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Come visit the Rotary Club of Fernandina Beach, doing good things since 1926!

Fernandina Beach

Service Above Self

We meet Wednesdays at 12:00 PM
Story and Song Bookstore Bistro
(self-serve lunch begins 11:30)
1430 Park Avenue - Second Floor
Fernandina Beach, FL  32034
United States
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Taco Pope and Adrienne Burke
Nassau County Planning and Economic Opportunity Department

Taco E. Pope, AICP Director

Adrienne Burke, Assistant Director

Update with the Nassau County Planning and Economic Opportunity Department

Taco E. Pope, AICP (Director, Nassau County Planning and Economic Opportunity Department)

Taco is a Florida native with more than twelve years of professional planning experience in the public sector serving as both a technical practitioner and administrator in the realm of community planning for local government in the State of Florida. Taco currently serves as the Planning and Economic Opportunity Director for Nassau County, FL where he has been instrumental in fostering a collaborative approach to community planning through meaningful public engagement, transparency and the nurturing of active networks. His passion is to facilitate community formation through the creation of dynamic places that instigate day-to-day social engagement; places that inspire personal connections with the built environment and interpersonal connections amongst members of the community.   


Adrienne Burke, Esq., MSAS (Assistant Director, Nassau County Planning and Economic Opportunity Department)

Adrienne is Assistant Director with the Planning and Economic Opportunity Department in Nassau County, Florida and works on long-range strategic planning initiatives. She previously worked for Riverside Avondale Preservation, a nonprofit preservation advocacy organization in Jacksonville. Prior to joining RAP, she worked for the City of Fernandina Beach as the Community Development Director. Adrienne’s expertise is in cultural and natural resource policy, as well as land development code and comprehensive plan management. Adrienne holds degrees from the University of Virginia and University of Florida. She is a member of the Florida Bar, and on the Florida Public Archaeology Network Board of Directors.




