R. I. President Ravi & Trustee's Messages


April 2016 President & Trustee's Messages

Many years ago, in Kolkata, India, I had the chance to meet Mother Teresa. She was an incredible woman with an incredible force of personality. When she walked down the street, the crowd parted in front of her like the Red Sea. Yet when you talked to her, if you mentioned the tremendous things she had done, she almost did not engage in this topic at all. By many reports, if you asked her what her greatest achievement was, she would answer, "I am an expert in cleaning toilets."
The answer was both humorous and absolutely serious. Her business was caring for o

thers. Toilets had to be cleaned, so she cleaned them. There was no question of a job being beneath her. Helping people who needed help was her work, and there was nothing higher, nothing in the world more important than that.

So one day, when an elegantly dressed man came to Kolkata looking for Mother Teresa, the nuns who answered the door informed him that she was at the back of the house, cleaning the toilets. They pointed the way, and indeed he found Mother Teresa scrubbing the toilets. She said hello, assumed he was there to volunteer, and began explaining to him how to hold the toilet brush correctly and how not to waste water. Then she put the brush in his hand and left him standing there, in his expensive suit, alone in the lavatory.

Later, the man came out, found Mother Teresa again, and said, "I have finished; may I speak with you now?" "Yes, certainly," she said. He took an envelope out of his pocket and said, "Mother Teresa, I am the director of the airline, and here are your tickets. I just wanted to bring them to you personally."
That airline director told that story again and again for the rest of his life. He said those 20 minutes spent cleaning toilets had filled him with the greatest joy he had ever known – because by putting his hands to Mother Teresa's work, he became part of that work. For those 20 minutes, he cared for the sick just as she did: with his own hands, his own sweat.

That is exactly the opportunity that Rotary gives us. We might not do what Mother Teresa did – give up our lives, our homes, our families. But for 20 minutes, 20 hours, 20 days of the year, we can be like her. We can do the work that others will not with our hands, and our hearts, and our sweat, and our devotion – knowing that what we do is the most important work in the world

KR, R.I. President 2015 - 16


April 2016 Trustee Chair's Message

The numbers are impressive: Rotary comprises more than 35,000 clubs with 1.2 million members in 200 countries and geographic regions. It's big enough to be a major partner in the eradication of polio, the largest health initiative ever undertaken!

Despite its size and reach, Rotary is accessible to members through their individual clubs, which provide outstanding opportunities for friendship, fellowship, and networking at the local level. As a result, most Rotarians think of their involvement as primarily local, with ideas for service projects limited to their communities. They should recognize that, with the assistance of The Rotary Foundation, the sky is the limit!

Every great idea in Rotary has started in the mind of an individual. Even the success of End Polio Now can be traced to a few notable Rotarians around the world: Clem Renouf of Australia, for example, proposed a large corporate project to increase Rotary's visibility, while U.S. Rotarian John Sever identified polio as a worthwhile target. Each had an idea that was accepted and supported by other Rotarians, and polio will soon be eliminated from the world as a result.

When Rotarians begin to think of service projects beyond the size and scope of their clubs, they have access to district and global grants from The Rotary Foundation. They also have access to a team of Rotary volunteers at the district level, starting with their district governors and district Rotary Foundation chairs, to help them along the way. They also have the support of regional leaders, including the regional Rotary Foundation coordinators, and the entire Rotary staff in Evanston, Ill., and in the international offices.

Who knows where the next great ideas for Rotary will come from? Since Rotary is a grassroots organization, they are likely to come from individual Rotarians. It behooves all of us to encourage good ideas within the six areas of focus and direct local Rotarians with good ideas to The Rotary Foundation's resources. After all, it is the mission of the Foundation "to enable Rotarians" to do good in the world!

Ray Klinginsmith, Trustee Chair 2015 - 16

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