Official Visit to Madison Rotary Club

Thursday, July 13th at 7:00 am

My second official visit is to the Rotary Club of Madison.  The club President, Marc Jacobson and the Assistant Governor, Gene Pfeiffer greeted me.  This club meets at the Madison Hogan YMCA and begins their meeting at 7:00 am – another early morning meeting for me.  I enjoy visiting this club and was there last week to install their new officers.  The members treat me like family and there are several members who are supporting me during my district governor year.  Dennis Sanders is the district communications chair.  Carla Daily is the district web site manager, Gene Pfieffer is a assistant governor and Pat Cross is the district finance committee chair.  A really active club locally and in the district.  Thanks to all for your willingness to help make a difference in the world.

Marc Jacobson asked me to introduce myself, then make my comments, then begin our conversation.  I started my introduction by telling them that I was raised in a 2-room house with a path.  I’m not sure they understood the “path” concept.  They enjoyed the humor, but this is really how I started life – a very humble beginning not experienced by many in today’s time.  Now, the Madison rotarians know my background, education, and family,

I gave my 5-minute introduction of my district governor year and we began our conservation.  I started by reading the comments made by the Madison club members that answers the question “Who are we?”

  • An organization of friends who provide service to others and around the world.
  • Family, community, friendship and service.
  • Leaders providing service to local, regional, and global communities in a vast, unforeseen way.
  • Service with friends; One of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
  • A civic and social organization that focuses on doing good in the community and the world.
  • We are family.

My favorite is the last one – we are family, the family of Rotary – what a beautiful thought.

Madison has a great fund raising project – Parrotts – a great evening of fun, food, music and raffles and auction items.  Tim Stone is the chair.  Debbie Overcash is chair of the street festival, another fund raising project.

Lots of service projects:  Change for Change Campaign to raise money for Polio Eradication; Echo Stoves and includes dental and vision work in Honduras; Done in a Day projects; RYLA; Veterans Prayer Breakfast; to name a few of their service projects.  This is a busy, busy club doing good in the world, serving humanity, to make a difference in the world.  How’s this to tie the last two years to this year, Pat Cross?




Visit to Rotary Club of Birmingham

Betsy Holloway, the new president of the Rotary Club of Birmingham invited me to attend her first meeting today, Wednesday, July 12th at noon.  I gladly accepted.

I have met Betsy several times in the last couple of years and was privileged to travel to Evanston with her and Susan Jackson, Birmingham’s executive secretary.  This yearly visit to Rotary International Headquarters and arranged by PDG Tom Greene gives president-elects and the DG-elect an opportunity to get to know one another before their year begins.  It is a great opportunity to learn more about Rotary International and to meet those individuals who help us to make a difference in the world today.  It is also an opportunity to visit Chicago and see the sights, eat good food and make new friends.

Rotary is a family tradition with Betsy.  Her great grandfather was a International President of Rotary.  Ask her about this.  Her father is a Rotarian as is her husband.  I met her daughter, who is attending Texas Christian University.  Will she be the next Rotarian in the family?

At the beginning of the Birmingham Rotary meeting, applause began with a standing ovation for Betsy to start her new year as president – very impressive, and this simple act of support and understanding brought tears to my eyes.  Betsy graciously accepted the applause, then continued the meeting by reviewing her plans for this year.  A panel of 4 entrepreneurs, discussing the entrepreneurial spirit of Birmingham, was the program – very enlightening to know that these new business ideas need more than the $ investment – they need $’s of course, but they also need volunteers and encouragement for success.

Betsy – have a most wonderful and productive year.  You are a strong leader and motivator.  Go for it, make this world a better place by making a difference in our world.

My Club, Decatur Daybreak

July 12, 2017:  Wednesday morning at 7:00 am

Since I did not have an official visit scheduled for today, I was able to attend my Rotary club’s meeting at the Elk’s Club in Decatur.  Today is the day that Angie Whittington becomes our past president and Wendy Taylor becomes a new president.  Brandon Price, also a member of Decatur Daybreak is the new Assistant Governor.  The changing of leadership went smoothly, as expected.

Thank you, Angie for your leadership during 2016-2017 serving humanity to make a difference in the world.

Congratulations, Wendy for this new year of service that will make a difference in our community and our world.  I can’t wait to see all that happens this year.

Recognition of Dr. Byron Nelson, Jr.

Noon, July 11, 2017 at Cherokee Ridge clubhouse in Arab, Alabama

I am invited to introduce Dr. Nelson, a long time Rotarian who is being honored today by his Rotary club, the Rotary Club of Arab.  Dr. Nelson is expecting that this is my official visit – so this is a surprise event for him.  What an honor for me to introduce this Rotarian who has a total of 49 years of service to make a difference in the world.

I arrived a bit early and was able to practice my talk.  I am a bit nervous, because I want my words to convey the very special person that Dr. Nelson is.  I have known of Dr. Nelson for many years and know that he is a Past District Governor of our district from 1984-1985.  He was the Superintendent of Decatur City Schools when all of my step children and son were is school in Decatur.  And, as I began my year as district governor, Dr. Nelson has already sent me a letter offering encouragement and support for this year.