Our Rotary District 6970 Governor, Jeanette Loftus


Area Governor Sandy Rogers introducing District Governor Jeanette Loftus
Governor Jeanette Loftus
After welcoming introductions, Governor Loftus started things out with mentioning some of our clubs successes and recognitions.  First up, the Paul Harris Fellow Recognition.  
Paul Percy Harris was a Chicago, Illinois, attorney. He founded Rotary International in 1905
He passed away in 1947 at the age of 78. It was in 1957 that a Mr. Al Brush of the Rotary Club of Laurel, Mississippi was recognized as the first Paul Harris Fellow.  In 2006, Over 1 million Paul Harris Fellowships had been recognized and thousands more since.
Rotarian Mary Ruark receiving her Paul Harris Fellow recognition from District 6970 Governor, Jeanette Loftus
The Paul Harris Fellow Award is the first "recognition of exceptional service" in Rotary. To achieve this level of recognition, one must have donated $1,000 or more to the Rotary International Foundation.  For this achievement, you receive a certificate and a medallion:
Also, in 1957, Mrs. Adan Vargas was the first woman to receive the Paul Harris Fellow recognition, for a gift made in 1953.
This is a great achievement for Mary having been with us a short time and yet gives back so much.  Since, Mary has sponsored a new Rotarian and has assisted on several committees in her short time with us.  Mary has definitely earned the title Rotarian, a Paul Harris Fellowship Rotarian.  Congratulations Mary!!!!
Rotarian and Past President John Boylan with Governor Loftus
John Boylan, an Engineer with WestRock, was recognized for the 6th, Paul Harris Fellowship by Governor Loftus.  This is an amazing achievement and it's recognition so worthy! This means that Rotarian John Boylan has achieved the Paul Harris Fellow recognition 6 times.  Wow....amazing!  John is 100% dedicated to Rotary and our Fernandina Beach Club.  We are so fortunate to have leaders in our community like John Boylan.  For this recognition, there is a special Pin for this level and it's awesome as it should be.
Rotarian John Boylan explaining how to achieve this incredible level of recognition
John seen here explaining how he got to this level and how it can be done with a plan and action.
President Elect Antoinette Richter with Governor Jeanette Loftus
A "little surprise" but a "big deal!"  A special award was given to Rotarian and President Elect Antoinette Richter a VP with Synovus Bank.  Since Antoinette became a Rotarian a little more than a year and a half ago, she has accomplished much, given a lot and threw herself into every committee and responsibility she could handle.  And now from Treasurer to President Elect, being at every meeting, taking lead on many committee's, volunteering her time and energy having a big job, raising two handsome young boys, she is being recognized by her District 6970 peers, Club President Ron Heymann and Governor Jeanette Loftus.
Awarded a pin that represents all those things mentioned above and this award affords her attendance to all District 6970 functions including our District Conference, District Training Assembly May 17 & 18 2019 at the Daytona International Speedway all at the expense of our District.  Additionally, Antoinette will be having lunch with Rotary International President Barry Rassin at the World Golf Village Renaissance Hotel Ballroom on February 15th, 2019.....again, paid for by District 6970.
The club is proud and "not surprised" that Antoinette received such an honor.  Congratulations President Elect Antoinette Richter cool
Governor Jeanette Loftus and Club President Ron Heymann
Governor Jeanette, President Elect Antoinette and President Ron Heymann
After Awards and Recognitions were done, District Governor Jeanette Loftus spoke with us explaining what the Rotary Wheel represents.
The Wheel is also  referred to as "The Mark of Excellence".
Started out as a simple wagon wheel representing dust and motion to the present day Rotary International Wheel with 24 teeth, 6 spokes and a key way.  
A wheel has been the symbol of Rotary since our earliest days. The first design was made (1905) by Chicago Rotarian Montague Bear, an engraver who drew a simple wagon wheel, with a few lines to show dust and motion. The wheel was said to illustrate "Civilization, Movement and Service work in action." Most of the early clubs had some form of wagon wheel on their publications and letterheads.
The gear teeth around the outside represent the fact that work is to be done. The six spokes represent the inner direction and path of our Vocational Service, through the representation of our membership via the classification system. Similarly, these same spokes represent an outward distribution path of Rotary's ideals of service and the Four Way Test… going out toward the community, vocations and businesses that our members represent.
A group of engineers advised that the geared wheel was mechanically unsound and would not work without a "keyway" in the center of the gear to attach it to a power shaft. So, in 1923, the keyway was added to signify the wheel was a "worker and not an idler". The keyway in the center of the hub is of great significance, because it represents the individual Rotarian member, who is the key factor in every club. Quality members are the keys, needed for the hub to engage with the shaft and turn, putting the energy into motion and creating the power for the gears to do their work.
At the 1929 Rotary International Convention, it was determined that blue and gold would be the official colors of the organization, so the wheel was designed with these colors. The four blue bands within the outer radius of the gear represent our four avenues of service. And the design which we now know was formally adopted as the official Rotary International emblem.
Thank you Governor Jeanette Loftus for your inspiration, kind words and your time to visit our club. Thank you!

President Ron Heymann About to call the meeting to order. 


District 6970 Governor Jeanette Loftus (left standing), Area Governor Sandy Rogers (in red), & Club President Ron Heymann


Dr. Page lead the club singing a patriotic song: "God Bless America" followed by "Country Roads" & "Rotary Bonds"


Recited our "Pledge of Allegiance"


Followed with an invocation by Rotarian Ray Whitehead


Secretary, John McAfee Report:

In attendance were 39 Club Members.  44 total attended the meeting.



Honorary Rotarian Members in attendance - Frank Ridley


Visiting Rotarians:  Michael Ellerbrock from George Town, TX (now living here on the Island) guest of Dennie Pendergrass.  


Visiting Guests: Maggie Calder, guest of Rotarian Roy Benson - Jillianne Wojay, guest of Rotarian Deb Connelly. 




