Posted by Frank Gagnier on Jan 14, 2018
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!!