The Rotary Club of Greenfield, Ohio meets at 11:30 a.m. each Thursday at the Catch 22 Sports Pub located at 250 Jefferson St., Greenfield, Ohio. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, a Zoom option is also available to members and guests.
PAUL HARRIS FELLOWS The following have been named Paul Harris Fellows to honor their contributions to Rotary. For each Paul Harris Fellowship, the Greenfield Rotary Club donated $1,000 to the Rotary International Foundation in that person's name. The money is used for humanitarian projects around the world. George M. Waddell, 1985 Harry V. Turner, 1986 Wilson L. Moon, 1986 Charles O. Shonkwiler, 1987 Willard Anderson, 1987 Allen M. Johnson (in memory), 1988 Thomas W. Doyle, 1988 B.R. Duckworth, 1991 Ralph W. Phillips, 1991 Patrick L. Hays, 1992 Sam Daugherty, 1993 Floyd Bartley, 1994 Donald K. Anderson, 1995 Bill Buck, 1996 Steve Hunter, 1997 Wilbur Seilkop, 1998 Dan Crusie, 1998 Ron Coffey, 1999 Steve Pearce, 2000 Jim Weller, 2001 Judy Spargur, 2002 Dean Gardner, 2002 Jack C. Weinrich, 2003 Clifford Wisecup, 2005 Larry Hayes, 2006 Dr. Rick Mizer, 2006 Peter Quance, 2007 Jackie Gardner, 2007 Barb Barton, 2008 Scott Lovett, 2008 Chuck Miller, 2009 Mike Penn, 2009 Sandra McNeil, 2010 Terry Fouch, 2011 Blain Bergstrom, 2012 David "Boonie" Brizius, 2013 Charlotte Phillips, 2013 Bernard Hester, 2014 Cleve Bartley, 2014 Wes Surritt, 2015 Angela Shepherd, 2016 Virginia Purdy, 2017 Beverly Giffin, 2017 Andrew Surritt III, 2018 Heath Fettro, 2019
OUR CLUB The Greenfield Rotary Club sponsors the annual Wheels of Progress Festival during the third weekend of July each year, and is involved in many community projects. On a national and international level, the club participates in many projects for the benefit of others.
PROJECTS "One profits most who serves best." So says the Rotary motto, and our club has fun serving the community. The Rotary Club of Greenfield owns and operates the Ralph W. Phillips Recreation and Civic Center, home of the Greenfield Head Start Program and the scene of many community activities, including basketball games, Christmas parties, dances and other events. Proceeds from building rentals help pay the operating expenses, but the club supplements its income through spaghetti dinners, the Greene Countrie Towne Festival and other activities to keep this valuable community center operating. Each spring the Greenfield club joins forces with the Hillsboro Rotary Club to raise funds for the Highland County Society for Children and Adults. This organization offers assistance to Highland Countians in need without the red tape often associated with charitable organizations. The annual radio-telethon in March has raised more than a million dollars since its inception in the early 1970s. Funds are expended for wheelchairs, hearing aids, orthopedic devices, transportation vouchers and a host of other uses. Highland County is proud of this amazingly successful program of people helping people. As fundraisers, Greenfield Rotary sponsors a pair of spaghetti dinners each year -- one during football season and one during the basketball campaign. The club also sponsors the annual Greene Countrie Towne Festival during the third weekend of July. Funds from these and other projects are returned to the community through the above activities and other projects and donations. If you would like to know more about Rotary, contact any member of the Greenfield club.
Greenfield Rotary Club has launched a teen nightclub at the Ralph W. Phillips Civic and Recreation Center, 156 Jefferson St., Greenfield, Ohio. The inaugural event took place Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018 and several events since then have been well attended by youth of the community. Greenfield Rotary President Andrew Surritt said this project came about following a discussion of club members who wish to provide a safe and wholesome environment for local teens. The result is Club Armor, which according to its Facebook page, “creates the best and safest dance music atmosphere for youth.” For more information about Club Armor, including dress code and safety rules, visit the Facebook page at the link below: https://www.facebook.com/ClubArmor/
Superintendents Tim Dettwiller of Fairfield Local Schools and Quincey Gray of Greenfield Exempted Village Schools met with Greenfield Rotarians on Nov. 19, 2020 to discuss the Highland County Business Advisory Council.
