Club Information

Welcome to our Club!

Fernandina Beach

Service Above Self

We meet Wednesdays at 12:00 PM
Florida House Inn
(self-serve lunch begins 11:30)
22 South 3rd Street/Meeting Room on 4th Street
Fernandina Beach, FL  32034
United States
District Site
Venue Map
Home Page Stories
Meet Jason and his wife Mary Alice Foote:
Scuba diving for megalodon shark teeth is Jason's  hobby!  He told us he loves looking for and finding megalodon teeth in dark water rivers across the southeast US but not necessarily the "dark" water part.  There are times when he can't see more than a few inches and that can be nerve think?  Because it's a hobby of  his , he offsets some of his diving and driving expenses by offering some of his  megalodon teeth for sale.   When you visit Jason's site at  he  has many pictures and videos of him recovering megalodon teeth for your viewing along with answering most common questions asked of him about diving in dark river waters.
The picture above shows what he brought with him to our meeting last week and some of them are pretty big finds.  The helmet has two flashlights attached to it to increase his vision but he says there are times when it is so dark, they are useless and he just turns them off.  
However, why the helmet?  Well, because his head is down when skimming the bottom, there are many times he just runs into something, like maybe a log, a rock or an "alligator" maybe.....and the helmet protects him from getting hurt.  Gee......that would definitely freak me out for sure.  His passion is far greater than the fear of not knowing what's down there around you.  I can respect that kind of passion and then some!
Thank you Jason for a great presentation!!
You can email Jason if you have a question about purchasing a Megalodon tooth or other fossils from his website.
You can also check out Jason's Web Design business at: 
Very talented young man!!
President Ron was out of town on unfortunate family business.  Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family!
Former President Pam Crouser lead our meeting for President Ron
Dr. Page started things out with us singing "God Bless America"
Our Pledge of Allegiance
Followed by singing "Rotary Bonds"
Former President Pam moved forward with club business:
The Secretary Report 27 Club Members in attendance
Honorary Members present:  Roger Ganzel, Frank Ridley and Larry Meyers
Guests this weekJonathan Levitt, guest of Antoinette Richter
Visiting Rotarians presentJoe Gullo from Gatlinburg, TN and Bob Ward from Ada, Ohio.
 50/50 Pot: $266.00
With the winning ticket, Coach Benson drew the Q of Spades
Money raised for Shelter Box:  $43
                             Boy Scouts:  $36
Doug Geib reading our District Governor's Report
Honorary member Larry Myers presenting a check from Teresa Dawsey to Former President Pam for our Scholarship Fund.  Teresa has been donating to our scholarship fund for years in memory of her husband Dr. Jim Dawsey.  Thank you Teresa for your ongoing loyalty and support!
Scholarship Fundraising:   Rick Keffer let us all know that we have $29,000 in the account with several more thousands still to come in putting us at around $34,000 and he is feeling optimistic that we can still hit the $40,000 goal even if we don't have the money in by the Luncheon this Thursday coming.  We will have another month or two before the deadline  to raise the money.  Remember, Rick has offered to pay for your luncheon if you can bring two donors to the fund so don't give up on taking advantage of that generous offer!!!
Community Service Director, John Howard, reported that last weeks blood drive had 11 Donors and thanked Former President Pam Crouser and all those who helped make this a success in his absence.

SYNOVUS - First Coast Community Bank Invitation:

Don't forget - Antoinette, on behalf of Market President Damon Olinto, has invited us to the bank at 1750 S. 14th Street in Fernandina Beach this Tuesday, February 6th from 12 noon to 2:00pm for some giveaways, good food and great company!!!


SOMETHING NEW:  On going 2018, 100% attendance.

It's a new year and Larry Myers and I decided we would take note of all members who are at 100% attendance for 2018 to see who would be left standing at the end of the year or until everyone drops off before the year ends.  One thing I need to make clear though, its based on our clubs physical attendance.....NO make ups will be counted on this list of names.  So, if you did not "weather the cold" on our first 2018 meeting, you are already out of the picture. That said....her are the 100% attendees to date:

Roy Benson, Frank Gagnier, Barbara Gingher, Joe Hastey, Larry Melnick, Wally Messer, David Page, Dennie Pendergrass, Rick Keffer, Roger Ganzel and Larry Myers

IT'S SHRINKING FAST!  Only 11 remain


Larry Myers has become a foot note in Viet Nam History.  This short story is coming soon....



