We meet at The Woodland Community Center on Thursdays at 12 noon, 2003 Cobb Street, Farmville, VA 23901. We also have a Happy Hour Club that meets on Thursdays at 5:30 pm at Three Roads Brewery.
Below is a recap of some of our meetings. The Rotarian responsible for each meeting is given in parenthesis should you want more details or contact information.
November 30, 2023—Gavin Fariss, Senior Conservation Police Officer with the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, talked about the challenges of enforcing hunting, fishing, and boating laws. Lots of amusing stories. The Happy Hour Club had Daniel Clark from the Farmville Fire Department.
November 16, 2023—New Rotarian Conrad Taylor gave his “classification talk,” talking about his various ventures in both his professional and personal life. He fielded the most questions on his years as a long-distance truck driver. If you get sleepy while driving, pull over and take a nap—don’t rely on coffee to keep you awake!
November 9, 2023—This was a special day for the club as we heard from our Community Grant finalists and voted on which one to award the $5000 prize. All three gave excellent presentations: Heart of Virginia Free Clinic, Better Days Farmville, and Hope Clothes Closet of Heritage Baptist Church.
November 2, 2023—Matthew Sorenson spoke at the lunch meeting, and Marion Kyner at the Happy Hour, both about Feeding Farmville, the ever-growing program to provide Thanksgiving meals to those in need. They plan to serve 1000 this year, using volunteers for the mammoth task. Lots of great stories at both meetings. (Jon Marken)
October 26, 2023—Dr. Barbara Johnson, Superintendent of Prince Edward County Schools, gave an inspiring talk on how our schools are doing and the progress they are making in several areas. Sounds like they are in good hands! (LeTina Giles)
October 19, 2023—Our own Sue Carter gave a demonstration of how to make crepes. The proof was in the tasting, and they certainly passed the test!
October 12, 2023—Austin Shaver, Deputy Athletics Director at Longwood, gave an overview of 2023/24 Lancer sports. That included some excitement about the new Joan Perry Brock Center. Plan to get out there!
September 21, 2023—Jimmy Hurt, president of the Farmville-Prince Edward Historical Society, put on his railroad hat and gave us some history of High Bridge. Some years ago a trove of pictures from the original construction were found, and Jimmy has been working to enhance them for a presentation at a possible welcome center near the bridge.
September 14, 2023—Ashley Atkins-Austin from the Town of Farmville walked us through the stages of a new pathway slated to run around the downtown area and connect to the High Bridge Trail. The River Walk will be yet another great addition to the recreation opportunities we have here. (Kerby Moore)
September 7, 2023—Our District Governor, Rudy Garcia, gave an inspiring talk on creative ways to grow our club and make a difference in the community.
August 24, 2023—Jay Wilkerson, Farmville Town Horticulturist, showed pictures of representative trees in the town and discussed the proper and IMproper ways to care for them. He also talked about how shade trees increase traffic in retail areas.
August 17, 2023—Our own Bill Anderson talked about his lifelong passion for radio, from shortwave radio as a kid to his current sampling of radio from all over the world through Radio.Garden, World Radio Network, and other such resources. He ended with examples of the need for global thinking.
August 10, 2023—At a joint meeting of the Lunch group and the Happy Hour group we heard from David Ganzert and Dave Calihan, representing the Heart of Virginia Community Band. They welcome new band members!
August 3, 2023—We heard about the many exciting offerings at Sandy River Distillery, the first craft distillery in Prince Edward County, along with the history of how it came to be. Check them out!
July 27, 2023—Desiree Washington, the new Dean of Culture and Inclusion at Hampden-Sydney College, talked about the College’s efforts to cultivate a diverse, equitable, and inclusive culture (DEI) not just at the College but throughout our community. Rotary International shares the same vision with its DEI statement. (Zita Barree)
July 20, 2023—Shaunna Hunter delivered her President’s Address, outlining her plans for the year ahead. The club is in great shape and she has great ideas to build on that!
July 13, 2023—Our own Sue Carter talked about her trip to Oaxaca, Mexico, and especially the drink Mezcal, made from the agave plant. Some people confuse mezcal with tequila, but it’s a much wider range of drinks of which tequila is only one. She had samples and demonstrated the correct way to imbibe!
June 29, 2023—Shawn Rozier, Vice President of Housing for STEPS, gave us some hot-off-the-press news about STEPS reopening Madeline’s House, a “refuge from the storm of domestic violence.” The shelter had to close last year and the area is much in need. STEPS is accepting donations for the effort. (Ashton Bozo)
June 22, 2023—Dr. Donkor, representing Ama Nyame Memorial Medical Clinic in Ghana, gave us an update on his efforts to build a mortuary there. They have made amazing progress considering the obstacles. Our club is working with a club in Ghana to secure a global grant to help with the project! (Justine Young)
June 15, 2023—We had Juanita Giles, who created and runs the Virginia Children’s Book Festival, now grown very large and successful. It’s truly not like any other book festival, with lots of interactive and hands-on programming. See more at https://www.vachildrensbookfestival.org. (Cam Patterson)
June 8, 2023—Tim Hall, the athletic director at Longwood University, talked about the important role of athletics in the University and his preference for this level of Division I as the athletes must also be scholars. Longwood has built quite a program! (Barbara Smith)
June 1, 2023—One of our sponsors, Terri Atkins Wilson, did a wonderful Q&A and described the ins and outs of practicing law in her hometown. She learned early on that she didn’t fit well into a traditional law firm that requires six-minute billing increments. She liked people too much to charge for leisurely phone calls! So she went on her own and has risen to prominence here.
