geekdaddy (geekdaddy) wrote in rotexgroup,

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Sad news

It is my sad duty to report to this community that a great friend of youth exchange has passed away.

Fred Combs has for several years been the driving force in youth exchange in Rotary District 7570, which encompasses all of western VA along the I-81 corridor, and also part of Eastern Tennessee. He was a recently retired judge, and he had a magnificent sense of humor. He was devoted to his family, most especially to his wife, and to Rotary Youth Exchange. He had an amazingly quick wit, and one could not help but smile even when you just shook his hand upon meeting the man. He was a uniquely wonderful human being.

Fred suffered a tragic farming accident on Thursday at his home in Tazewell, VA. He died this morning as a result of his injuries.

I could myself privileged to have called Fred a friend, and would even go so far as to call him a mentor where Rotary and Youth Exchange are concerned. I shared a few meals with him a few weeks back in Harrisburg, PA during a semi-annual ESSEX meeting, and it is very difficult for me to believe that he is no longer with us. I know that I will not be the only one looking for him when our group meets again in Kingsport, TN this coming January.

I'm hardly one to ever even think of making a plea of this nature to anyone, and I realize that most of you are students, and that you do not have much to give. However, I would encourage you to decide if you can make a small gift, and send it along to the ESSEX scholarship committee. The ESSEX scholarships are used to subsidize the costs of exchanges for students in ESSEX districts who are deserving, but who otherwise might not be able to afford to go overseas for a year. Last year, the scholarship gave almost $2500 between 5 students to make sure that they could have the same wonderful experience that so many of us have had through Rotary.

You can send any donations that you may wish to make to the following address:

The ESSEX Scholarship Committee
c/o Arthur Clough
PO Box 832
Meredith, NH 03253

Fred was a driving force in life; a vital and amazing human being. I am sending my gift today, in the hopes that he will continue to be a driving force for all who care about the ideals of Rotary and Rotary Youth Exchange. Thank you.

Ben Pitzer
Youth Exchange Chairman
Rotary District 7710

x-posted to rotexgroup and f0reignexchange
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