A message from DG Rudy Habesch

It seems fitting that December is Disease Prevention and Treatment month as we enter into an increased freedom phase with the pandemic,
As Rotarians we have a responsibility to follow the guidelines for masking, social distancing and vaccination as we interact more in person with one another.   I found myself reflecting on this as I recently attended a couple of in-person events in the District – one at a hotel, and the other at a golf club.   In both instances, no proof of vaccination was sought.
Despite the fact that it was the responsibility of both the hotel and the golf club, it made me think of the Four-Way Test, as this omission was definitely not “good for all concerned.”   As we move forward with our in-person meetings, it is important that we remain respectful of the needs of all our members.  Not everyone is comfortable meeting in person, for a number of reasons, but especially those who are health compromised.
In our survey in the November newsletter, we asked what type of meeting you would prefer moving forward and the majority said to alternate between meeting in person and holding Zoom meetings.  Holding meetings over Zoom has had its advantages – from speakers who are out of town and the reduced travel time for members to attend.
Each club also has different resources – human and financial – available to them, but without question a hybrid model is the best way to go, with people accessing the meeting through zoom if they prefer, or by meeting in person. 
But I know that’s not easy either, as technology can be challenging and at the District we are looking at best practices.  Together we can learn the best way to offer our programs, and together we can learn from each other.
I very much believe in the power of collaboration and not just within Rotary Clubs, but with the community and other service clubs.  There is no one right way to deliver services and programs.  More and more we are seeing variations on how the work is done – like the Passport Clubs or the cause-based clubs. And what we do know is that there is strength in numbers and more can be achieved  when we pool our resources.
My Rotary moment was when I witnessed the joy and gratitude of two parents whose daughter had received life-saving surgery.   Her life and those of many others have been changed because Rotarians all over the world collaborated with each other, the Rotary Foundation, Crack Medical Teams, Hospitals, and governments in order to be able to give them a new lease on life and changed their lives forever. Now that is what Rotary is all about.
We know first hand that vaccines save lives. The End Polio Now campaign is closer than ever to a successful close as a result of the work Rotarians have done together.
The bottom line is that Rotary is about changing lives.   And on May 28, the theme for our District Conference is Together We Change Lives.  Mark your calendars.  Hope to see you there.
As we face a new COVID variant, be vigilant and take care.