By Woodrow Polston
Rotary District Governor Julie Leverenz visited the Rotary Club of Vandalia last week to give a motivational presentation on the current state of Rotary Club abroad. Assistant District Governor Rennie Davis shared Leverenz’s background with the club.
“She has been married to her husband, Glen, for 38 years, and they live on their Pike County farm near Bowling Green,” said Davis. “They have a son and daughter and two grandchildren. Julie graduated from Mizzou and Washington University. She worked as a senior leader at Hannibal Regional Healthcare System for 31 years before her retirement. She belonged to the Hannibal Rotary Club and has been a member for the past 10 years,” he added.
Darren Berry, club president, invited Leverenz up to the lectern to introduce her.
“Thank you all, I am happy to be here today. I believe that you are the 40th club that I have had the privilege of visiting with as I have gone throughout the district,” said Leverenz. “You would think that all of the road trips would be exhausting, but it has been exhilarating. It has been incredible to see how all of our clubs are doing things differently throughout the district. It is amazing how we are all doing Rotary and how successfully we are doing Rotary in a relevant way in our communities. Some clubs get together to serve the community and they do not meet for a meal. We have some clubs that only meet every two weeks instead of every week. This is a result of Rotary International lessening the burden of structures for how we do Rotary. In my 10 years with Rotary I have realized that we are a grassroots organization, and that we are only as good as each Rotarian in our clubs,” she added.
After she spoke to club members about what Rotary has been doing abroad, she went on to describe goals going forward.
I would like for you to think about the Rotary Club of Vandalia. I want you to imagine your club next year, and five years from now. Because nothing amazing has ever happened in this world that someone didn’t first dream of. Clubs everywhere are rethinking and asking ‘are we as welcoming as we want to be? Are we reaching out and shining our light?’ I want you to dream and imagine going forward. Of course, you know that we as Rotarians are people of action, and we always translate those dreams and imaginations into action. Imagine what Rotary could do if our global number was 10 million rather than 1 million members. Would we potentially create a tidal wave? We would inspire passion for peace, ending polio, and serving others in our communities and throughout the world. We would be happier, healthier people, and we’d create a positive ripple effect in our families, our communities and the world; and we’d undoubtedly grow Rotary’s influence and impact. Everyone will want what we’re enjoying,” said Leverenz.
According to their website, “Rotary is a global network of 1.4 million neighbors, friends, leaders, and problem-solvers who see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change—across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves. Rotary started with the vision of a Chicago attorney named Paul Harris. He 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.”