SAINT AUGUSTINE – Daniel K. Hilbert was installed as the new president of Rotary Club of St. Augustine, Fla. on June 29 succeeding Peggy Gachet, whose initiatives injected a new vitality and energy into the 100-year-old Club’s activities over the past year.
Janice Long was named Rotarian of the Year for her work with key fundraisers, events, and organizing the Club’s Foundation for additional giving. Also, the incoming slate of Board Officers and Directors includes Melissa Nelson as President-Elect, Claudia Dencer as Secretary, Cecile Nussbaum as Treasurer, and Bobby Crum, Mel Longo, Susan Parker, Lorna McDonald, Cecil Gibson, Alan Braddock, and David Upchurch as Directors. Many club members received certificates of appreciation for their generous work on behalf of Rotary.
Gachet, reflecting on the theme for her year of milestone anniversary initiatives and fundraising was grateful that so many members engaged enthusiastically with activities to help nonprofits and those in need throughout St. Johns County. The Rotary Club raised more than $100,000 to broaden the impact and awareness of the organization’s diverse projects. Gachet accomplished her goals with the involvement of 140 club members who tirelessly volunteered with hundreds of hours in time, expertise, and donations during her presidency.
“Throughout the year, we raised much needed funds for a variety of local nonprofits including the Alpha Omega Miracle Home and Wildflower Healthcare Clinic, along with Rotary International Foundation for worldwide projects. The total direct giving amount of more than $100,000 from Rotary members and other contributors was the annual club initiative to fund worthy nonprofits for programs and services to make our communities better,” she said. Also, during Gachet’s term, the local club raised funds for Hurricane Dorian damage in the Bahamas with relief efforts to fund a medical clinic opened by Flagler Health+ in Hope Town on Elbow Key, among others.
Gachet added, she looks forward to continuing Rotary efforts to raise money for local, domestic, and international nonprofits to support worthy causes. “For more than 100 years, Rotary Club of St. Augustine members have used their passion, energy, and intelligence with a dedication to helping adults, children, and families in need to better our world and our communities,” said Gachet. “My one-year term as president of the local club has ended and I am immensely proud to see the success of many fundraisers, celebrations, and donations during this time. I encourage members to continue their activities, volunteerism and good work in our area and around the world,” she said.
In his opening remarks as president, Hilbert said, “The Rotary motto, ‘Service Above Self,’ epitomizes our Club members who support many existing and upcoming worthy causes. I am honored to serve as I start my year as the president of our club.” Hilbert is a board-certified trial lawyer with experience as a prosecutor and a private lawyer at Canan Law in St. Augustine. He has represented individuals and businesses in courtrooms across Northeast Florida. Hilbert is running for Circuit Judge in the Seventh Judicial Circuit for the State of Florida which includes Volusia, St. Johns, Flagler, and Putnam counties.
“This year, I will focus on enduring investments in both our membership and our local community. We will promote opportunities for our members and the community to pitch in on local and international Rotary projects that provide assistance and much needed relief in the most stressful of times.” Hilbert is responsible for a significant ongoing initiative with one of the organization’s newest projects to commemorate the Club’s centennial anniversary with a program to help unemployed and furloughed workers in St. Johns County. Relief in the form of Publix supermarket gift cards are being distributed to individuals and families in need. “Due to the pandemic, the Club’s 100th anniversary year gala event was cancelled and ticket sales plus sponsorships and member donations were converted into more than $25,000 in gift cards. To date, the Club has received more than 110 applications for assistance and has paid out over $20,000 to families in need. Based upon current economic conditions, further requests are expected.”
“I’ve lived here for all of my professional life with my wife, who is a schoolteacher at Ketterlinus Elementary School, and my two children. I am dedicated to bringing the people of St. Augustine and St. Johns County even closer together to address challenges in our region,” he said. “The people whose lives we’ve touched this year have increased my optimism about the positive impact individuals and organizations can create.”
The Rotary Club of St. Augustine meets weekly with recent online video meetings during COVID 19. Meetings have resumed in person with social distancing restrictions. The club was founded through the sponsorship of the Rotary Club of Jacksonville, Fla. Later, the St. Augustine Club sponsored the Rotary Club of Hastings, the Sunrise Rotary Club, St. Augustine Beach Rotary Club, Daytona Beach Rotary Club, and Rotary Club of Flagler County. As Rotarians, members are dedicated to the organization’s international motto, “Service Above Self”.
For more information, visit the website at https://staugustinerotary.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/StAugustineRotary and Twitter at https://twitter.com/StAugRotaryClub.