Greene Countrie Towne Festival returns in July 2021
The Greene Countrie Towne Festival is returning to Greenfield on the third weekend of July, the Greenfield Rotary Club announced. The festival will return on July 16-18, again featuring free entertainment and many activities for people to enjoy after more than a year of quarantines and reduced activity because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
For more details visit the FESTIVAL PAGE on this website or click on the festival buttons which link to the Greene Countrie Towne Festival Facebook page.
Welcome to Rotary!
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 Greene Countrie Towne 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, 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.
Club Armor Teen Nightclub launched by Rotary 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/
Alyson Murphy wins local Four-Way Test speech contest at McClain High School
Alyson Murphy, a junior at McClain High School, won the Rotary Four Way Test speech contest April 20 at MHS and received a $200 check from Greenfield Rotary Club President Ron Coffey. Also pictured are Rotarians Steve Hunter, Andrew Surritt and Quincey Gray, who is also Greenfield superintendent of schools.
Alyson is scheduled to present her winning speech to the local Rotary club and plans to participate in the Rotary District 6670 speech contest.
49th annual Ernie Blankenship Memorial Radio-Telethon scheduled Wednesday, June 23 to benefit Society for Children and Adults
The 49th annual Ernie Blankenship Memorial Radio-Telethon sponsored by the Hillsboro and Greenfield Rotary Clubs has been scheduled for Wednesday, June 23 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The normal date would have been March 24 but with ongoing restrictions recommended for public gatherings and the continued risk of spreading of the virus, the decision to delay the event until June was made in the belief that the number of vaccinations will be much greater and hopefully the risk of spreading it will be greatly reduced. The event will take place at the Hillsboro Orpheum from 7-9 p.m. This year’s host will be Southern Hills Community Bank and its employees. Planning for the event is under way, and it’s hoped the event will be in person with social distancing. The telethon will also be broadcast live from the Hillsboro Orpheum on the Spectrum Community Access TV Channel, WSRW Radio 1590 AM and 101.5 FM and WVNU Radio 97.5FM. It will also be broadcast on the Society’s Facebook page and its new website, www.hicoso.org. The radio-telethon is for the benefit of the Highland County Society for Children & Adults which provides financial assistance for medical expenses, equipment, transportation, and related items for residents of Highland County. Despite all of the adversity caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 radio-telethon raised a total of almost $100,000. The total raised over the past 48 years is $3.86 million. The Rotary Clubs ask that all persons, groups and businesses that are planning to donate mark the date at time on their calendars. They anticipate that the event will be fully in person and that everyone can join Rotarians and others in celebrating the community’s support of this unique Highland County charitable organization.
Community leaders with Rotary connections have passed away in 2021
Several local Rotarians and former Rotarians have passed away in 2021, saddening those who knew them and prompting warm thoughts of their contributions to the greater Greenfield community. Club President Ron Coffey encouraged Rotarians to keep the families of these fine people in their thoughts and prayers:
David D. Moon, who passed away on March 24, was a former Greenfield Rotarian and Jaycee, and a community leader. In the 1970s or '80s, as the local Jaycee chapter was about to fold, David saw to it that the ownership of the former armory property was transferred to the Greenfield Rotary Club. He also helped run Greenfield Printing & Publishing for about 30 years, providing many jobs for the people of Greenfield and area. His funeral took place on March 30.
Dr. Ronald E. Vaughan, former superintendent of schools, also died on March 29. Under his leadership, people like coach Rick Van Matre, band director Mark Robertson and musician/director Dale Knauer were brought to the Greenfield Schools. As a result, the community enjoyed many athletic victories and musical performances by the McClain Marching Band, the McClain Show Choir as well as excellent stage and musical productions. The Murray-Fettro Funeral Home is serving the family, and a memorial service will take place at a later date. Charlotte Phillips, longtime Rotary member and pianist, passed away Feb. 11. She shared her musical gifts by serving as organist at the First United Methodist Church for more than four decades, and Charlotte participated in countless school, church and community musical productions. Generations of McClain High School students learned to sing with Charlotte as their accompanist. Her late husband, Ralph W. Phillips, also was a Rotarian and community leader, and the former armory property was renamed the Ralph W. Phillips Community Recreation & Civic Center in his honor.
"Rotarians are difference makers, and we salute these individuals for all they have done for our community as Rotarians and as individuals," Coffey said. "As the Greenfield Rotary Club approaches its 100th birthday in 2022, we hope to raise up a new generation of Rotarians to do more good works and be known as difference makers."
Rotary Club hopeful of having
Greene Countrie Towne Festival in July 2021
With more and more people being immunized against COVID-19, and following consultation with the Highland County Health Department and local physicians, the Greenfield Rotary Club is hopeful that the 2021 Greene Countrie Towne Festival will take place on the third weekend of July. According to Greenfield Rotary President Ron Coffey, the 2021 festival dates would be July 16-17-18. “With the rollout of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, and the prospect of other vaccines soon being approved, we hope that by July many activities will have returned to normal,” Coffey said. “We understand that mutations of the virus or other circumstances could still alter our plans, but the club remains cautiously optimistic that we can have our Greene Countrie Towne Festival in 2021.” The 2020 festival was cancelled because of concerns about the virus, which affected nearly every aspect of what was once considered “normal” living. While planning for 2021 has not yet begun in earnest, the Greene Countrie Towne Festival is known for its free entertainment and various attractions including rides for kids of all ages, a packed midway full of food, games and vendors, antique cars and tractors, Rotary’s charity auction, a queen pageant, parade and more. The entertainment is always free and the festival provides a chance for people to catch up with their friends and just enjoy being together. “After what we have been through with COVID-19, just being out and about may be the most attractive part of the festival,” Coffey said. “We will stay in touch with the Highland County Health Department for guidance and strongly encourage everyone to comply with whatever health standards are in place at the time of the festival,” the Rotary president added. While we don’t have an official theme yet, one worth considering might be ‘Vaccination Celebration.’”
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 their 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, 2020 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.