By Nick Nahas
According to Mahatma Ghandi, you must be the change you wish to see in the world. Current Club President Christopher Jones and the Rotary Club of Fishhawk/Riverview take that philosophy to heart, trying to make their community a better place. The club will celebrate its 15 years of service this May at the Shrimp Boat, with a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony in conjunction with the Greater Riverview Chamber of Commerce.
The club started on May 24, 2002. Six years ago, the Rotary Club of Riverview and the Rotary Club of Fishhawk/Bloomingdale merged to become the Rotary Club of Fishhawk/Riverview. They now meet at Beef O’ Brady’s on Bell Shoals at 12 Noon on Mondays and the Satellite Club meets on Thursdays at the Shrimp Boat at 6 p.m. “In order to join, you have to have a passion to help your community,” Jones said.
Dedication to community service through rotary can start as early as 14. There are three levels of Rotarian service: the high school level is called Interact; in college and as a young adult, you can participate in Rotaract, and once you have a profession, you can join Rotary. “My goal, first and foremost, is to increase the club’s diversity so that we look like the community that we serve” Jones said. “We want to participate in the international and district-level rotary events, as well as be upstanding citizens in our community. That’s what being a Rotarian means to me.”
The Rotary Club of Fishhawk/Riverview participates in numerous community service projects as well as community service fundraisers throughout the year. The club’s largest fundraising program is the Crawfish Festival in April. Two thousand pounds of live crawfish is brought back from Louisiana and cooked along with other Cajun foods with a live band performance. Nearly $40,000 is raised from this event each year. The club also partakes in the Alafia Lighted Boat Parade, and gives back to the community by providing about six scholarships per year to students attending Spoto, Riverview and Newsome high schools. The Rotary Club supports Honor Flight, and also donates 2,000 dictionaries to all the local elementary schools, among many other things.
For more information, visit FishhawkRiverviewRotary.org.