It’s July 1st! I am honored, excited and truly inspired by all of you as we begin this new year of Rotary in District 5160. My journey to becoming your District Governor has been filled with numerous wonderful experiences. I’m sure you have many of your own in your Rotary career. I am reminded of a quote by a Past President of Rotary International, Sir Clem Renouf, “Rotary takes ordinary men and women and gives them extraordinary opportunities to do more with their lives than they ever dreamed possible.”
What are the extraordinary opportunities we have in Rotary? With no hesitation, most of us would answer “helping to eradicate polio.” I’m so proud of our collective and collaborative work in reducing endemic polio from hundreds of countries down to two. As a young girl growing up in a small rural timber town in Northern California, I remember the sadness when one of my school friends died from polio. I could never have dreamed that I would eventually be in Nigeria with a group of Rotarians and give drops to babies to protect them from polio. Whether you have vaccinated babies, contributed to Rotary’s Polio Plus campaign or simply helped to raise awareness that yes, polio does still exist, you have made a difference.
The past year gave Rotarians throughout our District many opportunities to step-up in ways we could not have imagined. You collected food for local food banks, you made masks for essential workers and you assisted in COVID vaccine events. I doubt that any of us imagined the extraordinary opportunities in which we found to serve last year.
A Rotary Club is a collection of relationships, District 5160 is a collection of relationships and Rotary International is a collection of relationships – all built on friendships and a common set of values. In the past year, we gave up handshakes and hugs, but we didn’t give up our core values. We will have questions and decisions to make as our Rotary Clubs create a new normal this year. Let’s take this opportunity to create Rotary Clubs that meet the needs of each community, but most importantly, of the members and the relationships we hold dear.
I am humbled by traditions that are greater than us but inspired by a vision we share for the world. That brings me to our District Theme for the year: Honor the Past; Act for the Future.
I look forward to visiting, learning, planning, and laughing with you as we move through 2021-22 and discover the extraordinary opportunities, we never dreamed possible.
All My Best,