An evening with internationally renowned pianist


Sunday, February 11th, 2018 at 7p.m.

St. Peter's Episcopal Church

801 Atlantic Avenue - Fernandina Beach

Tickets are $20 each and available at:

YMCA at 1915 Citrona Drive, Vystar Credit Union at 1014 S. 14th Street and our Chamber of Commerce

All proceeds will benefit the YMCA and support needed programs.

Last year was awesome and I'm sure this year will be no different.  So get you tickets and support our local YMCA
Nassau County High School Students
The Rotary Oratory Contest
Wow......there were four of our brightest students in Nassau County representing us in the Rotary Oratory Contest that were outstanding to the point that counts had to be recounted to make sure there was a clear winner because the votes were so close. Our 4 participants were in order of the draw:
Gabrielle Gibb (Fernandina Beach H.S.) with Steve Madden, Rotarian & Emcee
Olivia Arenburgh (West Nassau H.S.) with Steve Madden
Cameron Driggers (Hilliard H.S.) with Steve Madden
Jaelyn Guyton (Yulee H.S.) with Steve Madden
Visiting Rotarian Steve Madden emceed the event. 
One of the major sponsors for this event; US Army, with SSgt Jonathan Thompson to give a short talk.
SSgt. Jonathan Thompson spoke of his journey with the Army while his college degree and graduate degree were being paid for by the US Army.  Encouraging young men and women to consider joining the armed forces to take advantage of this great opportunity to be educated without the debt.  Sounds like some great advice for all young students where financial support is limited otherwise!
Thank you sir, for taking the time out of your busy day to be with us and for representing the US Army.  And most importantly, we thank you for your service!!!
Other major sponsors of the Oratory Competition were SYNOVUS, Coastal Construction Products, First Coast Honda Dealers, Visiting Angels (Living Assistance Services) and Merrill Lynch/Bank of America.
In attendance were five other working Rotarians from South Jacksonville as Oratory Committee Members to tally the votes and determine the winner.  Each student gave a maximum 5 minute speech on Technology and how technology is being used and how it can help further education around the world and specifically, Polio.
All 4 students were awesome.  Their speeches were informative, energetic and well spoken!  Great job!!!
And the winner was:
Gabrielle Gibb (Fernandina Beach H.S.)   With President Ron Heymann presenting her with the Certificate
Spoken by several Rotarians present, these young students certainly gave us a birds eye view of our future leaders of this great country will be!  Promising for sure and in good hands!
We thank all of you who were involved in making this a great and successful event.
The Nassau Education Foundation held their 4th annual Teacher of the Year Gala on January 12th at the Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island.  The Rotary Club of Fernandina Beach has a long history of supporting education and educators here in our community.  Three of our members sit on the NEF Board of Directors, and a number of club members were in attendance at the event.  Treasurer - and strong candidate for Sgt-at-Arms  - Antionette Richter made sure to get photographic evidence of Rotarians with - and without - their memberships pins........   
Senator Aaron Bean -
Be an ambassador of our Club!  Remember to wear a pin!   
Please come out and join us at the Rise Against Hunger meal packaging event being held Saturday January 27th, 2018 at the Atlantic St. Recreational Center in Fernandina Beach.  We have been asked to provide as many helping hands as possible to package over 20,000 meals that will be distributed internationally to those in critical need.  You will be directly participating in saving lives.
Rise Against Hunger is an international hunger relief organization that distributes food and life-changing aid to the world's most vulnerable, mobilizing the necessary resources to end hunger by 2030.

Meal Program Provides Relief

School Feeding Initiative Combats Drought Effects

In partnership with ADRA International and Islamic Relief USA, we are spearheading a three-year Southern Africa School Feeding Initiative in response to recent drought in the region. We aim to increase school-aged children’s resilience and access to education, and to involve school staff, the local community and the private sector in efforts to promote sustainability.

