Posted on Jul 31, 2018
President Jamey Mitchell presided over today’s meeting. Steven Utroska gave today’s invocation and Ryan Pollacci led us in the Pledge of Allegiance. Thanks to Mark Killingsworth and Ryan Pollacci who served as our greeters today.
Jamey announced that the 100th Celebration Committee continues to meet and plan for the event. The Centennial Celebration is scheduled for the evening of Tuesday, October 23 and will be held at Southern Oaks. Please hold the date open on your calendar. There will be no noon meeting that day.
Brandon Hodges reported that we have no visiting Rotarians and invited Scott Hummel to introduce his guests. Scott has Ashleigh Blakeney, Mohamed Doghed, and Chancellor Bourdain as his guests. All are William Carey University students.
Brandon then introduced today’s guest speaker, District Governor Ken Thompson. Ken has been a Rotarian since 2000. He has served as president of his Slidell club and was chair of the Slidell Heritage Festival for three years. He is heavily involved with the Rotary Global Grants program and has participated in projects in Russia and Mexico.
Ken began his presentation by quoting Rotary International President Barry Rassin. President Rassin’s theme for the year is “Be the Inspiration.” Ken challenged the current Rotary leadership to be the inspiration for the club and for the community. He says he found his inspiration while working in a friendship exchange in Western Russia when he saw children with hearing disabilities hear music and dance for the first time because Rotary provided them hearing aides. He also found inspiration while involved in a project in Mexico. He saw children who could not walk learn to walk using equipment donated by Rotary. He served as Shelter Box’s eyes and ears on the ground while working the disaster that followed Hurricane Hugo on the Louisiana and Mississippi Gulf Coasts. He found inspiration when he saw four, 80 thousand gallon water tanks in one community provided by Rotary.
Gifts to the Rotary Foundation promote peace, stamp out disease, prevent polio and provide clean drinking water to people throughout the world who might not otherwise survive. Ken challenged club members to find their Rotary inspiration and seek out ways they can serve your community and the world.
Ken reported that in 1985 more than one-thousand children per day were being diagnosed with polio. Last year there were only 13 cases reported worldwide mostly because of the work of the Rotary Foundation. Because of political unrest, there are still two countries reporting cases of polio. Even after the last case is reported, a country must remain polio-free for three years before it can be declared “polio-free.” Hopefully, that day will come in the next few years. However, even after the last case is reported we must remember that the disease’s aftermath leaves victims with a lifetime of health problems.
The Rotary membership worldwide has remained stable over the last 12 years. However, membership is declining in North America, the United States, and Canada but is increasing in India and Asia. About 30% of United States Rotarians are female. Ken notes that many clubs are seeking new ways of getting younger members engaged. Some clubs have created satellite clubs. Some clubs have gone to 2 rather than 4 meetings each month. Some clubs meet at a restaurant and members can order and pay for their meal if they choose. Rotary International continues to seek ways of attracting the new generation.
Ken noted that this year’s District Conference is a cruise to Cozumel. Regular conference registration fees are $45 and the cruise costs are $496 per person for an interior cabin. Of course, the fees include rooming, food and beverage and entertainment. If you want more information about the District Conference or anything in District 6840 you can contact Ken by email at
With no other business to discuss, Paula adjourned the meeting with our motto, “Service Above Self.”