Club Infomation
Metro meets on Alternate Tuesdays at noon at the Jewish Educational Alliance, 5111 Abercorn St.
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President Will Gruver called the meeting to order. This was his first meeting as president (Immediate Past President Cecilia Arango covered on July 5 when Will's flight was delayed). He showed the "not a walking stick" he received from the district governor at the Presidents Elect Training Seminar to do the "digging" and to do the work of Rotary. 
Campion Usry was inducted into the club. He is is vice president of Coastal Medical Billing and previously served in the U.S. Marine Corps as an infantryman and martial arts instructor. He earned a bachelor of science degree in finance from the University of South Carolina and an MBA from Charleston Southern University. He moved to Savannah 18 months ago and is married with two children. He was a charter board member and secretary of the Summerville Evening Rotary Club.


Mary Francis Kidd with Klarna (Swedish company) was the guest of Erika Morrow.
Jason Usry with WJCL (and a screenwriter) was the guest of Sarah Smith.
Jake Wood of the Rotary Club of Columbus, Ga, attended the meeting. He is in town aiding in implementing a new chapter of House of Heroes in Savannah (a non-profit founded in Columbus).

Rotary Anniversaries

Highlights: Jamie Arkins, Kristen Crawley, and Jeff Brady have been members for 10 years.

Featured Speaker: Joe Marchese

Joe Marchese is the owner of Marchese Construction and co-founder of the Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society (LDSS). Highlights from his remarks: 
  • He's an advocate for inclusion — he wears two different socks every day.
  • 11 homeless vets will move into 35 tiny houses at 75 Dundee St. (Chatham Savannah Authority for the Homeless)
  • Daughter Ella Marchese (16 years old) is an orange belt in karate and has down syndrome. She's now in a special needs cheerleading group.
  • Dr. Ben Spitalnick encouraged Joe to start LDSS along with the Husseys, the Bogardis, and the Fields.
  • He advocates for one person at a time
  • LDSS Camp Buddy - directed by Molly Marchese at St. Andrews School this year
  • LDSS Buddy Walk (founded by Marjorie Young, another strong Rotarian in our community) - usually every October
  • LDSS Night of Champions - every May - to award differently abled individuals and their employers who employ them - very inspiration evening and no family can be turned away if they cannot afford to attend - save the day May 12, 2023 at Savannah Convention Center
  • Our area needs a transportation company solely devoted to getting these devoted employees to their jobs every day
  • He shared wonderful stories of Jason Thompson, who drives a sweeper scrubber, and Mikey Holton, who is a "para pro" at South Effingham Elementary School, and the difference they make at their jobs and in their co-workers 'and students' lives.

Committee Reports

In her final meeting as president, Cecilia Arango presented the following 2021-2022 Metro Rotary Awards:
  • Rookie of the Year: Chelsea Sawyer
  • Service Above Self Award: Elizabeth Summerell
  • Metro’s Winging It WingWoman: Jessica Pedigo
  • Rotarian of the Year: Florence Slatinsky
She encouraged club members to look into the Rotary Leadership Institute as an avenue for learning how to be a better Rotarian through three sessions: The Rotarian, The Rotary Club, and the Rotary Journey. 
In the Metrotarians in the Spotlight segment, Cecilia noted coverage of TEDx Savannah, for which she served as emcee. Zerik Samples received Georgia Southern University's George & Lucy Armstrong Award. Kristin Crawley completed the Leadership Southeast Georgia program.
Ro Patrick and Lexi Henigman were inducted into the club and Whitney Shephard was honored as a Paul Harris Fellow + 6.
Program Committee Chair George Seaborough announced the next social will be July 26 at Vic’s on the River.

Classification Talk: Kristin King

After Kristin moved to Savannah from Michigan in 2004, she co-founded New Arts Ensembles with Ricardo Ochoa. The firm coordinates live music for more than 200 events throughout the year, including weddings, corporate functions, private parties, and more. She is also the marketing director for Sago Property Management, which specializes in long-term residential properties.
She is president of the Girls on the Run of Coastal Georgia and Lowcountry board and previously served on the board of America’s Second Harvest of Coastal Georgia.


Emily Doherty was the guest of Cecilia Arango.
Kim Campbell was the guest of Ellen Harris
Sarah Smith’s guest was her daughter Nora.

Prospective Member Profile: Campion Usry

Campion Usry is vice president of Coastal Medical Billing and previously served in the U.S. Marine Corps as an infantryman and martial arts instructor. He earned a bachelor of science degree in finance from the University of South Carolina and an MBA from Charleston Southern University. He moved to Savannah 18 months ago and is married with two children. He was a charter board member and secretary of the Summerville Evening Rotary Club.

