We were honored to have District Governor, Bret Vaterlaus, and Assistant District Governor, Frank Lara, at our September 12th meeting.  District Governor Vaterlaus introduced us to this year’s Rotary theme of “Peace Through Service” with stories from folks he encountered at international meetings.  He found that we, here in the United States, a country with many basics that we take for granted, seem to define “peace” as “lack of conflict”.  People from countries without basics described peace as having water, food, and shelter.  So one way that Rotary can help promote peace is to help provide means and ways for these people to be able to have these basics and to help teach them how to sustain these things through our service to them through our international projects.  When Rotary addresses these needs, this does promote “peace through service” in a very real way.

     One very poignant story was from one conference he attended where the question was posed to the Rotarians, “how hard would it be to implement peace through service” through projects in their districts. One Rotarian said it would be easy, that he would just tell his members what they would need to do and they would just do it.  Then a very different perspective came from another Rotarian who told the group that it would be the most difficult thing that his district would be asked to do.  His district took in Israel and all the districts around it.  They couldn’t even find a place to safely meet.  However, the one thing that did seem to be possible in his area, was an event, where everyone was able to bring their Rotaract and Interact youth together for a joint meeting.  The kids were able to have an event, where the parents could not.   Maybe, through the next generation, change can come about.

     Whoever thought that an organization that began so long ago with only four members, whose first project was to provide public toilets in their area, would make such an impact in our world today, with projects like the worldwide eradication of polio and those that teach ways to help people help themselves with programs that build shelters, provide food and clean water, and further projects that help start up small businesses, giving people a means to support their families and countries?  Viva la Rotary!