Last week's speakers were: Mary Ruark, Dennie Pendergrass and Joe Hastey.  Each spoke of how and when they joined our club along with other interesting information about their careers followed by some shared wisdom.
Mary Ruark spoke about the long road she traveled before finally joining our club.  Over many years, several of our club members approached her and told her she would be a great fit as a member.  Mary would reply, she was a busy woman, and in a nice way, declined the offer stating she was just to busy to join our club.....maybe some other time perhaps.  But that didn't stop our members, Pam Crouser and Wally Messer, to name a few, from asking Mary to come to a meeting every time they saw her.  Finally, Mary agreed to attend a meeting and we all know the history from there.  Mary stated that, "She unfortunately, along with many others, didn't understand what we were really all about until she attended her first meeting."  Had fully understood what we were all about from the first invitation, she would have joined for sure. did join our group Mary and we are happy that you did!
Dennie Pendergrass spoke of how he and his wife finally moved to Amelia Island and joined our club.  While living in SW Missouri, Dennie joined the Columbia Northwest Rotary group in 1985.  After many years of dealing with some harsh winters along with an injury following a icy mishap, his wife told him they needed to spend some warmer winters in Florida. This led to being on Amelia Island in 2009, first as renters, then as owners, then as their permanent residents. Dennie became a member of our club in 2015.
As the first in his family to attend college, Dennie joined the Army in 1965, went on to Officer Candidate School and became an officer serving two tours in Viet Nam.  After completing his BS in 1973 and his MS in 1976 from UMR, Dennie went to work for the City of Columbia, MO and ran operations in the Public Works Department.  He also went on to serve in the Army Reserves as a Mobile Designee to finish out his military  career. 
During that time, Dennie strongly supported the education system and became a H.S. Football Official and officiated H.S. football for 28 years (in the "freezing cold" at times) and at the college level in a strong Division II Conference for 12 of those years. He ended his officiating career on the field in 2002 while moving on with mentoring and evaluating H.S. officials for the MO HSAA for the following 4 years. 
Glad you're with us now, Dennie!
Joe Hastey spoke to the club highlighting his career in the engineering services industry. With many responsibilities from VP to CEO., it was obvious Joe has had many years of experience speaking before a group or groups as he captured everyone's attention not only with his accomplishments, but with his choice of words and flow of speech.
Joe shared with us the fundamental tenets of outstanding leadership;  developing a team of professionals that can be "trusted" to do their job and carry that "passion for excellence" to name a few.  Perhaps the most important part of any great leadership is truly having the deep rooted care for others over and above yourself....your people first!  There is nothing more rewarding to great leaders than seeing people succeed in their class of trade and develop into great leaders themselves.  
Joe ended his speech with pointing out that all these great traits of outstanding leadership are consistent with the Rotary theme of "Service Above Self!"  Something tells me that I would have wanted to work for someone like Joe Hastey.  Thanks Joe!!

Join us for Fernandina's most competitive trivia contest, hosted by the one and only State Senator Aaron Bean.   You don't want to miss this event!

Dr. Page started the club out singing Jingle Bells.
While on vacation, President Ron had Shannon Brown lead us through the clubs updates and reports.
50/50:  $186 (12/13)
Larry Melnick had the winning ticket but drew the King of Hearts.
Shelter Box Barometer:  No mention as to how much was collected last week
Troop 89Same for the Boy Scouts
Scholarship Pledges:  Currently $4500
Next Social/Christmas Party:    Upstairs at the Sand Bar restaurant, Sunday December 17th at 6pm.
Visiting Rotarians:  Bill Eisele from Bar Harbor, ME and Dick & Carrol Stevenson from Southern France.
Guests of the ClubOur exchange student, Eero from Finland was present.
Members Present: 26
Honorary Members present3
Saturday was Trash pick-up along the Parkway with the Boy Scouts
Club members were encouraged to get out and sell the two Fundraising Brochures they were given.  This is going to be a great year for us to reach our goals.  Rick Keffer reminded us all a week ago that most of the monies raised always comes from "Individuals" not businesses.  Keeping that simple statement in mind makes finding people to join us for a great Luncheon not as difficult as one might think!  Let's get this done!!
B. Whittaker, J. Towles, F. Ridley, J. O'Connell
Feb 21, 2018
Member Craft Talks
Phil Scanlan
Feb 28, 2018 12:00 PM
"Update on Amelia Island Bike Trails"
Laura DiBella
Mar 07, 2018 12:00 PM
"Is Nassau county a boom town?"
Aldo Morelli
Mar 14, 2018 12:00 PM
"3-D Printing for Fun and Profit"

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