It is with some trepidation that I sit down to write my first President’s Column for the Pinion. When I think of all the presidents who have come before me, I am, I have to confess, a little intimidated. And most immediately, I am realizing what high heels I have to fill after Past President Lisa’s year at the podium. Thank you PP Lisa for a wonderful year leading Niles Rotary. Your focus on membership growth grew our club by 14 new members and your commitment to the Rotary Foundation ensured that we exceeded our goal in Foundation giving. But, most of all, your warmth and charm each week expressed the enthusiasm you have for Rotary and the love you have for all the members of Niles.
I would also like to thank the outgoing board members for their service to the club. John Dutra, you held down the club service duties with aplomb. Terri Landon, you kept us busy with community service projects far and wide. And Past President Steve, you made sure that our social calendars were full of engagements. To the incoming board members — Paul Andrus and Sandy Stabile — thank you for stepping up and taking leadership of community service and club service, respectively. Past President Lisa, you are a natural for Social Chair, so we are expecting a eventful 12 months of socializing. And at the back table, I would like to thank Steven Springer for serving ably as Sergeant-at-arms for the last year. Dana Jones and Steven have been Co-Sergeants for the past six months, and now Dana will assume those duties herself. Thank you, Dana, for taking up the reins in that role.
When I look back at my year as president-elect, I am first of all astonished at how fast the 12 months passed and second of all thrilled by all that I have learned about the Rotary organization. My journey to Seoul, Korea for the Rotary International Convention was undoubtedly the highlight of my president-elect year. Being in the same vast room with 25,000 other Rotarians from all over the world was truly awe-inspiring. And hearing about the global impact of Rotary made me proud to be an ever-so-small part of the organization. With then-President Lisa, I met a Rotarian from Kathmandu who offered to host us if we ever visited his home town. Simon Cho (who, it turns out, is descended from Korean royalty) set us up for a Korean banquet and a tour of the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea. He even talked our Korean tour guide into singing a traditional Korean love song. Daren Young answered that by leading us in a rendition of Smile for the baffled and disbelieving Rotarians on our tour bus. It was a trip never to be forgotten.
In the year ahead, I hope to lead us all in a year of Rotary exploration, opening all our eyes to what Rotary accomplishes around the world and in our own region. It is a great honor to be your president this year. My door and inbox are always open; if you have any requests for the year, please feel free to get in touch.
Yours in Rotary,