50/50 Jack Pot:  @$170  - Rotarian Kris Meyer had the drawn ticket and drew the ACE OF SPADES!! WINS THE POT! smiley


Boy Scouts: $52

Shelter Box: $64


Sergeant at Arms, Larry Melnick:

Rotarian Larry Melnick had some great preparatory trivia and information for our upcoming Annual Trivia Contest with Senator and Rotarian Aaron Bean in a few weeks.



President-Elect, Antoinette Richter:       

No Report


John Howard, Community Services Report:

The Blood Drive is temporarily on hold until further notice.  They are having maintenance issues with their busses and they have been taken off the road for now.  John will announce when they will be back on line.


John Boylan, Director of Youth Services Report:

Our exchange student Simon Varnauskas is a starter for the FBHS Basketball team.  Here is his schedule for those who wish to go watch him play:

Other upcoming home games or close by games...
Tuesday, Dec 4 at Yulee 7pm
Friday, December 14th at home against Ridgeview 7pm
Thursday & Friday, December 20th/21st at home against JT Smith...time TBA
Friday, Jan 11 at home against West Nassau 7pm
Friday, Jan 18th at home against Middleburg 7pm
Tuesday, Jan 22nd at home against Bolles 7pm
Friday, Jan 25th at home against Baldwin 7pm
Tuesday, Jan 29th at home against Hilliard 7pm
Friday, Feb 1st at home against Yulee 7pm
Monday, Feb 4th at home against University Christian 7pm
Districts are the week of Feb 11, most likely nit at FBHS but I believe that depends on how well they do.
(Coach knows Simon will miss for Disney and Sea Camp, no matter what)


Kris Meyer, Public Relations Report:

Save the Date for Scholarship Luncheon:  Feb 7, 2019.  Collateral materials in progress. Expected articles for News Leader and other Media will be timed so as not to overlap.

Save the Date for Volunteer Recognition Breakfast: April 12, 2019. Cards for Save-the-Date and Volunteer nominations expected by end of December.

Holiday Adopt a Family:  It appears Panhandle needs are being met.  If no need arises within the next week, we will not plan to do that.  


Barbara Gingher, Fundraising Report:

Barbara and Ray are having our first meeting in two weeks to turn our focus on the February Scholarship Luncheon Event.  Time forthcoming but most likely to be around 11am before our normal Wednesday meeting on the 5th of December just to get things started.  Specific details soon.


Pam Crouser, Club Membership Report:

All is going well for our club! smiley



Nick Klein, Club Social Events Report:

December 15th, Rotary will be ringing the bell at Publix.  A sign up sheet was distributed for "teaming up" with another fellow Rotarian.  


President Ron Heymann, Club Report:

President Ron wants us all to turn our focus towards the Luncheon on February 7th, 2019 at the FBHS.  With the Taste of Amelia behind us now, we are in great shape to add a significant amount to our Scholarship Fund.  


Debra Connelly, Club Foundation Report:

