We are pleased to announce that Past Assistant Governor and Past President of the Rotary Club of Downtown Deland, Bill Budzinski, was recognized as this year’s Al Watson Quiet Hero Honoree. District Governor Nominee Mickey Ulmer presented the award to Bill at his Club’s Annual Luau/Changeover event. Unless you live in Deland, it is unlikely that you know who Bill is. He is characterized as a “behind the scenes guy” who, through the Mainstreet DeLand Association and the Neighborhood Center of West Volusia, has worked diligently to provide resources for un-housed or nearly un-housed in the community. He has used his restaurant, the Elusive Grape as a venue for countless fundraisers throughout the community. If you care about others in West Volusia County, it is likely that you know Bill Budzinski. Bill is a true servant leader.
As you are aware, Sudan is experiencing a civil war of significant magnitude. Jacob Atem, from the Rotary Club of Gainesville was a keynote speaker at the District Conference and helped us to better understand this conflict from his long-term perspective, having escaped from Sudan in 1991. The ongoing conflict in Sudan has resulted in the displacement of thousands of South Sudanese who are currently trapped in Sudan. The chaos caused by the fighting has endangered refugees who are attempting to flee the country. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), as of June 12, 2023, amid increasing violence and deteriorating conditions, the situation in South Sudan has escalated to a full-blown humanitarian emergency. The total number of South Sudanese refugees has now passed 2 million and it is the largest refugee crisis in Africa. After Syria and Afghanistan, it is the third largest refugee crisis in the world. Sadly, 63 percent of South Sudanese refugees are under the age of 18. Please use this link to make your donation with a credit card or send your Check made out to the York Foundation (note South Sudan on it) Rotary International District 6970, PO Box 47195, Jacksonville, FL 32247.
District Governor-Elect John Tabor will be sending out an email to get members interested in attending the Singapore Convention into an email group. We received feedback this year that messaging with respect to information and events was inconsistent. On to Singapore Chair Dale Moe and Co-Chair Jeff Michelman have already identified Tuesday May 25, 2023 as the date for a District Dinner in Singapore (Save this Date).
As we prepare for this year’s Hurricane season, we are trying to strengthen relationships with Emergency Operations Centers (EOC) across the district. If members of your club are leaders in Police, Fire or in other EOC roles, please send their names and job title to District Governor Nominee Mickey Ulmer who is building a list of resources in our district.
If your club plans to be involved in this year’s Jaguars/End Polio Program, please send the name of your Jaguars Chair to Jeff Michelman ASAP. We plan to send out the details in early July and tickets will be available on a first come first served basis, so we need to know the Point of Contact for any clubs who plan to participate.
[Ring the Bell]
I had the honor of installing President Jeani Taliaferro and the Board of the Rotary Club of St. Augustine Sunset.
The North JAX Family of Rotarians & Interactors hosted, under the sponsorship of Club & Charities President-Terry Lee, President-Elect Tom Meissgeier, Immediate Past President Pat Mulvihill and under the direct hands-on supervision of Mark Andrews-Richard Black-Don Dagley-Rick Grunz-Ed & Nini Lawhon-Freda Parker-Madison Phillip, an old-fashioned summertime bar-b-que for a large group of Ukraine children and their counselors at a Ukraine Summer Camp in the Arlington Area of Jacksonville.