Steve West, the new President of the Rotary Club of Arab, was there to welcome me, as was many of Dr. Nelson’s family and friends throughout our district.  My introduction was well received.  It included a description of his time in high school at Tallassee, AL; his activities while in college at Auburn and Peabody, Vanderbilt, Tennessee and his 49 years as a Rotarian in Virginia and in Alabama.  Additionally, I learned that he served in the US Army beginning in 1958.  His wife, Carolyn was at his side today as was members of his family, including his grand son, Mark.

Dr. Nelson, with his years of service as a Rotarian, received two very prestigious awards from Rotary International and the Rotary Foundation:  Rotary International’s Four Avenues of Service Citation and the Rotary Foundation Citation for Meritorious Service.

Thank you, Dr. Nelson, for your service to Family, Alabama, and Rotary.  Congratulations on this special recognition.

Guntersville Sunrise Official Visit

July 11, 2017 – my first official visit.

I began my day at 4:00 am, which was a bit earlier than necessary to drive to Guntersville, Alabama.  Guntersville Sunrise begins their meeting at 7:30 am in the Guntersville Public Library located at 1240 O’Brig Street.  I planned 2 hours to make the trip and to locate the library, which means that I’m leaving at 5:30 am.  I typed the address into my Garmin (GPS) and headed out – at beautiful morning with a lovely sunrise.

This is a small club with an enthusiastic group of women who strive to make a difference in their community.  Men are welcome and two were present for this meeting.  Assistant Governor Beth Wheeler-Dean, a member of this club, opened the library for the meeting.  Tiffany Martin, president of the club, welcomed me and introduced me to the members as they came in.  I gave each member the district pin, Ian’s theme pin, my business card and the Boiling n’ Bragging card.

After reading a 5-minute introduction, our conversation began.  We discussed the Casino Night, a community event sponsored by Guntersville Sunrise which is the club’s major fund raising event.  Casino Night is chaired by Lora Snapp.  This is an important event not only for the Rotarians, but for the community as well – a fun annual event.

These Rotarians support projects that are “youth and community oriented”, as shown by their choices of service projects.  “Cool It”, headed by Kate McCurdy; “TRICO” a girl scout project headed by Pam Krichev and “Blessings In a Backback”, headed by Janna Carroll are some of their service projects.  They are considering a new service called “Rise Against Hunger”, proposed by Tiffany Martin, the club’s president.

The area of improvement that is wanted by the membership is a more user-friendly dacdb.

My First Day

Hello, Rotarians of District 6860.  This is a blog that will be updated throughout my year as District Governor and will be posted after each day that I have Rotary duties.  This could be daily or it could be intermittant.  I expect my next blog post to be July 12th, the day after my first club visit and official Rotary activity.  This is my very first blog, so I’m learning as I go.  So – here goes!

Thanks to Russ Noell and Dennis Sanders – the Rotary District Directory for 2017 – 2018 is published at our website,  Please visit the web site and download the directory to your computer or other electronic devices.  The advantage to publishing the directory electronically is that we can update the information as needed and we realized a large savings by not printing the directory.

Reminders:  District Dues statements are being mailed.  Remember that we have increased district dues by $6, with $1 going to the Disaster Relief Donor Fund and the remaining $5 going to offset the increase in costs to the district.  We hope that this increase from $25 to $31 per year will take care of the district’s financial needs for at least the next 5 years.  Thank you for your support.

Saturday, July 1, 2017 – my very first day as District Governor for Rotary District 6860 – what a privilege to serve the 3400 Rotarians in this wonderful district.  I am an early riser, getting up around 4:00 am.  My schedule for my first day was to travel to Meridian, Mississippi and attend a Joint District Conference planning committee meeting.  Brandon Price, our district conference chair for District 6860 drove.  We left at 6:00 am and 3 hours later, we were in Meridian – one hour early.  Brandon is a safe, but speedy, driver.  We drove around Meridian to see the sights and become aware of the town that we were visiting.

The planning meeting began at 10:00 am with Vicky Gutierrez leading us.  Vicky is the overall chair and is super organized.  She has us on a schedule and we all know what we need to be doing.  Our confirmed speakers for the conference include:  Paul Chappell on Peace; Greg Yank, Zone Director; Brad Howard, Polio Eradication; SilviaWhitlock, the first lady Rotarian; Floyd Lancia, Foundation; Mark Maloney, Rotary International; Erin Brokovich; Clean Water, and one other, not as yet identified.  A great line up of speakers – don’t you think?

Our Joint District Conference will be June 7 – June 10, 2018 at the Beau Rivage in Biloxi, Mississippi.  Please join us for a great celebration.  Early registration will begin soon.

My first club visit will be July 11th with the Rotary Club of Guntersville Sunrise at the Hamtpon Inn in Guntersville.  Beth Wheeler-Dean is the Assistant Governor for this area.  I am looking forward to this visit and learning more about their club service and plans for the future.  From Guntersville, I’m traveling to Arab to join in the celebration of PDG Byron Nelson’s dedication to Rotary.  I am the speaker and am working on my talk honoring all of PDG Nelson’s activities as a Rotarian and as a community leader.

My next club visits are on Thursday, July 13th witth the Rotary Club of Madison at 7:00 am, then the Rotary Club of Haleyville at noon.  Another great day of learning about these club’s service and their future plans.

Stay tuned – more to come later.  Yours  in Rotary Service – DG Dr. Sue