Posted by Susan Kowalski on Jul 15, 2019
 
Please click on "Read More" to read Lisa's entire Presidential Address.
 
 
Presidential Address
July 15, 2019
 
Thank you’ s:  DG John chambers and first lady Sandy, AG Russ Jones, PDG Jim Karolyi & Jill, Past President Sue Kowalski, Board Members, Club members, friends and family (My Husband Mike.)
As a young child something very impressionable happened to me.  My grandpa worked at the post office and was a member of the rural letter carriers association, and he and my grandma took me to their dinner.  I felt very special to be there and then they showed a film of one of their charities they were passionate about.  It was a young girl who had no arms and legs, and I couldn’t believe my eyes as I watched her go up the staircase unassisted. I couldn’t stop asking questions after dinner. My grandpa gently explained that there are others in this world that need our help and they had chosen this young child to make a difference.  I remember seeing pictures of Compassion International children they had sponsored and trying to figure out how they were my grandparents' kids because they didn't look a thing like us.  At a very young age I learned about this wonderful thing called service.
 
Fellow Rotarians, when I visited your Canton Rotary Club for the first time…..you had me at hello!
I’m going to talk a lot about growing membership this year, so I felt it only fitting to share my Rotary story and why I connect with others to try and do the right thing.  From my first visit – Mary’s warm smile and hearing the camaraderie of Sam who called her Tumbelena, to the trip to
Vegas with Ken & Mary where I learned about Ken's driving skills and his sales mantra “in sales you can sell a lot and make a little or sell a little and make a lot,"  to Ken and Mike's gambling antics where Ken became the “Cat Daddy” and Mike the “Deuce Man,” I was made to feel a part of a big Rotary family.
 
Early on in my Rotary experience, I was told I had to go to district assembly as I would learn what all the positions are.  I must have been a fast learner because in true Rotary spirit they made me Secretary at my second or third meeting.  Then I heard “You don’t really understand Rotary until you go to District Conference”.  AAAHHH, there I learned about children in Nicaragua that were existing off the city dump.  Yes, I threw my hand volunteering my Canton Rotary Club to help.   I learned that Rotarians traveled to India and other countries giving polio drops to little children and that Rotary was going to eradicate polio worldwide.  The power of Rotary!  I learned of Rotarians that traveled to remote regions of the globe to build water wells, schools, and set up medical and dental clinics.  I heard all these exchange students from all over the world pour their hearts out about their Rotary experience. I felt so honored and humbled to be associated with this great organization called Rotary.
14 years ago, in 2004-2005, I served my first term as President during our Centennial Year.  I like spending money, so we built a clock plaza in Heritage Park and Roger fondly reminds me he got to finish paying for it in his year. 
I remember many events at Roman Forum like Pizza with Santa and Greg rearranging the pepperonis on the Pizzas, so they were just right.  Greg would send soup home to me when I was sick and bring me figs off his tree.  He would also give me carry-out of his freshly made gnocchi, and he would say “Mike is working late; he might like this.”   
I learned about all thing’s aviation, and all general bits of wisdom from Bill Brown, a member of the original "Lilley Road Mafia."
Mike and I both loved hearing about the travels of the Nomads and spending time with Roland and Mary.  Mary invited me to tea in downtown Plymouth and it was one of my most favorite afternoons. 
I loved how John Schwartz, the club's first President, would crab at us for not following rules and properly reporting back to the club after board meetings.  Anyway, who needs Roberts’s rules when you have Ken’s Rules, right? 
And there was Larry Schaefer who just crabbed for no reason at all but had this big ole teddy bear soft heart.
And Roger, my Rotary sponsor and big procrastinator but is an animal lover and who has the kindest soul.  We still take each other to lunch on our birthdays.
 
Later, I heard we had a returning club member and former banker, Bill Tesen.  Thank goodness for Bill Tesen who has his hand and heart in everything.
There was Larry Oldford who I could always count on to make me look early! 
 John and Sue who are involved in all things Rotary and many of you might not know that Sue is an amazing cook.  I love our evenings of fellowship and sharing a meal.  And it comes with a cat so that is a trifecta for me!
  Ansel, who learns new operating systems just for fun. I love those smarty pants:)
More recently we had our corvette man, Bill Simmerer, return to the club.  Bill will lead our Membership committee this year with Dean assisting him.
 
 And now I am very excited to help all our newer members find their voice, their story, in this great organization we call Rotary.
Yes, I connected and gained a Rotary Family. 
 
 RI President Mark Maloney and Governor John are asking us to grow this great organization we call Rotary so we can achieve more.  Grow our service and the impact of our projects.    Rotary “Connects the World”. 
This year we also want to foster an environment where Rotary does not compete with family but supports and compliments it.  I love seeing the children at our meetings and events.  They are learning about service like I did as a child. 
Keep in mind Prospective Members join rotary for local & international service, as well as personal & professional development.  Invite them to share Rotary. 
What is your Rotary Story, or what rotary story do you want to create to connect with your community and the world?
District Governor John says to “Do the right thing”.  When we learned that there are 70-80 homeless families in our community, we are doing the right thing by connecting with Journey To Housing for a project I am very passionate about.  And I am happy to report our District Grant has been approved to provide the kitchen and bathroom move in kits.
We also learned that there are families making choices between food and their personal hygiene products and missing school.  Who knew there was a big need for feminine hygiene products in our schools, shelters and community?  We are doing the right thing.  We have initiated enough conversations that they are on the list for Back to School Supplies for Salvation Army.  We will be doing a drive.
Now I am asking you to do the right thing and share this wonderful thing we call Rotary and let’s grow and diversify our club, so it represents our community.  
 
In closing,
I like to say Rotary is a marathon, not a sprint.  But the reality is, it is a relay where you give it your all and then pass the baton to your fellow Rotarian and then you cheer them on. 
Sue (and John), thank you for your service to our club and district. Thank you for passing the baton and let’s grow this great organization we call Rotary!