Nov. 4, 21


November 4, 2021

By Dr. Leona Onderdonk Rowan

Call to Order:  The meeting was called to order by Elizabeth Stevens, President of the Rotary Club of Mobile, at 12:15 p.m.

Moment of Silence:  Elizabeth Stevens requested a moment of silence in honor of member Stillman DePauw Knight, Jr. who passed away last month.

Invocation:  Garrett Powe offered the invocation.

Pledge and Introductions:   Tommy Blankenship led the members in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, and Elizabeth introduced member guest, Todd Greer, VP of Academic Affairs at the University of Mobile.

Student Guest:  Kim Garrett, of Blount High School, introduced the school counselor.  She in turn introduced the student of the week, Antavia Harris.  Following Antavia’s remarks, Elizabeth Stevens presented her a certificate.

New Member:  Meg Fowler introduced new member Candace Cooksey, Director of Communications for the City of Mobile.

History Moment:  Tom McGehee presented a brief history of the Rotary clock which is located in downtown Mobile.


  • Appreciation was expressed to Garrett Williamson for organizing the Rotary Annual Gala at the USS Alabama Battleship Park.
  • Elizabeth thanked Leona Rowan for serving as contributing editor.
  • Members Justine and Ryan Bixler welcomed their first baby on October 29th.
  • The nominating committee is considering two new board members. Anyone who is interested in serving is asked to contact a member of the nominating committee.  Committee members are Claire McCarron, Chairperson, Bob Chappelle, Kesshia Davis, Tyrone Fenderson, Garrett Williamson, Meg Fowler, and Elizabeth Stevens.
  • There will be a vote next week on an amendment to the bylaws. Any member who is unable to attend is encouraged to send in a proxy so that we have a quorum.
  • Next week’s meeting is a Veterans’ Day program. Any member who served in the military should contact Peggy Buggs so that they may be recognized for their service.
  • Member birthdays were announced.
  • Edward Ladd was recognized and thanked for his gift to the Excellence in Scholarship fund at our Rotary Children’s Foundation.
  • The Foley Rotary Oyster Run will be held on Saturday, November 13th. Those interested in participating may register at
  • Member Chris Gibson is organizing The Unity Project event on Saturday, November 6th from 9:00 to 3:00 in Isom Clemons Park at 401 MLK Avenue.
  • Members Michael Chambers and Wiley Blankenship are organizing Coastal Conversations. It will be held next Tuesday at the Mobile History Museum at 5:30 pm.  The featured speaker is Thomas J. Murphy. Jr., former mayor of Pittsburg, PA, who will deliver a presentation entitled “How Cities Grow and Prosper”.


Program:  Meg Fowler introduced retired US Navy Captain Tom Daniel.  Captain Daniel served in the US Navy for 31 years of active duty as a surface warfare officer. He served as commanding officer of the USS Samuel Eliot Morison, Florida A&M and Florida State NROTC, as well as special assistant to the 26th and 27th Chiefs of Naval Operations.  He currently serves as the senior naval science instructor at WP Davidson High School in Mobile.

Captain Daniel began his remarks by explaining he that is the son of one of America’s “Greatest Generation” who served in the US Navy during WW II.  Then he called for a moment of silence in honor of Gen. Colin Powell who recently passed away.  Gen. Powell’s funeral service will be held at the National Cathedral in Washington DC on Friday afternoon.

Captain Daniel continued by characterizing his remarks as similar to Paul Harvey’s “The Rest of the Story”.  He explained that in 1992 Junior ROTC was expanded at Davidson High School to include eighth graders from Denton Middle School.  JROTC is an elective course offered in twelve high schools in the Mobile County Public School System.  It provides cadets discipline and an opportunity to excel.  Captain Daniel showed a video on the JROTC program.  Produced by Alabama Public Television, the video presents the positive impact JROTC has on young people.  He concluded his presentation by referring members to an article he wrote entitled “JROTC Is an Investment in the Future”.  Copies of his article were on each table.

After questions from the floor were answered, Elizabeth thanked Captain Daniel for speaking to our club and presented him a certificate noting that a donation has been made in his honor to the Mobile Symphony to sponsor a gifted young child for one year with the Chamber Strings program.

Closing Remarks and Adjournment:  Elizabeth announced that Colonel Anthony Sampson, United States Army Reserve, will be the guest speaker next week in the Moonlight Ballroom.  During the program, we will honor our Veterans.   Once again, she reminded members to send in their proxy form if they will not attend next week.  She thanked special guests, student-of –the-week Antavia Harris and Speaker, Captain Daniel, Also, she welcomed new club member, Candace Cooksey, and guest Todd Greer.  The meeting was adjourned at approximately 1:00 p.m.