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District Gov. visits Prescott Rotary

By John Miller, 09/6/22 2:53 PM

PRESCOTT – Bill Fish, District Gov. for Rotary district 6170, visited the Prescott Rotary Club Tuesday afternoon.

Fish, originally from Pine Bluff, graduated fromĀ  Ouachita Baptist University and has been a Methodist minister for 37 years. He joined the DeQueen Rotary club in 1996 and has worked his way up to District Gov. He is also a Paul Harris Fellow, is married to Carla with one son, Joseph, who graduated from Prescott High School.

Fish said he wouldn’t be District Gov. if not for the Prescott club. This is because a Rotarian must have been a club president to be a District Gov., and Prescott was the first place Fish was club president. He told the club he’s enjoyed the work in his current position, saying it’s an “amazing opportunity” and a privilege. This year is a special case, he continued, because, for the first time in Rotary International’s history, there’s a female president, Jennifer Jones. Fish said she’s the perfect president for Rotary International and has already made a difference.

He pointed out the president picks the logo each year, and this year’s logo was designed by an aboriginal artist from Australia. This was done because the next RI convention will be held in Australia. The logo includes a circle, standing for unity, seven stars and a digging stick as this is what they use in gardening. This year’s theme, he said, is “Imagine Rotary”.

“It’s an important message because if we can imagine it, if we can dream it and work for it, we can do anything. We can do whatever we set our mind to.” Fish pointed out the progress made in the organization’s efforts to eradicate Polio. In 1985, he said, there were 350,000 cases in the world. This year there are 14, all but one being in Pakistan. The other is in Afghanistan.

“We take on impossible tasks,” he said, “and we’re close to eradicating Polio. Recent cases show if we don’t finish it, Polio will come back.”

He changed tack, telling the Rotarians now is the time to dream and look forward, to decide where they’re going as a club. He challenged the members to define the club’s future, as well as their own, adding there are great opportunities in Rotary, as well as a lot of traditions. The organization is more than a century old, but has options to be creative it never had before, such as satellite clubs, family clubs, cause-based clubs, the ability to use technology for meetings. COVID, he said, taught everyone to use technology they otherwise wouldn’t have, admitting he didn’t know what Zoom was three years ago, and now meets people from all over the world with it.

Fish talked about making Rotary stronger, suggesting the members work to recruit more people to join, and keep them once they do; have more diversity; and a positive public image (“Toot your club’s horn, people need to know what Rotary does,” he said.) He pointed out the Rotary Foundation is a great way to help, adding it started in 1917 with $26.15 after the annual convention, with the decision made to use these funds to do good worldwide. Last year, the Rotary Foundation gave out more tan $3.7 billion worldwide and provides grants between $300,000 and $400,000, with all of the foundation funds coming from Rotary members. “We have the best foundation that exists,” he said. “It’s been the highest rated foundation for more than 10 years.”

However, sustainability is important in approving grants. Those who seek Rotary Foundation grants must show how their projects and programs will be sustained after being initiated. “When we change something,” he said, “we want it to stay changed.” Fish talked about the Hand Wash program in Haiti, which is a method of providing clean drinking water for people. He said $60 will provide safe water for a family for years. Basically, the project required a five-gallon bucket with a hole in the bottom, covered by a filter. Tainted water is used to fill the bucket and safe water comes out after the filtration processed. Filters, he added, can last for years if they’re properly cared for.

He reminded the club Rotary is helping with the flooding in Kentucky and Mississippi, and is also helping with the flooding in Pakistan and donating to the Ukrainian relief effort, saying Rotary has donated $15 million to the Ukraine.

Fish challenged the Prescott club to figure out its first step and take it this year.

In other business, the club discussed the fundraiser it will be helping the OYEA program with. There’s a meeting at Norman’s on Sept. 20.

The club will also have a decorated truck in this year’s fair parade Monday. Members participating need to wear their shirts and bring a bag of candy.

For the OYEA Banquet, the club will have an Eagle Cooler full, and an auction item.

It will also be participating in the upcoming Fall Festival on Oct. 8.

Dr. Mike Young suggested everyone get a COVID booster, and to get their flu shots as soon as possible.