Michael Ackerman: First Responders and PTSD

April 19, 2016 – The term speech seems too mild a word to describe Charleston County Deputy Sheriff Michael Ackerman’s presentation to the club this week.  For three minutes rapt Rotarians were transported into the danger and anxiety lived by first responders daily as Deputy Ackerman played the recording of the radio calls from the night of September 8, 2014, when he and his partner were shot while responding to an incident at the Gardens at Ashley River apartments.  Ackerman’s partner died, he was shot in the leg and he faced the life-changing unwanted decision to end the perpetrator’s life.  To this day Deputy Ackerman battles PTSD and his attempts to gain assistance with his struggles led to his discovery that the five thousand first responders in the Charleston area as well as those throughout South Carolina, have no coverage under worker’s compensation laws for this service-related injury.  Read more

Dr. Harris Pastides: University of South Carolina

April 12, 2016:  Dr. Harris Pastides has been the president of USC since 2008 having arrived at a time of a major nationwide recession. Non-the-less his outlook for the university as to improvements and growth was positive.  And there has been both growth and change at USC. SAT entrance exam scores are the highest in the nation. The HONORS COLLEGE is ranked as the best in the nation.  As a fellow Rotarian he believes that the spirit of Rotary should be imparted to all students. They should be encouraged to vote, and to devote time for the improvement of their communities. Students should learn to provide for future generations, not just focus on their own lives. He is “bullish” on students but not as optimistic about what is taking place in the state capitols and in Washington, DC.  He feels strongly that public officials should act as Americans first and do what is required of them. Conversely the students coming to the campus do have a spirit of optimism. There have never been more applications to the university, which now has an enrollment of over 37,000. One half of the students attending college in South Carolina attend schools in the state system. USC has a growth plan to admit 100 more freshmen each year.  Read more

Spring Social at the Riverdogs

April 6, 2016:  Baseball season is here! Our Spring Social was a family event held at the inaugural “Battle of the Beaches” exhibition opener at Riley Park. The Riverdogs took on the Myrtle Beach Pelicans and were held to one hit – losing 0-2. Rotarian baseball fans enjoyed a pre-game cookout held under the tent at Murray’s Mezzanine along the first base line.  There were plenty of hotdogs and hamburgers for everyone!  It was a wonderful evening to cheer on our Riverdogs and a good time was had by all! Thank you to Dave Echols and his staff for hosting us!

Captain Gary Tomasulo: Coast Guard Sector Charleston

March 29, 2016:  Rotarians were treated to an excellent program on Tuesday, March 29, and learned a great deal about one of the United States service branches that is critical to the health and safety of our coastal communities—the United States Coast Guard.

Captain Gary Tomasulo, the Commander at Coast Guard Sector Charleston was a charming and very effective public speaker who gave us a dynamic, fact-filled overview of how Sector Charleston carries out its mission of being “Responsible for the safety and security of the maritime environment and ports throughout South Carolina and Georgia.”  Read more

Ben Navarro: Meeting Street Academy

March 22, 2016 – Our keynote speaker this week was Ben Navarro, Founder of Meeting Street Academy (“MSA”).  Currently, there are three MSA schools: Meeting Street Academy – Charleston, the flagship school, which opened its doors in August  2008; Meeting Street Academy – Spartanburg, which was opened in 2012; and Meeting Street Academy at Brentwood,  a free, public school open to all families living in the newly formed attendance zone that was opened in 2014. Read more