Each year, the club raises money for the purpose of giving it away. The funds that have been given to organizations this fall were raised at events this past summer featuring University of Tennessee Coach Butch Jones and former game show host Bob Eubanks.
Joanne Maskew accepted a check for $1,000 to support Cleveland/Bradley Keep America Beautiful, which, among other things, offers educational programs to local schools to teach children about the importance of respecting the environment by doing things like recycling.
She said the funds would help teach school children about those things, but they would also help the group’s efforts to help raise everyone’s awareness the subject.
“Not only do we need to teach our children, we need to teach adults too,” Maskew said.
Pete and Joyce Vanderpool also accepted a $1,500 check for their cause, The Creative Story Project.
Formerly known as The Santa Project, it was started to help educate children about things like safety and was so named because Pete has played the role of Santa in the local mall.
The organization later grew into the Creative Story Project, which now also allows the Vanderpools and author Wendy Brown to hold workshops and assist adults living in local nursing homes with conditions like Alzheimer’s disease tell their stories — either ones they remember or ones from their imaginations. Joyce said that, even if someone has lost their memories, they can still have valuable stories to tell.
Larry Hill, owner of Larry Hill Ford and Larry Hill Imports, then spoke of how he first made his way to Cleveland and why he supports the club today.
While not a member, Hill has supported the club’s Rotary Foundation financially.
Club President Andy Anderson announced at the meeting that Hill had agreed to donate money to support the club’s gala happening next year. He was set to donate $15,000 to help with the costs of putting on the gala, including bringing University of South Carolina Coach Steve Spurrier to Cleveland for the event scheduled to take place on June 14, 2014.
Originally from Raleigh, N.C., Hill said he spent 26 years living in Daytona Beach, Fla., before moving to Cleveland.
During that time, Hill said he had started a family and realized that the transient nature of a city popular with tourists was not a great “home area” for his two daughters. He then began looking for car dealerships to purchase throughout the Southeast.
After looking at 10 or 12 options, he finally chose to move to Cleveland and purchased the local Ford dealership. Larry Hill Ford will soon be celebrating its 10th anniversary, he said.
Hill said he credited the people of Cleveland for welcoming his family and helping shape who his children grew up to be during that time.
“I don’t think I was led to Cleveland to help Cleveland,” Hill said. “I think I was led to Cleveland for Cleveland to help me.”
Now, he said he tries to give back to the city to thank its people for what they have meant to him and his family by supporting organizations like the Rotary Foundation.
Rotarian Lee Stewart, who is also the president and CEO of Southern Heritage Bank, then took to the podium to talk about why has been involved with the Bradley Sunrise Rotary Club over the years.
While he said he had fond memories of various activities he had been involved in with the club, he said the most valuable thing he had gained was friendship with other members.
“The opportunity for friendship is one of the first things I think of when I think of being a Rotarian,” Stewart said.
He said Rotary International, of which the Bradley Sunrise club is a chapter, was first founded on the belief that it was good for local businessmen to network and become friends. The club later opened its membership to women and professionals outside the confines of traditional businesses, leading to how the club works today.
Stewart also said there was “great efficiency” in a group of people getting together to work toward a goal like raising money for nonprofits. In addition, he said it also allowed him an extra avenue to live out his personal beliefs outside the walls of his church.
“The Rotary Club sort of gives some legs to my faith,” Stewart said.
For more information about the club and its events, visit www.BradleySunriseRotary.com.