Graeme's Message, 22 January 2015

Dear Rotarians and friends

Welcome to our first Bulletin for 2015.Hopefully you all had an enjoyable Festive Season and are invigorated for the year ahead.

Club activities commenced with an informal lunch last Thursday 15th attended by 14 members at the Yarraville Club and a very successful sausage sizzle on Sunday 18th at Bunnings Maribyrnong. It was a very busy day particularly from 12md to 2pm with a club record for sausages sold.

The 2014 year ended on a sad note with the passing of Betty Hogg, wife of Bill for 71 years. Many Footscray Rotarians attended the funeral service on December 23rd and Bill was very appreciative. He rang me and asked that I pass on his thanks to those who had shown support.

The Rotary theme for January is “Rotary Awareness” and former RI President Sakuji Tanaka had the following to say about how individual Rotarians can achieve this: “I am asking all of you to wear your Rotary pin and to raise awareness of what the pin means. I believe having that pin changes you. It makes you think more before you speak and before you act....... and that as Rotarians, we are here to help. All of us should be ready to talk about Rotary. When someone asks you about that pin, you should be ready to answer them. What is Rotary? What does Rotary do? These are questions that each of us should always be prepared to answer”.

Just to give an example of how one person became aware of Rotary, and then became a member. Paul Alexander, from Duncanville Texas, contracted polio in the 1950’s and is among a small number of people in the world today still using an iron lung to assist breathing. When he recently became aware of Rotary’s Polio Eradication project he said: "I was completely blown away by the idea. For all these years, I didn't know the work they were doing”. In October, Paul became a member of the Rotary E-Club of District 5810 during an induction ceremony held in his home, attended by Rotary's President Gary C.K. Huang through an online connection. Alexander is writing a book about his experience and wants to be an ambassador for Rotary promoting the benefits of eradicating polio.

This coming weekend on Australia Day, Monday 26th we have the opportunity to raise awareness of Rotary in the Maribyrnong community at our stand at the Council’s Australia Day festivities at Coulson Gardens. Come along and help promote “awareness” of Rotary and its activities.

Plans are well on the way for a special event on Saturday February 21st when our club will host a District 9800 Rotary Alumni function and we will also use the occasion to celebrate the 110th Anniversary of Rotary International. We will not have our regular meeting that week so please make note of the date and book for the event. Use this occasion to bring a friend and help make them aware of the work of Rotary.

All the best for the year ahead.