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ROTARY CLUB NEWS: My year as Rotary Club president

August 25, 2017
By BILL BARNES - Lake Placid Rotary Club , Lake Placid News

In February 2014, I joined the Lake Placid Rotary Club and was somewhat surprised to find myself serving as president starting a short two years later.

The club doesn't mess around and likes to get new members involved as quickly as possible, to keep enhancing their motivation for joining.

Fortunately, due to the dedication of our membership, many of our ongoing activities are excellently executed and take place on time without much supervision on my part.

Article Photos

Bill Barnes

Speakers are scheduled weekly for our breakfast meetings at the Courtyard Marriott. Our two major fundraisers are the Dam Duck Race and Trivia Night. Both raise a major portion of the funds we donate to local and international projects every year.

Our motto is "Service Above Self" and our members exemplify this principle in their actions day and day out, without looking for thanks or recognition.

This is what attracted me to Rotary in the first place. Like most members, I've had a successful career and felt a need to give back to the community. Of course, Rotary's community encompasses the entire world, and this is another reason I joined.

With more than 1.2 million members worldwide, Rotary has the resources to have an impact on a global scale. Just a month ago Rotary announced a $150 million grant to fight the resurgent polio epidemic, almost stamped out after decades of consistent and effective Rotary projects. With the breakdown of medical systems in the many conflict zones in the Middle East and North Africa, the Gates Foundation partnered with Rotary with their own $300 million contribution to end this disease's presence on our planet once and for all.

I found out to my delight and pride that the Rotary Foundation was recognized internationally as the Foundation of the Year for 2016, putting Rotary in the same class as previous winners such as the Ford Foundation and the Gates Foundation.

Our effectiveness in the Lake Placid area is based on our members being part of the community and understanding its needs. Similarly, other clubs all over the world are also engaged with their communities, so Rotary projects are always grounded in local community needs with the locals providing the direction and quality control to make sure our dollars are well spent.

Internationally, our club recently provided funding to build a school and provide books and other learning materials to a small community in El Salvador. We are currently looking for our next international project.

In the past few years, our fundraising efforts have helped to support the following local organizations:

Adirondack Community Youth Group, Lake Placid Elementary School Playground, Mercy Care for the Adirondacks, United Way of the Adirondacks, Ecumenical Charity Fund, Lake Placid Beautification Fund, North Elba Christmas Fund, Shipman Youth Center, Lake Placid Volunteer Ambulance Service, High Peaks Hospice, Lake Placid After School Prom, Red Cross, Northern Forest Explorers, Songs on Mirror Lake, Homeward Bound Adirondacks, Lake Placid Olympic Museum, and Literacy Volunteers.

If you have been looking for a way to give back, we'd love to have you join our efforts. Please join us at our 7:20 a.m. Thursday breakfast meeting at the Courtyard Marriott, or stop in at one of our monthly socials at restaurants and bars around town.

We can always use more helping hands, and there are many ways to get involved in addition to becoming a full member. Who knows, maybe you'll be president in a few years.

(Bill Barnes is the immediate past president of the Rotary Club of Lake Placid.)



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