Ackerman used his skills, imagination to help community

Posted 9/12/18

I'm mourning the death of my good friend, Roger Ackerman. We met in 1984 when I joined the Sumter Rotary Club. Roger had joined in 1966, served as club president in 1978-79, was awarded Rotarian of …

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Ackerman used his skills, imagination to help community

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I'm mourning the death of my good friend, Roger Ackerman. We met in 1984 when I joined the Sumter Rotary Club. Roger had joined in 1966, served as club president in 1978-79, was awarded Rotarian of the Year for our club in 1983 and again in 2017, and was named Rotary District 7770 Rotarian of the Year in 2015. His life exemplified the Rotary motto, "Service Above Self."

In this life, we are fortunate to have a handful of close friends, the ones who like you for who you are. For me, Roger was one of those friends.

As friends, we had lunch from time to time. In 1994, Roger told me, "I've been a Rotarian for nearly 30 years, and I need a new challenge." The next year, Roger and the late Dr. Jack Bevan launched the C.A.R.T. Fund (Coins for Alzheimer's Research Trust) starting with the three Sumter Rotary clubs. The idea was to capture pocket change (average 50 cents) and dollar bills for Alzheimer's research. Like Johnny Appleseed, Roger went from one Rotary Club to the next to sell the idea of C.A.R.T. One hundred percent of the money went for Alzheimer's research grants. Today, hundreds of Rotary clubs in the southeastern USA are collecting millions of dollars for this worthy cause.

That was my friend Roger Ackerman, the 1975 Sumter Little Theatre "Music Man" who used his imagination and sales skills for good causes. In the process he inspired us all. I'm forever grateful for his friendship.

CHUCK FIENNING

Sumter