By Woodrow Polston
During last week’s Vandalia Rotary Club meeting, Darren Berry lead his first meeting as the new club president after Debbie Hopke’s term had expired.
Berry had served as the Club’s vice president for the past year, and has been an active member for the last five years. Working full time as the city administrator for Vandalia, while being an active member of numerous clubs and organizations, Berry said that time management is important for anyone with such a busy schedule.
“The key to time management is all about being organized,” said Berry. “It’s important to keep priorities straight and to take notes. It helps to keep track of priorities and mark off what you have done in a planner. It’s too easy to get distracted and then the next thing you know, a month has gone by and you realize you missed something important. I told the club that I am not always available on Thursdays when we have our weekly meeting. I sometimes have to travel for events associated with other organizations that I am a part of. When a president is not available the vice president typically stands in and leads the meeting in their absence,” he added.
Rotary is a global network of 1.4 million members. Rotary started with the vision of one man—Paul Harris. The Chicago attorney formed the Rotary Club of Chicago on Feb. 23, 1905, so professionals with diverse backgrounds could exchange ideas and form meaningful, lifelong friendships. Over time, Rotary’s reach and vision gradually extended to humanitarian service. Members have a long track record of addressing challenges in their communities and around the world. Berry said that there are some grants and other projects that are in the works for this year.
“I have applied for a Consumer Assistance Program Grant for a project at the school,” said Berry. “We are going to purchase hurdles for the new track that is being constructed this year. It has already been submitted to the district Rotary and been approved. As soon as funding becomes available, it will be matched and completed. There are also some other projects we will be doing this year. We will have a food booth at the Annual Prairie days event, possibly with extended hours this year, as well as some other things that are in the works,” he added. Since Rotary was founded more than 100 years ago, its Foundation has spent more than $4 billion on life-changing, sustainable projects. Rotary invests more than $7 million a year in future leaders and philanthropists by funding scholarships for undergraduate and graduate study. Rotary is led by a diverse international team of top executives. Whether developing Rotary policy, providing financial support, managing a global staff, or advancing Rotary’s strategic plan, each member of the team is dedicated to helping members connect and take action to create sustainable change. While Rotary clubs are grounded in the same values, no two are the same, because each community has its own unique needs. At club meetings in communities across the globe, members come together to strengthen their connections to friends and neighbors and their commitment to improving lives.