By Jeff Harrison
The Midwest City Rotary Club welcomed new officers for the new year on Monday.
The 2019-20 officers were sworn in during the group’s weekly meeting at AllianceHealth Medical Group Women’s Health Midwest City.
Adam Bush was sworn in as president, replacing immediate past president Sally Weatherford.
Bush is a professor at Rose State College and serves as a Midwest City municipal judge. He joined Rotary in January 2016.
Bush said enjoys the fellowship and variety of opportunities Rotary provides.
“Midwest City Rotary has something to offer everyone. Some join for our service opportunities, some enjoy networking,” he said. “No other club has so many fun and hardworking people. I look forward to hanging out with my friends every Monday.”
Bush said he is looking forward to growing the group’s service projects and fundraisers.
“For quite some time our club has been growing and our shrimp boil and flag project have continued to grow as well,” he said. “Last year we gave out roughly $15,000.00 just in scholarships due to the success of our programs. I can’t wait to see what additional benefits we can provide to Midwest City this year.”
Weatherford said she enjoyed serving as president during the past year and working alongside compassionate men, women and teens in various projects.
One of the biggest accomplishments was working with Midwest City High School and growing their Junior Rotarian program. Weatherford said Rotarians had unsuccessfully tried to build the program for years, before finally making gains with the help of Art Bode, a science teacher at MCHS. This past school year, Bode had 90 students sign up. The year before, the group had 10 Junior Rotarians. The students wrote Valentine’s Day cards to seniors, cleaned the Kids’ Corral cancer center, worked at the food pantry, and helped with other volunteer efforts. By spring break, the group had 500 collective hours of service.
“These kids truly found a passion for serving and it was evident in their faces,” Weatherford said. “We noticed how extremely respectful of us as these kids were. Most of the time, kids won’t put their phones down. However, these kids were using their short lunch hour to enjoy pizza, hear about Rotary and they weren’t on their phones at all.”
Weatherford thanked Bode for his service.
“Art Bode will refuse to take any credit for his efforts, but he is the reason these kids are pushing themselves to do more to payback in this community,” Weatherford said. “As President, witnessing these young people’s hard work and dedication has been my greatest joy.”
Weatherford said another special experience the past year came during the group’s Christmas for children in foster care. The group bought gifts for 40 children and planned a meal and party. One of the children asked for an iPad. The student, who is handicapped and uses a wheelchair, uses an iPad at school that has an app that helps him communicate. A Rotarian, who owns Wireless Solutions, offered to buy it for the child. Weatherford said watching the child open the gift was a moving moment for everyone.
“When the lid was opened, he started pushing the bottom button over and over to get it to turn on,” she said. “Several of us were right next to his wheelchair and we exchanged glances with tear-filled eyes. Making the Christmas of 2018 memorable to this boy and 39 others was truly a highlight of the year.”
About 25 Rotarians helped cook the meal, shopped and wrapped presents. The event was all coordinated by Silvia Shaw, a recent Carl Albert graduate and Student Rotarian of the Year.
Before ending her term as president, Weatherford presented Melissa Barney with the Rotarian of the Year Award and Billy Cox with the Rising Star Award.
“Melissa did an excellent job keeping our membership of 78 on the same page,” Weatherford said. “We have lots of events going on all the time and she’s instrumental in being a point of contact for all of us.”
Weatherford said Cox has quickly become a dedicated Rotarian.
“Billy Cox was just inducted in the fall and he has worked his tail off at the shrimp boil, shopping for foster kids, putting out flags, and much more,” she said. “He has two young kids and when we were shopping for other kids he was wrangling one of his at the same time in Target. Billy is a Midwest City boy who enjoyed his childhood in this small town and wants to give back to others. We are thankful to have him on board with our club.”
The 2019-20 officers include: Adam Bush – president; James “Chili” McQuillar – president elect; Shane Willard – vice president; Melissa Barney – secretary; Sally Weatherford – immediate past president; Randy Smith – treasurer; Alan Duncan – sergeant at arms.
The new directors include: Brittany Byers –publicity; Mukesh Patel – publicity VC; Austin Fisher – membership; Ken Newey – membership VC; Avery Woolridge – service projects; Matt Dukes – service projects VC; Margaret Mueller – international projects; Randy Smith – int/foundation VC; Ken Bartlett – club chair.
For information about joining the Rotary Club, please call (405) 509-9905.