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Shepherdstown Rotary Club welcomes satellite branch, members with inaugural meeting

By Staff | Jun 28, 2019

From left, Rotary Club District Governor Dan Bennett, Shepherdstown Rotary Club Membership Chair David Gross, Jimmy Sutch, Dr. Jenny Penland, Emily Walker, John Taylor, Sarah Harvey, Shepherdstown Rotary Club President Michele Maiden, Corinne Airgood, Assistant District Governor Dan Orsini and Honor Thomas are pictured at the inaugural meeting of the satellite club at Domestic on June 19. Tabitha Johnston

SHEPHERDSTOWN — After 30 years of holding its weekly Tuesday morning meetings at 7:30 a.m. at The Bavarian Inn, the Shepherdstown Rotary Club realized some community members might not be joining their club, simply because of their schedule. And so, this month, a satellite club was born for those who prefer meeting in the evening to plan and do community service.

The club, which held its inaugural meeting on June 19 at Domestic, will meet every first and third Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Domestic. Another benefit of the club meeting in the evening, is it is not a breakfast club, so its monthly membership fee is $16, since it does not include a meal in its price. But that’s not to say members aren’t enjoying the food and drink at Domestic after their meeting is over.

“The last couple of meetings we’ve had, we’ve stayed late to eat and drink, and talk about our ideas for our service opportunities,” said Shepherdstown Rotary Club President Michele Maiden about the planning meetings for the club. “This is something we’ve been working on for a couple of years.”

“It’s not a ‘social’ social group, it’s about what we can do to help,” Maiden said, mentioning the satellite club would work on independent and joint service projects with the original club. “We want to be more social and service-oriented.”

According to Maiden, Martinsburg’s Rotary Club established an evening satellite club, which was then used as a blueprint for Shepherdstown’s club.

Shepherdstown Rotary Club President Michele Maiden, right, pins John Taylor, a Rotarian of about 30 years who joined the satellite club at Domestic on June 19. Tabitha Johnston

The satellite club’s first meeting already showed some of the benefits of establishing an evening club, including having more business owners from the community, younger members and a larger number of female members.

“Our club is 25 percent or so women in the mornings,” Maiden said. “Now we have more women, younger members. Our demographics are changing.”

For Shepherdstown Rotary Club Membership Chair David Gross, pinning the club’s seven charter members and filing the club’s official membership with Rotary that evening was like a dream come true.

“After all the heavy lifting we’ve done to get to this point today, now I’m passing it to the satellite’s chair, Jimmy,” Gross said, with a smile. “It’s been a pleasure to come with all of you guys and set up this club. This didn’t happen overnight — the discussion started before I was club president in 2006.

“The creation of the satellite club was just perfect timing, in the club’s ability to start this initiative and attract quality people like yourselves,” Gross said to the club, which will include 12 members once all of their applications have been processed. “I’m really proud of what this has become.”

And as satellite club chair Jimmy Sutch took the club’s reigns from Gross, he gave his fellow charter members some ideas for the club’s future.

“I think we need more interactive meetings. We want to serve the community at the end of the day, but hopefully we can have fun doing it,” Sutch said. “We could come together and think of a community-based service project every month, to serve as one of our two required monthly meetings.

“There’s a lot of organizations that do smaller things and make smaller bucks, but I want to have one or two staple events every year that we know we’re going to do, we get really good at. At the end of the day, we really want to find the resources for what we’re passionate about,” Sutch said. “To raise thousands of dollars by growing these events would be the goal for me.”

To learn more about Rotary, contact Gross at david@radius.plus.