May 25, 2023—Emily Pilk spoke at our lunch meeting and Sally Austin at the Happy Hour meeting, both representing Hotel Weyanoke. They gave many interesting insights into the historical hotel, interspersed with glowing testimonials from Rotarians. Rotarian Dan Dwyer noted that the Rotary Club met there from its inception into the 80s, and Dan himself attended his first few meetings there. (Bob Jefferson)
May 18, 2023—Erin Small from the Virginia Cooperative Extension talked about how the Extension works with meat producers and helps make resources available for consumers. Quite a good resource! (Jen Fraley)
May 11, 2023—Dave Wagner from Kyanite Mining gave a fascinating overview of what kyanite is, how it’s mined, and its many uses throughout the world. The mine in Buckingham is, in fact, the largest in the world. Dave is Rotarian Patti’s husband. (Scott Harwood)
May 4, 2023—We had two more classification speeches, this time from Ashton Bozo and Danny Husky. Ashton is finishing up a position at STEPS as Vice President of Administration and beginning a new one at Longwood University. Danny had a long career in banking in Amelia and Richmond and has come home to retire—and also to resurrect WFLO Radio AM. Welcome to both!
April 27, 2023—No regular meeting as we held our annual Taste of Farmville!
April 20, 2023—We enjoyed classification speeches complete with great stories from two new members, George Buckman and Josh Gravette. George spent many years in the US Marines and also worked in construction, semi-retiring here where his wife has roots. Josh, after a few years searching, lighted on a career he loves and is now the Executive Director of the YMCA of Central Virginia. A warm welcome to both!
April 13, 2023—Stacey Beardsley, representing the Virginia Lottery, talked about the extensive workings of the Lottery and how much it contributes to education in the state. She also talked about how often lotteries have been used throughout history to raise funds for important projects.
April 6, 2023—Wayne Ramsey and Andrew Payne, both Rotarians, run Piedmont Real Estate, with its office here but operations from Richmond to Lynchburg. Wayne gave an inside look at how they operate, including the right way to renovate or even rebuild an old house. Pictures of a before and after drove home the point.
March 30, 2023—As we do on every fifth Thursday in the month, we held a club forum with updates from the chairs of upcoming events and good conversations about our club’s role in the community.
March 23, 2023—Our own Kerby Moore gave some suggestions on how the programs for the Happy Hour gathering can be improved, telling of the great impact Rotary has had on his life and offering an inspiring glimpse of Rotary’s potential.
March 16, 2023—Ilsa Loeser, founder of Letterpress Communications and a sponsor of Rotary, gave an inspiring talk on community-powered marketing, how to tie your organization’s efforts with the efforts of others and improve the community as a whole. (Jenn Kinne)
March 9, 2023—Major David Wilmoth of the Prince Edward Sheriff’s Department talked about crime statistics in our area and the various strategies they use to keep those statistics low. (Bruce Davis)
March 2, 2023—Author Jerry Todt talked about his journey to becoming a published author and his latest success—one of his novels has become a Hallmark movie! He’s also working with Hallmark on a Christmas movie set in Farmville. (Cannon Watson)
February 23, 2023—Rotarian Dan Dwyer talked about Piedmont Habitat for Humanity and the great number of homes going up this year, thanks to a generous grant. They are partnering with Cardinal Homes to get the homes built more quickly. Several Rotarians are involved in the organization.
February 16, 2023—We had two representatives from Alpha Phi Omega, a service fraternity, talk about the good work they’re doing in the Farmville area. And it’s good work indeed! (Bill Bergen)
February 9, 2023—We had Sara Mullins-Spears, who founded Better Days Farmville, which “provides the basic necessities to feel at home when starting over.” She told several compelling stories of people who fell on hard times and, when finally finding housing, couldn’t furnish the home—until Better Days helped out. (Chance Reynolds)
February 2, 2023—Another new member talk, this time by two members, actually—the husband-wife team of Katy and Bill Anderson. Bill is a professor emeritus from Hampden-Sydney. Katy is an antique dealer among other ventures. They’ve had many life adventures!
January 26, 2023—Le’Tina Giles gave her talk as a new member, a spirited presentation on how she overcame both personal and career challenges. After many years at SVCC and elsewhere she’s now with Prince Edward Schools.
