As many of us celebrate one of the holiest times of the year in our respective religions, it is important to reflect on how blessed we are and how lucky we are to be a part of Rotary and have the opportunity to help those less fortunate in Ukraine, Southwest Florida, Turkey and most recently those impacted by the massive tornados over the past week. I am sure that there will be opportunities to provide support through the local Rotary districts and we will provide this as we know more. For the moment, I take solace in the fact that we have provided over 100,000 meals to those in need in our communities. What we do know as Rotarians, however, is that the opportunity to provide service to others continues with each passing day.
Last week we learned that we had our first case of the Wild Polio Virus for this calendar year. Although it occurred in Pakistan on February 20, 2023, it has taken us until now to confirm it. As we have mentioned previously, eradicating polio is a marathon and not a sprint, so it requires that each of us continues to promote Polio vaccination and support End Polio Now through our donations to the Rotary Foundation.
Those of us who know Past District Governor Jeanette Loftus have often referred to her as a bionic woman. Well, on March 16, 2023, she decided to go up against a squirrel. Unfortunately, the squirrel won, and she now has a rod and several pins in her arm. We can now call her bionic with no questions asked.
Due to PDG Jeanette’s incapacity, I had the opportunity to talk to the Rotary Club of Jacksonville Oceanside about The Rotary Foundation, which was truly a pleasure!
A special part of the visit was when club Foundation Chair Judi Cowart recognized 9 Paul Harris Fellows, including club president Wendy Ranson. President Wendy, thank you for leading by example by demonstrating your commitment to The Rotary Foundation.
In November, I received notification from Shelterbox that the Rotary Club of Ocala had been recognized as a Shelterbox Hero at the Bronze level. It appears that this notification was “lost in my Inbox,” however, the importance of this recognition should not be lost and I hope you will join me in recognizing club president Manal Fakhoury and all members of the club. If you want to find out more about getting your club involved with Shelterbox, I encourage you to contact Manal.
We need your help in identifying a Youth Protection Officer for the district. The right person is likely someone in the Family Law, Psychology or Social Work vocations. This role is critical for the future of youth programs in the district. If you know of a Rotarian (or yourself) that you think might be a fit for this role, please contact me, District Governor-Elect John Tabor or Karen Weiss.
Don’t forget, there is still time to nominate worthy Rotarians for the Al Watson and Brent Williams awards. The nominations must come from your current club president; however, we encourage clubs to have discussions about worthy Rotarians. Questions about the nomination process and the nomination forms can be found on the Rotary District 6970 website or directed to DGN Mickey Ulmer. Completed nominations must be submitted no later than April 19, 2023.
Each year at the conclusion of the District Conference we celebrate the lives of Rotarians who passed away during the Rotary year. If a member of your club passed away this year, please send the name of the Rotarian, your club’s name and a photo to District Governor Nominee Designate Dale Moe as Dale will be putting the presentation together.
Maureen and I had the chance to attend a great fundraiser and evening of fellowship, at the Rotary Club of Bartram Trail-Julington Creek with Adam Ezra. The concept of a backyard concert has been a great fundraiser for the club and a lot of fun for our second time joining them.
While I was visiting the Rotary Club of Bartram Trail-Julington Creek, President Jose Gaverette proudly told me that their board had agreed to subsize any Rotarian attending the District Training Assembly because they thought that it was so important to prepare next year’s leaders and build leadership capacity in their club. What is your club doing to bring members to the District Training Assembly for this important training? Will your leaders be ready to lead on July 1? There is still time to sign up for the District Training Assembly and Conference at the discounted price.