Meeting Notes: President Greg sets his agenda

After President Greg rang the bell, we launched into a rousing rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner accompanied by Tom Strode. In his inspiration, Eldon Beery reflected on how fortunate he was to have been a minister and to be able to help so many people, even if it was just a little. Downs Herold then led us in singing two old standards, “Smile, Sing a Song” and “My Bonnie.”

Following that, President Greg joked his way through the list of lunch volunteers. My hope is that by the end of his year, he’ll finally get my last name right.

There were not guests at our meeting, but we did have to visiting Rotarians: ADG Anne Nauts (of Chelsea) and B. Dawson (of Ann Arbor North). These two actually have better attendance (at our meetings) than many of our own members. I say that we make them at least honorary, if not full, members of the Ann Arbor Rotary Club.

Following announcements for the Golf and Tennis Outing and the Social Committee’s Shop ’til You Drop at Kiwanis event, we had the “Parade of Presidents.” I don’t know if this is unique to our club or not, but I love it that so many of our  past presidents are still members.

Past RCAA presidents in this year’s “Parade of Presidents.” From L to R: Russ Reister, Elaine Didier, Tom Conlin, Downs Herold, Pat Garcia, Norm Herbert, Ingrid Sheldon, Len Stenger, Karen Kerry. Not shown: Bob Kerry, Collyer Smith, John Ackenhusen.

This year, they were asked to reminisce about memorable events and accomplishments during their presidency. These ranged from Bob Kerry, who noted that he got the ball rolling with the Junior Rotarian program, to John Ackenhusen, whose goal for his presidency was to “reflect and re-engage” after a very busy time for our club. And busy it was. In addition to our normal activities, we have in recent years, celebrated our centennial, raised money for and drove the accessible playground at Gallup Park, and continued the Golf and Tennis Outing as our main fundraiser.

Those were just a few of the events and achievements noted by our past presidents. It really gave me some perspective and increased how proud I am to be a member of our club.

Then, it was President’s Greg’s turn After joking that he was tempted to say that his priority was to make the Rotary Club of Ann Arbor great again, he noted that he planned to:

  • Emphasize the role of the Rotary Foundation.
  • Make our membership more diverse. (I’ve made a note of this, Greg!)
  • Increase the use of technology and social media in communicating with our members and the people we serve.
  • Encourage more fellowship and fun. Along these lines, Greg noted that Happy Hours  at the Session Room are going to become a monthly event.

In the Q&A that followed, Tom Millard asked Greg whether his election as Rotary Club president affected his security clearance. Ever the discreet FBI agent, the answer was “no comment.”