Superintendents Dettwiller, Gray tell Rotarians about Hi-Co Business Advisory Council
Local Superintendents Tim Dettwiller (Fairlfield Local Schools) and Quincey Gray (Greenfield Exempted Village Schools) presented an interesting program to Greenfield Rotarians on Nov. 19 about their mutual efforts to help local students make connections that can help them choose fulfilling careers in line with their interests and abilities. Dettwiller and Gray are active members in the Southern Ohio Education Service Center (ESC), which helps test students to determine their skills and partners with area employers to allow students to job shadow or intern with those businesses and learn first-hand how companies operate. The educators explained that school systems are moving away from the old DE/OWE model where students worked part-time for a single employer to a model that allows more exploration of the work environment. A key component of the ESC program is involvement of local employers willing to take on a student for a time in the hope of a long-term payoff. Students are assessed as to their interests, future plans, and abilities in an effort to create hope for a fulfilling career in business or industry where opportunities exist, resulting in “win-win” relationships for employers and employees. Students involved in the program can be paid for their internship time as long as they meet certain requirements. Employers benefit because the state’s Jobs Ohio program will pay the interns for their time, and those internships could bear fruit in the form of long-term commitments which would help both the interns and the companies bringing them on as employees. The program extends beyond Highland County, with the following school districts currently participating: Adams County Ohio Valley LSD, Bright Local, Fairfield Local, Greenfield EVSD, Lynchburg-Clay LSD as well as the Southern Ohio Educational Service Center. Superintendents Dettwiller and Gray encourage local business representatives to contact them if they would like to know more about the Highland County Business Advisory Council.
Rotary appreciation dinner cancelled due to coronavirus concerns The Greenfield Rotary Club has decided to cancel its appreciation dinner in the interest of safety, citing the rising number of COVID-19 cases in Highland County and surrounding areas. Originally the event had been scheduled for Nov. 12 as a way of saying thanks to print buyers, artists, organizations and individuals who have contributed to the success of the club during the past year. “Under the circumstances, and after consulting with medical professionals about the current surge in cases, we felt cancelling the event was the prudent thing to do,” said Greenfield Rotary President Ron Coffey. The club had a very successful auction in September utilizing technology and social distancing to raise operating funds for the coming year. At the time, coronavirus numbers were low in Highland County and the appreciation dinner was scheduled soon afterwards. “Despite the cancellation of the dinner, we are deeply grateful to artist Tammy Wells for creating the limited edition prints that were sold at the auction, and to each and every print buyer,” the club president said. “Many others help the club in various ways throughout the year, sponsoring events at the Greene Countrie Towne Festival and lending a helping hand when needed,” Coffey said. “We want to express our thanks in a tangible way and hope that we can resume our traditional appreciation dinner in the coming year.” Earlier this year, concerns about the virus resulted in the cancellation of the Rotary’s Greene Countrie Towne Festival and disrupted the operations of many organizations and businesses. “Despite the pandemic, the Greenfield Rotary Club remains active in the life of the Greenfield community, as well as participating in Rotary International projects that benefit people around the world,” Coffey said.
McClain High School Principal Matt Shelton (standing) meets with Greenfield Rotarians on Oct. 1.
MHS Principal Shelton is Rotary guest speaker
McClain High School Principal Matt Shelton was the guest speaker at Greenfield Rotary’s Oct. 1 meeting and discussed school operations during the coronavirus pandemic. Fortunately the year has gotten off to a smooth start both academically and athletically. Mr. Shelton answered questions from Rotarians and is himself an MHS graduate. Rotary thanks Greenfield Superintendent of Schools Quincey Gray for arranging the program.
C.R. Patterson & Sons made automotive history in Greenfield
By Ron Coffey The first African-American automaker created cars, trucks and buses in Greenfield, Ohio and the family has a special place in automotive history, Greenfield Rotarians were told at a program Sept. 24, 2020. Tom Smith, owner of Smitty’s Auto Sales and a longtime collector of information about C.R. Patterson & Sons, shared some memorabilia about the trailblazing automakers and told their story to Rotarians. It started with the arrival of Charles R. Patterson, the son of former Virginia slaves, who came to Greenfield in the mid-1800s and put down roots in the “Greene Countrie Towne.” Patterson was a skilled blacksmith and soon became a successful businessman using his talents to create carriages that were drawn by horses. One of Patterson’s sons, Frederick Douglass Patterson, was born in 1871 and became the first African-American graduate of the Greenfield schools and one of the first of his race to attend Ohio State University, where he played on the football team. Patterson distinguished himself academically and as a leader, being elected president of his class in 1893. Fred also was involved in the Horton Literary Society and the student newspaper, the Lantern. When C.R. Patterson died in 1910, Fred assumed leadership of the company and dreamed of building motorcars to adapt to changing times. Black and white employees worked together to make the dream come true. Around 1915 or 1916, the first Patterson-Greenfield cars appeared, with an asking price of