Rotary recognizes Rabun's first line of defense
CLAYTON-- The Rotary Club of Clayton recently recognized the efforts of local First Responders, who have been on the front lines of the national health emergency for nearly a year.
Last week, Rotarians delivered 150 hand-written thank-you notes to employees at the Rabun County Health Department, Rabun County EMS and 911 and Mountain Lakes Medical Center.
“We appreciate all of our public servants, but we wanted to especially recognize those fighting on the front lines during this pandemic,” said Wayne Knuckles, Rotary President. “They literally risk their lives every day to care for our community.”
Along with the letters of thanks, Rotary distributed $15,000 in gift cards to be redeemed at Rabun County businesses.
“Our goal was both honoring some very deserving people and to help stimulate the local economy with a much-needed economic boost,” Knuckles said. “We considered that a win-win.”
“We were looking for some way to give back to the community,” said Matt Mitcham, Rotary Secretary. “We need to take care of the First Responders and front-line healthcare workers in our community. I think we all feel a respect and appreciation for the people taking care of us in this dark hour.”
The letters of thanks were addressed to each individual by name.
“We wanted to personalize them,” Mitcham said. “Bring a touch to it from the Rotary Club.”
Mitcham said that the money raised for the project will go directly into the local economy.
“We are especially appreciative of Reeves Hardware, Chick-fil-A and Sunday Diner for also supporting our community,” Knuckles said. “As well as all those whose generous contributions made this possible.”
“I was speechless,” said Dulene Jones, county nurse manager for the Rabun County Health Department, about how she felt receiving the gifts from Rotary. “It means more than words can express.”
Mike Carnes, EMS/911 director, said that his department was grateful for the gesture.
“I appreciate them for their support during the pandemic,” Carnes said.
“It’s such a blessing and we appreciate this so much,” said Rachel Cowart, Chief Nursing Officer of Mountain Lakes Medical Center, when Rotary presented the hospital with the gifts.
“It’s such a huge blessing to our staff. This is a solid way to say thank you and we appreciate it.”
She said that the pandemic has tested her staff in every way possible and they are eternally grateful for the recognition.
“Rotarians are known as people of action,” said Knuckles. “And the same can be said of the entire Rabun County community. I’ve never heard of a need that the people of this community have not stepped up to try to help. Once again, Rabun County residents stood tall.”