When Mark Tumblin was inducted as the Franklin Noon Rotary Club president in July of 2020, he was determined to keep the Rotary spirit of “Service Above Self” intact despite the pandemic-caused cancellation of the club’s largest fundraiser: the Franklin Rodeo. So, Tumblin led the club in other ways where the members could still make an impact.
“Our club was committed to feeding those who were shut in or afraid to venture out by taking the meals that would normally feed the club to One Gen Away,” Tumblin said.
Tumblin said this served two purposes: the club was able to pay its caterers during a tough time and helped families in need.
“We were able to provide more than 25,000 meals to our community with the partnership of One Gen Away and our Super Butts promotion,” he said.
The club’s annual Super Bowl Sunday promotion, where the club smokes pork butts to raise money, provided a record 6,000 meals in a single weekend. The club donated one pork butt to charity for each one sold.
Tumblin also wanted to honor the club’s annual giving through the club’s foundation, which is funded from proceeds from the Franklin Rodeo and the Great Americana BBQ Festival. Tumblin said the club dipped into its reserves to keep the spirit of giving alive despite not generating any new revenue.
“Our club donated over $150,000 to over 50 local organizations,” Tumblin said. “This was a tough year for everyone, but our club was determined to help in any way we could.”
The club was also able to remain active in other ways, such as delivering over 2,500 toys to the needy with the club’s first Toys for Townsfolk Toy Drive, led by Rotarian James Gurule.
The club also worked with the other county Rotary clubs to provide iPads for Williamson Medical Center’s COVID-19 unit so patients could communicate with their families when they were unable to be by their bedside.
“We were so very thankful for what Rotary did this year to help these patients communicate while being quarantined,” said Dr. Michael Babb of Williamson Medical and the incoming Rotary District 6760 governor.
One of the most heartfelt achievements for the Noon club last year was the creation of a personal rodeo through the Make-A-Wish Foundation for a 4-year-old cancer patient who had a dream to be a bull rider.
“There was rarely a week that our club was not engaged in some sort of service to our area,” Tumblin said. “From cleaning tombstones at the city cemetery to bagging food at One Gen Away, we were working as a club to serve others.”
Tumblin said the club set and achieved 25 goals and was recognized with a Presidential Citation.
Incoming President John Abbott admitted he has big shoes to fill but looks forward to the challenge.
“My goal is to recruit younger and more diverse people to our club,” he said. “We need fresh ideas and energy, and I look forward to taking our club to the next level. I think we will look back a year from now and be proud of what we achieved.”
Several Rotarians were honored the during the installation banquet that saw Abbott inducted as the 2021-22 club president. Armando Estrada was inducted as vice president, Meghan Guffee as secretary and Kevin McAdams as treasurer.
David Haas was recognized as Rotarian of the Year for his never-ending generosity and commitment to the club.
“David exemplifies service above self in everything he does,” Tumblin said. “It was an easy decision to honor him this way.”
Other awards went to:
• Lee and Holly Marcus, Rookies of the Year
• Eric Powers and Devin Gilliam, Rodeo Workhorse Award
• Catherine Ligon, Junior Rotarian of the Year
• Kristen Crow and Barbara Behrens, New Members of the Year
• Barb Izzo, Distinguished Service Award
• Bill Foley, Service Above Self Award
• James Gurule, Best New Project Award
• Christine Wilson, Work Gloves Award
• Bill and Jill Fitzgerald, Outstanding Service Award
• Bobby McKinney and Rob Harding, Best Rotary Support Award
The club achieved 100% Paul Harris status by way of a generous donation from an anonymous donor.
“The generous donation of a single Rotarian awarded 60 of Franklin Noon Rotarians to receive its highest award, and I cannot think of a better year when our club stepped up to the difficult challenges we faced and won,” Tumblin said.