‘What does Rotary do?’

Tom KingFarragut, Feature

In the past two weeks two people have asked me the same question:  “What does Rotary do?”


Well, Rotary does a lot internationally, nationally and in its local communities, communities like Farragut and Bearden and North Knoxville. The six Rotary clubs in Knoxville and their members stay busy working to make this a better place to live, to support and work on projects that put into practice our Rotary motto of “Service Above Self.”

To give you an idea, here’s a look at what my club – the Rotary Club of Farragut and our 90 members – are doing in the next four weeks.

  • Oct. 13:  Free Flu Shot Saturday, 7 a.m., Farragut High School
  • Oct. 27:  Habitat for Humanity Build Day
  • Nov. 9:  18th annual Wine Tasting & Hors d’ouvres, 6 p.m., SouthEast Bank in Farragut’s Renaissance Center.

Free Flu Shot Saturday was started by Farragut Rotary in 1992 under the direction of Dr. Charlie Barnett (his brother Dan is a club member today and past president).  Mark Bialik coordinates this event for the club. We will have approximately 30 members working on Saturday at Farragut High School, starting at 7 a.m., handling the paperwork and administrative details and helping people who need “drive-by” flu shots and with parking. This event is truly a labor of love.

Two weeks later, our club will work with other Rotarians on the Habitat for Humanity build on Saturday, Oct. 27. We are partners with Knoxville’s five other Rotary clubs and Denark Construction. Farragut will have around 10 to 15 volunteers that day to help with breakfast, registration and lunch. The home we will help build is at 3608 Lansing Avenue.

And while all of this is going on, other members are working with Hardin Valley Academy to get its first-ever Interact Club off the ground. Interact is for students ages of 12-18, and Farragut Rotary will sponsor this club, help secure its charter, mentor the students and be available for programs during the school year.

There’s more … we’re also working with Drema Bowers at Pellissippi State Community College to restart the college’s Rotaract Club. A few of our members will work with Drema as she is recruiting members and planning for a big January 2019 kickoff of the club.

Last week, the club welcomed our 2018-19 Rotary Youth Exchange student from Dresden, Germany. She attends Webb School, and members of our Youth Service Committee help support her throughout the year.

This summer, a team from the club worked to clean up a portion of Turkey Creek behind Costco. Ridgedale School is our Partner In Education school, and several members worked at the Ridgedale’s Back-to-School celebration. We have also been selling coupon books for the school.

The club also supports and donates money to a number of community non-profits and also awards scholarships to high school and college-age students. That takes time, and it takes money. On Friday, Nov. 9, one of our major fundraisers will be the 18th annual Wine Tasting and Hors d’ouvres, at 6 p.m. at SouthEast Bank in Farragut’s Renaissance Center. That’s how we fund these projects and scholarships.

It takes time. It takes Rotarians working and planning, and it takes commitment from all Rotarians to put “Service Above Self.” It happens in Farragut, in North Knoxville, in and around Bearden and all over our – or your – community.

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