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Spotlight on Fernandina Beach Rotary

Produced/Directed by President Shannon Brown


     The program opened with a visual presentation of our history and much about our current projects and programs that was narrated by Shannon Brown. This used much of what had been put together for our 85th Anniversary, updated and much to the point of why we are a super club.

     The first person called on by Shannon to share some comments was Pat McCarthy who had been asked by Boy Scout Troop 89 (sponsored by our club since they began 76 years ago). It was interesting the Boy Scouts was started in the states almost the same time as Rotary. So not only are we one of the oldest clubs, starting about twenty years after the beginning of Rotary, Troop 89 is one of the oldest troops, starting less than 30 years after their beginning. Pat did a wonderful job of highlighting how much difference we have made over three quarters of a century. It was also interesting to see how many of our members have roots in scouting and even how many are Eagle Scouts.
     All of us had been put on notice that we might be called on to share something about ourselves, why we joined Rotary and to highlight any mountaintop or ahah times experienced as a Rotarian.

     Very shy as a public speaker, Aaron Bean was called on first. Not only has he been a Rotarian his whole adult life but he has roots with Rotary back into high school. We heard from a similar length of time from Clyde Davis and also from Brett Whitaker, though none mentioned so far were charter members of our club.

     Rick Keffer was one who has been a member for about a decade. Laureen Pagel was one who joined quite recently. There were a number of others. Also sorry we don’t have snapshots of all who spoke. Not all of the photos turned out able to be used. I said nothing about any impact on the camera.

When the program ended at 1:00, game called because of darkness, I was left with only one question in my mind, “Who could resist joining the Fernandina Beach Rotary Club?”

     A question that had come from the prospects even before the main program started, “What is a Shelter Box?” All members should be prepared to answer that, especially as important as this project is to us. So I’ve included a description here as a member refresher. You don’t need recall on all details, but you should be at ease and informed explaining it.

     Shelter Box is a global grassroots Rotary club project. Originally conceived and developed in the United Kingdom in 2000, this program stretches globally to meet the needs of providing shelter and comfort in times of disaster, both natural and man-made. There are now affiliates in the U.S., Australia and Canada and talk about greater effectiveness with merging them.

     These sizable boxes are designed to provide shelter and warmth for up to 10 people, each box containing a 10-person tent, 10 sleeping bags, water purification tablets, flashlight/batteries, rope, cooking/eating utensils, tools, stove, rain ponchos, etc. There are two types of boxes, one designed for winter climate and one for warmer climates.

     Sponsoring a Shelter Box costs $1,000. As a club we first learned of Shelter Box in March, 2007. Five years later, as of February, 2012, the Fernandina Beach Rotary Club has donated fourteen Shelter Boxes and is about a fourth of the way with the fifteenth. We lost track of where our first two boxes were deployed, but the third went to Niger-Africa. Following that numerous went to Port-a-Prince, Haiti, and even more have gone to Kenya-Africa. At this writing the 14th box is still waiting in the warehouse to be deployed where needed.