Happy 115th birthday, fellow Rotarians and members of the family of Rotary!
In the 115 years since Rotary was founded, seemingly everything has changed except Rotary values. We began, and remain, committed to fellowship, integrity, diversity, service, and leadership.
While our Service Above Self motto dates to 1911, the ethos behind those words had already been ingrained by Rotary’s founders.
As the pace of change worldwide continues to accelerate, the need for Rotary service is greater than ever. It’s one thing to read about service projects, quite another to see them in action and to see the grateful faces of people who have benefitted from them. Rotary projects change lives and connect the world.
And over the past year, I have seen some amazing Rotary projects in action.
Gay and I visited Japan’s Fukushima prefecture last year. Few places in the world have had to deal with the kind of devastation that visited Fukushima in March 2011, when a tsunami touched off by an earthquake led to disaster at a nuclear power plant.
But the story of Fukushima today is not one of destruction; it is one of hope and renewal. Rotary grants have helped improve access to medical and mental health care for victims of the disaster and reduced the isolation of these communities by sharing the experiences of people from other parts of the world who have also recovered from disasters. Our grants have fostered self-motivation and encourage sustainable long-term community recovery across the region.
In every area of focus, and in every part of the world, Rotary projects are improving lives and helping communities adapt in a time of rapid change. As we celebrate another great year for Rotary, let us rededicate ourselves to strengthening the connections that make our service so impactful. We will make lives better as Rotary Connects the World.