about $850. The Patterson cars earned an excellent reputation for their craftsmanship and reliability and compared favorably to the Ford Model T, but at the same time various world events worked against small, independent automakers. In Detroit, Henry Ford’s concept of mass production had already been launched, and the Ford Motor Company had produced more than a million Model T automobiles. Ford, General Motors and Chrysler had already become the “Big Three.” The winds of war were blowing, and on April 6, 1917 the United States declared war on Germany. World War I and the Spanish Flu pandemic profoundly affected life and business in America and around the world. Still, the Pattersons were resilient. After producing approximately 150 Patterson-Greenfield automobiles and realizing that his company was unable to compete with mass production, Fred Patterson charted a new course for C.R. Patterson & Sons. In 1920 he changed the name of the company to Greenfield Bus Body Company, focusing on smaller production and meeting the needs of customers. The company began making buses for school districts, hearses, trucks and other specialized vehicles. The charismatic and energetic Fred Patterson attended school board meetings and met with other customers, convincing them of the quality and reliability of the vehicles made in Greenfield. As a result of these business relationships Patterson school buses were sold locally, in cities such as Cincinnati and Detroit, and shipped to customers as far away as Haiti. The Patterson firm established a successful niche for itself until the advent of the stock market crash of 1929 and the coming of the Great Depression. As the Depression deepened, Fred Patterson continued to lead the company while making sales calls at school districts in the region. According to news reports, Fred suffered a stroke while addressing the Board of Education in Powell, Ohio on January 20, 1932. He passed away four days later. In the wake of Fred Patterson’s death, and unable to secure necessary capital, the company left Greenfield in 1939 and moved to Gallia County in a last-ditch effort to continue. Unfortunately, Postell Patterson, who succeeded his father Fred as head of the company, soon made the difficult decision to cease operations. While some Patterson carriages remain to this day in excellent condition, thus far no one has been able to find a Patterson motor vehicle stored in some forgotten barn or junkyard. Perhaps this is because at the time the Patterson vehicles were made, parts were often re-used or repurposed. The Pattersons often placed their bus bodies on a chassis from Ford or GM, and some of the Greenfield components were made of wood or other perishable materials. Some years ago there was excitement when it was reported that a Patterson car had been found. Upon further examination, it was determined that another car called a Paterson (with one “t”) was manufactured in Michigan by a different company than the Greenfield firm. Greenfield’s Tom Smith has a Patterson carriage, the roof of a school bus (made of wood) and some other components, but alas, no Patterson motor vehicle has been found as of this writing. Tom has even driven around Gallia County in search of Pattersons there. What remains is still impressive. Photos of Patterson cars and buses, advertisements of the products, and stories from former employees validate the legacy of the Patterson family. Several books about the Pattersons have been written, and folks in Greenfield would love to have a museum telling the story of this family. It’s a compelling story about building a better life by meeting a need. The story of the Pattersons and the cars, trucks and buses they built offers a unique perspective on entrepreneurship, race relations and opportunities for dreamers in a small Appalachian community. The Pattersons were highly respected in Greenfield and area, and as an African-American family they have a unique place in the history of automotive manufacturing.
Greenfield Rotary 2020 auction raises approximately $18,000!
The Greenfield Rotary auction on Sept. 17, 2020 brought in approximately $18,000 thanks to the generosity of many people. In a normal year, the auction would take place during the Greene Countrie Towne Festival, but as 2020 was far from a normal year, the club made its auction a stand-alone event using online bidding via Facebook Live as well as in-person bidding at the Ralph W. Phillips Recreation and Civic Center. Ten limited edition prints created by artist Tammy Wells generated $16,100 in sales as local businesses and individuals stepped up to support Rotary. The prints depict a downtown scene in Greenfield approximately a century ago. Twenty-two additional items were sold via silent auction to conclude the event. Bidding on the prints and silent auction items took place via Facebook Live, phone calls and texts as well as in-person voting. Club President Ron Coffey issued the following statement at the conclusion of the event: "A big thanks to artist Tammy Wells, who created the prints that were sold, and to the buyers of the prints and the other auction items. Gary Binegar handled the auctioneer duties and did a great job as usual. Thanks to the businesses and individuals who donated items for the auction and to all of the bidders. Thanks to the Rotarians who helped, and the McClain Cadet Corps members who helped prepare for the auction. This was our first auction via Facebook Live, and we could not have done it without the technical savvy of Andrew Surritt. All proceeds will be used to benefit the community we serve or to maintain the Rec Center that is owned by Rotary."
NOTE TO BUYERS: If you have not paid for or picked up your items yet, this can be done by contacting Andrew Surritt at 937-981-0321. Most of the items that have not been picked up already are being stored at Wooden It Be Nice, 200 Industrial Park Dr., Greenfield, OH 45123. If you have questions or want to arrange for pickup and/or payment, contact Andrew Surritt at Wooden It Be Nice, 937-981-0321.