We are submitting to Wells Fargo Bank and Rayonier for a Grant to cover the expenses for the Dictionary.
Our District 6970 Governor
Jeanette Loftus
Posted by Frank Gagnier on Oct 06, 2018
Rotary District Governor, Jeanette Loftus
Our District Governor will update the club on Rotary News
Support our club and be there to meet her.  She's an outstanding speaker and passionate about Rotary and our District 6970.
Meet our District Governor:
Jeanette Loftus
Rotary Club of Flagler County
Jeanette joined the Rotary Club of Flagler County in 2004 after relocating with her family from Forked River, NJ where she became a Rotarian in 1997. Jeanette was club president in 2009-10 and began serving District 6970 in a variety of positions including District Secretary, District Trainer, Area Governor, District Grants Chair, in a number of committees. She has also served as PETS Trainer and remains a Rotary Leadership Institute Discussion Leader for the Sunshine Division where she has served as District Director and Faculty Coordinator.  Her passion is Rotary education and believes an educated Rotarian is a Rotary valuable asset.
In January 2017, Jeanette traveled to India and had a once in a lifetime opportunity of participating in a National Immunization Day just outside of New Delhi. The Loftus family has had the pleasure of serving as hosts for Rotary Youth Exchange on three occasions and has been enriched by hosting several GSE Team members. Jeanette is a multiple Paul Harris Fellow, a member of the Paul Harris Society and the Bequest Society.
Jeanette spent much of her life growing up at the Jersey Shore where she met her husband of 34 years, Tracy at the age of 9.  After participating in Rotary events for over 15 years, Tracy himself became a Rotarian and is the Immediate Past President of the Rotary Club of Flagler County.  Jeanette and Tracy have been blessed with two children, Timothy and Zachary and two granddaughters.  Both boys have served Rotary alongside of their parents throughout the years.  Timothy was a Charter member of the Rotaract Club of Flagler County and Zachary is Past President of his Interact Club, has attended RYLA and is currently enrolled as a Sophomore at Valdosta State University.  And, four-year-old granddaughter Emma Grace participated in her first Rotary service project this past year.  Rotary’s ethics and values run deep in the Loftus family.
Jeanette is a Realtor® with Palm Coast Real Estate where interestingly and not by coincidence, her business partner, Bill Lyon is also a Rotarian and Past President. Prior to a career in real estate, Jeanette spent much of her professional life in the banking industry where she specialized in new branch openings, business expansion and staff development. In her childhood years, Jeanette was a Girl Scout earning the highest rank of First Class Scout and went on to serve Girl Scouting as President of the Ocean County Girl Scout Council for three years and remains a Lifetime Member of Girl Scouting. Jeanette is currently a member of the Flagler County Association of Realtors, the Flagler County Chamber of Commerce and serves the community in a variety of other capacities whenever possible. The entire Loftus family are founding members of Beachside Community Church in Palm Coast.
The Loftus’ cherish their time with family whether it be boating on their pontoon, sharing a Sunday family dinner or participating at a Rotary function. Family time is their most precious commodity. When not busy with family and Rotary, Jeanette’s hobbies include boating, cooking and travel.

President Ron Heymann About to call the meeting to order. 


President Ron Heymann


Dr. Page lead the club singing a patriotic song: "God Bless America" - "I'm Looking Over A Four-Leaf Clover" & "Bill Bailey"


Recited our "Pledge of Allegiance"


Followed by an invocation by Rotarian Joe Hastey


Secretary, John McAfee Report:

In attendance were 29 Club Members.  34 total attended the meeting.

Rotarians Vince Cavallo, John McAfee and Rick Campana


Honorary Members in attendance - Larry Myers


Visiting Rotarians:  Greg Holding from the Sunrise Club 


Visiting Guests: Linda Mills, guest of Rotarian Vince Cavallo - James Piper, guest of Rotarian Eric Belley and Eric's wife Bonnie Belley




50/50 Jack Pot:  @$146  - Pierre Guite had the drawn ticket and drew the 3 of clubs.  42 cards left


Boy Scouts: $18

Shelter Box: $60


Sergeant at Arms, Larry Melnick:

Rotarian Larry Melnick had some great trivia and information for us this week.

SAA Rotarian Larry Melnick


President-Elect, Antoinette Richter:       

No Report


John Howard, Community Services Report:

The Blood Mobile that was scheduled for this Wednesday has been canceled.  They are having maintenance issues with their busses and they have been taken off the road for now.  John will announce when they will be back on line.  Thanks


John Boylan, Director of Youth Services Report:

Our exchange student Simon Varnauskas was in attendance and doing well....having a great time!


