Dear District 5890 Rotarians,
 
To say that much has happened since this Rotary year began is an understatement.  It seems that every day brings with it another set of disasters/challenges/problems which impact our daily lives. 
 
During such trying times, it is important to remember that we are a Rotary family, which means none of us are in this alone. We have friends throughout the district that are ready and willing to help, whether that help be mucking out a home or making a grocery store run for a fellow Rotarian that no longer has a car.   Daily we live the Rotary theme for this year, “Rotary, Making a Difference.”
Not only have we had to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, we’ve learned new terms, such as “mucking out,” “N95 face masks,” and “Tyvek suits.”  And, we’ve learned we had skills we didn’t even know we had, such as how to tear out sheetrock and flooring and how to properly use a sledgehammer.  None of these terms nor skills had been part of our lives before, but they are now.
 
We have also had to learn (far more than we ever wanted to) about how to prepare for and then deal with all stages of a disaster.  We have come far and learned much.
 
The four stages of dealing with disasters are mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery.   At its simplest, mitigation is thinking about all the “what if’s,” preparedness is preparing for those “what if’s,” response is responding to what ever happened and recovery is the long-term plan to get everyone back to their “new” normal. 
 
So where are now in District 5890?  The disaster has happened, the response was immediate and now we move into the recovery stage.  Have we learned a lot along the way?  Yes.  Have we stumbled a few times?  Yes.  Are there improvements we should implement?  Yes.
 
I strongly urge you to read the “District 5890 Disaster Recovery Overview” so that you’ll understand our long-range plan.  Then read the Gulf Coast Disaster Relief Donor Advised Fund Information and the District 5890 Charities Information.  Links to all these documents are below.
 
We have monies available to help your clubs help others with Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts.   We have fellow Rotarians knowledgeable about all stages of disaster recovery.  We have a wealth of information just a click away.  
 
Remember, we are a Rotary family.  We are here to help you and to help you help others.  We are “Rotary, Making a Difference.”
 
DG Bill Palko