Wednesday, May 25, 2016

First Annual Southwest Slam Pickleball Tourney

This first year of SGR’s Southwest Slam Pickleball Tournament was not without its ups and downs.  Despite our best effort – including amazing support from both St. George City and Santa Clara City and lots of great sponsors - everything did not run smoothly.  Our hardworking event organizers Lynn Beecher and Janet O’Riley had countless promises-to-register from many dozens of people in the community, but when the weekend of May 18-21 arrived those promises did not materialize in a strong showing of pickleball aficionados.

Thanks to our wonderfully generous and supportive sponsors Naylor Wentworth Architects, Vive Studio; Snow, Jensen and Reece Law Firm; Drywall Shop, Inc.; Say Holdings (Jenny Lee); Basile, Davis and Ott;  BJ Cox, DDS; Pizza Factory;  Dominos; Bones and Leather; Hawks Restaurant; Daily Queen; SunRiver Golf Course; Harmon’s Santa Clara; Legends  Salon and Pure Pickleball.

On the positive side, SG City Mayor Jon Pike (also a longtime member of SGR) came to the Little Valley pickleball courts on Saturday morning and spoke to our enthusiastic pickleball players, volunteers and others.  He noted SG City had spent $1.6 million to build the additional 12 courts especially in time for the Southwest Slam Pickleball Tournament … a wonderful example of “our tax dollars at work.” 

Mayor Pike also talked about how the city and St. George Rotary Club have had a longtime working relationship on projects around the community and had worked very hard to make this tournament happen. He thanked the Rotary Club and looks forward to many more tournaments like this one. 

Chairman Lynn shared the many “service above self” Rotary projects in the St. George community as well as internationally.  He noted, “All proceeds from the Southwest Slam support the St. George Rotary Club Foundation, Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit organization funding humanitarian, literacy and community projects.  Local projects of St. George Rotary include providing paperback dictionaries to every 3rd grade student in the St. George area, parks and trails projects, support of such local non-profits as the Children’s Museum, the feral cat program, Coins for Kids, Operation School Bell, the Family Support Center and the WCSD’s Sterling Scholar program.  Internationally, SGR travels to and builds indoor cook stoves in Guatemala’s Mayan villages and is working on a project in Puerto Peñasco, Mexico to bring clean, safe water to every school in the community.”

In the end, a man told Chairman Lynn, “this is the most fun pickleball tournament I have ever been to” and handed him a $100 bill “for your wonderful projects.”  Many players said the same thing.  So, while our numbers were not what we had hoped, we can call this "First Annual Southwest Slam Pickleball Tournament" a success and a great jumping off point for next year’s event!!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

SGR Hears of Vietnam Conflict

TODAY IN ROTARY members heard from Bruce Rathtree and Dan Greathouse,  Washington County representatives of Vietnam Veterans of America, organized in July 2005 with 10 members.  In 2016, there are more than 100 members.

VVA’s goals are to promote and support the full range of issues important to Vietnam veterans, to create a new identity for this generation of veterans, and to change public perception of Vietnam veterans. VVA strives to achieve the following:
*   Aggressively advocate on issues important to veterans
*   Seek full access to quality health care for veterans
*   Identify the full range of disabling injuries and illnesses incurred during military service
*   Hold government agencies accountable for following laws mandating veterans health care
*   Create a positive public perception of Vietnam veterans
*   Seek the fullest possible accounting of America’s POWs and MIAs

In support of Washington County’ 12,000 veterans, Bruce, a 3rd generation military man, also oversees Veteran’s Court which strives to help incarcerated veterans – or those in trouble with the law – work through issues relating to their legal infractions.  To date, 25 veterans have “graduated” from the program and are now law abiding and contributing members of society. 

The duo also spoke of the ramifications of Agent Orange, a defoliant used to kill bushes and scrubs on the battlefield.  Agent Orange has been shown to contribute to more than 150 diseases and health issues, including, but not limited to cancer, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and renal failure.

“I didn’t leave anything there,” said Greathouse when asked whether he had been back to Vietnam.  “I support our troops, not our wars.”  Rathtree went on to say he remembers 130+ temperatures and 100% humidity … and coming home from this unpopular war to “people throwing poopy diapers, rotten fruit, and soda cans at us!  It was 40 years before I talked about it – even to my wife!”   

