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Madison Rotarians integral in district conference

Debbie Dryer Coates, from left, and Debbie Overcash of Madison are co-chairing the Rotary District 6860 Conference in Huntsville on May 5-7. CONTRIBUTED
Debbie Dryer Coates, from left, and Debbie Overcash of Madison are co-chairing the Rotary District 6860 Conference in Huntsville on May 5-7. CONTRIBUTED

MADISON – Hundreds of Rotarians will assemble for the Rotary District 6860 Conference in Huntsville on May 5-7. Several Madison Rotarians have key roles in the event.

Serving as conference chairpersons are Madison residents Debbie Dryer Coates with Rotary Club of Huntsville and Debbie Overcash, longtime member of Rotary Club of Madison.

“Our district conference planning team began meeting over a year ago to bring an informative and memorable Rotary event,” Overcash said. Embassy Suites Hotel is hosting the event.

With its venue in the “Rocket City,” the conference theme is “From Antebellum to Antigravity.” Out-of-town delegates will visit local attractions like Huntsville Botanical Garden, Burritt on the Mountain and Constitution Hall Park.

Pat Cross of Madison, District Governor Rotary District 6860, will preside at several conference meetings. Cross represents 3,650 Rotarians in 54 clubs across the northern half of Alabama.

Receptions will open the conference for the president’s representative Elizabeth Cullen from Rotary Club of Newburyport, Mass. That evening, visitors can enjoy the Brewery Crawl to Old Black Bear in Madison and Straight to Ale and Yellowhammer Brewery in Huntsville. An invitation-only appreciation dinner will convene in Regions Tower.

On May 6, delegates will hear a report from Cullen, along with a presentation by keynote speaker Jim Hudson, co-founder of HudsonAlpha Institute of Biotechnology.

Madison Rotarian Karen Morris is coordinating awards for the conference. Gene Pfeiffer, president of Rotary Club of Madison, will host the plenary session. Dennis Sanders of Madison will present Rotary’s 4-Way Test.

Convention delegates will ride shuttle buses to the Davidson Center for Space Technology at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center for an evening of “Barbecue and Bluegrass,” featuring Mike Ball and the Mountain Top Band of Madison.

Dryer and Overcash will report on Health Establishments at Local Schools (HEALS), which provides dental and medical treatment for students. Dr. Deborah Barnhart, CEO of U.S. Space & Rocket Center, also is scheduled to speak.

In other meetings, Rotarians will learn about the status of local and international projects, including polio eradication, youth programs like the Interact Club and Rotary Youth Leadership Awards and community enhancements.

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