Literacy…and a Storm Chaser!

Chatham Rotary’s February 26 program provided an update on the Pittsylvania County Literacy Program sponsored by the Pittsylvania County Library system.  The program was presented by Phyllis Roach who was named director of the Pittsylvania County Literacy Program effective September 2018. Ms. Roach grew up in Pittsylvania County and attended local schools but worked for 25 years in California as a Science teacher, high school Assistant Principal, and Middle School Principal. Prior to her work as an educator Ms. Roach attended Montana State University obtaining a BS in Earth Science and served three years in Peace Corps Kenya as an Agriculture/Forestry extension agent and volunteer trainer.  She is very excited to be of service to the adults in Pittsylvania County and their literacy needs.

Pictured: Phyllis Roach

Ms. Roach explained that the Pittsylvania County Literacy Program was founded in 1994 to serve adults in need of literacy help. The program has one employee and functions through the generosity of volunteer tutors, grants, and donations. Fundraising is focused on grant writing through local and national programs such as the J.T. Minnie Maude, Dan River, and Womack Foundations, and national groups such as the National Center for Family Literacy, ProLiteracy, and others. These funds provide materials and technology to serve adults in goals they set for themselves such as improving their reading and writing skills, job related literacy, GED tutoring, Math assistance, or any other needs. The program was without a Director for eight month’s so future plans are to reestablish county outreach to organizations like Rotary, HeadStart, community churches, NAACP, Pittsylvania County Retired Teachers, and more. In addition, the program is working collaboratively to attract larger, long-term program grants with the County Library System.

The Literacy Program is currently in need of tutors and will work to attract them and provide training funded through grants. The county provides the program with office and technology support and a small stipend used for salary.

L-R: Lisa Tuite, Phyllis Roach, Phil Mauger

March 5th, the Chatham Rotary Club was treated to an interesting weather related program by George Flickenger, WSET TV Chief Meteorologist.  
Sponsored by Mollie Holmes, Chatham Rotary, George entertained the club members with his enthusiasm and wit as he talked about his experiences as a TV Weatherman and Storm Chaser in Texas and Oklahoma prior to his relocation to Virginia and WSET TV.  

Pictured: Mollie Holmes, George Flickenger

His presentation was timely in view of the recent tornado activity in Alabama and Georgia and he was able to emphasize the dangers and safety procedures if caught in severe weather situations.  As Chief Meteorologist, George directs the operations of the weather center and its team.  He is a graduate of Texas A&M University and has appeared on the reality show Storm Chasers.  Several of his videos of his storm chasing adventures added a sense of reality to what he shared with the Rotarians.

George Flickenger, WSET Meteorologist

Tomorrow’s Leaders Today

This week’s Chatham Rotary Program featured a presentation by Rotarian Robert Adams and two students from Chatham High School INTERACT who participated in the Rotary District 7570 RYLA youth event in December. 

RYLA stands for Rotary Youth Leaders Awards and this past year’s event was held in Blacksburg, Virginia.  The conference was attended by 153 high school juniors and seniors from all over western Virginia and Tennessee.   Also participating were six foreign exchange students. Chatham High INTERACT and Chatham Rotary sponsored Hanna Goins and Elizabeth Triggs and together with Robert Adams they gave an overview of the activities and events of this year’s conference.

Rebecca Parsons, the Chatham High School faculty sponsor for INTERACT also participated in the program today.

Above: Rebecca Parsons, CHS INTERACT Sponsor

Lisa Tuite Speaks to Rotary

The February 12th Rotary Program for Chatham Rotary Club was present by Chatham Rotarian Lisa Tuite.  Lisa has been the Director of the Pittsylvania County Public Library since 2016.

Previously, she worked for Senator Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia in a number of capacities, and prior to that, as an imagery analyst and branch chief at the National Photographic Interpretation Center for the Central Intelligence Agency. She is a graduate of the University of Virginia, Georgetown University, and the University of Alabama. Lisa lives in Gretna with her husband Jim. They have one daughter, Rachel.

