The Rotary Club of Destin recently completed its 2016-2017 fiscal Rotary year and installed its 2017-2018 board of directors at its annual banquet and awards ceremony at Rutherford’s 465 at Regatta Bay.

“The Rotary Club of Destin reached another milestone in its mission to eradicate hunger and provide educational and cultural experiences for youth development,” said outgoing President Jason Belcher.

The evening’s recognition awards went to Tori Hughes as “Rookie of the Year,” Bob Hafner as “Service Above Self” and Skip Overdier was named “Rotarian of the Year.” The 2017-2018 board of directors under Alan Jower’s presidency are Dion Moniz, president elect and foundation chair; Ginger Boyd, secretary; Bill Lindsley, treasurer; Christian Carlee, club service; Tami Groth, community service; Bruce Craul, programs; Shervin Rassa, membership; Marcia Hull, public relations; Kevin Bowyer, scholarships; and David Kirk, sergeant at arms.

The Rotary Club of Destin’s major achievements for 2016-2017 included the immunization of more than 500 children who received the oral polio vaccine for the Polio Plus Fund, a $6,000 investment toward endowing the Destin Scholarship Fund, and raised $45,650 to benefit the club’s four charitable organizations — Boys & Girls Club of the Emerald Coast, Food For Thought, Harvest House and Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation Community Outreach. This resulted in providing food for more than 1,000 families, mentoring programs for youth development, backpacks of food to students who otherwise wouldn’t have meals at home and bringing empowering arts education programs to K-12 students, special needs and military veterans with PTSD and TBI.

Other highlights from the 2016-2017 Rotary year included the third consecutive District 6940 Grant Award to benefit Boys & Girls Club of the Emerald Coast”s DIY STEM program for 9-12 year olds to expose 100 youth in developing Science, Technology, Engineering and Math disciplines.

Destin Rotarian Crawford Jones achieved Major Donor Level 1 status for contributing $10,000 to the Rotary Foundation. District 6940 only has a total of 56 Major Donors, so it is quite an honor out of 2,400 Rotarians.

“It’s all about Rotary,” Jones said. “There is no greater humanitarian organization in the world than Rotary.”

The Rotary Club of Destin achieved 140 percent of its annual fund goal for the 2016-2017 Rotary year to benefit the “Every Rotarian Every Year” initiative to create positive change in communities at home and around the world. A $10,000 Destin Rotary Scholarship was awarded to Alyssa Bettinger,

“Our goal is to continue building on the momentum that Destin Rotary has generated in the past few years,” said Jowers, the club's 2017-2018 president. “Through our fundraising, our giving, our fellowship and our service, we will be able to make a difference locally and globally.”