Dear Rotary Members of District 5110,

Let’s begin our year together serving others, strengthening the relevance of Rotary, and leading change that’s meaningful.  Today and every day, I ask you to think about how you can connect the passions for service among your Club members with the critical needs of those in need in your community.

When we serve others in need, magic happens. Someone will say or do something during your generous act of service that will touch your life forever, that will galvanize your determination to make your community a better place.  I have been face-to-face with recipients of Rotary’s generosity and have been told, “I love you,” “There is a God,” and “You will not forget me will you?”  These are among the reasons I stay in Rotary, the reasons I give to The Rotary Foundation, and the reasons I stand here now as your District Governor.  I ask you to create opportunities for service among your members and give them this insightful gift.

When we serve others in need in our communities, we spread goodwill and we strengthen the Rotary Brand.  Wear your Rotary branded clothing proudly, spread the word in the press and social media: Rotary Clubs in our town are compassionate people who see needs in their community and take action to help solve problems.

We live in turbulent times today.  But I think that this is Rotary’s time.  This is the time, in our generation of Rotary, when the words of Paul Harris are incredibly relevant: “This is a changing world. We must be prepared to change with it. The story of Rotary will be written again and again.” Rotary, we can take steps right now to mold our Clubs to make membership meaningful, memorable, and inclusive.   COVID 19 is still upon us, and we must re-evaluate: ”How shall we gather?”  “How do we keep each other, our friends safe?” “How shall we serve others?” “How can we make sure membership is affordable?” “How shall we celebrate?”

During my first day as your Governor I helped pack 600 food boxes with the Rotary Club of Mt. Bachelor and other community members.  There is still food insecurity in our community and in yours too. We gathered out of doors and in an open-air warehouse with members of the Latin American community, a Rotary Youth Exchange Student, and other generous local folks.  When I was asked by a retired, local school teacher: “What is Rotary?”  I said, “Rotary is the premier service organization, providing critical service to others in need.”  And there we were, seven Rotary Members in “People of Action” hats, wearing face masks, hefting potatoes and watermelons, celebrating service to others in need.