A roomful of guests and members of the Sunrise Rotary attended Thursday’s meeting — sales people, an Air Force retiree new to the area, pastors, lawyers, a Pfizer retiree, a farmer, medical equipment sales professionals, children of current members, Realtors, doctors, business owners and even a retired Secret Service agent, to name just a few.
“Many, many,” said Bob Anderson, president of the Sunrise Rotary. The Sunrise Rotary is currently in the middle of its annual membership drive and is hoping to induct new members.
On Thursday, Tarver, vice president/general manager of Tarver Distributing Co. Inc. in Charleston, addressed the group.
Cheryl Dunson, sergeant-at-arms, introduced Tarver by mentioning he was the recent winner of Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce M.C. Headrick Free Enterprise Award. The award goes to the person who best exemplifies the free enterprise system by taking challenges and transforming them into successes.
Traver joined the Chamber and is now on its board, Executive Committee, Economic Development Council and is currently the chairman of the Industrial Development Board.
He also earned the Chamber’s Mel Bedwell Award in 2005 as the Small Business Person of the Year. He volunteers with several local organizations including the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office, United Way of Bradley County, Junior Achievement of the Ocoee Region and the Cleveland Family Y. In addition, he has also been instrumental in helping companies such as Whirlpool and Wacker Chemie build and/or relocate to this area.
“Awards sort of embarrass me ... I get too much credit ... I don’t like taking credit,” he said.
Any success his business has enjoyed he credits to his employees. He also wholeheartedly believes and adamantly emphasized that many people in this community work on boards and in other organizations to make good things happen locally. In the near future, the new Whirlpool plant will be up and running and WACKER will break ground in the next few months. He described as “amazing” the speed at which the WACKER project is moving.
“We have a community of dedicated individuals,” Tarver said. “We would not have gotten a lot of these (million dollar) projects without companies realizing this. These accomplishments were not possible without a team effort ... a lot of people deserve the credit.”
Tarver is calling for a team effort from the community to help find property to develop a much-needed industrial development park. Cleveland and Bradley County, he said, have so much to offer. He hopes Cleveland and Bradley County can get back to what brings area people together rather than what divides them, just as he remembers it was like when he was a youngster.
“I started working when I was 12,” Tarver told the crowd. He learned his work ethic from his dad, his compassion for people from his mom.
He became head of Tarver Distributing Co. Inc., at the age of 21, after his father died. He joined Rotary because it exemplified the same values and qualities Tarver said his parents instilled in him as he was growing up — many people, from all walks of life, coming together to make the world a better place in humanitarian efforts. He also credits his wife of 23 years, Holly, for “making me the man I am today.” They have two children.
“I’m very proud to be part of this community,” he said. He also is proud of being part of Rotary and of its commitment of “Service Above Self.”
“Everyone is in this room for the right reasons — to make the world a better place,” he said.
In other business:
- At least a half dozen additional new members will be inducted into Sunrise Rotary next week.
- Matt Carlson, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Cleveland, is asking for volunteers starting Feb. 19 for framing projects and ending on April 23 for landscaping projects, and every other job in between. The scheduled dedication of Habitat’s newest home build is in May. For more information, call 476-6947 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The submittal of grant papers was approved to help the Sunrise Rotary get one step closer to helping to provide transportation — probably a van and a car — for the Marie Diana Samuels orphanage in India.
- The group is also trying to raise money to match the Bill Gates Foundation’s offer of $100 million to eradicate polio worldwide.