Being asked to reflect upon a year as President of our Club is an enjoyable task. The stated goals at the beginning of this year were to make Rotary fun and meaningful for our Club Members, through our weekly meetings, service projects and opportunities to socialize with each other, our spouses and, most importantly, to grow our Club membership via the same avenues.
I believe our goals were satisfied, for the most part, throughout the course of the year.
First, this year’s Program Chair, Richard “Dick” Cockrell successfully managed to have a wonderful speaker present for each of our regular weekly lunch meetings at the Racquet Club making him very deserving, in my view, of the Rotarian of the Year award.
We also had successful meetings elsewhere, including at LeBonheur Children’s Hospital and the former Sears or Crosstown Concourse and Lichterman Nature Center. These events were well-attended and enjoyed by all present.
Our annual Dunavant Awards Luncheon was very successful, including our first female Keynote Address Speaker, Caroline Hardy, and deserving recipients of both the Elective and Non-Elective Public Official Awards, Judge Tim Dwyer and Harvey Kennedy, respectively.
Second, our service projects continued unabated with numerous programs at White Station Elementary School including tutoring, dictionary day, girls in pearls, guys in ties, gardening projects, etc., Memphis Rotaract, the Rotary Youth Leadership Academy at Whispering Oaks and Junior Achievement, as well as many others. Significantly, the new members of our Club are developing their own program via Youth Ministry to serve deserving students in the Inner City.
Fellowship, both at our weekly meetings and otherwise, was in abundant supply via many “happy dollars” (the funds from which will fund the new members’ service project, if needed), personal introductions of guests by members of the Club following the “Greet your Neighbor” segment immediately after our prayer and Pledge of Allegiance, not to mention our annual Christmas Party and Newcomers’ Welcome Reception, both of which were very well-attended this year. Who knew that lambchops and frozen margaritas were such a big attraction?
Our Club membership, which had been steadily declining over the last three (3) years, held steady at approximately 100 active members. Unfortunately, our new growth of 13-14 new members was offset by an approximately equal amount in the loss of current members due to attrition by way of health issues, work obligations, relocations, etc.
However, it is hoped that the Membership Drive in place at the end of this year will maintain its momentum going forward as it appears to be the case, and that our Club will experience an effective “net” growth in membership going forward.
All in all, it was my great pleasure to work with everyone in the Club this past year. I do want to take this opportunity to again thank my wife, Virginia, for working so hard to host the Christmas Party and Newcomers’ Welcome Reception at our home, thereby assuring the success of both events, along with Lee Hughes, our Executive Director, who works tirelessly in support of our Club as well.