Joining in 1971, Chuck Bishop is celebrating 50 years with the Pineville Rotary Club. Bishop has held several offices within the club and says there are several things that have kept him with the Rotary Club all these years.

“The comradery of other like minded people,” he said. “An opportunity to be of service to our community and give something back to our community. Rotary is a worldwide organization whose primary focus at this time is the eradication of Polio and we’ve nearly done that. I’ve had the privilege of serving with some really great people over the years who most of whom are not with us anymore but there’s still some great people with us that are working very hard for the children and the community.”

The motto of Rotary is ‘Service Above Self’ and Bishop says the main objective is service and benefiting the children.

Rotary is a worldwide organization with the goal of serving and supporting children throughout the world but Bishop said that most importantly, serving the local children throughout the community is the focus of the Pineville Rotary Club and they do that through our fundraiser that we have with Bell County Bingo. He explained that the Bingo Fundraiser was started about ten years ago and is a continued tradition today.

“Of course with COVID, that has all been suspended but it’s starting to come back online and everything that we make at Bingo either goes to pay the state fees or we reinvest it in the community to benefit the children of the community, both in the county and the city,” he continued.  

“We are one of the supporters of the ROHO organization. The motto of course for Rotary is of course ‘Service Above Self’ and we consider that community service and that is the most important thing.”  

Past president Les Johnson explained that Bishop was dedicated to the fundraiser.

“Chuck is really a dedicated person as far as Bingo,” Johnson said. “If he was available, he was over there, he wasn’t playing but he was working.”

Current president of the Rotary Club, Terry Pannell, explained that Bishop is the true definition of the club’s motto.

“Our motto is ‘Service Above Self’ and Chuck is the true definition of service,” Pannell said. “He is an inspiration to the club and the community and I want to thank him for his fifty years of service.”

Kristy Burnett, who has been a member of the Rotary Club for seven years agrees with Pannell.

“He’s one of those people that somebody can come to and say hey we need your help and he will find a way or a resource to make sure and help, especially when it comes to kids,” Burnett said.

Burnett said she knew of Bishop before her seven years in the club as a community leader and someone who isn’t always in the spotlight as a volunteer and community leader but you’ll always know that he had a part to do with it.

“I know he’s big into ROHO and helps get those Christmas gifts for those kids and helps raise the money there,” she explained of Bishop’s community service. “Then of course a few years ago we started partnering with the Pineville Police Department and he was totally on board with that and we all love to go do the shopping and you can see that it makes him feel good to be able to take those kids shopping when they may not have somebody to take them and shop with them.”

Burnett said she doesn’t want to make Bishop feel old but that she considers him as a grandfather type figure.

“You know, you can talk with him and he will give you sound advice in the nicest way, even if it’s not the advice that you want, it’s the advice that you need,” she said with a laugh. “He will make you realize that it is the right decision.”

Burnett explained that although they have not been able to hold events like they typically do that Bishop always makes sure to be there.

“He is always there,” she said. “He’s not one that says you all go do it and just comes to the meetings. He’s always there and I know that he always enjoyed the Fourth of July party that we would put on where kids would come to the Pineville Pool and we fed them and he always made sure that the kids were fed, so I know he enjoyed that.”

She explained that she would consider him the silent type because he’s not always the first person that pops up and says look at me, ‘I’ve done this or I’ve done that’.

“He’s just always in the background but he usually is always the one that facilitates it and not everybody knows that,” she continued. “I think he likes it that way but he deserves this and there’s been a lot of people in Rotary who have either passed away before their time of reaching fifty years or have just dropped out of the club and not continued. So, for him to have fifty years, he has seen a lot of things change in our Rotary Club that we don’t even know about.”

Katherine Reese, past President of the Rotary Club said that Bishop exemplifies what the motto of rotary means.

“He lives by the meaning of ‘Service Above Self’,” she said of Bishops. “His service and dedication to his community has been paramount in moving the rotary club and the community to the next level.  I’m proud to be able to call Chuck a friend and the community is certainly a better place due to his service.”

Burnett said that sometimes Bishop can sometimes educate the club or explain how things used to be done. She said that other members have been in the club for 12 to 15 years besides Bishop and when that call comes that we need help at something that he wasn’t expecting to have to go to, he shows up.

“He’s been a huge supporter in helping our Interact Club and found them a clubhouse,” she said of his service and support. “I just enjoy him being able to find ways to help and he doesn’t do it in a boastful way.”

The Interact Club is a club for freshmen through seniors and right now it’s for Pineville students and right now the club has approximately 20 kids in it. Burnett explained that the students have to do certain service projects.

“Our group of seniors that are graduating this year have been in it all four years so, from day one when they enter in, they have to earn scholarship money,” she explained. “I’ve been very impressed with how the club has been run. Bishop was right on board when Joanna came up with the idea, it was really a no brainer as far as let’s do it and he was one of the main ones that was a big time supporter of that. “

Rotary provides the scholarship money.

“The students have done service projects in the Dominican and even Colorado,” Burnett explained. “We’ve even done service projects in Florida and they do get to play a little but we try to reward them but the stuff they do they work for their reward.”

Pannell reiterated that their focus is on the kids.

“Anything we can do to help kids,” Pannell said. “This COVID-19 has changed a lot of stuff for us. We usually do a Fourth of July thing and we raise money for Shop with a Cop and we also help out with school functions.”

President Johnson explained that is what he can remember about Bishop is that if there was something to be done, he was always there to help.

“He jumped in and did what needed to be done,” Johnson said. “I believe that he was part of it also when we sent the whole Pineville School, the elementary, middle, and high school to Dollywood and we paid for it all.”

Bishop also explained that the Rotary Club does sponsor different school functions including Pineville Little League and Pineville Little Cheerleaders.

“Our main objective is service and benefiting children,” he explained.

“We just love him,” Burnett said of Bishop. “We thank him for all the years of service and what he has done for this community.”

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