Downtown Rotary Celebrates 20 Years
In 1995, several Bulloch County businessmen who were members of the original Statesboro Rotary Club gathered to discuss the idea of forming a second club in Statesboro. Community leaders including Terrell Reddick, Gerald Edenfield, Jack Proctor, Rod Uribe, and Jack Mallard believed with the expansion of Statesboro’s business community during the last decade, there was a need for a second Rotary to extend the opportunity for community service to a broader group of professionals.
Charter Member Kay Brown recalled, “It met the needs of a lot of people who were just too busy to take the time out of the middle of the day, or if you worked out of town or a good ways from Statesboro, it was very difficult to get back.” She was referring to “getting back” every Monday for the 1:00 p.m. original Statesboro Rotary Club meetings at Forest Heights Country Club.
“I reckon it was those who were members of the old club or the original club who saw the need and stepped out to undertake forming the new club there,” said Hub Powell, one of several charter members interviewed for the Downtown Rotary Club’s commemorative 20th Anniversary video. “You know something like that is never a sure thing. You don’t know how much interest there is.”
It turned out there was a high level of interest. The group of charter members for Statesboro’s Downtown Rotary was capped at 51, with Terrell Reddick serving as the first club president.
Reddick’s leadership is fondly remembered by Brown, “The person that I recall the most would be Terrell Reddick, who was the person responsible for starting the downtown Rotary Club. If it hadn’t been for Terrell I don’t think we would have ever gotten off the ground. We always looked to Terrell when we didn’t know what to do.”
During the first year Downtown Rotary Club meetings were held at Webb’s Nic Nac Grill on East Main Street. The club later moved to the Historic Statesboro Inn & Restaurant on South Main, before finally settling at the present location of RJ’s Grill on South Main Street. Meetings begin promptly at 7:00 a.m. every Thursday.
Another reason cited for forming a second club was the acceptance of women as members. According to charter member Everett Kennedy, “It was just accepted and expected that women members were coming and it was a change that needed to occur.”
Kay Brown concurred, “They did not accept women in the older club, but in the Downtown Club, they did.”
Phyllis Thompson, also a charter member, remembered, “I’m aware that was probably one of the reasons for the founding of the club, but when Rod Uribe called me that was not part of the conversation or really not part of my consideration for joining.” According to Al Burke, “They did not want anyone to feel that it was being made into a woman’s Rotary Club, it was a business person’s Rotary Club.”
The Downtown Statesboro Rotary Club and the Rotary Club of Statesboro, are both member clubs of Rotary International, a worldwide organization of business and professional leaders whose motto is “Service above Self.” In addition to community service, Rotarians promote high ethical standards in their professional lives as well, while promoting their ideal of service in personal, business and community relationships. In a broader sense, Rotarians hope to advance international good will and peace through a world fellowship of like-minded Rotarians throughout the world.
Locally, service projects and activities are performed by club members such as “The Great American Clean-Up.” An annual Boston Butt sale is held to raise funds for scholarships and support of a long list of local charitable and non-profit organizations. The Downtown Rotary supports Education through local reading and literacy programs and an annual speech contest for students. The club also participates in international projects like Polio Plus, and Disaster Relief ShelterBox for Napal.
In addition, Statesboro Downtown Rotary sponsors several scholarships for area students including the Rotary Student of the Year Scholarship; the Annual Youth Scholarship & Leadership Award; the Terrell T. Reddick Honors Scholarship at Georgia Southern; the Hugh O’Brian Leadership Scholarship; and the Ogeechee Technical College Scholarship.
In the first 20 years, Statesboro Downtown Rotary has established a legacy of giving back to the community.
According to Brown, “The whole concept of service above self is meaningful.” “It’s not just service, it helps us to be better citizens in the community in which we live,” said Thompson. “When we formed as a club we were looking for what ‘best service’ we could give. And I think we have really come into our own with that idea.”
“If anything the Statesboro Rotary Club is very proud of what Downtown Rotary has done, not what we did, all we did was give you an opportunity and you ran with it. It has been marvelous what you have done for the community,” said Al Burke. Editor’s Note: 20th Anniversary Commemorative video produced by Ann Burrell. To watch visit www.downtownrotary.org