In July 2018, the library and an ad hoc committee of interested citizens presented a report to the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors entitled “Expanding the Reach” that outlines the need for additional library facilities for underserved areas of the county. The Board agreed to conduct a feasibility study, which is kicking off in March. Ms. Tuite outlined the community engagement and outreach portions of the feasibility study, during which Rotarians and the public can offer their views on the need for expanded library services in the county.

In addition…

Ben Paris, a teacher at Hargrave Military Academy and one of the main facilitators for the the newly formed Young Life program for high school students throughout the county gave a summary of the progress Young Life is making with area youth.  Chatham Rotary has been one of the sponsors of Young Life since its inception and Dick Camp presented Ben with a Chatham Rotary Check for $1000 to assist in their continued development.

Update on the Pet Center

Chatham Rotary Club was treated to an update by James McLaughlin, Director of the Pittsylvania County Pet Center at the weekly meeting on Feb. 5th



James McLaughlin was named director of the Pittsylvania Pet Center effective January 1, 2019, when Pittsylvania County assumed operational control of the Center from the Lynchburg Humane Society.  After serving honorably in the US Navy for 20 years, James pursued his passion for working with animals. Mr. McLaughlin was with the  Portsmouth Humane Society for 7 years where he worked my way up from customer service, to the Director of Operations.
He is very excited about the opportunity provided to him by Pittsylvania County, and looks forward to working with the local community to make a difference in animal welfare throughout the county and beyond.



Also at the February 5th  meeting, Rotarian Dick Camp presented Faith Stamps, Director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Danville Area, with a check of $1,000 from the Chatham Rotary Club. This is a continuation of our club's ongoing community partnership with BGC Danville, and our vision to assist the youth of our region.
Boys & Girls Clubs provide kids and teens in our community a safe place to develop essential skills, make lasting connections and have fun. As a result, Club kids are more likely to:
  • Graduate from high school
  • Be physically active every day
  • Volunteer in their communities

Preparing today’s generation for tomorrow’s success

Chatham Rotary’s noon meeting on January 29th featured an extremely interesting and informative program presented by Mrs. Jessica Dalton, Principal, Pittsylvania Career and Technical Center for the Pittsylvania County Schools.  Mark Jones, a Chatham Rotarian sponsored the program and introduced Mrs. Dalton who is a Chatham, Virginia resident who has worked in Pittsylvania County Schools the past 12 years as a teacher at Dan River High School, Assistant Principal/Athletic Director at Chatham High School, and currently as the Principal of the Pittsylvania Career and Technical Center.

Mrs. Dalton’s presentation highlighted the program at Pittsylvania Career and Technical Center that offers career training in eighteen program areas. These are one or two year programs that offer high school and college credit through dual enrollment with Danville Community College where students can receive college credit as a high school student.  Students from throughout the county high schools travel to the Career and Technical Center located in Chatham daily to participate in their program and have the opportunity to work with state-of-the-art equipment and explore different career pathways through business partnerships.  Some of the eighteen program areas include Automotive Technology, Cybersecurity Technology Systems, Criminal Justice-Law Enforcement, and Cosmetology, Precision Machine Technology, Nursing and Welding.  Information on the Career and Technical Center and other available programs is available at their website: or by calling the Center at 434-432-9416.  The Center will conduct an Open House on March 7th for interested participants.

Pictured below: Jessica Dalton and Club President, Phil Mauger


Chatham Rotary Club also inducted a new member at the noon meeting.  Nicholas Ferraco, Sartamor Plant Manager in Tightsqueeze became our Clubs newest member.  Nick was introduced to Rotary and sponsored by Walter Sullivan.  Membership Chair Joe Rogers conducted the induction.  Welcome Nick Ferraco!

Pictured both images (L-R) Walter Sullivan, Nicholas Ferraco, Joe Rogers 


Rise Against Hunger

Rise Against Hunger is an international hunger relief non-profit organization that coordinates the packaging and distribution of food and other life-changing aid to people in developing nations.

Participants of the Rise Against Hunger Event

January 26, 2019 a group of about 50 people from the Chatham Rotary Club, the Danville Rotary Club and the Danville After-Hours Rotary as well as students from Chatham High School, Tunstall High School and Chatham Hall came together to organize this event.  There were also several private citizens that participated in this joint effort to package meals destined for Haiti.

