A 7 a.m. meeting is a bit early for champagne, so the Rotary Club of Franklin at Breakfast opted for booze-infused donuts to toast to the upcoming year and celebrate their new president and officers Wednesday morning.
After a big day of introducing new leadership, the club anticipates many big days ahead as they pursue a robust plan for growth, engagement and charity this year.
Rotary Assistant District Governor Denise Carothers presented the officers for the 2019-20 year, including newly elected President Doug Kidd, who has been in the club since 2012.
The new president expressed his excitement to be in the position, saying Rotary has impacted him since his childhood.
“I grew up in this little small town in southeastern Ohio, and Rotary was such a big part of that community,” Kidd said, adding that he’s also enjoyed opportunities to serve internationally in places like Guatemala. “I personally got a college scholarship from Rotary, so I feel like every time that I’ve had an opportunity to give back, a little piece of me is like, ‘Thank you, Rotary, for that stuff that you did for my community and for me as a kid.’
“I like to give, and that’s what I want to do. So, this is an organization that I’ll be a part of for life.”
Kidd said, for the club’s upcoming year, he wants to focus primarily on growing membership and better engaging with existing members.
“We have so many folks here that come from varied backgrounds, and they are just so talented in their field,” he said. “We need to make sure that we’re sort of leveraging those talents in our group. So, engagement is probably the No. 1 thing.”
He said he also wants to build a social media strategy and promote better brand awareness to reach out to the Millennial generation. While the Franklin Noon Rotary Club, per his example, is known for their rodeo, Kidd wants their club to have a trademark event as well to build their brand.
However, his goals are not all directed towards distinguishing his Rotary. He hopes to partner with other Rotary clubs in the area, as well, to better serve the community.
“They have their volunteer opportunities; we have ours,” Kidd said. “We’re a group of 95. Some of them have 100. Think if we had an extra 30 or 40 come in on our Habitat for Humanity, or when we feed the needy, or whatever.
“It doesn’t have to just be this group. We’re all Rotarians. We’re all one big club.”
After presenting new officers, the meeting also honored several members with awards. Club Secretary Luke Bottorff presented the Rookie of the Year award to not one, but two members: Kyla King and David Butler.
Treasurer Phyllis Molyneux also presented the Rotarian of the Year award to Sharon Stewart, a member since 2007, for her true embodiment of the role of a Rotarian.
“I have been so impressed with this Rotarian’s leadership skills, her ability to always question status quo and her diplomatic approach to tackling difficult topics of our meetings,” Molyneux said. “It has been a privilege to serve on the Rotary Board of Directors during the past year with this Rotarian.”
Molyneux then announced that the award is twofold: it is not just Rotarian of the Year, but the first annual Jerome Bannister Servant Heart Award, named after one of the club’s members to signify dedication to the Rotary motto, “service above self.”
“I’m very humbled and very honored,” Bannister said. “As you know, when you join the Rotary, it’s all for helping others, so I’m very honored to have been a past president of the club and to have been here for so long. … I’m very humbled by having this award named after me.”
The Rotary Club of Franklin at Breakfast meets weekly on Wednesdays at 7 a.m. in the Vanderbilt Legends Golf Clubhouse. Their annual golf tournament fundraiser will take place on Oct. 14, the proceeds of which will go towards the club’s selected charities.
For more information, visit the club’s website.