Kris Meyer, Public Relations Report:

Kris announced that all the food left over from our social last week was all donated the next day to the "Hope House" and it was surely appreciated. Kris also told us that the write up was issued on the Taste Of  Amelia last Friday: (Pictures were posted in the bulletin of few weeks ago)

Pocket Park on Centre Street was converted into the gathering and registration area for the 33rd Annual Taste of Amelia last Saturday, Nov. 3. This year's event was re-formatted by its new host, the Rotary Club of Fernandina Beach, to a "Culinary Crawl," taking participants to the venues whose offerings they were tasting.   Pictured (above/below), club members (l-4) Dana McCoy, Eric Belley, Ray Whitehead and Nick Klein, set up registration and directions to the 20+ participating restaurants.  Also pictured (above/below) at the BBQ station run by club president Ron Heymann and set up outside Marlin & Barrel, is club member Tony Baia and a few of the hundreds of participants who tasted the offerings at the participating restaurants, including Marlin & Barrel.  Proceeds from the event benefit the Club's Foundation and scholarship awards for local public high school seniors.  

A meeting will be arranged for everyone to get together soon and talk about what we can do better, different, etc. for next years Taste of Amelia.  Next years event is being scheduled for the middle of October.

Rotarian Larry Myers announced that he had received excellent feedback about our event and that we have raised the bar on bringing back the Taste of Amelia back to a local major event moving forward.  President Ron announced that maybe Larry should Chair the event for next year! surprise We agree!! smiley


Rotarian Kris Meyer


Barbara Gingher, Fundraising Report:

Barbara and Ray are having our first meeting in two weeks to turn our focus on the February Scholarship Luncheon Event.  Time forthcoming but most likely to be around 11am before our normal Wednesday meeting on the 5th of December just to get things started.  Specific details soon.


Pam Crouser, Club Membership Report:

No Report


Nick Klein, Club Social Events Report:

December 15th, Rotary will be ringing the bell at Publix.  A sign up sheet was distributed for "teaming up" with another fellow Rotarian.  Please see Nick to sign up.....thank you!


President Ron Heymann, Club Report:

For anyone who took some wine at the social, please make a small donation to the Clubs Foundation.  Honor system.  Also.....for anyone who took a Rotary Shirt, please pay for them at the next meeting.  Really appreciate that!

A Happy Thanksgiving to All you Rotarians!!!!


Debra Connelly, Club Foundation Report:

Deb announced that we will be submitting for a Grant with Wells Fargo to cover the expenses for the Dictionary Project. No word yet.

Rotarian Bradley Bean
Bradley Bean grew up right here on Amelia Island and graduated from Fernandina Beach H.S.  He went on to college at the University of Florida where he graduated with a degree in Industrial Engineering in 2016.
Upon returning back home form UF, he became employed by Rayonier immediately as a Continuous Improvement Engineer.  His field of study is now relative to the Six Sigma Measurements of Quality Improvement that all industrial companies aspire to.  I will attempt at explaining this as follows:
Six Sigma and lean efficiency is what Bradley does at work every day, all day.  It's based on a measure of how many rejects there are to which less is better.  Six Sigma means 1.4 rejects per million tries and that's the goal of any industrial organization!  For example, increasing 3 to 6 sigma is over 20,000 times better!  He's striving for 6 smiley
On the side of everything else, Bradley loves coaching the FBHS robotics team after work and does Auctioneering at different events from time to time.  Additionally, Bradley is running for Fernandina Beach City Commissioner and is presently tied for a run-off vote in a few weeks.  Let's get out to vote for one of our own and get Bradley elected.  We do need some new ideas with greater vision.
Bradley is also the son of our Senator and fellow Rotarian, Aaron Bean.  Bradley is heading down the same path 
Dad, Senator & Rotarian Aaron Bean, son Gray Bean and son, Rotarian Bradley Bean
A Family affair
Rotarian Eric Belley
Eric has been a Rotarian for 13 years now and he presented his original club banner from Camden, Maine to our club with President Ron Heymann to start out with his craft talk.

Eric was Born in Lowell, MA and the youngest of 6 (3 brothers and two sisters).  Mother fort polio in 1950 during the epidemic while pregnant with his oldest sister who was born without birth defects surprisingly.  He lived in the same house for the first 25 yrs of his life. At age 2, he broke his leg thanks to his oldest brother, Bob (a story for another day). 