This group of 50 packaged over 10,000 meals for the Haitian people!  And we had a good time doing it, knowing that we were helping fight against the world-wide dilemma of hunger.

Below are some pictures of the event. Funny hairnets and beard-nets can’t hide the smile on the faces of our participants!  

Ready for Success!

Chatham Rotary’s noon meeting on January 15 featured an extremely interesting and informative program presented by Ms. Robin Haymore, who currently serves as Associate Superintendent for Support Services at Pittsylvania County Schools.  Previously, she was a Director of Special Education and is a Nationally Certified School Psychologist.  Robin began her career as a Special Education teacher and has extensive experience in both inclusive and self-contained classroom settings specializing in Early Childhood and Elementary Education.  As an advocate for educational reform, Ms. Haymore has a wealth of experiential knowledge in the areas of Multiple-Tiered Systems of Supports, Data-Informed Decision Making, Academic and Behavioral Intervention.  Dr. Mark Jones, Superintendent of Education for Pittsylvania County and a Chatham Rotarian introduced Ms. Haymore.

Pictured L-R:  Phil Mauger, President, Robin Haymore, Dr. Mark Jones, Rotarian

Ms. Haymore’s discussion covered the new and highly effective educational program initiated for selected elementary students in the county’s school system.  The program, Ready for Success (RFS),based in Chatham at the old National Guard Armory which has been repurposed to house the innovative service delivery model providing brief, intensive therapeutic intervention to elementary students in grades Kindergarten through 5th who are experiencing social, emotional and/or behavioral challenges.  The RFS Program goal is to teach appropriate replacement behaviors and return students to their base-school within a specific period of time.  This presentation addressed the RFS structure, curriculum, progress data, and financial implications.  Success of this innovative program has been demonstrated by the students who have completed the prescribed courses and returned to their schools for continued successful mainstream education.

Robin Haymore speaks at the January 15th Chatham Rotary lunch meeting.

Hargrave receives recognition

Chatham Rotary President Phil Mauger presented a special recognition plaque to Hargrave Military Academy for their continued support of Chatham Rotary Auction project since 2004 through the donation of a Hargrave Military Academy Summer School slot to be auctioned off nation-wide on-line for each year’s auction.  This donation has been one of the largest fund-raising gifts each year of the auction and has enabled Chatham Rotary to provide over $35,000 in funding for community service and improvement.  

Colonel Mike Brown, the current President of Hargrave and a recent new member of Chatham Rotary Club was joined by Dr. Wheeler Baker, Past President of Hargrave and Chatham Rotary in receiving the plaque for recognition of Hargrave’s contributions to Chatham and Rotary.  Other Hargrave Rotary members Nick Morris, Lee Martin, and Walter Sullivan joined Colonel Brown & Wheeler Baker in accepting the plaque and gratitude of the Chatham Rotary Club.

L-R: Phil Mauger, Col. Mike Brown, Dr. Wheeler Baker, Nick Morris, Lee Martin
(not pictured: Chad Lynn, Walter Sullivan)

Robert David kicks off 2019

Robert David, Youth & Gang Violence Prevention Coordinator for the City of Danville

January 8th, the Chatham Rotary Program hosted Robert David, Youth & Gang Violence Prevention Coordinator, for the City of Danville.  Robert is the Author of Stand Up and Breathe: Four Steps to Recovery from Failure.  He is a motivational speaker, former Natural Mr. Universe and four-time Drug Free Powerlifter World Champion, owner of David Management Youth Intervention Services and Sirbigness Mobile Fitness.

The program, sponsored by Chatham Rotarian Rachel del Campo Gatewood, was well received as Robert embraced the struggle of the at-risk youth for over 20 years by providing outreach programs and individual mentoring.  He serves as the liaison between the community, the youth, and the city to develop and manage programs that address the problems of youth violence.  He shared with the Chatham Rotary Club the success of the City’s first Project Imagine.

L-R, Phil Mauger, Robert David, Rachel Gatewood