–submitted by Valerie Johnson; photo by Jeff Burkhart
Dean McHugh, District Rotary Governor, addressed the October 12 meeting of the downtown Rotary as one of his 63 talks of the year. Dean is from Holmen, a club of 38 members and ten years old, where he runs an excavation business with his father. Dean shared three stories, powerful to him, that illustrated why Rotary is important.
Dean’s first story was that he was asked to Rotary meetings twice before he attended, because he didn’t see the value proposition immediately. They didn’t give him the complete story, so he declined. Having been a foreign exchange while at UW-LaCrosse, he was in Colombia for 7 months. He came home with a greater understanding of the world, with a love for a second country and with a second family. “Holmen Rotary tapped that interest, asking me to help with our exchanges, so I joined,” he said.
Second, Dean told the story of a signature Rotary project that caught his attention. Holmen Rotary raised $7,000 for a project in Lima, Peru. This was turned into a $25,000 through Rotary matching funds. They used bio sand water filters to give 15,000 people clean water. They have now done five clean water projects impacting up to 50,000 people. “It’s powerful to go see what one small club can do in the world,” McHugh said.
For his third story, McHugh told of trying to recruit Scott Ryan, a friend of 40 years, to join Rotary. Ryan attended eight meetings before joining, thinking he wasn’t qualified. Scott joined, but didn’t really become a Rotarian until he went on a Peru trip. His daughter sent him hair clips to take to people he met. When distributing them, the girls hugged him; he saw they appreciated his caring and he wept. It was a real Rotary moment. Scott went on to become youth exchange officer and then club president. He started four new clubs and is now a district officer. McHugh says, “I’m proud I gave him the gift of Rotary.”
Dean warned 10% of members drop out each year and challenged the club to bring in at least 50 members. He closed with, “May Rotary friends and Rotary ways continue to help you serve.”
If you missed our meeting this week, watch the video here.