Article by Ted Barber, President of Lake Butler Rotary Club
Following a fantastic meatloaf and friend chicken catered lunch filled with plenty of fellowship and networking, Derrick Thomas, representing Clay Electric Cooperative, and Sara Johnson, Central Florida Field Director for No Casinos in Florida, provided excellent presentations. Derrick explained the Clay Electric’s Community Service Grant Program for organizations that apply for grants up to $15,000 and the objectives and criteria for measuring effectiveness that allow for winning a community service grant. Sarah explained the history of gambling in Florida and the factual impact that gambling has upon a community and state. Both presentations were received with great interest and provided a much better understanding of what is happening and available locally and statewide.
The Lake Butler Rotary is preparing to obtain grant money to promote a local as well as an international project. Both projects will provide a positive impact. The international project headed by Rotarian Joe Stephenson is seeking to provide a library facility for a local school in Nicaragua. The local Union County Project headed by Donna Harris involves “Welcome to Lake Butler Banners”.
Recently, the Lake Butler Rotary Club has assisted Union County with waste baskets on the Lakeside Community Park’s cement pier/walkway to help keep our lake free of trash; we provided a donation through the International Disaster Emergency Service (IDES) to help Florida victims adversely impacted by Hurricane Irma; we provided a donation to help end polio worldwide; we planned and organized a very successful Fourth of July with activities that attracted up to 5,000 people; we purchased and distributed dictionaries to all 4th Graders at Lake Butler Elementary School; we provided a “Welcome” Luncheon to 30 new teachers in our Union County School System, and presently we are running a fundraiser to provide a donation to The Rotary Foundation (TRF) that makes a difference in this world by “Helping others in need-from supplying vaccine to protect a child from polio, to training peace builders in conflict resolution to help build a more peaceful future.” Tax deductable monetary gifts may be made through TRF to 1) Where ever the need is greatest, 2) Eradication of polio, 3) Promoting peace, 4) Fighting disease, 5) Providing clean water, 6) Saving mothers and children, 7) Supporting education, and 8) Growing local economies.
Norman Stephenson is being honored for his valuable assistance to the Lake Butler Rotary Club as a Charter Member, first Club President in 1965, and continuous supporter for 52 years. Also, the Lake Butler American Legion Post 153 is honoring Norman Stephenson for his patriotism, loyalty and being very instrumental in guiding the finances of the Post. Billy Ray Foister is heading up an informal dedication of the Norman Stephenson Park Bench located in front of the Union County Veteran’s Memorial, 325 West Main Street, at 6:30 PM on Thursday, December 21, 2017.
Upcoming Programs/Events include December 5- Billy Ray Foister- UCHS Jazz Band, Dec 12 Jennie Reed-TBD, Dec 21- Stephenson Dedication and Rotary Social (6:30 PM), Dec 19, 26 and Jan 2- no meetings, Jan 9- Joe Stephenson & Club Election.