- Community Requires Communication

Click here to get in touch with great transportation deals

By Chevon T. Baccus APR
Executive Editor 

Rotary on the Ridge a Family Affair for Gillises


Last updated 7/11/2019 at 2:34pm

Williamson Photography of Lake Wales

Megan Gillis passes the Rotary president's gavel to husband Herb while their daughters and her parents are honored for club service

The Rotary on the Ridge president's gavel Monday, July 1 passed from one Gillis to another Gillis as five other family members were recognized with Service Above Self Awards.

Rotary is definitely a family affair for 2018-19 President Megan Gillis and husband Herb, who took over club leadership for 2019-20. Shortly after Megan was installed as president last June her parents, Sheri and Marshall Hartley, joined the club. Megan and Herb were charter members of Rotary on the Ridge, a regional after hours service club chartered by Rotary International in December 2016. Their three daughters – Jillian, Madison, and Haiden – are considered "Rota-kids," attending weekly club meetings and participating in service projects and fun family events.

"I cannot think of an organization that better represents the values I want to teach my girls," Herb Gillis said. "At Rotary on the Ridge, we build lasting friendships between a diverse group of members. We inspire our members to be leaders. We connect and serve communities because we care. We promote and support local business. We do this while having great good fun."

Both Hartleys and the three Gillis girls were recognized at the club installation celebration July 1 for Service Above Self. Others honored included Nancy Gossard and Kami Rickert along with those recognized earlier in the year: Chevon Baccus, Mike Baccus, Trey Heath, Terrye Howell, Sandy Odom, Drew Truitt and Sandra Wolf. Charter member Veronica Minton was honored posthumously after her death in July 2018.

"I am so very proud of my girls," Herb Gillis said "They have participated in so many service projects and fun-raising activities in support of Rotary on the Ridge. From distributing food to disadvantaged families to cardboard boat races at the recent Beach Battle fun-raiser, the Gillis girls are always serving and building goodwill."

Also at the celebration Herb Gillis and club Treasurer Mike Baccus were named Paul Harris Fellows. Paul Harris Fellow recognition goes to outstanding club members who have been recognized with $1,000 contributions to the Rotary International Foundation. The award is named for Paul Harris, one of the three Chicago businessmen who founded Rotary in 1905. 2018-19 District Governor Nick Hall and Greg Love presented certificates and lapel pins to the latest Paul Harris Fellows. A past Rotarian, Love is Herb Gillis' supervisor at the Polk Sheriff's office and he sponsored him for the award. Other club members who have earned this designation are Chevon Baccus, Gio Fazzini and Terri Miller.

Hall also presented Megan Gillis with the District 6890 Club President of the Year Award; he selected her as the top president among 37 clubs in the district.

Mike Baccus also received a special award Monday as a Quiet Rotarian, "a member who is always there, quietly working behind the scenes, someone we can always count on to step up to the volunteer plate." The Quiet Rotarian Award shows a tree with people among the roots and the anonymous quote "Without its strong silent roots there would not be a tree."

Club Sergeant-at-Arms Drew Truitt was named 2018-19 Rotarian of the Year. See separate story at

Megan Gillis presented an overview of the past year, which included the club starting the Josh the Otter water safety initiative for kindergarten and pre-K children in East Polk, donating 10 oak trees around Lake Wailes, providing volunteers for various community events, donating backpacks and school supplies and supporting Toys for Tots, Silly Socks Saturdays, Students in Transition and the Care Center Stay at Home Work Camp.

Williamson Photography of Lake Wales

Rotary District Governor NIck Hall (left) and Greg Love (right) present Paul Harris Fellow honors to Mike Baccus and Herb Gillis

Past District 6890 Governor and Zone 34 Coordinator George Robertson-Burnett issued a membership challenge and installed the 2019-20 Officers and Board. In addition to President Herb Gillis they include: Christina Richards, president-elect; Trey Heath, vice president and membership chair; Chevon Baccus, executive secretary and public image chair; Sandy Odom, secretary; Mike Baccus, treasurer; Drew Truitt, sergeant-at-arms; Gio Fazzini, foundation chair; Terri Miller, fun-raising chair; Sandra Wolf, service projects chair; and Megan Gillis, immediate past president.

Club members enjoyed barbecue at the red, white and blue themed patriotic event. The evening closed with a humorous song written about President Herb Gillis, sung to the tune of the Beverly Hillbillies theme song.

Rotary on the Ridge meets on Mondays at the Ouellette Law Firm, 151 E. Central Ave. in Lake Wales. Its 31 members come from throughout East Polk County and guests are always welcome. For more information, visit the club's Facebook page at or contact Chevon Baccus at 863-651-1065 or by email at [email protected] The club's top priorities are community service, fellowship and business networking.

For event photo gallery, go to


Author Bio

Chevon T. Baccus APR, Contributing Writer

After working as a newspaper reporter and editor for eight years, Chevon moved on to a long career in public relations, marketing and business development. After 2 1/2 years as founding publisher of she's happy to still be an occasional contributor.

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 8636511065


Reader Comments(0)


Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2021

Rendered 11/20/2021 11:03