For the first time ever, the three Lincoln County Rotary Clubs met together Monday in Lincolnton.
The historic first happened at the First Baptist Church and was designed to give members of all three clubs â€“ the Rotary Club of Lincolnton; the Rotary Club of Denver/Lake Norman; and the Rotary Club of Lincolnton – Sunrise â€“ a pep-talk about the upcoming Rotary auction.
According to 2007 Rotary auction chairman Johnathan Rhyne, the meeting marked a celebration of the 14th annual Rotary auctions. The 2007 auction is scheduled for Thursday through Saturday April 26 – 28.
The auction is held the James W. Warren Citizens Center. Audience members can bid on items or they can watch the auction all three nights on Charter Communications 6 – 11 p.m. and call in bids.
â€œThrough our auctions, weâ€™ve been able to give more than $1.9 million out in low interest loans through Rotary,â€ said Rhyne. â€œThe loans are self-perpetuating, which means as money is repaid, itâ€™s loaned back out to other students.â€
Rhyne added he expected that after the 2007 auction, the number would jump to more than $2 million in money loaned out.
Rotary of Denver/Lake Norman president Jack Funk told the more than 100 people gathered for the event that his club jumped at the opportunity to be a part of this historic first and talk about the auction.
Rotary of Lincolnton – Sunrise president Cristina Arlow said she was delighted at the turnout.
â€œItâ€™s a pleasure to see so many Rotarians,â€ said Arlow. â€œI also look forward to working with Jack and Barry.â€ (Barry) Matherly is Rotary of Lincolnton president.
The keynote address was delivered by long-time Rotarian John T. Capps III, president of the Rotary of Morehead City â€“ Noon in Morehead City.
Capps told the crowd that through the Rotary auction, itâ€™s the opportunity for many to make a difference.
â€œWhen we as Rotarians die, what we have done dies with us,â€ said Capps. â€œThere are other generations that come along after us that will make a difference in this community.”
Capps said he spent the last couple of days talking and listening to people who have benefited from the Rotary loan program.
One conversation stuck out in Cappsâ€™ mind during his talk.
â€œOne lady told me that if it wasnâ€™t for the loan program, her children wouldnâ€™t have a chance at a higher education,â€ said Capps. â€œThe children learned responsibility through paying back the loan.â€
Capps added that that started a beneficial process in the womenâ€™s childrenâ€™s lives. He added her children furthered their education with masterâ€™s degrees. Also, the first year out, one of them went on to become an employee of the year.
â€œThat person thanked Lincoln Rotarians for sharing, caring and making a difference,â€ said Capps.
Capps said that the three clubs working together can make a difference and that all three clubs can achieve more.
More than 900 people have received Rotary loans since the inception of the Lincoln Rotary auction. Past chairmen of the Rotary auction committee were also honored for their hard work.
Towards the end of Cappsâ€™ presentation, everyone was given a candle. Capps said it was to continue to light the way for others in achieving a higher education.
â€œWe will provide others the opportunity to seek an education to make a difference,â€ said Capps. â€œMy life is better in talking to recipients of your work.â€
Rotary of Lincolnton president Barry Matherly said having all three clubs come together was beneficial.
â€œMr. Capps also reminded us why we have an auction,â€ said Matherly. â€œThis meeting of all three clubs should be an annual event.â€
Rhyne said he was gratified to see all three clubs come together for the first-ever meeting.
â€œItâ€™s a time to celebrate and congratulate ourselves for a job well done,â€ said Rhyne.
by Jon Mayhew