Paul Harris Fellow: Rebecca Newton

Rebecca Newton became the President and CEO of the Carolina Theatre of Durham after spending 25 years in the internet industry. She always wanted to be a philanthropist and learned at Rotary that you don’t have to be a millionaire to be a philanthropist, so she committed to giving to the Foundation right away. She said, “For the cost of a good night out, one can support Rotary every month and make a much larger impact in the world.” She still has her nights out! Although she only joined Rotary in 2018, Rebecca has already earned her Paul Harris Fellow +1.

New Member: Mr. Jeffry Benjamin Hendriks

JEFF has been a Commercial Banker in Durham with BB&T for the past 16 years.  Jeff spends most of his professional time focusing on business development, customer service, and relationship management.  He received his B.S. from The University of North Carolina – Wilmington, in 1998, in Finance.  After attending college, Jeff returned to Durham where he was born and raised and started his banking career with Central Carolina Bank.  Jeff is married to Amey, also a Durham Native.  Together, they have 3 boys – Brycen, Kooper, and Wyatt — as well as 2 dogs.  Jeff enjoys spending time with family, anything outdoors, and time on Kerr Lake where the family has a second home in Clarksville, Virginia.  Jeff is sponsored by Past-President, Seth Jernigan.  Welcome, Jeff!


New Member: Dr. David Charles Sokal

DAVID received his Medical Degree in 1976.  After completing a Pediatric Residency, David joined The Centers For Disease Control, in Atlanta.  He sought an international assignment, and, due to his fluency in French, The Centers For Disease Control sent him to Burkina Faso, West Africa.  David worked there for 5 years, mostly on expanding childhood immunization programs.  Returning to the United States in 1987, David joined FHI 360, in Durham, and worked on HIV prevention and family planning research for 25 years.  In 2014, David co-founded The Male Contraceptive Initiative — a non-profit whose mission is to help develop new, non-hormonal, reversible contraceptives for men.  To date, The Male Contraceptive Initiative has awarded research grants of approximately $3 Million Dollars.  David and his wife have 3 sons and 1 grandson.  David plays duplicate bridge and enjoys kayaking and bicycling.  He is a long-time admirer of Rotary’s support for polio eradication and hopes to learn a lot from the folks in Rotary.  David is sponsored by Ann Evans.  Welcome, David!


Bob Taylor: Veterans Day

Our Rotary Choir

After the traditional rendering of the songs of the branches of the U.S. military, led by the Rotary Choir, President Todd Taylor introduced today’s program, his brother Bob Taylor. 

 Bob was diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, four years ago.   There were a few things they didn’t have in common, however.  Bob was no slugger and he is a diehard Red Sox fan.  

ALS has not stripped him of his spirit, grit or sense of humor.   His granddaughter once quipped “We can’t eat at that restaurant.  Peabod can’t get in. He has ASS.”  Well, ASS or not, Bob wasn’t going to be denied a good meal.  [Read more…]

Paul Harris Fellows


Kay Gresham presented the awards.

Emily Hill has been a member of our Rotary Club just over a year, but immediately jumped right in, attending the 2018 Cuisine Crawl, volunteering at the Durham 150 opening event, attending Rotary Leadership Institute and helping at the Sargent at Arms desk.  In July she readily accepted charing the Sargent at Arms Table.  As a fundraising professional, Emily knows the importance of supporting the organizations one is passionate about with your time, talent and treasure.  She looks forward to continuing  her support to the Rotary Foundation, Second Century Fund and participating in projects and every other way possible.  Emily received her first Paul Harris Fellowship award today.

It was such an honor to present Dallas Stallings, one of our loudest and most outspoken cheerleaders for the Rotary Foundation and Polio Plus with his Paul Harris + 7 Rotary Pin today.  As requested, Dallas spoke about his passion for the foundation and why he considers it to be one of the best ways to benefit the most people around the world.

Program: Durham Tech’s Bill Ingram

Durham Tech’s Bill Ingram Highlights School Success Rates During Fundraising Update 

 Durham Tech President Bill Ingram highlighted the school’s growth and top-tier success rates in areas where it means the most to students and the community during a fundraising update at lunch on Monday. 

The impact, he said, is fully understood by people who know us.  

Introduced by Bill Whichard

Yet, he said, residents with “influence and affluence” are not familiar with the school’s longstanding role as an economic driver in Durham and Orange counties that meets regional demand for a smart, reliable and versatile workforce 

Ingram, a former club president, underscored the challenge during a detailed presentation that outlined the purposes of a $5 million fundraising campaign branded Forge Great Futures. 

 “We need to make sure more people understand who we are and what we are,” Ingram said, noting, among other accomplishments, that Durham Tech: 

  • Has graduates that top all other state community colleges in wages. 
  • Has a 90-percent first-time success among graduates testing for professional licenses. 
  • Has almost 90 percent of its graduates staying in North Carolina. 

[Read more…]