It is an honor to be a part of the Rotary Club of Milwaukee and to have been able to serve in different ways over the years. I have been impressed at the impact Rotary makes as an organization, and incredibly amazed and humbled by the dedication, passion and contribution of so many of our Rotarians. I truly believe Rotary is the best service organization in the world. These unprecedented past 15 months have changed our world in ways never imagined. The human toll this pandemic has had on our most vulnerable is unimaginable. From our elderly who have been directly affected by the pandemic, to our youth who have lost over a year of education and experiences, no one has escaped unscathed.
Our Rotary Club has been fundamentally impacted as well. We are an organization that prides itself on connecting people and resources for common good. While President Darren Miller and the rest of the Rotary team handled the changes extremely well, the pandemic has significantly impacted our club’s ability to connect and make a difference. We showed a lot of tenacity and were able to maintain many of our great contributions, but the restrictions put upon us limited our ability to do many of our activities.
As we put this pandemic in the rear-view mirror, it is time for our club and our membership to get back to what makes the Rotary Club of Milwaukee Special – connecting and collaborating to make a real difference in our communities. To do this, we need the help of all our membership. We need to continue to identify great candidates who share our values and missions. We need to continue to educate or communities on what Rotary is and the impacts that Rotary makes every day. Wear your Rotary pins proudly and follow our posts on social media. We need to build our club and our membership to continue taking the Rotary Club of Milwaukee into our next century of making a real difference.
Another truth that this pandemic has laid bare, are the inequities and challenges that our local and global communities continue to face. We are living in a polarized, political environment that is often ill-equipped, unable, or unwilling to make the changes or investments needed to create better outcomes. A simple and straight forward Mantra like Rotary’s four-way test – Is it the Truth, Is it fair to all concerned, Will it build goodwill and better friendships, Will it be beneficial to all concerned – which should be the basis of what we do in our communities often feels more like the exception than the rule.
Rotary has the ability to step-in and make the real and lasting improvements that will improve outcomes and transform lives for the better. I believe that our tag line of “Rotary Now More Than Ever” is truer today than it ever has been. We are a unique, non-political organization made up of a diverse group of Rotarians with one thing in common — leaving their communities and the world a better place. We have the connections, trust, support and most importantly the willpower to do great things. Help us continue to grow this power of goodness by bringing forward those ideas and initiatives that we have proven so successful at bringing to fruition in the past.
I am humbled to have had the opportunity to be involved the way I have with Rotary. Thanks to all of you, Rotarians, Darren, Mary, Melissa, Aaron for the vision, dedication, commitment, and self-less acts that are impacting so many lives. Thanks for guiding our club through one of the greatest challenges the club has faced. I will do my best to live-up to the examples set by those before me and thanks for all of your continued support.