The Rotary Club of Vermillion met on Tuesday, July 6, in the Freedom Forum on the campus of USD for its first July meeting. Just retired former club president, David Lorenz, presided, and led the opening songs with Jack Noble accompanying on the piano. Several guests were introduced, and it was announced that member Damian Donahue will be activated for military service in Afghanistan in about a week. Members were asked to remember him and his family in prayer over the next year. It was also announced that our club would be serving at the community Welcome Table on Aug. 23, so members should be thinking about volunteering for that. Sergeant at Arms Al Pravacek was in good form, fining members for various imagined infractions and good things that they reported from the past week. The club also sang Happy Birthday to several Rotarians and to Kate Davis who is a Rotary "Ambassadorial Scholar" from England studying at USD.
Club member Roger Kozak, who is outgoing governor of our District 5610 of Rotary, that covers South Dakota and western Minnesota, introduced Mr. Bert Olson, who will serve as district governor for the coming year. Governor Olson gave an informative and inspiring speech about his own vision for Rotary. Mr. Olson grew up in Detroit Lakes, MN, and became very enthusiastic as a young man after spending time in Japan on a Rotary exchange program. Finding his Japanese Rotary hosts to be kind, gentle and generous, he realized the great potential Rotary has for influence around the world. Governor Olson described three separate weeks of training, held in Boise, Oklahoma City and San Diego, as preparation for his job as district governor. He pointed out how Rotary today is partnering with other organizations in local and international projects, organizations like Habitat For Humanity and Kiwanis. He also pointed out three of the great strengths of Rotary that make it a good organization for its members. They are, 1. Friendship and fellowship, the backbone of every local Rotary club, 2. Good moral ethics in the face of some rather bad behavior that has become widespread in our society, and 3. Real service to the community, state and world around us.
In closing, new District Governor Olson called Rotary members to continue the tradition of Rotary allowing ordinary people to do extraordinary things and of changing Rotary to change itself in order to better meet the challenges of the future. He also announced that the District 5610 annual conference would be held in Sioux Falls this year.
Our meeting was closed with the usual singing of the first stanza of My Country 'Tis of Thee.