Today I could not be more proud to be a Rotarian.  Although we face the shameful fact that in the United States of America citizens mobbed our country’s capitol building to disrupt our democracy, Rotary gives me hope and resolve.

I am reminded of our core values: Leadership, Integrity, Diversity, Service, and Friendship.  And also of the Four Way Test.  As I begin the new year with all of you, I am also reminded of our resolve to do good in the world. Our acts of service are significant harbingers of peace.  When we help those less fortunate than the rest of us, we close the gap between the haves and the have nots.

This past year, our District has brought incredible service to those in need in all of our communities.  Thank you for your service to bring these gifts of help locally and globally. You are peace makers.  To quote Dr. Bernice King, “Peace is not the absence of violence, it is the presence of justice.”

But of course, we are not done serving others.  This new year brings hope for a vaccine that will hopefully bring an end to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Efficient and equitable distribution of the vaccine will be a challenge that may require the support of many Rotarians.  RI President Holger Knaack implores us to support the vaccine effort.  Join us for the ROTARY NOW!/Leading Change forum this January 21 at 7 pm to hear more from state and global vaccine experts about how Rotary may be of service in this historic time.

Lastly, I want to share with you this photo, taken sometime between 1909 and 1932.  This is a photo of 23 Rotarians, standing on the steps of our nation’s Capital, who were also 23 members of Congress.  When I googled the question “How many Rotary members are also members of Congress?” this is the only information I could find.   We have work to do.  Please join me in wearing your Rotary pin every day and share our story: “Rotary grows leaders dedicated to truth, fairness, beneficial acts of service, building goodwill for all.”

Yours in Service,

District Governor Cindi O’Neil