Every year, one of the fun activities at Tunkhannock Rotary is the attempt by members to “steal” the current President’s gavel, whenever they leave their personalized gavel unattended.  Each President does everything they can to safeguard their gavels including wearing them on their person. To reacquire the gavel, around which a story is concocted as to its whereabouts, the President must raise money from the membership to be donated to either Rotary’s own 5-star charity, the Rotary Foundation, or another designated fund.
Some of the fairy tale stories around where their gavel has gone include gambling in Monaco, learning at an EMT course, stolen by the Wicked Witch, and camping at Cozy Creek Campgrounds.  Once the “ransom” has been collected from the membership, the gavel is returned in a variety of different ways, such as: hanging from a ceiling fan, nestled in an hors d’oeuvre platter, raced in on a remote-controlled vehicle, brought in on a gurney and hiding in a bouquet of flowers.
This year, Club President Mary Tempest’s gavel disappeared in Dec.  Mary asked members to dig deep to raise money to ransom her gavel, with the money to be donated to Western Kentucky relief efforts after the devastating Dec 10, 2021 tornado.  The Club raised $1,735 and at the Mar 17 Rotary meeting at Shadowbrook, President Mary reacquired her gavel.
President Mary selected the Rotary Club of Mayfield Kentucky Tornado Disaster Relief Fund to be the recipient of the money.  Mayfield is the county seat of Graves County, KY.
At the Mar 17 meeting, John Carrico, who is Past President, Chair of Public Relations, and Grant Writer for the Mayfield Rotary Club, provided an update via Zoom on the recovery progress made after the tornado in Mayfield and thanked the Club for its donation to their Tornado Disaster Relief Fund.
Although John’s house was not in the path of the tornado, he was speaking on the phone to his sister, when her home was destroyed by the tornado. It was a high-end EF4 rated tornado that traveled over 228 miles on the ground.  She was one of the lucky survivors, although 22 people in their county lost their lives with hundreds more injured, many severely. Over 1,700 structures were damaged or destroyed in Mayfield.  
Recovery will take years, but the U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers are finishing up the removal of debris from areas of the town this month.  Rotary Clubs from all over the country have been providing food, water, clothes, money and volunteers to help with the immediate recovery process.
Several churches were destroyed, but some will not rebuild while others will rebuild smaller buildings.  The Mayfield Rotary Club Foundation has not only the Tornado Disaster Relief Fund, but a Homes and Hope for Kentucky Fund with a goal to build 100 new homes in the affected area.

John Carrico