Jill Ehgoetz Presidential Address to the Club:



Installation Address - Incoming President - Jill Ehgoetz

June 25, 2014

Thank you Joyce for being such a great MC and Rotarian.

Also a huge thanks to Carol for putting this evening together for us.

She has done a fabulous job.

I want to add my thanks to everyone on the Board this past year for

their hard work and commitment to the ideals of Rotary. Under the

guidance of Tim, we got some great projects done and financially

supported many initiatives that made a difference in our community

and around the world.

Personally, my favourite 2013/14 project was Blair Babcock.

So are you sure you still want to go ahead with this crazy idea of me

leading the charge this year? I know that some of you are secretly

terrified. Maybe we should have one of those moments they have

at weddings where the guests are given one last opportunity to


Often I have been asked, what have I got planned for MY year? Am

I excited about MY year....? I don’t think of this as MY anything. You

have now installed an outstanding team of Rotarians who are going to

do their best to move us forward through another meaningful year. All I

plan to do is schedule some meetings and get out of their way.

I have thought about this address for some time, trying to decide what

to say. In the end I decided to share with you my Rotary story, what I

think about being a member of this club and what I get out of it.

So what has Rotary given me and how have I been affected. My

relationship with Rotary has developed over time in 3 different stages;

I think of them as me, us and them.

As you know, when I came to Powell River 11 years ago, I had a

bank job, a newly acquired tear-down to live in and enthusiasm. Evan

was not following me here for several months so I was quite on my

own. Ali Redfern, my predecessor and a Rotarian insisted that I join

Rotary. Ross Cooper, my realtor, eagerly agreed and invited me to

a meeting. I liked it. The next Wednesday I asked if I could come

again and he agreed. By the third week, he very politely had to cut me

off....apparently there was secret stuff going on behind the scenes that

I had to wait for. Ross finally came through with an invitation and I

became a Rotarian, the first service club I had ever joined.

This is what I got out of that new relationship. I felt connected. I had

36 new friends, good friends, who accepted me, supported me, made

me laugh, came to my rescue when things went wrong (thank you Dick

for fixing my water pump and Lloyd for providing heat), invited me here

and there, patiently explained what ‘falling’ is with respect to trees

and helped me spell ‘syllabus’.

Rotary and I were getting along well. Stage I is the selfish part.

Stage 2 is the ‘we’.

During the next few years, I was asked to participate ( I wish one

of you had warned me that ‘help with the Music festival’ was a life

sentence). Vivica thought I should be her secretary. Following that

you thought I could be a director. Together we raised money and

foreign teenagers, we sold raffle tickets, we painted stuff, we built

playgrounds and pavilions; all those things we do in and for our

community, and I realized I could never have done all those things on

my own. And it felt good doing them! It was ‘us’ working together that

did this. Our club isn’t 36 individuals; it’s a team 36 strong, doing what

we can to serve others.

So now, I’m a selfishly content with a bunch of great Rotary friends

who I get together with every Wednesday night and because of us, we

are getting things done that need to be done for our community.

Now to my 3rd stage, maybe my favourite stage; I call this the ‘them’

of Rotary.

 In recent years something deeper started to creep into my awareness

of what we’re all about. I felt this when Jan talked to us about her

immunizing children in India and when we raised extra cash to send

shelter boxes to Haiti. I listened to Rotarian Deepa Willingham speak

so passionately about the hopeless plight of young girls in poverty

stricken villages, married in early childhood, made to work at a very

young age in deplorable conditions, often sold into the sex trade.

Education and safety could break the cycle of poverty and her Piyali

Learning Centre in Piyali, India is trying to prove just that with 200

girls in attendance. All around the world Rotarians are making a

difference and they are doing it with my help. Through them I am

digging a much needed well, I am replacing a dangerous kerosene

lamp with a solar powered one in Belize, I am repairing a cleft lip and

palette in Columbia, I am installing a sanitary block in Johannesburg.

I do all this and so much more because I contribute regularly the

Rotary Foundation. Through them I know the projects are meaningful,

welcome, grassroots driven, sustainable and complete.

My Rotary is looking after ‘them’ in a way I could never do. I’m very

proud to be part of it.

As my relationship with Rotary deepens this year, I hope it does for

you as well. I hope the friends we make and keep enrich us, I hope

the work we do for our community fulfills us and I hope the financial

support we give The Rotary Foundation lights up our world.

As we celebrate the new Rotary year, you may be perplexed by the

Asian décor that we have tried to create tonight.

Earlier in the year at the Presidents-in-training conference, I had the

pleasure of hearing Gary Huang speak. He is the incoming President

of Rotary International and the first Chinese person to ever serve in

that capacity. He was delightful; full of energy, enthusiasm and a deep

sense of caring. He is very proud of his heritage and bursting to share

it with the world of Rotary. By the end of his presentation all 800 of

us were cheerily singing a newly written song “It’s about Rotary”,

karaoke style, in Taiwanese. Well, kind of Taiwanese, it probably

wasn’t even close, it certainly wasn’t English. We also apparently

needed to learn the Chinese happy clap to help us through our year.

Our Asian theme tonight is to show our respect and encouragement to


(display his new banner)

His chosen theme is “Light Up Rotary”. These are his words:

 “An ancient Chinese scholar, Confucius, said ‘It is better to light a single candle than to sit and

curse the darkness’. Rotarians have always believed this to be true. When we are confronted

by world’s problems, we are not paralyzed by despair, we are called to action. I believe that the

best days of Rotary are yet to come – and that all of us will be prouder than ever ,of a Rotary

that is larger, more active, and better known than ever before – a Rotary that touches more

lives, and makes the world better, every single day. And I look forward to serving all of you with

all my heart in the 2014 – 2015 Rotary year to brighten up our world together.”

Our new executive has now been installed and I am very proud and

honoured to serve them. Thank you again for committing to this year

long journey with me. Each one of you has unique skills and abilities

that our club will benefit from. Each one of you is a candle that will

brighten our way forward.

Could I ask the new executive to all stand please.

I would like to pass Gary Huang’s light to you by lighting your candle.

Now I would ask that you pass your light on to the rest of us by

lighting the candles of those near to you.

With all this light how can we not be successful at keeping the ‘me’

in Rotary, the ‘we’ in our club and the needs of “them’ globally better


Thanks for supporting the 2014-2015 executive.