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Tuesdays at 11:45 am

The Rocky River Golf Club

6900 Bruton Smith Boulevard

Concord, NC 28027

(704) 455-1200

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“Be A Gift To The World”

Dale Gentle M76805376This year Rotary International President Ravi Ravindran has challenged us “to be a gift to the world.” It seems like a perfect theme for Rotarians.

On a global level, Rotarians have played the most significant role in nearly eradicating polio, not only through the contribution of well over $1.2 billion but, at least as importantly, by delivering more than two billion doses of vaccine to the children of the world. Since Rotary embarked on this effort in 1979 the incidence of polio has declined from more than 325,000 children paralyzed annually in some 125 countries, to 42 total cases in the first six months of 2015. Just think, for only the second time in human history a disease could be eradicated (after smallpox).

With a presence in nearly every country, many of the 35,000 Rotary clubs worldwide also undertake international service projects every year. These projects grow local economies, support education, fight disease, provide clean water, promote maternal and childhood health, and more. We participated in a project like that when we funded the planting of 12½ acres of coffee for a remote village in Uganda where they lived a subsistence lifestyle. That plantation is now many times larger, and provides employment for most of the villagers, who have spun off other projects as a result of their newfound (relative) prosperity.

Yes, Rotarians are a gift to the world, but that world also extends to local communities, in our case, Harrisburg and Cabarrus County. We have served our community in ways directly and indirectly doing things that have been noticed and gone unnoticed, just because we identified a worthy need and set out to meet it with no expectation of reward other than to mitigate adversity or suffering.

We gave Rebecca the first computer she ever had access to, and she became a successful elementary school entrepreneur. When she was in middle school her family hosted a Rotary Youth Exchange student. When she was in high school we awarded her a scholarship for a Rotary Youth Leadership Award camp, an experience she calls one of the most memorable of her life. Today she is a thriving college student. Most of the time we do not know the names of those we affect.

We have been working with Wolf Meadow Elementary School in recent years. Wolf Meadow is one of the schools in Cabarrus County with the highest level of students from low income families. In partnership with a local church we have been providing weekend food for students who might not have enough to eat at home. This past year we started a program to recognize a different character trait each month, and rewarded students from each grade who most exemplified those character traits. We have also provided free books, and hope to grow that program. We look forward to new ways to work together this year, possibly by planting a butterfly garden, participating in the Purple Pinkie Project, or cultural enrichment programs. Our objective in the aggregate of these programs is to have a genuine and lasting impact on the students that will enrich their experience of school and life. Youth Service seems to be a growing point of emphasis for us.

This year we may attempt a number of new initiatives. Perhaps, one or more of the Little Lending Libraries strategically placed in our local community, maybe by reviving a program we had in the past to help fulfill the wish lists of local charities, maybe by expanding a program of micro finance loans to entrepreneurs working near the coffee plantation in Uganda, maybe by mobilizing other groups to work with us on a greenway trail to a heron rookery that is unique in our region, maybe by creating a fitness trail in the Harrisburg Town Park where we helped build a mountain bike trail, maybe by organizing an Interact club at a local high school, maybe by organizing and/or participating in another Stop Hunger Now event like we have on several occasions in the past.

There are so many things we can do, so many things we will do. We hope more members of the community will join us because with greater numbers we can have an ever greater impact on the world around us, and we can truly be a Gift to the World.

Yours in Rotary Service,

Dale Gentle

Southwest Cabarrus Rotary Club President 2015-2016

 

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Make it a little bit better

Southwest Cabarrus Rotary Club President 2014-2015

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Of all the Rotary Club Presidents that I’ve seen come and go; I guess I paid more attention to Brent Rockett than the others. I suppose it was because I was his PE and I knew it would only be a matter of time before I had to take over and attempt to follow his lead. He always appeared to be so very calm, cool, and in total control. I started thinking that if I could come across as half that cool I’d be okay.

As Brent’s Presidency was ending and mine beginning our membership for so many different reasons was in decline. Serious decline! As I took over our club had 2 members on leave and we only had 4 or 5 members attending regularly. There were many times at Captain Steve’s that the number of guests and speakers outnumbered club members. Many thoughts and feelings entered me during this time: worry, embarrassment, concern, confusion, etc. It was at this point that my overall goal for this year became quite clear. DO WHATEVER IS NECESSARY TO GROW MEMBERSHIP or CONSIDER A MERGER WITH ANOTHER CLUB.

Like Garth Brooks, I too thank God for unanswered prayers… That merger never happened.

We are now back at The Speedway Club. Perhaps we should have never left; even though I was one that originally believed we needed to. Through the blessings from God and the determination of members, we are back to 15 and growing.

As long as this club is in a little better shape than when I took over my goal will be met. Anything above and beyond that will simply be icing on the cake. I will challenge my PE Dale to the same goal.

More to follow!

Yours in Rotary Service,

Keith Barbee

Southwest Cabarrus Rotary Club President 2014-2015