The club is grateful to the following buyers of the limited edition Tammy Wells prints: Print #1: Wooden It Be Nice Print #2: Southern Hills Bank Print #3: Greenfield Research Print #4: W&W Dry Cleaning, Laundry & Linen Print #5: Community Savings Bank Print #6: Dr. Richard Mizer and Cristy Hill Print #7: Buckeye Ambulance Print #8: Adena Greenfield Medical Center Print #9: Sitterle Insurance Print #10: Corner Pharmacy & Murray-Fettro Funeral Home
District Governor Greg Birkemeyer visits Greenfield Rotary Club Sept. 3
Rotary District 6670 Governor Greg Birkemeyer paid an official visit to the Greenfield Rotary Club on Sept. 3, congratulating the club on its activities for the benefit of the community and sharing ideas for future success. DG Greg acknowledge that 2020 has been an unusual year with the COVID-19 pandemic, and said some clubs in the district have not had a meeting since the March shutdown. Most, however, have at least utilized technology such as Zoom to conduct online meetings, or had hybrid meetings such as Greenfield does with both in-person and Zoom meetings. There are 47 Rotary clubs in District 6670, and DG Birkemeyer has a big job just getting to each club during his tenure as District Governor. “Rotary Brings Opportunities” is the theme for the 2020-21 Rotary year, and the District Governor pointed out some activities that are not only opportunities for service, but opportunities to enhance the health and well being of many people around the globe. Internationally, Rotary is continuing its efforts to eradicate polio from the face of the earth. Though this project has continued for more than 30 years, the polio virus stubbornly hangs on in a few countries, with only about 100 cases documented per year. DG Birkemeyer urged Rotarians to donate to the Rotary Foundation, where matching money from the Gates Foundation is available to finally end this terrible disease. The District Governor congratulated the Greenfield club on its donations of dictionaries and thesauruses to local elementary students, its efforts to assist Highland County Community Action in having the Head Start program in Greenfield, the joint project of the Greenfield and Hillsboro Rotary clubs to raise money for the Highland County Society for Children and Adults, and for sponsoring the Greene Countrie Towne Festival. Although the festival was cancelled in 2020 because of the virus, DG Birkemeyer wished the club success in its Sept. 17 auction that prior to this year was always part of the festival. He encouraged members and provided ideas for attracting new members and retaining them in Rotary, and asked them, “Are you greatly interested in Rotary? And if not, why not?” The District Governor is a member of the Dayton Rotary Club. He shared some of his own experiences as a Rotarian and encouraged members to consider applying for leadership positions within the district. Also present for the program was Assistant District Governor Beth Huber of the Wilmington club. Local club President Ron Coffey welcomed DG Birkemeyer and ADG Huber and invited them to visit the club anytime they would like.
Club mourns loss of Rotarian Chuck Miller
On July 20, the Greenfield Rotary Club lost another exemplary member when Charles J. “Chuck” Miller passed away at Christ Hospital in Cincinnati.
Chuck was a two-time president of the Greenfield Rotary Club, was honored as a Paul Harris Fellow in 2009, and always played a big part in the Greene Countrie Towne Festival. “Nearly every year he was a fixture at the Rotary auction, and he was often seen hanging around at the Rotary information booth near the stage area,” recalled current President Ron Coffey. “Chuck loved working on the telethons for the Highland County Society for Children and Adults, and was usually involved in the Needy Kids radiothons we used to have. As I recall, he was also involved in the distribution of dictionaries to local students.”
Chuck Miller was an advertising executive for the Times Gazette and County Shopper. He is survived by his wife, Carol, and a daughter, Chrissy Miller Warren.
Coffey urged Rotarians and friends of Chuck to keep the family in your prayers during this difficult time. The Murray-Fettro Funeral Home is serving Chuck’s family. His obituary can be found at the link below:
On June 24, the Hillsboro and Greenfield Rotary Clubs joined forces for the 48th Annual Ernie Blankenship Memorial Radio-Telethon as a combined virtual event only, and Highland Countians generously pledged more than $93,000 for the Highland County Society for Children and Adults. For more information, visit the HCSCA PAGE.
Rotarians return to Catch 22 for
first in-person meeting since March 12
The Greenfield Rotary Club met at Catch 22 Sports Pub on June 4, marking the first in-person meeting since March 12 when the coronavirus pandemic basically shut down our nation and most of the world. Attendance was voluntary, with members having the option of taking part through Zoom technology.