Featured Speaker: Conni Reynolds, Savannah Chamber of Commerce

Conni Reynolds is small business and events manager for the Savannah Area Chamber and is a Savannah native. She emphasized that Chamber is primarily composed of small businesses and has 2,200 members in total. She said her work focuses on connecting small businesses with the resources they need to succeed.
She organizes networking opportunities, ribbon-cuttings, and large events and helps members connect through service on councils and committees within the Chamber. 

Committee Reports

President Cecilia Arango reminded club members that June is Rotary Fellowships month. Rotary Fellowships are international groups that share a common passion. Being part of a fellowship is a fun way to make friends around the world and explore shared hobbies, professions, and interests. She also announced July 1 is the deadline to pay dues for the coming Rotary year.
Service Committee Chair Kristen Crawley reminded members they can still volunteer for Bike Walk Savannah bicyclist and pedestrian counts.
Program Committee Chair George Seaborough said details on the June social will be announced soon. 
Annual Service Partner Committee Co-Charis Cari Phelps and Chelsea Sawyer announced that Brightside Child and Family Advocacy has been selected as this year’s service partner. Stay tuned for details on service opportunities.
Membership Committee Chair Katie Joyner announced Lexi Henigman and Campion Usry are moving through the projective member program.


Connor Buchanan was the guest of Cecilia Arango.
Charles Pace was the guest of Zerik Samples.
Lexi Henigman (Prospective Members Program) was the guest of Chelsea Sawyer.
Brendan West was the guest of Katie Joyner.
Aileen Gabbey was the guest of Sarah Smith.
Kelley Waldron’s guest was her son, Charlie.
Opollo Johnson was the guest of Kristen Crawley.

Featured Speaker: Dr. Amy Williams, Savannah Philharmonic

Executive Director Dr. Amy Williams described the changes the Savannah Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus has undertaken to overcome barriers to participation so that all members of the community can attend concerts, including adjusting pricing, relaxing concert dress codes, and finding additional concert locations. She explained how programs such as Phil the Neighborhood, Phil the Park, Phil the Squares, the On the Road Series, and the Subscription series are aimed at making performances more accessible to communities in our region. Williams also talked about the education initiatives the Philharmonic has launched to build programming which provides all students at every school with equitable access to high-quality music education.

Committee Reports

President-Elect Will Gruver reminded club members that May is Youth Services Month and talked about Rotary’s areas of focus. He also discussed preparing for the new Rotary year, which begins in July. He asked members to be on the lookout for the Club Member Satisfaction Survey that is used to plan for the new year at the board retreat. He encouraged everyone to consider joining a committee, and attend the District Assembly on June 18. He also noted that recruiting for the fall fundraiser chair and committee is already underway. Will announced that the Hue Thomas Jr. Georgia Rotary Student Program is returning to Savannah, Oct. 14-16.
Program Committee Chair George Seaborough announced the May Social will be held May 24 at 5:30 p.m. at Pinky’s and the Fifth Tuesday social on May 31 in Greene Square
Service credits are also available through purchasing books for the Loop it Up Drive and through participation in the Rotary East beach clean-up on May 21.


Kendall Walker
Kate Blair

Annual Service Partner Presentations

Annual Service Partner Committee Co-Chairs Carri Clark and Chelsea Sawyer reported they received a total of 20 qualified applications. Five of these sere invited to present to the Service Committee, which selected the two finalists: Brightside Child & Family Advocacy and Elevate Savannah. Kate Blair of Brightside and Kendall Walker of Elevate each made presentations to the club. Each club member has received a link to vote on the Annual Service Partner via email.
From the President
Metro Savannah may not look like your grandfather's Rotary Club, but we're not all that different. We're proud to be members of Rotary International, believe strongly in its mission and traditions, and partner frequently with other clubs in the area.
We're just a bit different, and do things a bit differently. We're younger than the average club, and our meetings are twice monthly instead of every week. We fill in the free weeks with monthly service projects and socials. We throw larger events that have become legend.  
Want to join us? Visiting Rotarians are welcome to join any of our lunch meetings or events. Others should come as a guest of a friend, colleague or acquaintance who is already a member of Metro. If you're interested in becoming a member after that visit, reach out to your host and they'll explain the membership process to you. 
Thanks for checking out Metro.    
Will Gruver
Club Executives & Directors
President Elect
Immediate Past President
At Large Director
At Large (Legacy Project)
Programs Chair
Rotary Foundation Chair
Membership Chair
Communications Chair
Service Chair
Recording Secretary (2-year)
At Large (Assistant Service)
Family of Rotary
GRSP Liaison
Interact Liaison
Disaster Response