The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
In recent times where so many members of the Country Fire Authority and the State Emergency Services have been called upon to provide service at the front line of natural disasters it is useful to take time to reflect on and appreciate the work done by them to save and support others in need. I am sure that we all know many volunteers who give time to the emergency services and one such person is my nephew, who at a very young age joined the branch of Country Fire Authority in Koroit and for the past fifteen years has maintained his commitment to service when called upon. Whilst celebrating Christmas day in Bacchus Marsh he received a call out and immediately left to do his duty. Here is just one example of a fine young person doing “good in the world” and I am sure that you too will have similar stories to share! Not so long ago I was pleased to attend an awards ceremony where the Rotary Club of Yarra Bend recognised people who are members of the organisations that provide emergency services, members of the police force, ambulance members, members of the Country Fire Authority and Metropolitan Fire Brigade and of course the State Emergency Services and I do think that we could be celebrating the work of these wonderful people who” lose themselves in the service of others’ by organising more such evenings throughout our District.
Rotary as an organisation is as such not a first responder to emergencies but our District does have a District Disaster Relief Fund and has a proud history over time of providing necessary funds to assist communities in the recovery phase after disaster has struck. I have been in contact with my fellow Victorian District Governors to offer support if necessary and as is my responsibility, I have asked District Governor Elect Neville John to Chair a small Committee to keep a watching brief on the circumstances and if needed we will progress this matter. I have sent a letter out to all our Rotary Club Presidents and will keep you informed as we see how this summer weather impacts on future and existing fire risk areas. This matter will also be discussed at the next District Board Meeting.
Sir Angus Mitchell, former President of Rotary International, from the Rotary Club of Melbourne, in an address to 1948 Rotary Convention, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, spoke about this Rotary vision, “To work with the youth of today to build a strong and peaceful world of tomorrow.“ I have no doubt that he would be well pleased with the addition of another Interact Club to District 9800. The Brighton Secondary College Interact Club is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Brighton North, has twenty members and currently has a Community and International project as part of their service as an Interact Club. As an example of best practice in Rotary, the Youth Service Teams from Brighton North, Brighton Beach and Brighton work together to ensure that all local schools have the opportunity to benefit from Rotary and to aim is to encourage more schools to form Interact Clubs. On behalf of the students who are going to grow in leadership through this initiative, I thank you!!
I am delighted to announce that we will be welcoming an impressive group of people from the Philippines who will be the first District Vocational Exchange Team to spend time in District 9800. During my visits to Clubs I spoke about the change in focus for what was previously a Group study Exchange, to now accommodate an ever increasing demand for more time spent on vocational visits during the time that the GVE Team is in Australia and the Philippines. Visiting 9800 we have Marie Jane Liban, Team Leader and amongst other things, Chair of the District Basic education and literacy Committee, and the Disaster Preparedness Committee in District 3800. Marie brings with her John Lou Lucenario, who has a Master in Arts education, teaches science, is a research presenter at National Conferences and conducts charity work for disadvantaged children. Glazia Lee Diao is a Civil engineer who specialises in the design of water reticulation, wastewater and drainage systems. Karen Reside is a Supervising Legislative Staff Officer who works in the House of Representatives in the Philippines and advocates for equal access for men and women in her field of employment. Jeremy Raquel is a speech pathologist who consults widely throughout the Philippines with a particular focus on working with adults and children with a disability. Notably conditions such as cerebral palsy, stroke recovery provide Jeremy with the opportunity to work in interdisciplinary teams of medical professionals. The GVE Team from the Philippines will spend significant time learning more about their vocation and of course learning about Australia and our great Rotary District. They will be telling us about their experiences at the District conference in Bendigo.
“Rotary must be renewed constantly at the club level to avoid stagnation and at the international level to avoid retrogression. But Rotary at all levels depends on the individual Rotarian.” The Challenge: Review and Renew, THE ROTARIAN, July 1969
Surely the month of January, Vocational Service Month, and a time when we all look to have a break from the daily routine is a perfect time to reset future goals. You know the annual……I will eat, drink and spend less, exercise more and ……..ask more people to join me in my Rotary time of making a difference and having fun!! If you want to spend less time cooking sausages let’s all get more people to help! I am told that in every Rotary club there are 90% who know people who would enjoy Rotary service and 10% who would happily ask people to come and join in the fun. Your mission is to establish who is in each category in your club and put them to work doing what they do best.
Enjoy Rotary as you are……. a Gift to the World.
Ubuntu: I am, because you are.