Eight local Rotarians attended in person, with two more participating via Zoom. Guests included Hillsboro Rotarian Dan Pearce and District Governor Elect Carol Hughes (via Zoom). Coffey welcomed everyone and expressed appreciation for the pizza provided by Catch 22. He mentioned upcoming events of interest to Rotarians, including the following:
- Highland County Society for Children and Adults radio-telethon Wednesday, June 24, from 7-9 p.m. at the Hillsboro Orpheum. This will be a virtual fundraiser, and Coffey encouraged donors to record a brief video that can be shown during the telethon.
- Hillsboro Rotary Club is sponsoring a golf outing on Tuesday, July 14 at the Hillsboro Elks golf course. This will be a nine-hole challenge for two-person teams. The $80 per team entry fee includes lunch and golf. More information can be found by clicking HERE.
- Greenfield Rotary’s auction, which usually takes place during the cancelled Greene Countrie Towne Festival, will instead be a virtual auction featuring a limited edition print of a historic Greenfield scene. Donated items also will be available. The date and further details will be announced soon.
Local Rotarian and Greenfield Village Council member Eric Borsini also gave an informative update about work being done on the Greenfield city building. The Greenfield Rotary Club meets each Thursday at 11:30 a.m. at the Catch 22 Sports Pub. In-person attendance is voluntary and members have the option of using Zoom technology to participate in the meeting.
An email containing the Zoom meeting information will be sent to local Rotarians prior to the meeting.
Greenfield Rotary Club cancels
2020 Greene Countrie Towne Festival
Greenfield’s 2020 Greene Countrie Towne Festival has been cancelled by the Greenfield Rotary Club due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. Only one element of the festival is still in play, and that is the popular Rotary auction, which will be conducted online. “We hate to cancel the festival, but under the circumstances it seems the prudent thing to do,” said Greenfield Rotary President Ron Coffey. The festival has been positioned on the third weekend of July for years, and the 2020 dates would have been July 17-19. “We don’t want to put anyone’s health at risk, and hope that the many people who support the festival each year will understand,” the club president said. The Greenfield Rotary Club has been having online meetings since the pandemic brought so many “normal” activities to a halt. The status of the festival has been a topic of discussion for several weeks, and at the Thursday, May 21 meeting members voted to cancel the festival for this year. “While we were meeting today, we got word that the Ohio State Fair had been cancelled. As our festival on the third weekend of July would have been a few weeks earlier than the state fair, we felt we needed to make a decision,” Coffey said. “Vendors, other participating organizations and the public need to know what the festival’s status is so that they can firm up their own plans.” Earlier in May, Rotary International recommended that all Rotary clubs refrain from in-person meetings and events through the remainder of the calendar year. Although each Rotary club is an autonomous organization, these guidelines sparked considerable discussion. Guidelines from the Rotary district are more liberal, but still recommend no physical meetings through the month of June. “We are hopeful that as Ohio and other states continue to reopen there will not be a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases,” Coffey said. “We all want to get together with friends, take vacations and go to festivals, concerts and sporting events. Our hope is that these things will be feasible soon, and we look forward to resuming the Greene Countrie Towne Festival in 2021.” Virtual auction is being planned
“We have shared some ideas with artist Tammy Wells about creating limited edition prints to be auctioned at or near the date of the Greene Countrie Towne Festival this year,” Coffey said. “These prints have been extremely popular over the years and we appreciate the support of the buyers who support the auction each year. We also plan to sell other items similar to those sold at past auctions and would be happy to accept donations of new items.” Details of how the auction will proceed are still being developed and will be announced in advance of the event. The festival auction has been the Greenfield Rotary Club’s biggest fundraiser for many years and is an important source of revenue for maintenance of the Ralph W. Phillips Recreation and Civic Center and other Rotary projects in the community. The local Rotary club began sponsoring the festival in 1987 when the previous sponsor of the Greene Countrie Towne Festival was beset with financial problems. “Ironically, I was the incoming president of the Rotary club in 1987 and we put together a smaller, one-day festival to help fill the void,” Coffey said. “I never expected we would need to cancel the festival, but this just shows how unpredictable life can be.” Since those early years, the Rotary-sponsored festival grew and took on the name Wheels of Progress Festival for several decades before the name was officially changed back to the Greene Countrie Towne Festival in 2011. General Duncan McArthur, who founded Greenfield in 1799, described the community as a “greene countrie towne.” The Greenfield Rotary Club meets each Thursday at noon using Zoom technology. When feasible, club members will return to in-person luncheon meetings at the Catch 22 Sports Pub in Greenfield.
