Music to my ears, that’s what it was. Richard D. King – our song-leader, the man who loves dogs, friend to leaders worldwide, and Past President of Rotary International – on Thursday, September 15, declared that Niles Rotary is, “In my opinion, the best Rotary club in the world.” Now, I have been known to make that claim myself, but truthfully, I can count on one hand the number of Rotary clubs that I can compare. But for Rick King to make the claim . . . well, he has visited clubs throughout the world. So, it must be true. And the reason we are the best club is because of YOU! We have the best Rotarians in the world, which is how we have the best Rotary Club in the world. So, thank you, friends, for all that you do for Niles Rotary Club.
Rick King’s talk was entitled “The Prisoner of Second Avenue,” and it touched on the subject of Vocational Service in Rotary. The lesson I learned from the presentation was that even though we are all in Rotary to make a difference in the world, an important collateral benefit is that Rotary Clubs also serve Rotarians. By belonging to the same club, we are in a position to help each other succeed professionally and socially. As the Rotary year progresses, I hope that we will do more in the club to promote Vocational Service and showcase our members’ professional accomplishments.
Where did September go? All I know is that we got a lot accomplished. The service project at Blacow Elementary School on September 10 was a huge success. Thank you, Paul Andrus and Steve Landon, for heading up the planning for this event. We had roughly 25 Nilesians, a handful of Interactors from Fremont Christian Schools, members of the Rotaract Club, and a group from Carmax, who came to us courtesy of the YMCA (thank you, Josh Carlson). By the conclusion of the project, we had planted foliage and trees, spread a ton of wood chips, replaced a handful of basketball back-boards, and painted a beautiful map of the United States on the playground. It was great to have Jim Morris, the Superintendent of Fremont Unified, and Jose Hernandez, the principal of Blacow Elementary, join us for the project. At one point, I walked past them both and they were stringing a net on a basketball hoop together. I know that Jim and Jose, and all the students at Blacow Elementary, truly appreciate our efforts that Saturday morning.
September also saw the launch of the Haggis Challenge, this year’s drive to grow the membership of Niles Rotary. This challenge comes complete with its own mascot – Hamish the Haggis – courtesy of the boundlessly talented Jeff Schinkel. As membership chairs, Chuck Canada and Rick Hood, tell us, the best way to attract new members is to invite friends and acquaintances to have lunch with us at a club meeting. So, please support the membership drive and don’t let your teammates down: bring a friend to lunch! Remember, if you and your teammates work hard enough, you could find yourself on the winning team, eating haggis and barbeque at the President’s Manse in lovely Oakland. And that is no joke!
As October rolls in this weekend, I encourage all of us to participate in the some of the many opportunities the club offers for service and fellowship. As District Governor Jeff Orth noted during his Governor’s visit, we are a busy club. So consider participating in the Candle Lighter’s Ghost House project on October 1 and please support the Hot Hot Chili Pepper Challenge that our very own Daren Young is championing. Your short-term pain will lead to long-term gains in the community. As always, my advice to you is to “Keep Calm and Serve On!”