Communication Builds Our Community

Rotary on the Ridge Toasts New President Trey Heath

Rotary on the Ridge held its first "hybrid" meeting Monday, June 22 to install new President Trey Heath and offer thanks to outgoing President Herb Gillis.

About 15 members gathered in person, while another 10 used the ZOOM platform to participate online. District 6890 Governor Kip Kipnis was installing officer for Heath, who officially becomes club president July 1. The club postponed its annual celebration and further recognition of Gillis and other members to July 22, in hopes more will be able to gather in person.

Those gathered Monday enjoyed snacks and offered a champagne toast to the club's new leader, only the fifth president in the history of the regional, after hours service club that was chartered by Rotary International in December 2016.

Heath told club members and guests that he had no special agenda for the new Rotary year, but wanted to support what club members wanted to accomplish in service to the community. Gillis during the past year led the club, which took a leadership role in renovating and furnishing a scholarship house in Winter Haven for homeless Polk State College students. Early in the year club members took the Josh the Otter water safety presentation to area day care centers. Plans to do more presentations at elementary schools were postponed due to the COVID-19 virus. The club also provides adult beverage service for donations at various community events.

Heath originally was club vice president, scheduled to be president-elect this year, but he stepped up when president-elect Christina Richards moved to Brandon.

Heath and wife Michelle are property managers working with buyers and sellers through Century 21 at Your Service Realty alongside her parents, Ruthie and Ken Welch. The Heaths have been married for nearly 20 years and have one daughter, Brianna, a recent graduate of Lake Wales High School, who will complete her associate's degree from Polk State College in July. They have been actively involved with Brianna's passions as a state-level gymnast and now as a bonafide equestrian master apprentice.

The club's July celebration will have a racing theme to recognize Heath's love for the sport.

"I love racing and have since I was knee high to a grasshopper. No, not just NASCAR, but all forms of racing," Heath said. "If there is a green flag and a checkered flag I have watched, participated in it, and been a part of it."

A lifelong resident of Polk County, Heath has traveled the country playing and coaching sports. He is a former head tennis coach at Florida Southern College and Webber International University, where his father Bill served as athletic director.

"Racing and tennis have been my life. I have, at times, mixed business into this," Heath said, noting "We love being in this community and really feel that we will be here for many years to come."

Rotary on the Ridge currently has 36 members from throughout East Polk County and is looking to add more people with a heart for service. The club meets from 5-6 p.m. on Mondays at the Ouellette Law Firm community meeting room at 151 E. Central Ave. in downtown Lake Wales. For more information, email [email protected].


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