Condolences expressed to club secretary
The Greenfield Rotary Club received sad news that Scott Giffin, 45, the son of our club Secretary Beverly Giffin, passed away on May 19 following an extended illness. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family. Scott's obituary and funeral information can be found at the link below: https://www.ebrightfuneralhome.com/obituary/Scott-Giffin
Rotary meetings continue via Zoom as club hopes for progress on coronavirus pandemic
Like many organizations, Greenfield Rotary Club stopped having physical meetings around mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the club is adapting to social distancing mandates by conducting its weekly meetings using Zoom technology. The first such meeting took place April 30 and meetings will continue at noon each Thursday until further notice. “As club members have become familiar with Zoom and other technology that helps us reconnect despite the pandemic, the club has purchased a Zoom plan that makes virtual meetings fairly easy to conduct,” Greenfield Rotary President Ron Coffey announced. One of the issues being watched is the status of the Greene Countrie Towne Festival, scheduled July 17-19 and one of the local Rotary club’s biggest projects. Thus far the club is taking a wait and see attitude after receiving recommendations from Rotary International suggesting that clubs refrain from having physical meetings and events for the remainder of 2020. The Greenfield Rotary Club does plan on having its annual auction event whether there is a Greene Countrie Towne Festival or not, Coffey said. “Plans have been discussed for the auction as a virtual event – perhaps taking place via Facebook Live – with the same quality items offered as in the past,” Coffey said. The club typically commissions limited edition prints commemorating some aspect of Greenfield’s history, and the auction generates a lot of money for the club’s operation and projects that benefit the community. Donated items from local businesses, organizations and individuals also add to the interest in the annual auction, the club president said. Coffey asks club members to submit their current email addresses to him so that he can send them the Zoom meeting information for each upcoming meeting. Club would can email their contact information through the club website (www.greenfieldrotary.org), message them to Ron Coffey via Facebook, or leave a message on his home phone (937-981-7328). Currently many events of interest to Rotarians have been postponed or cancelled due to the coronavirus. For example, the Rotary District 6670 Conference scheduled April 23-25 in Wilmington was cancelled out of safety concerns. A major fundraiser for the Highland County Society for Children and Adults, originally planned for March 25, was put on hold for 60 days in the hope that it can take place in late May. The Rotary clubs of Greenfield and Hillsboro have cooperated in this project for the past 47 years and are hopeful that the radio-telethon will be able to take place, even if in an altered format. “Please join us at 12:00 p.m. each Thursday as we keep Rotarians connected and informed,” Coffey urged. “Rotarians have a proud history of helping this community in times of need, and in order to help during the pandemic, communication and sharing of ideas is vitally important.”
Longtime Rotarian Harry Turner passes
The Greenfield Rotary Club was saddened on March 24 to learn that longtime Rotarian and educator Harry V. Turner had passed away.
Mr. Turner was a native of Marshall in Highland County and enjoyed a lengthy career in education at McClain High School where he served as principal of that renowned high school. He was the commencement speaker at the 2004 graduation ceremonies at McClain. Following retirement he served as the first executive director of the Highland County Chamber of Commerce. He also was involved in helping the Greenfield Bicentennial Committee commemorate the community’s 200th anniversary in 1999.
A longtime Rotarian, Mr. Turner was honored as a Paul Harris Fellow in 1986 for his service to the club and community. According to the club’s records, he joined the club in 1972 and was active in the club’s projects and programs. In more recent years, due to failing health, Mr. Turner was unable to attend the club meetings as often as he would have liked, but when he came he always enjoyed the fellowship.
“Our condolences to Mr. Turner’s wife Betty and all of the family,” said Rotary President Ron Coffey. “Our community has lost a man who championed education and always worked for the greater good. Mr. Turner embodied the ideals of Rotary and put service above self. He will be greatly missed.” Services for Mr. Turner will be held at the convenience of the family, with a memorial service to take place at a later date.
Bryn Stepp, southeast region representative for Lt. Gov. John Husted, visited the Greenfield Rotary Club on February 6, 2020 and talked about state initiatives that can benefit rural communities.
