RI President Ron Burton: Engage Rotary, Change Lives

RI President Ron Burton addresses Rotarians during the closing plenary of the 2013 RI Convention in Lisbon, Portugal. Monika Lozinska/Rotary International

By RI President Ron Burton

I’m looking forward to the 2013-14 Rotary year and the immense and humbling privilege of serving as your Rotary International president. During my presidential year, I’ll let you know on the Rotary International president’s Facebook page and in blog posts about some of my travels. I hope this will help you experience some of the magic of Rotary.

I have to admit, during my first year as a Rotarian, I almost missed the magic of Rotary. I didn’t always care for the food and programs at the weekly club meetings, and I thought I had better ways to spend my time. But then my club president asked me to chair the Rotary Foundation committee. Rotary started changing for me after that. I found that the more engaged I became in Rotary and the work of The Rotary Foundation, the more I saw the magic of Rotary and how it changed lives.

That magic may be a little bit different for each one of us, but it’s there for all of us when we really put our hearts into some aspect of Rotary service. For me, my heart is in the Foundation. I feel that every time you donate to the Foundation you’re saying, “It’s my resource, as a Rotarian; and it’s my responsibility.”

Your new governors already have joined me in this and led by example, with 100 percent of them donating to the Foundation. I thank them for their commitment to Rotary, which they’ve shown through their donations as well as facing the challenge of inspiring new members to get more involved and learn about the true meaning of Rotary.

When we really engage Rotary, that’s when lives change. And, at the end of the day, no matter how many lives you reach out to change, the life that will change the most will be your own.

That’s what our theme for 2013-2014 is all about. Engage Rotary, Change Lives.

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