I made it! I made it through the year as Rotary President that is! I can’t believe how fast this year went by. Last night’s District Banquet was my last official duty as I handed over the “Home Club of the District Governor” Banner to the incoming President of the Durham club. It was certainly an honor to be President of our Club the same year that Matthew Kane was our District Governor. It certainly added a little extra pressure, but it made my job that much more rewarding as well.
My job in taking over as President was to not screw it up and hopefully leave our club in a little bit better shape than I found it. We turn 50 years old in a couple of years so we are obviously a successful club and I didn’t want to screw it up. It was a little scary at first realizing that I was responsible for our whole club. But I found out rather quickly that I wasn’t responsible for it all by myself, everyone was willing to help. There were some times that I got very worried that something wasn’t going to turn out right. In December we were putting together the gift bags for the Total Life Center and realized that we were missing some of the gifts. Matt Johnson ran to Wal-mart to purchase what we needed and pulled it all together. Thomas from Sertoma retired at the end of the year and they told us that we wouldn’t have anyone to set up the room for us anymore. So we had to make a plea to the members and you guys stepped up to help. The Casino Night ticket sales were very sluggish at first and even up to a few weeks before the event. Our goal originally was 150 tickets sold, but we really wanted to sell a minimum of 100 tickets. A few weeks before we weren’t even sure we’d get that many. But again, you guys stepped up and we sold over 140 tickets to the event. There was the mad dash one Sunday when we thought we’d forgotten to pick up the RYLA kids and Steven Nelson and Erik Grunwald drove over an hour to the camp only to realize the event was the following Sunday. But again someone was there to step up and help. We need more of that. We need our members to volunteer more and to bring their families to events. Spouses and kids are always encouraged to attend things. I encourage everyone to pick one volunteer event we have next year and participate. Come out and see the difference our work and fundraising efforts make in the world. I promise you’ll be better for it.
My favorite memories of the year are those events where we had a lot of our family members involved. It started with the picnic at Dr. Smallwood’s house, we had the Alzheimer’s event at Abbotswood, we packed the gifts and delivered them to the Total Life Center, there was Casino Night, the Miracle League, District Conference, and the Mudcats game. I’d like to see us continue that trend of getting our families involved as it helps us socialize and volunteer all at the same time.
We had some highs and lows this year. I had the unfortunate task of letting the club know of two members passing away this year, Jake Jolliff and Herman Steiner. We miss seeing them at the meetings, but remember them fondly. But we are ending the year on a big high in membership as we have added several new members over the past couple of months and now stand at +2 for the year in membership and achieving the Presidential Citation for the Club. I am also proud of the monies we raised and were able to donate back to the community. We ended the year earmarking over $28,800 to be donated to the various charities and organizations we support which is something to be very excited about.
Again, thank you to all of you that helped make this an extremely successful year for the Rotary Club of North Raleigh. It has been an honor to be the President of the North Raleigh Rotary Club and I look forward to serving with you for many years to come!