Where is the time going? It seems like this Rotary year just started yesterday, but here we are, already a fourth of the way through it. I guess it is true what they say, ‘Time flies when you’re having fun!’ I am definitely having fun as the president of this great club.
This past weekend has been a very busy one for the club as we had two outings where we participated. First, the 2nd Annual Global Walk4Water took place this past Sunday at the WakeMed Soccer Complex in Cary. I am proud to announce that we had massively increased our club’s participation in this district-wide event as we went from one participant last year to six this year. I believe I speak for everyone involved when I say we all had a wonderful experience. When you get together with so many Rotarians, it is always sure to be a great moment.
On Monday, we participated in our most important fundraiser of the year, the Ed Shook Golf Classic. I dare say that none of us at the club have ever met Ed Shook since he passed along well before we became involved with this fundraiser, but if this is any indication as to the type of man he was, I am sure he was impressive. The people at the Frankie Lemmon Foundation put on an awesome golf tournament and we are proud and pleased to be a small part of its success. The Rotary golf team (we may need to hire a ringer) did not place last this year as we have in the past, but we fell just outside the ‘money’.
We may not be great golfers, but we are a lucky bunch. The raffle drawing took place and of the four prizes, North Raleigh Rotarians took home three of them. Among the winners were District Governor-Elect Matthew Kane, Club Photographer Gene Hirsch, and Board member Steven Dieckhaus. Each one were awarded wonderful prizes which was presented at the meeting this week.
I would like to thank everyone who helped make this year’s tournament a huge success. President-Elect Jay Williams did a marvelous job leading the fundraiser for this year and we had numerous volunteers. I cannot begin to name the volunteers, but there were many and it was appreciated. For the record, the Rotary table was a huge success and we had ten people who registered to receive more information about our club. This is how we grow…you tell them, and they will come. Most people want to be a part of an organization like ours, but they need to be invited. As I recently spoke with a Rotary Youth Exchange alumni, I asked him why he wasn’t in Rotary and he simply replied, “Because I was never invited”. Let’s invite them.
Speaking of this week’s meeting, we held it at the famed Milton’s Pizza in North Raleigh. It was a spectacular venue and the food and service were impeccable. You couldn’t ask for a nicer group of people with a great family atmosphere. The room was a little tight for our group, but very intimate and gave the meeting a more family-oriented feeling. It has not been decided by a long-shot whether we will move permanently to this facility, but it did show that the members are open to the possibility of changing venues.
It is a pleasure to lead such a group that is open to change as this one is. In a group where nearly three-fourths of the members have been associated with the group longer than I or most of the board, it is inspiring that they are willing to accept change like they did today. Even if it turns out to be a one-time change, the attendance was immense.
Our speaker and fellow Rotarian, Greg Gulley was inspiring and complementary of the club. He talked about the upcoming dental mission that is to take place in a couple of weeks in the Ukraine. He and Dr. Gabe Rich are doing some amazing things in the Ukraine and their commitment to the young orphans is a shining example of the Rotarian mindset. We thank them for their service to the lest among us and wish them well on their journey to the Ukraine later this month.
I am pleased to announce that your board of directors voted at the board meeting to support the dental mission. We have committed $3,000 to this cause which is touching so many young people in a positive way. This is what Rotary is about…helping the lest among us and doing good in the world. I know we look forward to hearing their stories and seeing the pictures. As Greg posts pictures to Facebook, I will share them on our Facebook page for you to view.
It is with sadness that we have to bid farewell to a newer member whose job brought her to us, but also took her away from us. Karen Hales wasn’t with the club very long, but her presence will be missed. She stepped up from the beginning and took on the role of Food Fun and Fellowship. She planned the very successful Mudcat’s game excursion and the Social this week at the Village Grill. Her leaving has left a void in this position and if you are interested in taking on the planning of our social calendar, please speak with Scott Tarkenton. I am sure he would love to hear from you.
Our Rotary family is growing as we are adding members all the time, but we have a new growth that is a little unexpected. If you were at the meeting last week, you heard from our newest member, Nina O’Neil, who during the bragging moments, announced that she is expecting a child. As her Rotary family, we are thrilled with the news and wish her and her husband the best with this new and exciting addition to their family. Make sure you congratulate her when you see her.
In the coming weeks, we have some very exciting projects where volunteers are needed. The Stop Hunger Now food packing project will be held on November 9th and if you haven’t volunteered yet, please see Dee Dee Heard. We need to get a head count to them so they can plan for us. This is a great opportunity to get your families involved with a Rotary project.
On October 26th, we will be cleaning our adopted stretch of road on Lynn. Typically, it takes around two hours to clean our two mile stretch. It is a great opportunity to socialize with fellow members and serve. Family members are also encouraged to participate in this project. If you can make it, contact Mike Weinold who is heading up this project for the club.
As I draw this month’s letter to a close, I want to reflect on this past week. I did something that I haven’t done in my years with this club…I invited a newer member to coffee to learn more about him and to discuss Rotary. I think I will make this a permanent undertaking for me and I would encourage you to do the same. I met with Mike Aoun and learned so much about him. It is refreshing to see men like him and the challenges that life has thrown him…but he has not given up and it has made him a better person. I am confident he will become a great Rotarian and one we can be proud to have in our club. I am looking forward to some great things from him.
October is Rotary Foundation month and I would encourage each of you to make a donation to the Foundation. This is our charitable arm and some of the money our district gives to this organization comes back to us. Our club has benefited from much of these funds and will continue to benefit from them. We will have the District Foundation Chair Tim Mannix speak to our club this month and I encourage you to attend. There are some exciting projects that clubs throughout the district are supporting that have benefited from the Foundation.
Additional programs for October include our Rotational Meeting next week. If you haven’t signed up for a location, please contact Jason Potts who has the list. We will be forwarding the choices in the next day or so, so keep an eye out for that email. We will also be going to the moon…or at least will hear about the moon. Melissa Guzman will speak on the moon at the October 23rd meeting and the month will round out with a talk from Amanda Davis who will speak about Cultivating Kindness. What better topic to finish Foundation month?
Have a great week and please let me know if you have any questions or concerns. We will reveal the results from the survey of Milton’s as soon as we can. Don’t forget the Bring a Guest…Be a Star campaign. We have had a tremendous response with many guest to date, but very few have sponsored a new member so it’s not too late to win that bottle of wine at the end of the year.
Yours in Rotary Service!
Steven W. Nelson, President 2013-14
Rotary Club of North Raleigh