January 19, 2023—Ashley Shelton gave an overview of the services provided by Centra PACE, an alternative to nursing home care that helps those in need remain in their homes. (Russell Dove)
January 12, 2023—Kathi Manis talked about the Centra Cancer Center and its services available to our community. (Julie Flores)
January 5, 2023—Our own Doug Stanley, county administrator for Prince Edward County, gave us an update on the county budget and the good use made of our tax dollars. (Cannon Watson)
December 1, 2022—Pat Payne, director of the Heart of Virginia Free Clinic, talked about the 10-year history of the clinic and how many patients it has served. Many non-insured people have found life-saving care! (Rhonda Arnold)
November 17, 2022—Odessa Pride, Ed.D., Chair of the Prince Edward Board of Supervisors, gave an update on the many activities and initiatives by Prince Edward County. We have a busy and flourishing county! (Doug Stanley)
November 10, 2022—We hosted Sheri McGuire and Brandon Hennessey, representing the Small Business Development Center of Longwood University. The organization has helped many small businesses over the years, contributing greatly to our local economy. (Teresa Stewart)
November 3, 2022—We enjoyed hearing from four applicants for our community grant. All gave fine presentations, but the winner ended up being FACES, specifically funds to install their new walk-in cooler in their satellite location.
October 27, 2022—Megan Clark, Commonwealth’s Attorney for Prince Edward, gave a great update on the efforts of her office to keep crime at bay in our area. Lots of challenges, but they are working hard to meet them. (Andrew Payne)
October 20, 2022—Shelley Mays-Couch talked about her non-profit, LOC Family Services, that helps provide employment for released prisoners, which in turn keeps recidivism rates low. They have a wonderful track record! (Patti Wagner)
October 13, 2022—The Farmville Police Department told us about Blue Christmas, a program to bless kids who don’t have very much with a very special Christmas. The program also helps police officers build good relationships within the community. Our Rotary Club supports the effort. (Teresa Stewart)
October 6, 2022—Rhett Weiss, a site engineer who has worked with some of the largest tech companies in the world, now lives in Farmville and says we have an ideal location to attract a billion dollar data center. He is working with our local governments to possibly bring that about. (Cannon Watson)
September 22, 2022—Emily Grabiec, Director of Education and Outreach at the Longwood Center for the Visual Arts, gave an inspiring talk on how the Center spreads the joy of creativity and art to students and all those in the community. The Happy Hour club heard from Alex Grabiec, Curator of Exhibitions at the LCVA. (Barbara Smith)
September 15, 2022—Angela McDonald, the new Dean of Education at Longwood University, gave an overview of Longwood’s important history teaching teachers and how it’s trying to meet the difficult challenges of today. (Chance Reynolds)
September 8, 2022—Erin Small from the Ag Extension Office talked about the Spotted Lantern Fly, a new invasive species, and the threat to local agriculture, especially vineyards. (Jen Fraley)
September 1, 2022—Jamie Anderson gave an update on Piedmont Senior Resources and the enormous work they do in our area. (Justine Young)
August 25, 2022—District Governor Kenny James gave us quite an inspiring talk on the importance of Rotary’s work around the world. Read about his visit here.
August 18, 2022—Juanita Giles, founder of the Virginia Children’s Book Festival, gave an update on how the Festival fared under Covid and how it has grown to mammoth proportions. (Anne Tyler Paulek)
August 11, 2022—Penny Pairet spoke at noon and Chris Moss at 5:30, both representing the Town of Farmville. Penny discussed the Citizen Group of the Farmville Police Department. (Andrew Payne)
August 4, 2022—Dr. Donkor, representing Ama Nyame Memorial Medical Clinic, talked about his important work since leaving Farmville many years ago.
Dr. Donkor was the pulmonologist at Centra-Southside for over 25 years. He saved many, many local lives. He retired in 2018 and returned to his home in Ghana to help his own village where there was no medical care. Some years prior to Dr. Donkor leaving, a fundraising campaign to build a medical clinic in Ghana was formed. With the help of many local donors, we raised a significant amount of money and a number of volunteers from the Farmville area went to Ghana to start the buildings.
Today there is a standing clinic and Dr Donkor is the only physician. His wife is the administrator. They work full time. He is truly practicing jungle medicine without the benefit of modern technology. There is no AC. Patients sometimes die and it may be a day or so before the body is removed. They desperately need a morgue and that is where fundraising efforts lie now. (Justine Young)
July 28, 2022—Marty Favret, Head Football Coach from Hampden-Sydney College, gave an inspiring talk about what’s truly important in college athletics. (John Miller)
July 21, 2022—Katie Hood gave an update on the important work being done by The Alzheimer’s Association and opportunities to support local efforts. (Kerby Moore)
July 14, 2022—Louis Gould III and Tylic Vaughan talked about the Fresh Boyz Club, which inspires and mentors the youth in our community. (Kerry Mossler)
July 7, 2022—Kyra Marken, who teaches English and other subjects at Bucharest Christian Academy, talked about her experiences taking in Ukrainian refugees. (Jon Marken)