Society gave its blessing to the club’s application for an historical marker.  The marker describes the club’s history and will be dedicated immediately following the August 1st meeting on the grounds of the Carson Center along Kentucky Avenue.

-Rotarian of the Year:  President Melanie announced that Terry Reeves is the 2017-18 Paducah Rotarian of the Year.   As mentioned, Terry served as the club’s Public Image Committee Chair. He is also a member of the Board of Directors and actively participates in club activities.  He was instrumental in combining several volunteer efforts into one committee which serves to promote the club’s image, and, help other members announce their projects to the community.  He also produced several video presentations throughout the year to promote various club projects. 

-President Melanie concluded her remarks with the passing of the gavel to 2018-19 President Dee Dee Whitaker.  For her upcoming term, Whitaker also received the club’s antique Rotary diamond pin, purchased in 1958 by Club President and District Governor Nat Dortch.

-Incoming President Dee Dee has been a Rotarian since 2010.  She has formerly worked in banking, and is currently an Advertising Account Executive for WPSD-TV in Paducah. 

-President Dee Dee began by introducing the club’s officers and board members for 2018-19.  President-elect Randy Bridges; Vice President Barry Smith; Secretary Shawn Turner; Treasurer Scott Taylor; iPast President Melanie McNeill; and Sergeant-at-Arms Don Barger.  Additional board members are:  Bruce Akin, Brad Clark, Laura Duff, Emerson Goodwin, Zach Hosman, Mary Katz, Laurie Latham, Terry Reeves, Ralph Young and L.V. McGinty.

-Whitaker said her focus this year would be inspiring, engaging and leading the club and continuing its many activities.  She announced that this year’s Rotary International theme is “Be the Inspiration.”  She challenged the club to bring forward other ideas for service.

-She plans to continue work toward the club’s three primary strategic areas:  Support and Strengthening Clubs, Increase Humanitarian Service, and Enhancing Public Image.  To support those efforts, she announced various committee chairs for the coming year.  Joe Framptom will continue as Membership Chair.  Clay Howerton is the new Rotary Foundation Chair, and Susan Baier will chair the Public Image Committee.  Other committee members will be announced soon.

-Whitaker announced the re-forming of the Greeting sub-committee. Melinda Winchester will chair the committee which will “set a welcoming tone (each week) and encourage more member interaction before and after meetings.”  Zack Hosman will continue to serve as the Engagement and Retention Chair.  She also pledged to reintroduce pre-meeting music to the meetings and urged anyone interested to volunteer to play instrumental background music for the first 15 minutes of the meeting each week.

-Anyone interested in volunteering for a committee can contact President Dee Dee personally or at a weekly meeting.


Sprocket: A Place to Create

-Speaker:  Monica Bilak, President and Co-Founder, Sprocket Innovation Hub

-Takeaways for Rotarians:

-Sprocket’s program description is, “(Sprocket) is a place to create and develop innovative programs for education, entrepreneurship, and community learning.  We are invested in creating talent pipelines which will fuel our economy far into the future.”

-Sprocket founders identified the need for a skilled and diverse workforce to meet the needs of local industry.  Its goal is to prepare students and the community for skilled, upwardly mobile careers.

-The organization provides workshops, mentorships, safety training, camps and access to fabrication and digital tools.  Services are available to students and adults through memberships, partnering agency agreements and educational partnerships.  

-In addition to specific programs for students in K-12, programs for adults such as “Tech on Tap”, “Startup Stories”, and “Makers Meetup” are held regularly and open to the public.

-Funding for Sprocket comes from various local partners, and a grant from the Kentucky Work Ready Project.

-Sprocket benefits from volunteers who serve as tech teachers, guest speakers, volunteers and mentors.  They also accept donations of tools.  A list of those items is on their website.  Sprocket has also worked with local companies and attorneys on the production of spec samples of new products.

-Sprocket is a 501c3 “makerspace” located at 3121 Broadway in Paducah (inside the newly renovated Coke Plant).   Their website is