Thompson, DePorre earns scholarships from Sunset Rotary Club

Ponte Vedra Beach organization also passes gavel to Horton Hickerson


The Rotary Club of Ponte Vedra Beach Sunset had several reasons to celebrate recently when members met at 3 Palms Restaurant. Not only was it the first time they met in person since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, they also presented the Jeff Hart Memorial Service Above Self Scholarship Award, marked their annual “Passing of the Gavel” and received an award for their response to COVID-19.

The club presented two highly deserving local students the Jeff Hart Memorial Service Above Self Scholarship. Dedicated in memory of Jeff Hart, a founding member of the club, the scholarships are awarded to the top applicant from both Allen D. Nease and Ponte Vedra High Schools each year in recognition of their service to others as it relates to the Rotary International motto, “Service Above Self” and in honor of their dedication as it exemplifies Hart’s selfless spirit.

This year’s award recipients were Elisabeth Thompson from Nease High and Joseph DePorre from Ponte Vedra High.

Elisabeth, daughter of Jill and Adam Thompson, has accepted an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy beginning in late June and plans a naval career as an aviator or in medicine.

Joseph, son of Susan and Vincent DePorre, will be attending Notre Dame University starting this August where he plans to major in pre-med, in preparation for a medical career. As part of the presentation, Elisabeth and Joseph each read their application essays and were presented their scholarship checks by both Janeene Hart, past club president and Jeff’s widow, and Club President Tim Williford.

The club also marked the “Passing of the Gavel,” with outgoing President Tim turning over the club gavel to incoming president, Horton Hickerson. Tim, currently the head of St Johns County Salvation Army, is leaving this month for a new assignment in Alabama. Incoming President Horton is a past Rotary Club President and Past District Governor from Red Bank, New Jersey.

Lastly, all Rotary Clubs were recently challenged with adapting to the “new normal” for club busines during the pandemic. Awards were given to clubs that continued to meet virtually, kept in touch with all members and participated in efforts to assist those most adversely affected by the pandemic.

The Rotary Club of Ponte Vedra Beach Sunset met all criteria, including participation in St Johns County United Way’s Food Drive on May 16 and contributing to a grant to replenish B.E.A.M.’s pantry, and was awarded District 6970’s COVID Award.

For more information about the Rotary Club of Ponte Vedra Beach Sunset, please contact Carol Maurer at For more information about the above, contact Paula Roderick at


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