Rotary Reflections

My assignment today is to talk about my year as president. That was a long time ago so I had to check my files.

I was president of our club 1993-1994. It was a great year, a great experience and I enjoyed it. The RI president’s theme for that year was “Believe in what you do and do what you believe in”. Our theme for the club was “Share and Enjoy” We plowed a lot of new ground that year.

I tell everyone that our greatest claim to fame that year was hiring Mary Buckley as our Executive Director. She has been in my opinion the single greatest influence in keeping our club on a successful trend this past 20 years.

I like to organize and plan and so one of my main emphasizes as president was to do a thorough job of planning prior to the start of my Rotary year. Part of that process was to conduct interviews with all of the past presidents and conduct individual meetings with the board of directors. Also we reviewed and researched the club’s past and present--what was good and what was not so good.

We put together a written Rotary Plan in a booklet and presented in to the membership at the first meeting. The format used in the plan is still used today in the Membership Directory. We had a separate directory at the time but the directory part was added to the plan of action 2 yrs later during Merle Jansen’s year.

Our goal that year was to increase the net membership by 10% and we did. We ended the year with 260 members. Bill Waddell was the chair of membership and did an outstanding job. Our plan was to introduce a new member at every meeting. With a few exceptions that was accomplished.

One of the problems I saw with the club in the past was that the meetings went past 1 pm many times & sometimes it was 1:30. So I set a strict rule that our meetings would end at 1 pm We allowed the speaker 20 minutes making & sure the speaker knew that we had to adjourn the meeting a 1 pm. That rule was broken one time when Tom Osborne was the speaker and I didn’t have the courage to cut him off. I am pleased to say that our presidents since then have done a great job of adhering to that practice.

Our meetings were held at the NBC center 11th floor (now Wells Fargo) on the west side and were moved to the east side mid year.

A couple of the major projects for the year were the Rotary Senior Park and the Scholarship Auction. As I recall we had raised $60,000 for the park and the ground breaking ceremony was in Sept. The auction raised $15,000 and was held in Oct. Compared to recent auctions that doesn’t seem like a lot but it was then. We didn’t have a club foundation at that time so we invested the money at Lincoln Community Foundation. That fund grew to $100,000 and was transferred to our club foundation a few years later and put in escrow for scholarships.

During the year, we started a Rotaract Club which was first one in several years. The Rotary International Foundation giving averaged $73.60 per member which was the highest dollar amount in the district.

As a fellowship program we did a series of Fireside chats at the homes of Rotarians and had good participation. These were very enjoyable.

There were many other projects and accomplishments but these are the highlights. It was a great team effort and in the end we were selected by the district governor as the outstanding large club.

I have been a Rotarian and a member of this club since 1962…52 years. Rotary has meant a great deal to me. If I had to pick one thing that has been important to me it would be the FELLOWSHIP OF ROTARY

Fellowship is a community of interest, activity, feeling and experience and more than anything it leads to friendships. Rotary provides the opportunity for this.

The first object of Rotary is the development of acquaintances as an opportunity for service.

Developing acquaintances provide the opportunity for friendship. As we serve, we have the opportunity for fellowship.

One last comment--Our club is not only one of the oldest clubs in the world but it is one of the premier clubs in the world. As members, we can be proud of that.