Derek Dooley, head coach of the University of Tennessee Vols football program, will deliver the Gala’s keynote address.
The three main recipients traditionally supported by the Sunrise Rotary that were to get a large portion of the funds throughout the year — the American Cancer Society, BSR Angel Flight, and Habitat for Humanity of Cleveland — in addition to miscellaneous other charities, will still be given the donations the Rotary had planned.
But, in an untraditional decision, the Sunrise Rotary wants to help give back as much as it can to the area and help with disaster relief.
“Proceeds need to be spread amongst organizations who are helping with disaster rehabilitation,” said Mark Rodgers, Gala chairman and next year’s Sunrise Rotary president. The Sunrise Rotary committee agreed they needed to find a way to help the community.
“Our job is service above self,” Rodgers said. “We feel this is the right thing to do.”
Those planning to attend and who will be participating at one of the two auctions at the Gala are giving to local disaster relief agencies.
“When you write a check,” Rodgers said, “it’s like writing a check directly to help.”
Three local organizations, according to Matt Carlson, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Cleveland, said a united front of three primary organizations have been working with the Cleveland-Bradley Emergency Management Agency — the Hiwassee Chapter of American Red Cross, the Salvation Army and the Bradley Baptist Association. Many others have also been involved, and are continuing their work.
“I’ve heard stories after stories after stories,” Carlson said. He wanted people to keep in mind that it won’t be two weeks or two months, or maybe not even two years, until people’s lives and living situations are put right.
“We’ve had an outpouring of love and volunteerism,” Carlson said. “But this is a long-term recovery effort.”
At last count, Carlson said, 285 homes were destroyed. More than 300 others were damaged. That’s why the local Habitat group has also made a change in direction and decided to suspend new housing projects to try to help out those whose homes need repair.
Less than six weeks away, this year’s Gala dinner is scheduled for Friday, June 17, at the Museum Center at Five Points, and will feature UT Head Coach Derek Dooley as its keynote speaker.
For more information on the Gala and/or to donate money for the relief efforts, call Bob Anderson, president of Sunrise Rotary, at 432-0347 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Cheryl Dunson, sergeant-of-arms of the Sunrise Rotary, at 476-9160 or email her at email@example.com.
“Every little bit helps,” said Philomena Davis, a real estate agent and Sunrise Rotarian.
In other business:
- Abby Fluegel, lab analyst at Merck in Cleveland, became the Sunrise Rotary club’s latest member Thursday.
- Some additional missing classifications at the Sunrise Rotary are: hair dressing, home economy, horticulture, human resources and hydrography.
Habitat Needs Help!
Habitat for Humanity of Cleveland is looking for a substantial parcel of land to use for parking Federal Emergency Management Agency trailers that are being anticipated to assist with housing those without homes. Habitat is also looking for a large warehouse space that offers between 50,000 and 100,000 square feet.