Monday, May 9, 2016

Gil Visits Japan

Gil and Pat Trujillo joined Mr. and Mrs. Dean Jackson, Mr. and Mrs. Mike Deputy and others for two weeks of travel in Japan.   During their 14 days in the Land of the Rising Sun, Gil reports they visited many churches, museums and shrines, including the Hiroshima War Memorial; enjoyed numerous opportunities to eat sushi; but were too early for the cherry blossoms.  “Next time, we’ll go in May,” said Gil of his plans to revisit the country he calls clean, historic and with people who are both cordial and polite.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Sappington Named 2015-16 Utah Rotarian of the Year

On Friday, May 6, 2016, at the recent statewide conference of Rotary District 5420 in Cedar City, SGR's Linda Sappington was named 2015-16 Utah Rotarian of the Year by District Governor Glade Hamilton.  This recognition, according to DG Glade was for "outstanding efforts in creating an exemplary District newsletter and for helping to build District 5420's Public Image in each of 50 Utah clubs, in the district and in the world."  

Linda's reaction? "I was so surprised, I was speechless and nearly fell off my chair when my name was called.  Not sure what I did to deserve this honor, but I am humbled because there are more than 1800 Rotarians in the state … most who have done amazing, remarkable things and deserve this recognition far more than I."

Also recognized, Del Beatty of the Red Rock Rotary Club was the recipient of this year's Vocational Service Leadership Award, given annually to a single Rotarian who has used his or her occupation to impact the community, demonstrate integrity in his or her profession and in Rotary and exhibited significant service to undertaking several club or district activities.

Red Rock Rotary Club was selected from the state's 50 clubs as RI District 5420's Club of the Year.  The 32-member club of community and business leaders was chartered in 2003 and place a strong emphasis on service projects to support, in particular, local youth.  Under the direction of 2015-16 President Scott Florence, Red Rock Rotary fulfilled all requirements - including membership growth, creating definable positive change in the community and enhancing public image - to receive the District Governor's Gold Citation and the RI President's Gold Citation.  

Monday, May 2, 2016

4-Way Test Essay Winners Announced

“It’s a good way to trick students into loving to write,” said Krista White, a 6th grade language arts teacher at Sunrise Ridge Intermediate School, speaking about St. George Rotary Club’s 11th annual 4-Way Test Essay Contest.  “And, its good for these kids to know someone thinks what they have to say is important.”

At the recent weekly meeting of the local service club, Language Arts Teachers Kris Sewell from Fossil Ridge Intermediate and Krista White on the faculty of Sunrise Ridge Intermediate, parents and members of St. George Rotary Club heard the 1st and 2nd place winning essays in this year’s competition from among more than 125 entries. 

To participate, students in four intermediate schools in the Washington County School District were invited by Chairman Durant McArthur and his committee, to put their thoughts in writing about someone they know who best exemplifies Rotary’s 24-word test of ethics in all aspects of life:  is it the truth?  Is it fair to all concerned?  Will it build goodwill and better friendship?  Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

Awarded a $50 first prize at Fossil Ridge Intermediate School is Frankie Partridge, daughter of Larry and Amelia Partridge who wrote about “My Grandpa Delbert Ray Judy” and took home $50 as the 1st place winner.  She shared, “my grandfather served on President Lyndon B. Johnson’s yacht but always kept his fun service experiences secret.  He also was a great father – had his own 2 children, but also raised my father, his 2 sisters and 3 brothers like they were his very own.”  A second place prize of $25 went to Summer Hardy, daughter of Terence and Karol Hardy, who shared her story of “My Dad” who “adopted me when someone else didn’t want me.  We may not be related by blood and he may not have known me since I was a baby, but he truly is my dad and my super hero.”

Owen Powell, son of Chris and Kim Powell and a student at Sunrise Ridge Intermediate School, was recognized for his 1st place winning and well-written essay entitled “My Inspirations from Mrs. Humphrey,” who he credits with “taught me how to control my anger; be fair in settling confrontations and taught me how to develop goodwill and friendships.”  Also at Sunrise Ridge, Ben Haws, son of Tim and Paula Haws, showered praise on his father who he states, “is an example of honesty in his personal relationships and professional dealings.”

Language Arts Teachers Kris Sewell from Fossil Ridge Intermediate and Krista White on the faculty of Sunrise Ridge Intermediate both qualified for the teachers' award with more than 60% of their students participating.  Each will receive $200 to use as they see fit in their respective school classrooms.