Over the past 12 months, it has been my privilege to be the President of the Mayfield Rotary Club. Honestly, could I have picked a better year to be president of a civic club? For sure, but that wasn’t in the cards. Like everyone else, 2020 and the first half of 2021 has been an experience like no other.
As a club that normally meets on Monday for lunch at Mayfield-Graves Country Club, we have been on a travelling road show of sorts. After taking about a month off, we started meeting at a local church multi-purpose building where we were able to socially distance and broadcast using Facebook Live. From there we had our weekly meeting at a local restaurant and rotated them on a quarterly basis before returning to MGCC in May. It was quite the journey, but we were able to continue to meet safely in-person while giving people a virtual option.
Even though it was an unconventional year, the Mayfield Rotary Club was able to accomplish many things for our community. Our speaker rotation steadily consisted of Noel Coplen, Director of the Graves County Health Department. Noel would provide us monthly updates of COVID 19 in Graves County, facts, figures, vaccine info and the response they were taking. We were also able to feature government officials, EMS personnel, hospital administration, school superintendents, and many other community leaders that had tough decisions to make and vital information to get to the public. We are happy that we could provide a platform for that information to be released. In addition to our Rotary members that watched Facebook Live, we were able to reach hundreds of Graves County citizens that were able to use our speakers as an unbiased news source.
Although many of our planned events and philanthropic efforts were postponed or altered due to the pandemic, we were able to adapt. In July, we hosted the 1st Annual Mayfield Civic Club Golf Scramble. This was a cooperative event between the Rotary, Lions and Kiwanis clubs in which we combined and consolidated our usual individual golf tournaments. This was a huge success and we very well received during a time when recreational options were limited, and golf was one of the few entertainment outlets. We continued with this again this year so we could build on that success.
In October the Mayfield Rotary Club, with assistance from a Rotary District Grant, delivered and donated food to both Mayfield and Graves County Schools for their backpack program. In November, the Mayfield Rotary Club delivered dictionaries to every 3rd grade class at Mayfield, Northside, and Graves County Schools. Normally, we present them in person, play some games and interact with the students. In 2020, we recorded a video and sent to each school so their teacher could distribute. In December, we rang bells for the Salvation Army with our Interact Students in front of Wal-Mart. In February we hosted a local speech contest in which students give speeches, are eligible to win money and can advance to further rounds.
When we cross into the new year, the focus of Rotary shifts to our scholarship foundation, by far our largest fundraising cause. The Rotary Scholarship Foundation has been existence for 20 years and has provided and administered scholarships for students in every school system in Graves County. In addition to Rotary donations, there are many businesses, citizens, non-profits, churches that contribute to this cause and invest in the future of our community. For the class of 2021, there was over $45,000 raised and distributed to 60 graduating seniors. This year was significant because we eclipsed $1,000,000 given away in scholarships since the program began.
I doubt many of us will look back on 2020 and the first part of 2021 with fond memories and want to repeat or relive the pandemic. I definitely do not! But, with all the social distancing, mask wearing, restrictions, vaccinations, cancellations, virtual meetings, drive-thru only, vacation cancelling that 2020 will forever be remembered for, some good things did happen. I am proud that the Mayfield Rotary Club and its dedicated members could continue their community support, fundraising and volunteerism. As outgoing president, it has been my honor to serve the Mayfield Rotary Club and have a very small part in its successes. The members of the Mayfield Rotary Club are a diverse group and are your neighbors, friends, co-workers, and members of your family. The common trait they share is they care about the community of Mayfield and Graves County.
I ask that you please support not only the Rotary Club, but the other civic clubs in our community. These organizations all have different fundraisers, projects, styles, and members. We are now emerging from the pandemic and now may be a good time for you to get involved. I know some civic organizations that would love to have your help!