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Pooler Magazine

Service Above Self

Service Above Self: Rotary Club of West Chatham

Rotary Club of West Chatham was featured in Pooler Magazine’s first issue in 2006 and is still thriving in the Pooler Community today.

Story by Jane Grismer

As the the afternoon sun beats down on the 18th hole of The Club atSavannah Quarters golf course, just yards away, an intense debate ensues inside the Norman Grill of the country club.

It’s Wednesday and Rotary Club of West Chatham members are discussing details about the upcoming Bill Wade Memorial Golf Tournament.

Rotary meets weekly at noon and just like any other week, this group of passionate community servants and dedicated members of the Pooler-area community are displaying their enthusiasm. Each plays an integral role, contributing talents in their unique ways. As the discussion moves forward, it is apparent that each member also comes through the door with ideas and opinions.

That’s what makes the Rotary Club of West Chatham so special, especially when it comes to past West Chatham Rotary President Bill Wade Sr., who died suddenly at the age of 72 about a year ago. His passing hit this Rotary Club hard and it still does.

If the club was a quilt and each member represented a square, Bill Wade was the fluffy stuff in between the fabric that binds everything together to serve the greater purpose.

This year’s golf tournament will be on the morning of Friday, Nov. 19, at Savannah Quarters. The event promises to represent how Bill Wade was in this club—charitable, productive and fun while connecting others. It’s the West Chatham Rotary Club at its finest, where competition, camaraderie and community come together and the uniqueness of each member is melded together in unity and on golf carts.

“That’s what is so beautiful about Rotary,” said Joye Jones, West Chatham Rotary president and the division manager of Sentry Management in Pooler. “I’ve been to international events where people from many cultures come together to celebrate a common mission.”

And beautiful, too, on the local level. The Rotarians serve in the community every chance they can get. The club is very focused on Rotaract and Interact—Rotary International programs that invest in young leaders.

Also in the community, West Chatham Rotarians recently assisted the West Chatham YMCA with the installation of a playground. They also have partnered with the Pooler Lions Club in its local food drive.

This past Memorial Day week, they volunteered and raised funds for the Flags for the Fallen event at the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force in the placement of 26,000 flags for each member of the Eighth Air Force killed in action during World War II.

About Rotary Club

Established in 2002, the Rotary Club of West Chatham was sponsored by the Effingham chapter because of the growth in the Pooler area. Frankie Fort, the former human resources director of the Savannah Morning News, is the only founding member currently active.

Rotary International is an organization of over 1.2 million business and professional leaders united worldwide who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world.

They use mottoes such as "Service Above Self" and "One Profits Most Who Serves Best.”

For Rotary, the Four-Way Test is the cornerstone of all action. It has been for years, and it will be in the future. Of the things they think, say or do:

  • Is it the truth?
  • Is it fair to all concerned?
  • Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
  • Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

“Rotary is a great organization that allows its members to give back to communities all over the world,” said Todd Freesemann, Commander of the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office. “If you are interested in serving others, Rotary and Rotary clubs are a great place to do it. It is fun and has a very meaningful impact on the world.”

The membership of the West Chatham club has grown significantly over the last year, mostly as a result of the outreach and enthusiasm embodied within the club. The membership age ranges between mid-20s to mid-70s.

“It's a close-knit group that truly prioritizes building goodwill in the community and being good Rotarians,” said Jacob Moon, senior preconstruction manager of Choate Construction.

“It is a great group of service minded professionals,” said Kathleen Russell, Rotary member and executive director of the West Chatham YMCA.

What draws many members is the size of the club. “I love that it is a smaller group where the exchange of ideas and information can take place at a personal level. I would be lost in a group of 250, as some clubs have,” Jones said. “I believe the members genuinely care about each other and the community.”

Perhaps Mathew Gaines—a past Rotary club president and the general manager of the Best Western Premier/Savannah Airport I-95 Pooler West—said it best: “Not only does it allow me to reach into other corridors of the business community and establish an abundance of connections, but to my surprise, it has also created valued friendships with people of all ages that I deeply admire. That’s the best part of all.”

You can find the Rotary Club of West Chatham - Pooler, GA on Facebook, where you can see updates about upcoming events and send messages.