New Rotary leader to continue progress

Published 10:48 pm Saturday, June 27, 2009

Joe Jenkins wears more hats than you will find in a room full of debutantes at a Kentucky Derby party. Not the literal kind of hats, but the figurative ones that keep him involved in a variety of things.

The latest “hat” will bear the insignia of the Rotary wheel and the words “president.”

Jenkins, who already has a full plate as director of the Briggs Library system and as a member of a variety of other community groups, has stepped up to lead the Ironton club.

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“One of the things I have learned over the years I have been involved with the club is that Rotary does a tremendous amount of good, not only in our own community but worldwide,” Jenkins said.

Although I have only been a member of Rotary for three or four years, I couldn’t agree more.

Rotary is an excellent asset to the community and a gathering of civic-minded business professionals that care about southern Ohio.

Some perceive the club to be an elitist group, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. The Ironton Rotary Club welcomed me a few years ago and we have welcomed many others in the time I have been a member.

I expect that will only continue under Joe’s leadership as the club tries to continue the momentum it has gained under recent past presidents Bret Hensley of Creative Financial Solutions LLC and Carl Darling of Americas Styrenics.

“I enjoyed being the president. … We didn’t accomplish everything I had hoped but we had a lot of activity,” Darling said to the club as he swore in Jenkins Wednesday. “Thank you for your help over the past year.”

Carl should be proud of the efforts the club has made.

Rotary continued a literacy project that provides dictionaries to every third-grade student in Lawrence County.

The club continued offering nursing scholarships to local students and resumed the 4-Way Test essay contest that gets high school students involved.

The Ironton club also began a downtown renovation project that will beautify and revitalize the fountain area over the next few years.

All these projects are time and money well spent, a true investment in the community.

“I think the projects we are doing are valuable,” Jenkins said.

The club swore in new officers as well, almost all of whom have served for many years but remain committed to civic involvement.

Proctorville resident and Ohio River Bank employee Jeff Clark will follow Jenkins after accepting the vice president role.

Other officers are: T.J. Parnell, secretary; Mark Compston, assistant secretary; Kenny Hughes treasurer; Carl Darling, assistant treasurer; Ray “Doc” Payne, sergeant-at-Arms, Mike Hurley, assistant sergeant-at-arms; James Murphy – International Services Chair; A. Darwin Haynes, Vocational Services Chair; Bret Hensley, Membership Chair, Rich Mountain – Community Services Chair; Mike Caldwell (That’s me!), Literacy Chair; Dick Thompson, Foundation Chair; Casey Compston, Iron Wheel Editor.

Rotary does a lot in the community and I am sure that this will continue with Jenkins’ leadership.

The club should be thankful that he found room for one more hat.

Michael Caldwell is publisher of The Tribune. To reach him, call (740) 532-1445 ext. 24 or by e-mail at