What is everyone doing Saturday, March 4th? If you have an open weekend then, I have a great suggestion. Come to South Charleston and attend a Rotary Leadership Institute seminar at the BridgeValley Community and Technical College. This is only one of two that are held in the state. If you’re not familiar with RLI, it is where if you are new to Rotary or not, you can learn more about Rotary. There are three different levels, starting at I and progressing to III. Once an attendee has completed level III, they have graduated and can join the RLI faculty as a facilitator. Basically, the classes cover all aspects of Rotary and with some leadership thrown in. It’s a great way to learn more about Rotary. It will make you a better Rotarian and in turn will make your club better, too. This is District 7550’s event but it matters little when Rotarians are involved. It’s a great way to learn about other Rotarians and what their clubs are doing. Go to the calendar page on DACdb and you can sign up. If you have been to I or II in Morgantown, come down and get II or III. District 7530 needs new members as well all know. But we also need improved members, too. Like I’ve often said, the more you get into Rotary, the more fun it becomes. So sign up and come on down
I would like to give a big shout out to Dr. V.K. Raju of my own Morgantown club. If you don’t know VK or not been in his company, you’re missing something. He is a constant source of energy and ingenuity. In addition to his thriving eye practice, he founded an international eye foundation and travels the world, mostly the third world, dispensing sight-saving surgery and drops. The foundation also establishes eye clinics in many of these areas and trains local doctors so those areas can be self-sustaining sites in eye care. He also is very generous with his money as well as his time. Last month, Raju made a donation of $10,000 to Polio Plus in the name of a former patient of his who Raju treated many years ago and the young man went from a sightless life destined for poverty to college degrees and his own business. Needless to say, the Morgantown club surpassed RI President John Germ’s special 100th anniversary goal of $2,650 for Polio Plus this year thanks to VK’s benevolence. Rotarians like Dr. Raju and others like him are one of the big reasons that joining Rotary is such a great idea. Where else can you meet men and women who do so much for others than in Rotary. It’s what makes Rotary what it is; the greatest service organization in the world.
The big news out of Atlanta, which is the site of the Rotary International Conference on June 10-14, 2017 and is within driving distance of all District 7530 clubs. The speakers’ list was announced. Golf legend Jack Nicklaus, baseball legend Hank Aaron, movie stars Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, the young Noble Peace Prize winner from Pakistan, Malala Yeusafzai, philanthropist Rajasheree Birla, former Georgia football coach Vince Dooley. As for entertainment, country star Ricky Skaggs will be performing. The Atlanta Braves will be playing in their brand new stadium and the June 8th game has been designated Strike Out Polio Night. On June 10, there will be a 3-K walk/run for peace and also a candlelight vigil to stop slavery and human trafficking. On the 12th, there will be tours of the Carter Center and dinners will be held at the College Football Hall of Fame. If you register by Dec. 15th, you will save yourself $70. We have 30 from our district signed up. Join the fun.
The world saw three new cases of polio reported in Afghanistan and one new case in Pakistan. That’s why we keep donating to the Polio Plus program. The District Governor’s goals is to have each club his the $1,500 goal set by President John Germ. Those clubs that want to be ambitious, President John would like to see all clubs strive to raise $2,650 each to honor the 100th year of the Rotary Foundation.
Membership remains flat in District 7530. Still sitting at 1,043, six under when we began July 1 and 57 under the number RI wants to hit by next July 1.
Our district has 25 members registered for the International Conference in Atlanta, June 10-14, 2017. Our sister district to the south of us has two more than us. I made a commitment to RI President John that our district would send 100 to match the anniversary year of The Rotary Foundation. So start marking your calendars and planning the trip. It will be the best chance for Rotarians to go to the International Convention and it is something every Rotarian should strive to attend.
Rotary Has Heart: The 29 districts that make up Zones 33 and 34 (we are in 33) have decided to do another “Rotary Has Heart” program this year. It will be a community service project in the first quarter of 2017 and it will let communities up and down the eastern seaboard know what Rotary is doing. The hope is that all 1,600 clubs in the zones will participate, either individually or as a group. There will be a recognition program in which all clubs and districts can participate. Each governor will select what is considered to be the best Rotary Has Heart club community service project with related publicity in the district. A club president from Zone 33 and Zone 34 each will receive 1,000 Paul Harris recognition points plus a certificate and be recognized at all events after the deadline. If our district has the highest percentage of participation in our zone, we will receive a painting by George Lewis to auction off to raise funds for Polio Plus, or a water project or something in one of the six areas of focus. Brenda Shaw, Rotary Public Image Chair for Zone 33, said she hopes all clubs will participate in any way they can and that all will bear the Rotary banner proudly and tell our story boldly. “Rotary has heart and there is no better way to show this collectively than during the first quarter that holds Valentine’s Day.” More information can be had at the zone website: www.rizones33-34.org.
WV Flood Relief: If you would like to help with the disaster relief effort in the southern part of the state, please send checks payable to: Lewisburg Rotary Foundation and send to the attention of Governor John Powell at 2526 Spring St. South Charleston, WV 25303-2501. Personal checks will be considered tax deductible. Checks also should be designated for flood relief in the memo line.
Goals for the Annual Fund Centennial Challenge have been given by Zone Chair Kay Davis. But in line with hitting our overall foundation goal of $150 million, our zone has been given a goal of approximately $6.7 million this year. Kay points out that while it is a challenge, “it also is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for us to break records and present a very significant birthday gift to our Foundation to help it do even more good in the world.” Each district is being asked to show an increase of 18.2 percent over last year. Last year, District 7530 (that’s us) gave $99,878. Our goal this year is to come up with $118,056. As you know, our dwindling membership totals have his on the International “hit list” of districts to be dissolved. We have always countered out small stature with our commitment to Rotary and its causes. So let’s step up to the plate and hit the goal given to us to show everyone that we may be small but we do our job, on which we should be judged.
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