By: Arvind Patil, Charter Rotarian and Past President of the Lake Norman-Huntersville
Rotary Club Lake Norman Rotary club of Huntersville celebrated its Charter Night as a newly established Rotary Club in the Huntersville area on February 13, 1998 with 46 Charter Members. During the formation of the Club the prospective members met in a Restaurant that was owned by a Chilean. Through this Chilean's assistance the newly formed International Services Committee adopted the Rotary Club of Santa Cruz, Chile as its Sister Club. This Chilean Rotary Club requested help to equip their local Hospital with some medical equipment that they lacked. The city of Santa Cruz had a population of about 20,000 but the Hospital there served over 250,000 people in its surroundings. Their special need was for Incubators since they did not have a single incubator for serving a quarter million people. Fortunately at that time Lake Norman Hospital was being built and its Administrator was a member of our Rotary Club. Through his auspices, the Club was able to get a donation of 10 incubators. The Club was able to send these incubators to Santa Cruz through Air National Guard by way of their Mercy Mission. The Santa Cruz City and Hospital Authorities were extremely pleased with the “Generous” gift to the people of Santa Cruz. The City of Santa Cruz built a special wing to the Hospital to house the Incubators. In appreciation, the City and Rotary Club of Santa Cruz sent the Lake Norman-Huntersville Rotary Club several cases of red and white wines from their region, which was then trying to popularize their excellent wines in the United States. The Lake Norman-Huntersville Rotary Club decided to auction the wine to raise money to defray some of the cost incurred by our Club in storage and transportation of the incubators. So began the tradition of the Lake Norman-Huntersville Rotary Club Wine Auction, which in subsequent years was called Lake Norman Wine Spectacular, as the event grew from its humble beginnings. The first wine auction event was conducted on February 3, 1999 at the Chilean Restaurant, where a total of $3100 was raised, netting $2100 for the club charity fund. The subsequent year 2000, the wine auction was moved to the Northstone Club which allowed our Rotary Club to expand the function. In the year 2000, the beneficiary of the Annual Wine Auction was the Red Cross Transportation Project. This project was conceived by members of the North Mecklenburg Rotary Club and they approached our Club to buy a Van for the Red Cross to give transportation to people who lacked any mode of transportation to visit their Physicians and Hospitals. The pooled effort between the two Rotary Clubs allowed the Red Cross to buy the van and start the Transportation Project which has been in continuous existence since then and has now expanded with multiple vehicles and serves hundreds of people in the Lake Norman area every week. Lake Norman-Huntersville Rotary Club has continued its support of the Transportation Project since its inception as one of the worthiest program in the region and in fact plans to double the contribution in the coming year. The beneficiary of the next three wine auctions in years 2001 2002 and 2003 was Ada Jenkins Center, a 501c(3) non-profit agency, which provides many services to the North Mecklenburg and South Iredell area, specifically including the towns of Mooresville, Davidson, Cornelius and Huntersville. Their services to the community span the entire range of life’s seasons; from preschool, with the Head Start program to the twilight years of Parish Nurse program and Senior Nutrition Center, and every time in between. They also have a Crisis Assistance Ministry. Besides contributing to the general funds of the Ada Jenkins Center, Huntersville-Lake Norman Rotary Club also supported their After School Programs which provide the local children a safe and positive learning environment receiving one-on-one tutoring and enrichment opportunities. For the year 2003, the proceeds from the Annual Wine Auction also provided funds to Wymer Park in Huntersville for the construction of Basketball Court for the children and the youth of the area. The main beneficiary for years 2004 and 2005 was the Ada Jenkins Mobile Dental Clinic. The Mobile Dental Clinic project was conceived by a team of area dentist, faith leaders, community members, Ada Jenkins Center and civic clubs such as Rotary. It provided free or reduced-cost dental care to people who did not have any dental insurance. Donated funds from the Wine Auctions were used to buy the Mobile Dental Clinic. For years 2006, 2007 2008, 2009 and again in 2010, the main beneficiary of the Lake Norman Annual Wine Spectator has been the Lake Norman Community Health Clinic, a non-profit organization that provides free or reduced-cost medical treatment to area people who lack any health insurance. The Clinic has their own building and serves hundreds of patients every day using donated time from the area Physicians. Wine Spectacular continues to support this worthy program. Red Cross Transportation, Ada Jenkins Dental Clinic and Lake Norman Clinic have had a tremendous impact in Lake Norman area and are serving the communities in ways that is hard to appreciate completely. They have provided an inspiration to the members of Lake Norman-Huntersville Rotary Club to strive to improve their fund raising abilities each year. The Wine Auction that was started on February 3, 1999 will celebrate its 11th Anniversary this year as the Eleventh Lake Norman Wine Spectator Charity Event. It is the oldest continuous annual wine auction event in the Charlotte area and has grown from a modest receipt of $3100 in its first year to over $100,000 in more recent years. The budgeted income for the Twelth Wine Spectacular Charity Event is over $125,000. It has turned out to be one of the most recognized celebrations of area giving for the charity purposes. Many commercial organizations, restaurants and wineries and wine distributors are generously supporting this event. The newer members of the Rotary Club each year continue to lend their talent, vision and capabilities to this event to make it better. Joe McGee, a fellow Rotarian from the North Mecklenburg Rotary Club, who is an Expert Auctioneer, has also been instrumental in the success of Wine Spectacular event. He has been associated with all but one of the Wine Spectaculars so far. George Erdle, Wine Editor of the Charlotte Taste Magazine has also been associated with Wine Spectacular for last 7 years and has guided the wine auctions of rare wines admirably.
Celebrating over 100 years of service, a unique Rotary time piece was installed this week at Huntersville Town Center, home of Discovery Place Kids. The Clock was installed courtesy of the Electricities team headed by Craig Norfolk. Members within the Rotary Club of Lake Norman Huntersville set the clock ticking to the future enjoyment of residents and visitors to Huntersville at Discovery Place Kids. "It will serve as a celebration and reminder to Rotary's effectiveness in mobilizing community leaders in service throughout the community and the world." said Scott Crosbie, Rotary Clock Project Manager, "When the Rotary Club approached us with the idea, we knew it would enhance the overall beauty of the Huntersville Town Center site and acknowledge the generous contributions of time and money Rotary members have contributed over the years in our community," said Jack Simoneau, Town Planner for Huntersville. On June 3 a dedication ceremony will take place with Rotarians and invited guests from the community and donors to the Project. The Rotary Club of lake Norman-Huntersville received an $11,000 matching grant from Rotary International to install the Town Clock across from Huntersville Town Hall at the new Town Center, Home of Discovery Place Kids, (southwest corner of Gilead Road and Old Statesville / Highway 115). Rotarians secured donations to match Rotary International's grant from individuals, families, businesses, and other organizations in return for a laser-engraved personalized bricks. For pictures of the clock and its installation, click here.
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