As I approach the last month and a half of my term as president of the Rotary Club of North Raleigh, I am amazed at how much we have accomplished together this year. Soon, there will be time to reminisce and look back, but today, we still have many opportunities ahead of us to serve and socialize.

Club President Steven Nelson

Club President Steven Nelson

It is sorrowful for the club as we said ‘goodbye’ to a truly remarkable Rotarian and an even greater man…Jesse Schaudies. I know some of you attended his memorial service on Saturday afternoon at the Cypress and I appreciate you representing the club with your presence. I remember when Jesse first came to our club…he seemed such a great fit with his larger-than-life personality and his hulking frame, but inside this man there was a heart of gold. He loved helping youth and he loved Rotary. It is not often you have the honor of meeting a RI Service Above Self recipient, but you would have never known it from him directly as he didn’t like to brag about himself.

Jesse & Adele Schaudies at the Installation Dinner in June 2011.

Jesse & Adele Schaudies at the Installation Dinner in June 2011.

When he joined our club, he was in his eighties and many people that age would just skate along and not get involved…not Jesse. I know he had worked with the youth with the essay or speech contest as well as served as Sargent-at-Arms. He traveled to District Conference a few times and it made for a wonderful opportunity to get to know him. I know Past President Greg Brissette rode with him to Asheville four years ago for District Conference and returned as a great friend to Jesse. That was just the kind of guy he was. Jesse, you will be missed greatly.

On the same day of his memorial service, we participated in the Miracle League of the Triangle for the first time as a club. As the procuring cause for bringing this activity to the club, I felt encumbered to attend, thus making it impossible to attend Jesse’s memorial service. Knowing we would have a strong representation at his memorial service made the decision easier. At the ballgame, I believe everyone who volunteered had a great time. We have about 11-12 volunteers to include three from the Raleigh Midtown club, spouses, children and friends. Unfortunately, I was forced to be a ‘buddy’ for the Red Sox team (being a Yankees fan) in the first game, but at least they didn’t win outright as all games ended in a tie.

My two players that I ‘buddied’ in the games were Wilhelm and JC. Wilhelm was in a wheelchair and seemed to enjoy being pushed briskly around the bases. JC is a young man who loved to sing and sung to himself as we played centerfield. Both parents thanked me after the games for my efforts with their children. It was extremely rewarding and made for a great opportunity to enjoy the game of baseball without being consumed with competitiveness…everybody wins. If you didn’t participate this year, you missed a wonderful, but hot day at the ball field and hopefully, we will continue this effort in the future.

Speaking of the future, next week marks the spring picnic. Do not go to Sertoma for our Wednesday meeting, as we will be at the Cedar Hills Rotary Park, unveiling the new walkway and plaque that District Governor-Elect Matthew Kane donated to the club. That meeting will be a little busy, as we will also hear from the RYLA students who will speak about their experiences and what they learned from their weekend in Oxford. It should be a great meeting and I encourage you to plan to attend.

Next Thursday we will once again be heading to the ball game as we enjoy a Carolina Mudcats baseball game. It should be fun-filled with a great meal and much socializing both prior to the start of the game and during it. Come rain or shine, we will have a great outing and the A/C in the booth will add to the enjoyment.

We will be inducting a new member in May while Foundation Chair Erik Grunwald attempts to ensure we are a sustaining member club again this year. We are close and if you have not donated at least $100 this year to the Foundation, please see Erik to find out how you can participate. Last year, we were one of the largest clubs in our district to have this distinction and it would be awesome to have it again for the 2013-14 Rotary year.

As you know, the year is winding down, so the outside activities are also winding down. We may have another opportunity to serve at the end of May (we are still working on the details), but other than that, we have wrapped up most of the projects for the year. We will be celebrating another successful year at our annual Installation Dinner on June 18th. It’s not too late to sponsor a new member and get recognized for bringing a new member into the club at the Installation Dinner.

As I close this letter to the members of the North Raleigh Rotary Club, I want to personally thank President-Elect Jay Williams for stepping up last Wednesday to head both the board meeting and the regular meeting at the last minute. I hated to miss, but my wife was sick and the only time the doctor could take her was at 11:30. She had a bacterial infection, but is feeling much better now, though she still has a cough and sore throat. Jay is going to make a great president and continue the great work we have done this year.

Remember, DO NOT GO TO SERTOMA next Wednesday, but rather join us at the Cedar Hills Rotary Park for our spring picnic. It will be a lot of fun.

Yours in Rotary Service,

Steven W. Nelson, President 2013-14

Rotary Club of North Raleigh