Lighting up Rotary, now and then

140509_walkerBy Jill Baldwin Walker, 2014-15 governor of District 6060 (Missouri, USA)

At the age of 13, I attended my first Rotary International Convention, in Dallas, Texas. I remember walking through the halls of the event fascinated by the clothing worn by some of the women — women of Africa in their head wraps and ornate dresses and women from India in beautiful wraps of silk.

Although I don’t remember all of the Rotary occasions I have attended as a child, I am blessed that my grandfather joined Rotary, which led to my father becoming a Rotarian. I grew up in the halls of Rotary meetings, district conferences, and fundraisers. I joined Rotary at the age of 29.

When I’m asked when I became a Rotarian, my answer is, “I don’t really know.” Rotary has always been a way of life for me, it’s part of what defines me. Rotary has offered me opportunities that I would not have had in a single career path in a typical workplace. It has given me connections and friendships that I never could have dreamed up.

And just this week I was reviewing my grandmother’s scrapbooks of my grandfather’s Rotary career (she compiled wonderful scrapbooks before we knew to call it “scrapbooking”). In the pages, I found something else that I never could’ve dreamed up. Thirty-five years ago, my grandfather was starting his year as a district governor with the RI theme “Let Service Light the Way.” Now I start the year as district governor to “Light Up Rotary.”

Read other “Rotary Moments”

5 thoughts on “Lighting up Rotary, now and then

  1. Pingback: Lighting up Rotary, now and then | Warsaw Rotary , Club 3393, District 6540

  2. Pingback: Today’s Links | Rotary International District 3040

  3. It is wonderful that you are following in your fathers and grandfathers steps. They are proud of you. I am only involved with Rotary due to my polio. My sister is in Rotary and has been inspirational in my receiving a Paul Harris Fellow. I am so proud of that. I recently wrote my memoir about my life with polio. “All The Steps I have Taken” was published by Inspiring Voice in August 2012. The journey with my book has been rewarding. When stricken a age 6 1/2 months in 1948 I had no choice but to do the best I could with what I was left with. Some difficult years with lots of surgeries to help with my mobility. I was able to rid of braces at age 16. At age 36, after a successful career in the dental profession, getting married and having a family, I had to return to a brace on my left leg. Now retired I share my story with 6th graders and local church groups and thank Rotary clubs in my area for all that they are doing to eradicate polio. You will be an asset to the organization and I thank you for sharing.

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