FLORENCE, S.C. – The Florence Rotary Club ended its calendar year at Monday’s meeting at Victors in downtown Florence with the installation of a new president, the announcement of grant recipients and the presentation of awards to several members of the club by outgoing president Jonathan Edwards.
Blake Pate, the owner/operator of the Chick-Fil-A on David McLeod Boulevard, was sworn in as president for 2019-2020 by Jammie McDonald, the District 7770 Assistant Governor Area 16.
Pate said he is looking forward to another good year. He said this will be the club's 100th year, and he looks forward to leading the club during its 100th anniversary.
The club awarded $8,000 in grants.
Chrysalis Center, Mercy Medicine, Pee Dee Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Assault, House of Hope and the Boy Scouts all received $1,500 grants from the club.
The Gold Star Families Memorial at Florence Veterans Park was presented $500.
Edwards said these organizations were chosen from a pool of worthy applicants this year.
He said some of the biggest-hearted people in the community were their guests Monday to receive these awards.
The Rotarian of the Year Award was presented to David Wansley, the club's treasurer.
“He delivers the bad news so I don’t have to,” Edwards said. “He is a true friend.”
The President’s Award was presented to Derek Hemmingsen, club secretary. Edwards said Hemmingsen made his time as president a lot easier.
“He is one of the most reliable people I have ever worked with,” Edwards said.
The Young Professional of the Year Award went to Blake Branham.
Edwards said Branham never says no.
“He is an outstanding asset to our club,” he said.
The Four-Way Test Award was presented to Henry Brunson, Rotarian and founder of Cooks for Christ. He and his band of volunteers hold benefits in and around Florence as well as his hometown of Latta. They cook chicken bog to help raise money for people in need because of health reasons. He started at the mill where he worked in 1989 to help the wife of a fellow employee who suffered from a terminal illness. He and a small group of volunteers who called themselves “We Care” raised money for mill employees who were terminally ill and who had lost their homes to fires.
He continued his service after retiring in 2003 and expanded into the community with Cooks for Christ.
The Four-Way Test is used by Rotarians as a code to follow for personal and business relationships. The Four-Way Test: “Of the things we think, say or do. … Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build good will and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?”
Six Rotarians were recognized for attendance of 85 percent or better: George Stukes, Blake Branham, Walker Floyd, Tom Ewart, Roger Malfatti and Trisha Caulder.
Those nominated as officers for 2019-2020 are Pate, president; Edwards, past president; Hemmingsen, president-elect; Ashley Christenbury, secretary; Wansley, treasurer; and Branham, sergeant at arms.