Thermal Belt Rotary to donate benches

Published 9:01 am Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Bill Crowell, owner of Saluda Forge, grinds down metal as he puts some of the finishing touches on one of two benches commissioned by the Thermal Belt Rotary Club. (photo by Samantha Hurst)

Later this month, people standing in line outside waiting for the mobile N.C. Department of Motor Vehicles office will be able to sit while they wait.
The Thermal Belt Rotary steel benches will adorn the parking lot of the Columbus Post Office, near where the mobile DMV trailer parks when it comes to Columbus twice a month.
Thermal Belt Rotary Club member Steve Rosenberg said during the sweltering heat last summer the club saw a need that no one else was filling.
“There were people falling out waiting in line in the heat to renew their licenses,” Rosenberg said. “We knew this was hard on our elderly community members and thought that at least if we put benches out there, it would help.”
Rosenberg took the ball and ran with it, getting city approval as well as contacting the federal government through the local postmaster for permission to place the benches on post office property.

One of two benches to be donated by the Thermal Belt Rotary Club.

Rosenberg then approached his club, which provides support to numerous community organizations annually, about the project.
“All it takes is for someone to need to renew a license to see the problem. We don’t have a DMV office in Polk County. Right now they pull the mobile trailer up outside the courthouse and people must wait until there is space inside,” he said.
Thermal Belt Rotary members placed donation boxes around town. Some money was collected, Rosenberg said, but for the most part members funded the effort out of their own pockets. The benches cost several thousand dollars to make.
Bill Crowell at Saluda Forge spent 80 hours crafting the twin mild-grade steel benches. Now they’ll be sent off for powder coating before being placed at their new home.
Rosenberg said the club continues to seek donations. They can be made at Mountain First, Macon Bank and both branches of Tryon Bank. Rosenberg said the club hopes to use additional donations for the purpose of enclosing the benches to protect those waiting from the elements.
The club works on other projects such as Interact with Landrum High School, the Fabulous Fourth and volunteering during Steeplechase.
The club is always looking for new members. For more information, call Steve Rosenberg at 828-894-5531.

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