In this election year, I begin with a formal statement: “the state of the Rotary Club of Milwaukee is strong.” In fact it is healthy and growing. Focused on the Four Way Test—is it the truth; is it fair to all concerned; will it build good will and better friendships; will it be beneficial to all concerned—our 365 members are engaged and truly embrace our purpose—“leaders making a difference”.
In anticipation of assuming the role of president, I attended various Rotary international, national, regional and zone conferences this past year. Upon introducing myself—“I’m the President-Elect of the Rotary Club of Milwaukee”—I was uniformly greeted with a sense of awe. Our Club, its many projects, activities, and impact, are well known. Often those around me volunteered that the Rotary Club of Milwaukee should be used as a model for all clubs. Wow, I thought! This Club is really something special.
Nearly 20 years ago, I joined this special Club. And like many, I had only limited knowledge of the spectacular history of the Club and the vast range of its activities. As we all know, engaged participation will change one’s view. From participation on a committee or two, I’ve now learned about our Club from all angles, and I too, am in awe. We have engaged leaders—officers and board members and committee chairs—many of whom make significant time for Rotary each and every week. We have extraordinary committees, nearly 25 if we count. Several focus on the operations and growth of the Club—finance, personnel, membership and recruitment, membership engagement, marketing, program, social and Tyrotarian. A second group focuses on our local community—Community Leadership Development, Done in a Day, Environment and Ecology, golf and RCM Scholarship, Partners in Education, Reading is Fundamental, Inclusion, Racial Equity & Jobs, Military, Maritime, and Rotary Person of the Year. Six of them focus on our Global Community—the A.D. Robertson Fund for the United Nations, the Global Milwaukee Committee, Group Study Exchange/Rotary International Scholarship, our Rotary Foundation, Advancement and World Community Service. There is a place for you in this special Club!
And if that is not enough of a menu, this year we will again engage the Club in the process of selecting our next “big project.” With Johnson’s Park and the Rotary Centennial Arboretum, we scored true wins that again distinguished our Club in the greater Milwaukee community. We’ll be looking for your ideas, submitted through your committees or individually, for a project that will challenge us and provide another opportunity to highlight Rotary. I’ve heard it said that “our club works best when we all have a common project to unite us.” This year will be the start of such a project.
I thank, you, Dan, for your leadership. I thank each of you for your leadership, active participation, and inspired contributions. I thank you for giving me the opportunity to lead this special Club for the coming year. And I pledge to work to keep and grow the strength of our Club.