Clubs mark TRF centennial

Rotary of Hattiesburg members help clean up after the January 21 tornado as part of their 100 days of service projects celebrating the Rotary Foundation's 100th anniversary.
Rotary of Hattiesburg members help clean up after the January 21 tornado as part of their 100 days of service projects celebrating the Rotary Foundation’s 100th anniversary.

Rotary International is celebrating the Rotary Foundation’s 100 years, so the regional district challenged local clubs to commit to 100 days of service projects to mark the occasion. District governor Randall Feldman of New Orleans said the response has been phenomenal and fits with the Rotary motto of “Service above self.” There are three local clubs in the Hattiesburg area, and each has been working on its challenges, with positive results.
The Rotary Club of Hattiesburg had planned to read to 100 children during the 100 days, and has been collecting emergency pantry items for Kids Hub CAC to be given to displaced physically and sexually abused children. Anyone can contribute to the cause by bringing items to any local real estate firm. The drive runs through April 10.
The club’s third project had members assisting the Children’s Center for Communication and Development by raising a little money to contribute to the center’s 5K fundraiser.
But the plans got a little sidelined after the Jan. 21 tornado, and Rotary members sprang into action to help those in the affected areas. They incorporated tornado recovery into their 100 days of service.
The group partnered with the United Way of Southeast Mississippi and Mercy Chefs to help with cleanup and hot meals for tornado victims. They also partnered with Wal-Mart and Adcock Properties to raise $4,500 for school supplies for students impacted by the tornado. In addition, $3,500 was raised to help William Carey University, which sustained major damage from the storm.
“We have 87 members that are passionate, that are tied to the Pine Belt who could provide immediate response to get out there and help the citizens (affected by the tornado),” said Rotary Club of Hattiesburg president Jaclyn Adams, a commercial lender with BancorpSouth. “We’ve done a lot during this period of time, and we plan to step up and do even more.”
Rotary of Hattiesburg-Sunrise, which has 32 members, also worked on tornado cleanup as part of its 100 days of service.
But the projects the groups had planned are on target, too. The Hattiesburg group held a collection event for Kids Hub on Thursday then read to 100 children at Hawkins Elementary. “Literacy is at the heart of what we do,” Adams said. Hattiesburg-Sunrise will donate 100 children’s books to the library Wednesday, and will spend a day in April cleaning books so they can be put back into use.
“We’re trying to do some more service projects with children, the library and literacy,” said Tom Heanue, president of the Hattiesburg-Sunrise club.
The group also is planning a cleanup and maintenance day at Camp Tiak, the local campsite for Boy Scouts, and is working on a service project with Hope Clinic. Other projects are in the planning stages, Heanue said.
“We’re going to give our money like we do as Rotarians, but we’re also going to do the service projects, he said.
Anyone from the community is welcome to participate in the Rotary projects, Heanue added.
Adams said the 100 days of service projects has benefited the members, too.
“It gives us the opportunity to give back as professionals,” she said. “It is so nice to have projects to help us keep in touch with the community.
“We are able to fill in the gaps and have more options to serve.”
Feldman said he has been impressed by the work done in Hattiesburg, Petal and other areas within his district, which includes southeast Louisiana and south Mississippi.
“I’ve very proud of all these clubs and their members and what they are doing,” he said.

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