Eric has three sons, Nick, Marc and Mike.  He moved to Fernandina Beach in 2016 with Buddy and wife Bonny who is his best friend and fervent supporter.  Upon arriving her Eric started a successful painting business on the Island and currently has 5 painters on his crew.  The best crew in the business he says.  Knowing Eric, I believe it's true!

Absolutely loves living on this Island of Paradise.

Eric company is called the North Atlantic Painting Company located right here on Amelia Island.
Contact info: 904-261-3248 Located at 961687 Gateway Blvd. #101G in Fernandina Beach, FL 32034
Contact Eric Belley Direct:
(904) 627-0849
A Full Service Interior and Exterior Painting Company. We will paint the interior or exterior of your home or business using experienced painters and quality products. All painting estimates will be detailed and include explanations of the various stages in the painting project.
Club President Ron Heymann, Bradley Bean and Eric Belley
Frank Gagnier
What a great time everyone had at our Social at the Chem Cell Club House.  The food was amazing and Chef Heymann was on the grill with steaks and chicken (but no ribs....that's a first)!
CheI guess we can add baked President Ron Heymann on the grill...…..I guess we can add baked potatoes as well.
We were celebrating the success of the Taste of Amelia event where we raised $12,000 smiley to add to our Scholarship Fund for the 2019 Senior graduates of Nassau County.  Up next is the Luncheon the first week in February sponsored by the Rick and Hollie Keffer.  
President Ron holding the Check!!!!
We had the social this past Wednesday evening in lieu of our normal Wednesday, noon meeting.  The theme was to wear your favorite teams colors which was a mixture of College and Professional team colors.
President Ron's family - Wife Reagan, Daughter Kate and son Jack
Everyone chipped in with extras such as salads, bread, dessert, fruits & vegetables.  The spread was awesome and everyone certainly filled their belly's.  Beer and Wine were left overs from the Taste of Amelia.  Soda and water were added as well.
Thanks so much to Rotarian & Past President Pam Crouser for all these wonderful pictures.  We apologize if anyone was left out it certainly was not intended.....we were just having a great time! Enjoy the pictures!
Rotarian's Frank and Bonnie Ridley
Rotarian's President Elect Antoinette Richter and Past President John Boylan
Rotarian's John McAffee, Dr. David Page, husband of Rotarian Kris Meyer Mike Fay & Kris Meyer and Tony Baia 
Rotarian's Pierre Guite and Jerry Hinson with his guest Wanda Wells
Rotarians Pam Brenner and visiting Rotarians from France Dick Stevenson & Carol Stevenson (a past Club President in France)
Rotarians Bradley Bean, Deb Connelly and Larry Myers
Rotarian's Jonathan Levitt, Barbara Gingher, Ray Whitehead and Mary Ruark
Rotarian Rick Keffer and wife Hollie. Rotarian Nick Klein
Rotarian's Barbara Gingher and Eric Belley
Club President & Chef Ron Heymann and wife Reagan
AS A BONUS:  I just couldn't resist....sorry Joe cool
Rotarian Joe Hastey now sporting a new hair-doo?  I think it's awesome!
Will it help his game? We shall see surprise
Ed Hubel
Dec 12, 2018
Update on the Baptist Medical Center Nassau
Senator Aaron Bean
Dec 19, 2018
Aaron Bean Annual Trivia Contest
Author Greg Knapp M.A.
Jan 09, 2019
"Do Less and Achieve More on Purpose"
Thomas Sanger
Jan 16, 2019
Talk about his new historical novel "Without Warning"
Professor Eric Johnson, UNF
Jan 23, 2019
"Threats to Sea Life from Invasive Species"
Hank Hurst, CPA
Jan 30, 2019
"Impacts of the New Tax Laws"
Selected Students from Nassau County
Feb 06, 2019
2019 District 6970 Regional Rotary Oratory Contest

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