Rotarian of the Year – 2016-2017 – Carver Weaver

Most of the time the Rotarian of the Year is awarded to a Rotarian who has had an especially impactful year. But sometimes they reflect a number of years of high level service…a Rotary lifetime achievement award, if you will. Certainly that is the case with Carver Weaver.

The number of fundraisers she has organized is legend, from selling posters to complex coordination with DPAC, the Club, and EDCI to raise scholarship money and give kids a taste of Durham they may never have experienced before.  She has handled them all with little fanfare and great success.

Through her community connections, she has brought us and introduced talented speakers. She even used her writing skills to take a regular turn in the program write-up rotation for several years. Until her recent retirement, all this while working at demanding jobs with the Chamber and Durham Tech.

Carver Weaver truly exemplifies Service Above Self and is a great representative of the Club and the Durham Community.

 

Program Report for June 26, 2017 – Passing the Gavel

Even for the end of the Rotary Year,  there was a lot going on during our meeting of July 26.

First we had a mini-trade show.  Tables with easels were set up and the major committees where given a chance to staff the tables, talk about the committee’s activities and recruit new folks to join the group. Finger food was placed strategically so no one starved while this was happening. Each table also had “door prizes” and each participating member was given several tickets that they could deposit at the tables. Each table drew for their own prizes.

Second, instead of the usual buffet, sandwiches were served in the hall and taken into the ballroom. The program began with the Rotary Chorus serenading those gathered  with a song entitled Oh Rotary, with lyrics by Shelly DeVries and sung to the tune Oh Christmas Tree. The lyrics were part of the program slide show so everyone could sing along. Ok, it probably won’t inspire a Broadway musical, but it was fun.

Third, our unofficial Chaplain, Dallas Stallings, provided a moving invocation appropriate for the passing of the gavel.

 

Fourth, we had a new member induction, which isn’t unusual, but this one was Durham’s Mayor Pro-Tem, Cora Cole-McFadden (see separate post.)

Then we had a number of award ceremonies that are the subject of separate posts as well.

Finally, there was the passing of the gavel from outgoing president B C Dash to new president Seth Jernigan who then swore the new directors in and thanked those who were going off.

It’s a rule that the outgoing president must make a joke about how much he or she is glad someone else is taking over. B C was no exception but anyone who doubts his sincerity is probably not alone. This man loves Rotary. 

New Member: Cora Cole-McFadden

Please introduce yourself and welcome new member Cora Cole-McFadden, Mayor Pro-Tempore of the city of Durham. Below is a biography.

Cora Cole-McFadden is a past member of the West Durham Baptist Church where she had been since childhood.  She served as Sunday School Superintendent, a member of the Board of Trustees, the Celestial Choir, and the Board of Christian Education.  On July 9, 2015, she became a member of St. Mark AME Zion where she sings in the Inspirational Singers Choir, a member of the Missionary and R.L. Speaks Ministry.

Cole-McFadden, a native of Durham, has been a member of the Durham City Council since 2001. She retired from the City of Durham in 2001 after holding public service positions for 32 years in the state retirement system.   She served as the first African-American woman department head in the City of Durham and is the first African-American woman to be named Mayor Pro Tempore.

Cole-McFadden has served as a champion for uplifting our youth and including them in the decision-making process for matters that pertain to them and issues of interest to them.  Cole-McFadden’s zest and zeal for youth resulted in the creation of the first City of Durham Youth Council [now Durham Youth Commission], the Hillside High School Drama Club’s first production and appearance at the Carolina Theater, “Perilous Times,” “Youth Teen Scene” a monthly television production by youth.  She now advocates for Lakeview Lakeview Middle/High Alternative School.

Her efforts to change the way the City did business were recognized throughout the region for Durham having the reputation of strong commitment for inclusion of underutilized groups in its conduct of business and employment opportunities.

Cole-McFadden serves as City Council liaison to numerous boards and committees including the Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau Board of Directors; the Upper Neuse River Basin Board of Directors until 2005; Housing Appeals Board; Joint City-County Planning Committee; Homeless Services Advisory Committee; the Mayor’s Committee for Persons with Disabilities; Carolina Theatre Board of Directors; and the Durham Cultural Master Plan Advisory Board.  Cole-McFadden also serves on several City Council subcommittees, including chair of the Audit Services Oversight Committee; Chair, Insurance Subcommittee; chair, Passenger Vehicle-for-Hire Committee; Chair,  Personnel and Council Procedures Committee; Chair, Northeast Central Durham Committee,  Co-chair of the Housing Task Force of the Mayor’s Poverty Reduction Initiative and the Durham Public Schools Leadership Team.