Lt. Gov’s rep speaks to Greenfield Rotarians
Bryn Stepp, a southeast region liaison with Lt. Gov. Jon Husted’s office, visited Greenfield Rotarians on Thursday, Feb. 6 and spoke about what the office does and some initiatives the office is working on. One of those initiatives is InnovateOhio. Included in the initiative is the state’s first Broadband Strategy, the absence of which has negatively affected Ohio’s eligibility for some federal grants in previous years, Stepp said. For more information about the initiative, go to innovateohio.gov. Stepp also talked about funding opportunities for employers through TechCred. This is a grant that allows employers to upskill their current workforce, as well as train new hires. More information is available at techcred.ohio.gov. For information on all the initiatives and programs through the Lt. governor’s office, go to www.ohio.gov, then click on the “our state government” tab, then the “executive” tab, and finally, click on the “Lt. Governor Jon Husted” tab. Greenfield Exempted Village School District Superintendent Quincey Gray shared with Rotarians about the Imagination Kingdom renovation and the related upcoming community meeting on Feb. 13 at 6:30 in the McClain Cafetorium. “The district is excited about the project and is appreciative of the local organizations and volunteers who will be helping on March 6-7-8,” she said. Addressing an issue that has unfolded recently, Gray also mentioned that numerous social media posts regarding a decision made about musical auditions are inaccurate. She said that she is willing to answer questions in order to provide clarification. The school district released a statement regarding the matter on Thursday. It was posted on the McClain High School Facebook page and sent to local media. The Greenfield Rotary Club meets each Thursday at noon at Catch 22 Sports Pub, 250 Jefferson St. For more information about the club, go to greenfieldrotary.org.
Mrs. Gretchen Foltz, media specialist (standing), attended the Rotary meeting Jan. 9 to talk about the MHSmart program that was designed to help meet the needs of high school students.
MHSmart helps meet needs of McClain High School students
Gretchen Foltz, media specialist at McClain High School, visited the Greenfield Rotary Club on Jan. 9 to talk about a new program that benefits local students. MHSmart is a program that allows high school students to request a need — for food, clothing or hygiene products — and do it privately.
Foltz said high school students in need don’t get the help that younger students do, whether it be for lack of programs to help, or the teenagers not asking out of embarrassment. The MHSmart program was created to allow students to make a private request through a Google form on the school’s website. When the need is addressed, the student is notified and can pick up whatever they requested when it is most convenient for them.
For requests like coats and jeans and other clothing, Foltz has gone to the Greenfield Area Christian Center (GACC). But she said there aren’t so many clothes there for teenagers, though there are plenty for little kids and older people. Clothing donations, she said, can be made to GACC or the high school office.
Jeans, hoodies, bras, underwear, socks, towels, sheets, school supplies, hygiene products and funding needs are some of the requests the school has fielded.
Foltz said she and other staff are working on a way to handle the food needs and that having a pantry is a long-term goal of the program.
“We get together, we find the money somehow” to make it happen,” Foltz said. “We care about our kids.”
Anyone interested in making a monetary donation can do so at the high school office. Checks should be made payable to MHSmart. Donations of any type may be made to the high school office as well. If anyone has questions about how they can help, call Foltz at the high school office at 937-981-7731.
Chief Oyer honored with Service Above Self Award Greenfield Police Chief Jeremiah Oyer (right) was honored by the Greenfield Rotary Club on Dec. 12 when Club President Ron Coffey presented Oyer with a Service Above Self Award for his dedicated service to the community of Greenfield.
Chief Oyer has been with the local police department since 2001, beginning as a patrolman, being promoted to sergeant in 2007 and being appointed as chief in 2016. He has also worked with two K-9 units, Bono and Rony, been active in the SRT Team, served as a range instructor, been to Sniper School, taught at the Southern State Community College Police Academy, and received several annual “Drug Buster” awards in Highland County.
Rotary’s motto is “Service Above Self,” and the local Rotary club likes to acknowledge those same characteristics in others who work hard on behalf of their community.
Greenfield Police Chief Jeremiah Oyer (right) receives Service Above Self Award from Rotary President Ron Coffey at the club's Dec. 12 meeting.
Pat Hays (left) presents Paul Harris Fellowship Award to Greenfield Rotarian Heath Fettro.
Fettro honored by Rotary club as Paul Harris Fellow
Heath Fettro was honored at the Greenfield Rotary Club’s newest Paul Harris Fellow in November as Rotarian Patrick Hays presented him with a plaque and pin in recognition of Fettro’s outstanding dedication to the principles of Rotary. The club made a $1,000 donation to Rotary International in Fettro’s name. The Paul Harris Fellowship is named after the founder of Rotary International, as Harris started the organization in 1905 in Chicago, IL and there are now more than 35,000 Rotary clubs worldwide.
Supporters honored at 2019 Appreciation Dinner; Paul Harris Fellowship and service awards announced
Buyers of limited-edition prints and other supporters of Greenfield Rotary Club were honored at the club’s annual Appreciation Dinner November 14, 2019 at the Washington Country Club.
President Ron Coffey welcomed members and guests to the annual event, which featured a delicious meal of prime rib or salmon. The club president expressed gratitude for the excellent community support shown by the print buyers and introduced a number of special guests, including District Governor-Elect Greg Birkemeyer and his wife Peg; Assistant District Governor Beth Huber; Bonnie Baldridge, who is involved with the Greene Countrie Towne Festival Queen Pageant, and Ken Friedman of the Greenfield Antique Car Club.
