Recently, some 80 members of the Fernandina Beach and Amelia Island Sunrise Rotary Clubs gathered at Chem Cell for their annual cookout. Club members enjoyed good food and fellowship along with music provided by the Rotary Rooters – the Fernandina Beach Rotary Club band comprised of guitarist Dr. David Page, keyboardist Bonnie Ridley, bass player Wally Messer and song leader Jim Hook – who led club members and guests in a sing-a-long of Jimmy Buffett tunes.

 

Afterward, Fernandina Beach Rotarian and District 6970 Area Governor Trip Clark introduced District Governor Art McQueen, who traveled to Fernandina Beach from Palm Coast to join in what he called “A wonderful family of Rotary event.” Governor McQueen said he was especially pleased to be asked to present Fernandina Beach Rotary Club members Janice O’Connell and her daughter, Dr. Jennifer Towles, with their Paul Harris Plus Two Fellowships in recognition of each woman’s contribution of more than $3,000 to the Rotary Foundation. 

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He then asked Club Presidents Shannon Brown and Mark Dennis to give a brief overview of each club’s plans for the coming year. Fernandina Beach Rotary Club President Brown spoke of the two inbound Youth Exchange Students – one from Croatia and the other from South Korea – whom the club will sponsor this school year. She went on to mention the many projects the club has planned, including the annual Dictionary Project, the return of both the Harlem Ambassadors basketball game and Italian concert pianist, Francesco Attesti, whose performance this year will benefit the Nassau County Humane Society. Amelia Island Sunrise Rotary Club President Mark Dennis said that club will continue its strong commitment to the Council on Aging Walk-a-thon and will once again host its International Wine and Food Tasting event to raise funds for Wolfson Children’s Hospital.

 

Governor McQueen returned to the podium to outline his priorities for the district this year. First, however, he thanked both clubs for their commitment to Rotary ideals and said his primary job was to support the clubs in every way possible. He went on to say that growing Rotary membership, giving generously to the Rotary Foundation and continuing support of Rotary’s PolioPlus campaign are key commitments for the District this year. McQueen closed the evening by presenting the Fernandina Beach Rotary Club’s Service Above Self Award to President Shannon Brown in recognition of her tireless efforts on behalf of the club and for stepping up to serve as club president for the second time in just two years.

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