The Rotary Club of Downtown Statesboro recently celebrated its 25th anniversary as a civic organization.
The club, which meets on Thursdays at 7 a.m., was sponsored by the Statesboro Rotary Club and founded in the summer of 1995. It had 49 charter members and first met at the Nic Nac restaurant on East Main Street. Over the years, meeting locations have included Holiday Inn on South Main, Statesboro Inn on Main, and now Shug's on Main – all within Statesboro's downtown district.
Terrell Reddick served as the first president of the club.
Club projects through the first two-and-a-half decades have encompassed both local and international causes. Literacy and educational assistance have been of paramount focus, with book donations and scholarship speech contests. Additionally, labor and funding for local organizations including Habitat For Humanity, fitness trail at Mill Creek Regional Park, and the Behavioral Pediatrics Resource Center and have been part of the club agenda.
Quarterly, club members meet and pick up trash along Willie McTell Trail. Joining other Rotary Clubs around the globe, Downtown Rotary has supported efforts to eradicate polio worldwide, provide water wells in Africa, and fund relief packages for victims of natural disasters, domestically and abroad.
At its recent annual meeting and 25th anniversary celebration, outgoing president Wade Elliott inducted incoming president Keith McIntyre and the new slate of officers, including president-elect Per Holtze and sergeant-at-arms Ted Hasbrouck; directors Jeremy Hart, Dr. Thad Riley, Ben Edwards and Rafe Waters. Committee chairs are Bill Wright, Kathy Spivey, Hadley Campbell and Patricia Hunter.
A very special recognition was presented to Thelma Kilpatrick in the manner of a Paul Harris Fellowship and recognition of 50 years of service to Rotary by her late husband Roy Kilpatrick, a Downtown Rotarian who passed away in September 2020.
Roy Kilpatrick was born in Salem, Georgia, a native of Oconee County, educated at Watkinsville High School, Georgia Southern College, Georgia State University and the Northwestern University School of Mortgage Banking in Chicago. He began his mortgage lending career in Atlanta, and later became a licensed real estate broker, real estate appraiser and insurance agent. He and his wife, Thelma, moved to Swainsboro in 1970 and then, upon their retirement, to Thelma’s family farm in Statesboro around 1999.
Kilpatrick's life was always one of service to his community. A lifelong Rotarian, Roy Clyde Kilpatrick culminated 50 years of service to Rotary as a member of the Downtown Statesboro Rotary Club.
Club members said he will be remembered as a true Southern gentleman, a giant of a man with a personality and joyful spirit to match. His wit, stories and bear hugs are legendary and will be sorely missed by fellow rotarians and the community at-large.