2020 Installation

Wow…  Seems like just a few weeks ago, we were at the American Yacht Club. It was a celebration of a new beginning.  And today too, it is just that – a celebration of a new beginning – At Rotary, at the Clubs and our District.   

Many of you have commented that this year has gone very fast. And yes, it has.  And what a year it’s been.  What began just like many other Rotary years, turned into something we could never have imagined.  Our world turned upside down – what was normal is no longer the normal.  We were thrust into a completely unfamiliar world.  Each of us struggled to figure out where we were and what we needed to do – there was no guidebook. Our training did not include this scenario. 

But our resilience has been awe-inspiring – Rotarians turning around in the face of adversity.  In true Rotary spirit, we did not burrow into our hideouts, but emerged from the shadows – from the sorrows of losing some of our near and dear ones - to stand beside our communities.  We, You – demonstrated what Rotarians are – People of Action.

The year has brought mixed emotions - learning, having fun, being stressed out, but above all, satisfying and fulfilling. Without wanting to sound too warm and fuzzy, it has been a very uplifting experience.  All of this happened because of you, the members of the Rotary Clubs of District 7230. You regularly step forward and volunteer to do so much good and contribute in so many ways. Thank you for demonstrating what it means to put Service Above Self, to Engage Rotary, to Inspire, to Connect and Change lives.

Today is not the time to harp on what has been accomplished, but on what we, as a District and in our Clubs will do in the future.  Rotary needs to change with the times.  We need to adapt, become diverse, be a true reflection of our society, and be the change in the world.  And for that we need to begin the change within ourselves.  As Dr. Martin Luther King has said, “Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability but comes through continuous struggle.”  The District is an enabler and is here to help – not to dictate.   So I urge all of you at your Clubs – engage with the District, and with Rotary, participate in District activities, partner with sister clubs, mentor your Rotaractor and Interactors and we will all be better for it.

I have so many people to thank, all the committee chairs, the Dynamic Assistant Governors, and of course my Club Presidents, who put up with me all year long, and all of you Rotarians who did the work. 

I must however, single out a few on whom I have depended heavily – among them my mentor, Vice-Governor PDG Greg Arcaro, Secretary Vinny Coakley, PDG Lora Hugelmeyer.  As with, naming names, I am bound to be forgetting a few important ones – not because they are any less important but because they have become part of me.  I’d be remiss if I do not express my sincere gratitude to our RI Director Jeffry Cadorette, who has been the solid pillar that I have leaned on whenever I needed to, and from whom I received not only advice and guidance but trust and friendship.  Our District has not been without challenges – but I believe, by working together as a unified team, we have been able to begin addressing these challenges effectively.  I am deeply indebted to the Governor String – DGE Mary Shackleton, DGN George McKinnis, and DGND Marty Schulman.  I am grateful for your support and for your friendship.  But what gives me a sense of relief, ease and satisfaction, is the fact that I am handing over the baton today, to someone who embodies Rotary, who is an innovator, who is a doer, and who I am confident, will lead the District to a much better destination that we are today – Mary Shackleton.  Mary, I promise to be by your side as you need me – but I also promise to stay out of your way!

To our incoming RI Director, Valarie Wafer, who I have had the privilege and honor of working with you for a short time – Thank you for being there.  As you begin your term as Director, I assure you of my continued support and will remain at your service.

I wouldn’t be here today without the support of my family, the love of my life my dear wife of – if I say the number of years – I will probably not make it very far from here -  Bina has not only put up with me for – let’s say decades, but who you have also come to know as the District’s face behind Facebook.  My 2 Rotarian sons Raaid and Tabin, have been behind me all the way, silently submitting to my demands on their time - for the last 2 and a half years where almost every day there was a Rotary story I have to tell.

Dear Rotarians, this last year, last 3 years have changed my life, and I am forever grateful to you and to Rotary for giving me this opportunity.  I will really miss it, although I am looking forward to going back and sitting where you are!    My wish for you is that this life becomes all that you want it to be. 

Thank you.