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Kingsport Rotarians embrace ‘Service Above Self’

Suzi McKee • Mar 5, 2020 at 12:30 PM

When Mike McIntire, president, and Jennifer Salyer, president-elect, of the Rotary Club of Kingsport talk about the service projects, diversity and camaraderie of their 90-member club, one can feel the enthusiasm and real compassion to change the community around them. Meeting each Wednesday at noon in the Press Room at the downtown Food City, Rotarians enjoy a delicious meal and a wide variety of guest speakers who enhance their views of community activities and events.

The mission of Rotary International is to “provide service to others, promote integrity and advance world understanding, goodwill and peace through our fellowship of business, professional and community leaders.”

“Rotary is a great place to network with other professionals that you might not meet in your field of expertise,” Mike said. “We have a very diverse group of people that includes a variety of ages and vocations, which expands our view of what’s going on in and around Kingsport.”

“Some of our older members worked on the bathrooms and disc golf areas of Borden Park 30 years ago,” added Jennifer, “and now our younger members are taking up the torch to enhance some of those projects begun years ago. We’re always looking for new members to come join us to keep Kingsport a great place to live.”

With an award-winning newsletter produced locally and emailed out each week, Rotarians can keep abreast of upcoming speakers, a calendar of events, and international initiatives sponsored by Rotary International.

Projects undertaken by the Rotary Club of Kingsport impact almost every segment of the population in Kingsport. One of the club’s most gratifying projects is the Legacy Project, a clothes closet for homeless children in Kingsport schools. The clothes closet is housed at the Kingsport City Schools Central Office.

“We work with Michele Wilder by supplying new clothes needed by the homeless children throughout the district,” Jennifer explained. “Our members also built shelving, helped to organize this outstanding resource, and continue to ensure that there are clothes available for these children.”

The Rotary Club of Kingsport also is combining forces with the other Rotary Clubs in Sullivan County to assist with the backyard fence and playground for Isaiah 117 House. This will provide a safe and secure place for foster children to enjoy being outside in the sunshine and fresh air.

With workdays scheduled in April, Rotarians will be working with other clubs in the area on the new Miracle Field for special needs children and adults. Both families and children alike will enjoy the laughter and worry-free fun offered from this new venue in Kingsport.

From partnering with Second Harvest Food Bank during Thanksgiving to renovating the Bays Mountain Day Camp Cabin to working with Rotary International to eradicate polio, the Rotary Club of Kingsport is engaging in a host of projects to impact its local community as well as communities around the world.

“Our district governor, Tim Carter, has a food security initiative,” Mike said, “and we support this program by working with Second Harvest Food Bank this year. And the international initiative to eradicate polio is experiencing a great deal of success. Only two countries, Afghanistan and Pakistan, have cases of this dreaded disease,” he continued.

In order to continue work on the projects and to finish those that are nearing completion, the Rotary Club of Kingsport sponsors fundraisers each year. “At Christmas we sell poinsettias and wreaths to help fight polio,” Jennifer stated.

“And this year,” Mike added, “we are hosting our Spring Fever Reverse Raffle that will help to keep our Legacy Project, the clothes closet, fully supplied for the homeless children.” The event will be held at The Tavern at Ridgefields on Friday, March 6, at 6 p.m. More information can be obtained from a Rotarian or on the Rotary Club of Kingsport Facebook Page.

With its 100th anniversary coming in November 2023, the Rotary Club of Kingsport invites readers to visit the club meetings, check out the Facebook page, and consider joining in its efforts to live the motto, “Service Above Self.”

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