By Gwen Sisson
Gerald Mills, executive director of the Winston County Economic Development District Partnership, said the Rotary Club if Louisville is an essential conduit of information about the community
“(Rotary also) provides a strong sense of place and involvement,” Mills said. “It provides an important network of community minded people.”
Mills said Rotary benefits Winston County’s economic development by providing a forum for positive community interaction.
“When people are informed about their community they are usually positive and proactive and the fruits show up in the community—back to the workplace to their friends and family,” Mills said. “Economic development is a team process that requires everyone headed in the same direction.”
Paul Simmons, one of the Rotary Club of Louisville’s longest standing members, said Rotary is much more than a “meet and eat” club.
“It is an opportunity for men and women of different professions to enjoy fellowship together and gain a better understanding and appreciation of all professions and work together to build a better community,” Simmons said.
Rotary Clubs began in Chicago over 100 years ago and today there are Rotary Clubs literally all over the world.
“Rotary has probably built more good will and understanding world wide than any other organization,” Simmons said.
About 40 years ago, Rotary International under took the challenge to completely eradicate Polio world wide and that goal should be accomplished very soon and Simmons said Rotarians from Louisville have been a part of that effort. Simmons said Rotary Clubs around the world and right here in Louisville promote worthy community projects.
“Our local club has sponsored many projects to make Louisville and Winston County a better place to live and do business,” Simmons said. “We promote several projects to support literacy especially at an early age. Probably our biggest project in recent years was the beautification of the local cemetery by building brick entrances and setting out cypress trees.”
Each week Louisville Rotarians host and enjoy outstanding programs that are informative and interesting, according to Simmons.
“Rotarians of the Louisville Club, former and present, have provided leadership that made Louisville and Winston County the great place it is today,” Simmons said. “Rotarians today have the joy and privilege of continuing the progress for the next generation.”
Rotary meets each week in Lake Tiak O’Khata at noon each Wednesday.
Recently, Jerry Young of Southeast Timber products in Ackerman spoke to the Rotary Club of Louisville about the values the sawmill gives to local timber growers. In December, about a third of the 90 employees at Southeast Timber were from Winston County. The 200-acre mill near Ackerman is a chip and sawmill, with 14 percent of the logs usually coming from Winston County.
Reed Harrington with CN railroad, and Louisville native, discussed his job in investigations on the crimes that happen to the train and in and around railroad property.
Rotary International (also known as the Rotary Club) is an international whose stated purpose is to bring together business and professional leaders in order to provide humanitarian services, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world. It is a organization open to all persons regardless of race, color, creed, religion, gender, or political preference. There are 34,282 clubs and over 1.2 million members worldwide.
Book Buddies is one of the projects sponsored by the Rotary Club of Louisville.
Local Rotarians also raises money for scholarships, giving two out in the county each year. The scholarship program is directed at enhancing the college-going culture in high schools that are working to improve student interest and enrollment in post-secondary education.
For more information about the Rotary Club of Louisville, contact McCain at (662) 773-6241.