Graeme's message, 21 August 2014

Membership Month was marked at our meeting last week with presentations by PDG Lawrence Atley and District Membership Committee member Bob Slater.

Also, we were delighted to induct Jacqui O’Brien as another new member. We extend a warm welcome to her and look forward to her involvement in the club.

In his presentation, Bob emphasized that our vocation is an opportunity to serve. He related his experience of using his talents and those of other Rotarians to improving the care of patients undergoing stroke rehabilitation. After his wife suffered a stroke Bob identified areas where care could be improved. There was resistance to change and difficulty in working with the public hospital bureaucracy. However, with resilience he was able achieve improvements. He did this by harnessing the vocational skills of Rotarians and working with hospital administration.

Lawrence Atley has been a member of the RC of Footscray since 1972 and President 1983-84. His distinguished career in Rotary was marked by his appointment as District Governor 1989-90. The key points from his presentation included:

  1. The first object of Rotary is “the development of acquaintance as an opportunity for service” – and that really means we are all about developing friendship and providing service. He related how Bill Huntly, RI President 1994-95 whose theme was 'be a friend' and used a poem to exemplify friendship.
  2. After being elected RI president 1993-94, Bob Bath was interviewed by journalists who wanted to know how Rotarians provide service. He replied “they think and act ... they believe in understanding and tolerance virtue and ethics ...and most importantly, Rotarians believe in serving others”.
  3. Vocation is an important part of being a Rotarian and Lawrence reminded members how our own club member Jamie Robertson, had used his vocation as a dentist, to serve others in Vietnam.
  4. Wearing the Rotary badge demonstrates that you are reliable, dependable, available and add value to service.
  5. Rotary is not a game for the faint hearted, it does make demands so we must make space to be involved.

It is worth us all reflecting on the challenge from Bob and Lawrence, and within our own club consider how each of us can use our skills to contribute to change and serve our community.