August 22, 2017: District Governor Gary Bradham joined us for our August 22 meeting. Governor Bradham emphasized that the theme for the year, “Rotary Making a Difference”, gives clubs a clean canvas on which to paint how each club makes a difference in their communities. Change will be determined by club leaders and members, not from the top down. He continued that clubs should not only determine what Rotary is but who Rotary is when taking actions to benefit others. It cannot all be the same as it reflects the communities each club is in but the common thread is people of action doing good in the world through service above self.
Key to what Rotary does is the idea of sustainability. Referencing the proverb “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime” he described how Rotary doesn’t just dig wells and latrines but makes sure they can be maintained, that Rotary builds schools so students can learn to support the community.
He described how Rotary is very close to making history by driving the number of cases of Polio to zero and it was a mission trip for Polio Vaccines that really inspired him to service after seeing the hope on the children’s and families’ faces after receiving the vaccine.
He outlined the accomplishments of the district this year- met or exceeded foundation goals in Polio and total giving ($1M), 69 district grant projects, 5 Global grants, funding for Alzheimer’s research, 289 Paul Harris Society members (largest of any district in the world), many scholarships awarded and 15 inbound and outbound exchange students.
An internal goal however is membership as it has been in decline for the last 2 years. That and foundation giving are key to sustaining the programs Rotary does. He concluded with Rotary is a membership organization focused on helping others, making a difference for those we serve as well as our own lives and asked that we see this year as the year to make Rotary stronger in he lives of others as well as our own.
— Don Baus, Keyway Committee Chair