Time flies but memories last forever. When I think of my year as President of this amazing club, truer words could not be spoken. Yes, the time has flown by faster than I thought it would; and yes, along the way wonderful memories were made. In each Rotary experience I have grown and found greater appreciation for what Rotary is, means and does – and who our members are individually and collectively.
First, thank you for the privilege of serving as your President to steward our club’s responsibilities and activities. As I started on this journey, I challenged us to find our why – that thing that inspires us each day and then, channel it through Rotary. I wanted the year to be about deepening our Rotary relationships which in turn help deepen Rotary’s impact. I stood before you a year ago, and then every Tuesday, with the hope of enriching our time together, strengthening our member retention and growing our membership, too. Thanks to all of you – we accomplished just that. Our membership is now more than 380 strong. In addition to growing our membership by nearly 5%, we’ve increased the number of women in our club by 10%, and seen more returning members re-join our ranks. We also logged 1,800 hours of community service.
Part of my responsibilities this year also included launching and fundraising for the next big project. Our club selected the Lincoln Avenue Stables as an opportunity to address three unique needs under one roof.
Rotarians once again gave generously to meet our goal and I am certain that this project will become another star in our club’s constellation of community impact. Yet, we didn’t stop there.
Our club also supported The Soldiers Home Restoration to serve veterans, hurricane relief, Milwaukee Film Festival and HKE MKE in partnership with the Urban Ecology Center. This club’s unwavering commitment to Education continues to grow and inspire. From tutoring, and delivering books and bikes to schools to awarding scholarships and mentoring students into college, to the amazing resources and focus of the Scholarship Golf Classic, Rotarians are planting countless seeds and providing rich nourishment to help them grow.
Speaking of planting, our club literally rolled up its sleeves to plant 400 trees that honor our membership and the environment. It’s been said that ‘we sit in the shade of trees planted by others’ therefore, this awesome legacy will live on fittingly, in the Rotary Arboretum.
Another pillar of Rotary’s legacy is our ongoing work to eradicate polio. Through individual contributions, matching efforts and our gifts that honor our weekly speakers, isn’t it amazing to be part of something so visionary and impactful?
We now have a new brand, logo, snazzy coffee mugs and don’t forget, ‘oilop’ embedded in our updated website to help us tell that story of vision and impact too. And, what do you think about those billboards on 94 E?
None of these things could happen without remarkable committee chairs, a dedicated Board, inimitable, consistent leadership from Mary and Rita, and generous Rotarians joining in with their time, treasure, talents, technology and yes, trees!
If I learned anything from this experience, it is that Rotary is about people — not any one person; yet, we honor the individual and individuality in so many meaningful ways. We paused to remember those we lost this year, celebrated special people who are part of Rotary’s strength and endurance, recruited up and coming leaders, and leaned into sensitive, important topics. Rotarians opened their individual homes and hearts time and again – sorting and boxing food at Feeding America, organizing efforts to enhance the Johnsons Park area, serving dinner and fellowship with one another — simply bringing people together at a time of great division — Connecting People and Resources for Common Good.
While the year may have gone too fast, it has centered me. It has brought me joy and given me memories to treasure. I leave my term as President filled with gratitude. I hope the same for you and yield the Rotary gavel and podium with appreciation to President Ed Krishok.