Douglas MacArthur, famous U.S. army general in WWII and the Korean war, famously said in his 1951 retirement speech before a Joint Session of the U.S. Congress, “Old soldiers never die, they just fade away.” I’m not sure if our younger members have a clue who Douglas MacArthur was, but did you ever wonder what happens to past District Governor’s after they serve? Do Past District Governors just “fade away?”
Well…I’m happy to report that isn’t the case. In Rotary our Past District Governors (PDGs) are an important resource to the present Leadership Team. They have, as a group, a large “institutional memory” of what has happened in our District in the past, including the good, the bad, and the ugly. Together they form our Council of Governors, and they can comment on the history of our Rotary clubs in a way that few others can. And because of that, they can offer advice and council to the present District Governor, in our case, Peter Kyle, that is highly valued. And they stay involved in many District activities.
The Council of Governor’s will meet three times this year and the meeting is traditionally chaired by the Immediate Past District Governor, who is for us, the famous (or infamous) Bob Parkinson. The meeting featured a report by the current DG (Peter Kyle) that covered all of the news in the District, including finances, Foundation, membership, Interact, Rotoract, RYLA, RLI, and much more. In addition to the DG report, our District Governor Elect, Bill Fine, also reported to the group. Since Bill has recently returned from San Diego for his DG training he had much to share, including our Rotary slogan for next year, “Light Up Rotary.” And, I might add, there was an absolutely riveting report from Yours Truly who held the audience spellbound during his entire five minute DGN report.
Our Past District Governors do anything but “fade away,” and in fact stay very much involved with District affairs. Here are just a few examples from the latest meeting: Raj Saini (1985-1986) has long served the District as our Polio Plus Chair, Paul Frey (2009-2010) is our Training Chair, Tom Kwako (2000-2001) is very involved at the international level with vision projects, Bob Grill (2002-2003) remains active with Chesapeake PETS and with Disaster Relief, Rich Carson (2007-2008) is our District Major Gifts Chair and is the RI representative to the OAS, Jay Kumar (2010-2011) is currently involved with extending a new Rotary club in Howard County, Ray Strieb (2004-2005) is our Club Extension Chair, Bob Nelson (1994-1995) edits the District’s Newsletter, and Pat Kasuda (2006-2007) is, among other things, our District’s representative to Rotary Council of Legislation.
Pretty impressive stuff….don’t you think? So if you happen to see a PDG wandering around aimlessly, you might want to thank them for their service. Then you can help them find their way home because they are probably lost.