Her community service has included 1st Vice-Chair of the Durham Branch NAACP; Past Chair, Durham County Democratic Party; Charter Member, and Past Chair, Ebonettes  Service Club; United Negro College Fund, Star Panelist;  1st Vice-Chair, Durham Chapter, National Council for Negro Women;  2nd Vice-Chair, Top Ladies of Distinction;  Chair, Civic Committee, of the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People.  Cole-McFadden was the first woman to serve as Chair of the Durham Community Martin Luther King Steering Committee, the first African-American woman department head in City of Durham government, and the first recipient of the City of Durham’s Diversity Change Agent Award, now named in her honor and awarded annually at the City of Durham ‘s Employee Recognition Luncheon.

She was featured in the March/April of Southern City, a publication of the North Carolina League of Municipalities.  She is one of three alumni of North Carolina Central University named as a “Living Legend” to be honored at the Living Legend Scholarship Gala in August.

Cora is the proud mother of two children – Lori McFadden and Larry McFadden, Jr and the proud grandmother of three granddogs – Faith, Frankie and Dallas.

 

New Member: Tammie Sellman – June 19, 2017

Please welcome new member Tammie Sellman who was sponsored by Robert Viera.


My name is Tammie Sellman and I am the Community and Resource Development Director for The Salvation Army of Durham, Orange and Person Counties and The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club of Durham. I have been with this organization since February 2016. I reside in Holly Springs, NC with my husband Mark, my daughter Logan (15) and my son Parker (12). It has been a pleasure getting to know this great little city that many of you call home. In my free time, I enjoy reading, watching my children play sports, attending functions at my church (Hope Community Church) and simply being with my family.   I have a lengthy resume of volunteering and fundraising so I am therefore looking forward to getting involved with the Rotary Club of Durham.
 

Invocation and Rotary Minute: Charlie Reece

Rotarian Charlie Reece, who is also a member of our City Council, used his Rotary Minute to recount an event that recently occurred honoring a former mayor. With the “amen” it also became our invocation.

Last month, we had a very special night at the Durham City Council, when all of the former living mayors of the city of Durham were on hand with William V. “Bill” Bell, the current mayor of the city of Durham, to celebrate the 98th birthday of former mayor Wense Grabarek, who served from 1963 to 1971. My colleague Council Member Eddie Davis read a lovely proclamation in honor of Mayor Grabarek, detailing his leadership during a period in Durham’s history rife with protests when he worked to bring people together and end racial segregation in hotel and motel operations, restaurants, employment.

Mayor Grabarek then delivered some really amazing remarks, and I’ve pulled a few excerpts that truly spoke to me and I suspect will resonate with many of the folks in this room. Mayor Grabarek really invoked the spirit of public service that animates so much of what we do together in Rotary, so I thought might make a halfway decent invocation for today’s meeting. Let’s see how this goes:

We’re all better than we are, and if we visit our conscience, we usually wind up at the right place.

In all the challenges that Durham has in the future, let’s put our conscience to work. We all have one. Think it through. We don’t need riots and bombings and killings. Let’s do it at the table. That’s my sincere hope.

When I was elected, I did what I thought I possibly could to improve all levels of our life in the city of Durham. And I felt that every time I had the opportunity, I had to really seize it, because that’s what you need to do, seize the opportunity. But rather, I look at it more really as a privilege, as a privilege to serve the wonderful people of the city of Durham.

In 1963, our country was rampant with riot. Today, our country is seriously, critically divided. In Durham, we decided that our diverse togetherness gives light to our soul. I hope that will ever be so in the future.