Unable to attend but receiving praise for their contributions to Rotary were District Governor Sigrid Solomon, reigning Greene Countrie Towne Festival Queen Emma Smith, artist Tammy Wells who has created a number of limited edition prints that the club sells at the festival each July, auctioneers Gary and Mandy Binegar, Matt and Ellen Binegar and Rod Halterman, and the Greenfield Antique Tractor Club.
Also recognized were the buyers of limited edition prints that have been a mainstay of the Greene Countrie Towne Festival for the past 27years, helping to raise money for the Rotary Club that is then put back into the Greenfield community. This year the buyers included Wooden It Be Nice, WW Dry Cleaners, Southern Hills Community Bank, Adena Greenfield Medical Center, Sitterle Insurance, Greenfield Research, Dr. Richard Mizer and Cristy Hill, Community Savings Bank, Wes Surritt, and Murray-Fettro Funeral Home.
Highlights of the evening was the announcement of a new Paul Harris Fellow and recipients of Service Above Self Awards. Pat Hays explained that the Paul Harris Fellowship is named in honor of Rotary’s founder, whowith three other businessmen launched the very first Rotary club in Chicago in 1905. The club sends $1,000 to Rotary International for each Paul Harris Fellowship it awards, and the money is used to help people around the world as part of the international organization’s outreach. For 2019, the Greenfield club submitted the name of Rotarian Heath Fettro as the newest recipient of the prestigious award. Hays mentioned some of the ways that Fettro has contributed to the success of the local club and embodied the ideals of Rotary. Due to his career responsibilities, Fettro was unable to attend the Awards Dinner but he will be given his plaque and pin at a later date.
It appears that the club has now sponsored 48 Paul Harris Fellows since it made George M. Waddell the club’s first recipient in 1985.
During the evening it was noted that the Greenfield Rotary Club was born in 1922 and is just three years away from celebrating its 100th anniversary.
Andrew Surritt III announced the names of two Service Above Self Award winners, so named for their selfless contributions to their community. MSgt. John Wilson, adviser of the McClain Cadet Corps, was honored for his work with young people in giving them a sense of direction, discipline and other tools for success. MSgt. Wilson started the Cadet Corps program at McClain High School during the 2017-18 school year and it has enjoyed significant growth. A second Service Above Self Award was announced for Greenfield Police Chief Jeremiah Oyer for his outstanding work in the community. Surritt said Chief Oyer was unable to attend but expressed thanks for his leadership of the police department and his willingness to work with other first responders to protect and serve.
Coffey also took time to recognize Andrew Surritt III for his strong leadership during two years as president of the club, and acknowledged that Andrew continues to coordinate the club’s major projects without seeking any attention for himself.
Wes Surritt served as Sergeant at Arms during the evening, fining numerous Rotarians for failing to wear neckties. Few Rotarians dare to wear ties to the dinner as in the past many ties have been snipped by scissors-wielding Sergeants, so it’s an easy way to raise money. And the money helps finance future Paul Harris Fellowships, so it’s for a good cause.
The evening concluded with a drawing for table arrangements.
In closing, President Coffey thanked everyone who attended and noted that, whether they are Rotarians or not, they deserve thanks for their efforts on behalf of the Greenfield community.
The club wishes to thank Angela Shepherd and Jackie Gardner for coordinating details for the festive dinner and program.
Supreme Court Justice Judi French speaks at Greenfield Rotary Club meeting October 10, 2019
Greenfield Rotarians were treated to an informative program by Ohio Supreme Court Justice Judith L. "Judi" French on October 10. Justice French, a native of the village of Sebring in Mahoning County, has dedicated her career to public service, serving as a lawyer for a state agency, an assistant attorney general, counsel to the Governor, and as a judge. She was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2013, elected to her first six-year term in 2014 and has visited all 88 Ohio counties. Justice French told Rotarians about growing up in a community roughly the size of Greenfield and her interest in the law that has led to an interesting career path, including arguing two cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. She outlined how the appeals process works, how she and her fellow justices deliberate matters that come before the Ohio Supreme Court, and how justices are selected to write the majority opinion in each case. Justice French is passionate about widening judicial access and works with the Ohio Access to Justice Foundation and legal-aid organizations around the state, advocating for changes and programs that will ensure access to justice for all Ohioans. Following her remarks, Justice French opened up the floor to questions and fielded a variety of queries from interested Rotarians. Good food and interesting programs are part of the Greenfield Rotary Club’s weekly routine. The club meets at 11:30 a.m. on Thurdays at the Catch 22 Sports Pub, 250 Jefferson St.