We have reached the conclusion of a great year with less than a month before our new president, Jay Williams takes office. It has been an exciting year and I know the coming years will be just as wonderful. The 2014-15 Board has been elected and will be installed at our annual Installation Banquet on June 18th at the Carolina Country Club. What a day of celebration that will be?

President Steven Nelson presenting the club with a banner from the Xela Rotary Club in Guatemala.

President Steven Nelson presenting the club with a banner from the Xela Rotary Club in Guatemala.

We have had a very productive year with membership, service projects, fundraising and giving to the Rotary Foundation. The board has worked tirelessly to ensure we had a great year and many members have stepped up to help throughout the year. We have added projects and supported new local and global projects. We have surpassed milestones that were thought to be unattainable at the beginning of this Rotary year. All of this, is due to your efforts. You have made me look good as your president and for that, I will be eternally grateful.

Membership is up for the first time in a couple of years. To date, we have added 8 new members with the possibility of adding yet another member before the end of the Rotary year. An unspoken/unwritten goal of mine for this year was to reach the 60 member mark by the end of the year. If all goes well, we will add our 60th member on June 25th. A remarkable success for our members.

Some of the new projects we added this year that we may continue into the future include the Stop Hunger Now food packing project where we had 28 volunteers consisted of members, family members and 10 Interactors from Millbrook High School. We added the Miracle League of the Triangle and several members and family members gathered at the ballpark to ‘buddy’ young people who played America’s pastime. In that game, there were a  few players who took the game seriously and one home run (over the fence). It was quite impressive and I believe all volunteers were impressed with this opportunity to serve.

Just this past weekend, we partnered with the Raleigh Jaycees for the Relay for Life, which raises money for the American Cancer Society. With limited time to participate, we joined their team and had a few of our members run/walk a few shifts. I was out-of-town or I would have participated. Hopefully, we will decide to continue this project next year as all of us have been touched in one way or another with the dreaded disease of cancer.

The big project for the year was the Cedar Hills Rotary Park Beautification. As you saw at the spring picnic, the walkway is beautiful and will be a huge service to the community for many years to come. The plantings and park cleanup went smoothly with nearly 20 volunteers.

This club was very generous with its donations as we had a couple of instances where we asked for money for a specific cause. Last fall, we passed the hat and collected nearly $800 for Operation Coming Home and the club matched it bringing the total to $1600. As we heard from Tim Minton, they are building homes for our returning wounded veterans. They are now building the 8th Hero Home, which began last month. What an amazing cause and a simple, but heart-warming way to thank our local men and women who have given so much for our freedom.

I will not take the time to outline all of the causes we have supported this year, but I am proud of your generosity to the Rotary Foundation. We as a club has donated nearly $24,000 to the foundation. At the beginning of the year, I mentioned that we were nearly $20,000 shy of a club milestone of $300,000 in total giving to the foundation since the club’s inception. I also mentioned that I didn’t know if we would reach it this year, but we blew past that number. Many members took advantage of the matching points the board offered for Paul Harris Fellowships and we are on pace again to qualify for the Sustaining Member Club where every member has donated at least $100 to the foundation.

The year brought about some sadness as we lost a member and two former members. Jesse Schaudies will be missed as he was a great Rotarian and man. Many of us were fond of Jeff Taylor. Though I did not know him as well as I would have liked, he was instrumental in our continued support of the Guatemala Literacy Project and was a very generous Rotarian. We also lost Walt Newman, a former member who left the club when he moved into a retirement community in Cary. I attended his memorial service and though I didn’t know him, he seemed to be a wonderful man and Rotarian. His daughters were pleased that I was representing the club and mentioned how much he enjoyed his time in our club.

Of course, personally, I also experienced a great loss when my mother passed away on Thanksgiving morning. It was a troubling time for me and my siblings, but the love and support I received from members of this club was moving. It was another sign that this is a great club who cares about its members. I thank you for your thoughts, prayers and cards/emails during this difficult time in my life.

As I draw my last president’s corner to a close, I want to encourage you to join us on June 18th for the Installation dinner as we officially install the new board and celebrate another highly successful year for this club. You will have one more week to sign up for it and Warner Hall will again be sending the sheet around at next Wednesday’s meeting. I would also encourage you to join us for the District Governor’s Installation Dinner as we see our very own, Matthew Kane, ascend to the vaulted position. He will be the second North Raleigh Rotary governor in four years. This shows how committed our members are to making a difference in our community and world.

In closing, I have said this several times, but it bears repeating. It has been an honor and a privilege to be the president of this club. I have called upon you many times this year and you have not failed to step up to the call. I will be stepping down with some trepidation and sadness, but I know the club will be in great hands for the future. Jay Williams is poised to be another successful president and a great leader for our club. I ask that you give him the same level of support you have granted me and my board.

Thank you for this honor and I look forward to being an asset to our new president.

Yours in Rotary Service!

Steven W. Nelson, President 2013-14

Rotary Club of North Raleigh

Engage Rotary, Change Lives!!!

About Steven Nelson