To which I think all of us here at Rotary today can say AMEN.
Last month, we had a very special night at the Durham City Council, when all of the former living mayors of the city of Durham were on hand with William V. “Bill” Bell, the current mayor of the city of Durham, to celebrate the 98th birthday of former mayor Wense Grabarek, who served from 1963 to 1971. My colleague Council Member Eddie Davis read a lovely proclamation in honor of Mayor Grabarek, detailing his leadership during a period in Durham’s history rife with protests when he worked to bring people together and end racial segregation in hotel and motel operators, restaurants, employment,

Mayor Grabarek then delivered some really amazing remarks, and I’ve pulled a few excerpts that truly spoke to me and I suspect will resonate with many of the folks in this room. Mayor Grabarek really invoked the spirit of public service that animates so much of what we do together in Rotary, so I thought might make a halfway decent invocation for today’s meeting. Let’s see how this goes:

We’re all better than we are, and if we visit our conscience, we usually wind up at the right place.

In all the challenges that Durham has in the future, let’s put our conscience to work. We all have one. Think it through. We don’t need riots and bombings and killings. Let’s do it at the table. That’s my sincere hope.

When I was elected, I did what I thought I possibly could to improve all levels of our life in the city of Durham. And I felt that every time I had the opportunity, I had to really seize it, because that’s what you need to do, seize the opportunity. But rather, I look at it more really as a privilege, as a privilege to serve the wonderful people of the city of Durham.

In 1963, our country was rampant with riot. Today, our country is seriously, critically divided. In Durham, we decided that our diverse togetherness gives light to our soul. I hope that will ever be so in the future.

To which I think all of us here at Rotary today can say AMEN.

Editor’s note: Here’s some coverage of the event from the Durham Herald Sun. The video is proceeded and followed by ads.  Unfortunately we don’t get any revenue from them.

Program Report: Kevin Leonard – North Carolina Association of County Commissioners

Like any long journey, progress is often made in small steps with pauses, wrong turns and unexpected obstacles.  It’s all worth it though when during one of those pauses you look up from the road, realize where you are and say “Wow.”

Our guest and the primary presenter on Monday was Kevin Leonard, the Executive Director of the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners. Mr. Leonard was with us at the invitation of Rotarian and County Commissioner Brenda Howerton. In the upcoming year, Ms. Howerton will assume the presidency of the organization which will mark the first time in the 100 + year history of the organization a commissioner from Durham has held that role.

Before Ms. Howerton introduced Mr. Leonard, the program was introduced by Club Vice President Shelly Green, who, of course, also leads the Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau.  She announced that another historical milestone, that is that the NCACC’s Annual Conference will be held here in Durham. This might not have been possible even a few years ago, at least in Downtown Durham. Durham now hosts thousands of annual conferences and this is now possible because of the many new hotels in the area. Older members will remember when Rotary meetings were held in the old Heart of Durham Motel located where the Transportation Hub is now at a time when there was no convention center and the space it occupies now was a line of abandoned retail buildings with decaying art projects in their windows.  The activity in the Convention Center has now reached the point that it has become a problem for the club, forcing us to frequently seek “off-site” locations for our meetings. Indeed, this meeting was hosted again by TROSA at their campus on James Street.

There are 100 counties in North Carolina, represented by an equal number of county managers and 583 commissioners plus sponsors and other officials who will be in town for the Conference in August. This is an important opportunity to showcase Durham’s progress to an important statewide audience.

After a warm introduction by Ms. Howerton, Mr. Leonard first recognized and thanked those in the audience who had chosen to seek elective office and serve in underpaid and underappreciated roles. A primary role of the Association is advocacy in the legislature. Two of their issues during this session have been for allocating more lottery money for school construction and against attempts to regionalize social services.

Each president adopts a theme. The current president who Ms. Howerton will succeed is Fred McClure of Davidson County who focused on the availability of mental health treatment and the opioid epidemic, that is so much in the national news these days.

The inevitable question that arose and was voiced by Rotarian Larry Crane was about managing a group of representatives from every county without falling into the fault lines we see in the legislature created by the divergent interests of rural and urban areas.  Mr. Leonard responded by pointing out that they focus on issues that are common to all counties and work closely with North Carolina League of Municipalities.

My “wow!” moment came when Mr. Leonard ticked off the list of new hotels in Downtown Durham that would be used by the attendees of the August conference.  But his presentation was also an interesting peek under the hood of the machinery of government especially when he mentioned some of the other function of the NCACC, such as the education of new commissioners, research and even risk management. You can learn more about the NCACC at their website www.ncacc.org.

Our thanks again go to all the folks at TROSA for their hospitality.  TROSA itself is another one of those amazing milestones in Durham’s progress.