Rotary: Making A Difference


From the purchase of the Town of Hilton Head Island’s first ambulance, to our July 2017 Announcement to build the new gymnasium at the Island Recreation Center, the Rotary Club of Hilton Head Island has followed proudly in the deep footsteps of over 50 years of service.

We are forever entwined in the Spanish Moss, Pluff Mud, and Soul of this wonderful island, making a difference that is meaningful and measurable in our community and the world. We see the need and we rise to the occasion. Our member’s are Making a Difference every year in so many ways, for so many people far and wide:

• Every member annually volunteers for Salvation Army Bell Ringing, Rotarians Offering Community Service Day, and the RBC Heritage Golf Tournament.
• Elementary age children learn life-saving lessons at Safety Town, get rewarded with special treats for positive behavior with The B.E.A.T. Program, and get what is perhaps their first pair of NEW shoes and clothing with our Happy Feet program. Our Early Act Rotary Clubs help children grow and develop leadership skills. We are rewarded with smiles and hugs from the children, plus the knowledge we Make a Difference in their lives.
• Middle and High School age children’s lives are enriched as we sponsor Inbound and Outbound Foreign Exchange Students, award scholarships that open up higher education opportunities, sponsor Rotary Interact Clubs that build the spirit of service, support the Science and Engineering Fair, and host a Student Recognition program to showcase the extraordinary accomplishments of these future leaders who will Make a Difference in our community.
• Volunteer support of community events, including the Firecracker 5K and HHI Marathon, the Concours d’Elegance Car Auction, and the Food Drive for The Deep Well Project all provide resources for us to Make a Difference in our Community. The annual recognition programs for our Public Safety Officers and Teachers Make a Difference in the lives of those serving our community.
• We founded the Hilton Head Hall of Fame, which annually honors local residents, past and present who have made a significant and positive Difference in Our Community.
• Our financial support of CART (funding alzheimer’s research), the Gift of Life Program, clean water and literacy projects, and The South African Depression and Anxiety Group all make a Meaningful AND Measurable Difference in our community and the world. And let’s not forget our Rotary Foundation, and what we have done for Polio. Our efforts are closer to success today than any time in 30 years.

This is just a highlight of our many volunteer opportunities. Our club is always finding new opportunities to make a difference.
How will you be MAKING A DIFFERENCE as a club member this year? Continue to participate in those club activities about which you are passionate.

If you are not a Rotary member, but are excited about all we do, I invite you to visit our Club and consider becoming a member. We have so many opportunities. Find one of our projects about which you are passionate and commit to MAKING A DIFFERENCE.

Karen Cully, President

Weekly Club Programs

Director Helen Ryan and a very talented committee will provide speakers each week who will inform, enlighten and entertain us all with the focus of having Rotarians become the most well-informed people about things going on in and around Hilton Head Island.

Community Services

Director Rose Jackson will oversee a myriad of events and activities, including the following:

  • Rotary ROCS (Rotarians Offering Community Service), which engages every Rotarian through volunteering for a specific assignment to assist several local nonprofit groups
  • Happy Feet, which provides new shoes to low income children
  • Safety Town, which educates 4-6 year old children about household and “street” safety
  • Habitat for Humanity: we will “turn over the keys” this year to the family that will live in the house built and paid for by our club last year
  • Hall of Fame: we will honor one or more new inductees to this prestigious designation that was started by our club to recognize the “giants” of our community over time
  • Salvation Army Red Kettle campaign: we will once again raise upwards of $25,000 to support the December holiday programs for needy families
  • Literacy Projects: several literacy efforts are planned, including International Reading Day and Cooks and Book


Director Paul Heitmann will spearhead our club’s fundraising activities, which is anchored by the Rotary in Motion program that enable members to make a one-time commitment to support programs and causes for the entire year. There will also be a raffle, a continued expansion of funding for CART (Alzheimer’s Research) and our substantial volunteer efforts at the RBC Heritage golf tournament.

International Service

Director Robert Laughlin will coordinate the Youth Exchange program. In addition, we will continue our support of Rotary’s clean water initiatives, the South African teenage suicide prevention program and our own Gift of Life program offering medical treatments to those with special needs from outside of our borders.


Director David Deaton will lead the effort to assure that we have a growing, diverse, active and satisfied membership. Our goal is to experience a modest increase to 155 members by enlisting friends, family members, business associates and community volunteers.

Public Awareness and Communications

Director Jean Vahey will continue to assure that our website is attractive, informative, up-to-date and relevant, while also managing our exposure through social media outlets. Public Relations endeavors will also be pursued through The Soundings and the local media.

Rotary Foundation

Director Jody Levitt. will endeavor to expand our already-impressive involvement with the Rotary International Foundation and its many programs, including the Paul Harris Fellowship program, the Bequest Society and other avenues of giving. This will enable us to maintain our position as the leading club in the district and one of the top clubs in the world for foundation giving.

Vocational Services

Director Joan Grayson will once again oversee the programs related to Vocational Service, including Rotary After Hours, the 4-Way Test Award, Teacher Recognition Honors and Public Safety Appreciation Day.

Youth Services

Director Brian Julius is planning a very active year for our Interact Clubs, Early Act groups and a new Middle Act program.

New this year will be the sponsorship of a Regional Science and Engineering Fair for area High School students.

Visit Our Sponsors

  • merrill lynch hilton head david ruckno
  • merrill lynch hilton head robert eberly