Bennettsville Rotary Club named Roger Griggs as its 2019 recipient of the Four-Way Test Good Citizen of the Year Award Tuesday.
Announcement came during the club’s weekly luncheon meeting at The Skye.
Presentation was made by Rotary Past Presidents Elisabeth and Dan McNiel.
She began by saying “The Rotary Four-Way Test of the things we think, say, and do is a test used by Rotarians worldwide as a moral code for personal and business relationships.”
She added, “The test can be applied to almost any aspect of life.”
In 1932, Herbert J. Taylor of Chicago wrote the 24 words that came to him as he set out to save the Club Aluminum Products Distribution Company from bankruptcy.
After poring over the situation and praying, Taylor said he wrote the 24 words that had come to him:
Is it the truth?
Is it fair to all concerned?
Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
“I called it the Four-Way Test of the things we think, say, or do,” Taylor stated.
Elisabeth McNiel said, “For the past 33 years, the Rotary Club of Bennettsville proudly recognized a non-Rotarian within Marlboro County who exemplifies the characteristics of the Four-Way Test in their business and personal relationships.”
She stated it was Danny’s and her great privilege to introduce Bennettsville’s 2019 Four-Way Test Good Citizen of the Year, Roger Griggs.”
She told that Roger grew up on South Liberty Street around the corner from the former Marlboro Herald-Advocate located then on McColl Street.
“It was there that my grandfather, the late Bill Kinney Sr., offered a young boy his first job selling newspapers twice a week for pennies an issue. And, so, the longstanding relationship with Roger and my family began.”
Roger spent much of his professional life involved with the logistics industry, coordinating the hauling of goods from place to place.
“Upon his retirement, Roger found his way back to the newspaper for a second stint, working with Danny, Dad and me at the Herald-Advocate, assisting with transportation of printed newspapers from the production plant at Fayetteville, NC, to our newspaper warehouse in Bennettsville,” she said.
“And, it was perhaps during this time that Roger and his devoted wife of over 50 years, Anne, listened to God’s call to answer the problem of food insecurity within the city of Bennettsville.”
In 2016, The Community Kitchen of Bennettsville was established as an IRS designated 501C3 organization.
Roger vowed not to act on this calling by waiting to solicit any funds for this project until a suitable building to house the organization was obtained,” she said.
Dan McNiel told of how Griggs led the effort to bring the vision to reality.
“Roger first let us know about his vision for a soup kitchen last fall after the organization was gifted a building by our own Rotarian Heath Harpe.
“Roger and Anne then threw themselves into getting The Community Kitchen of Bennettsville up and running,” he added..
McNiel continued, “The building, ironically located at the corner of South Liberty and McColl Streets, just across from the former Herald-Advocate office, needed a good deal of work after being left vacant for over a decade.
“Roger began fundraising as well as putting together a team of volunteers to reroof, rewire, replumb, tear out old walls and install new ones.”
Meanwhile, the Griggs organized and signed up teams of volunteers to man the kitchen once serving began.
He said that through Roger’s enthusiasm, the response has been amazing with groups from churches all over the county, first responders, and others comprising the 30-plus serving teams.
On May 1, after five months of intensive work, The Community Kitchen of Bennettsville opened its doors and served its first meals.
Not knowing exactly what to expect, Roger and Anne hoped to serve 50 or so people daily.
They exceeded that goal the first week. For the last few weeks, they have averaged nearly 90 diners and, yesterday, they provided a free meal to 123 hungry children and adults, McNiel added.
“As you can see, Roger’s commitment, dedication, and tremendous energy meet every aspect of The Rotary Four-Way Test,” Dan said.
Griggs then went to the podium to receive the 2019 Rotary Club of Bennettsville’s Four-Way Test Good Citizen of the Year Award.
Also, his name will be added to the permanent plaque on public display at the Marian Wright Edelman Public Library of Marlboro County.
He began his comments by stating that his wife, Anne, stood by his side every step of the way, from the beginning on November 1 until today.
Griggs added that on Tuesday (when Rotary met), The Community Kitchen, aided by Shiloh and Smyrna United Methodist Church groups, served a record 141 meals.
He thanked everyone in the community for their support and encouragement.
Supporting groups include churches, first responders, industries, county offices, city police and sheriffs’s offices, and others.
Rotary President John Powers congratulated him and said he is so proud of Roger Griggs and The Community Kitchen.
He also recognized Jean Quick, Charles O’Neal, and Willie Williams, past Four-Way Test Good Citizen of the Year Award winners and thanked them for their presence.
As this was his final meeting as president, Powers thanked his board, fellow officers, and club members for their support during the past year.
He also thanked Past Presidents Mason King, Glenn Bunch, and President-Elect Lawrence Jordan for filling in for him when he could not be present.
He then installed Lawrence Jordan as the new club president effective July 1 and presented him a gavel, president’s pin, and president’s medallion.
Jordan responded by presenting Powers a past president’s pin and plaque with the gavel Powers used this year attached to it.