TUPELO – The president of Rotary International on Monday encouraged club members to give back, not only to the community but to the world at large.
Ray Klinginsmith, leader of the worldwide service organization, delivered his message to a regional gathering of Rotarians at the Tupelo club’s regular meeting.
About 200 Rotarians from across Mississippi and southwestern Tennessee attended the meeting.
It has been more than 10 years since a Rotary president has visited Tupelo, and Klinginsmith, a retired lawyer from Missouri, is the interntional organization’s 100th president.
Klinginsmith began his speech by playing a few lines of a song, “Cowboy Logic,” and repeated some of the lyrics: “If it’s a job, do it/Put your back into it.”
He used those lyrics to encourage Rotarians to not only better their own communities, but to tackle issues abroad. Rotary Club is working to eradicate polio, and he spoke about recent fundraising achievements the club has made with help from Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates.
He also spoke about the importance of being in Rotary.
“Thirty-three thousand Rotary Clubs annually invest in their own communities $1 billion. That alone is worth the value of Rotary Club,” Klinginsmith said. “When we expand that to an international level, we are unique in what we can achieve.”
Klinginsmith also emphasized the importance of helping villages overseas.
“It’s easy for us to help those less fortunate,” he said. “It’s up to us to make that first step.”
Tupelo City Councilman Markel Whittington, a Rotarian, declared this week as Rotary International Week and gave Klinginsmith a key to the city.
Klinginsmith wrapped up his speech by paraphrasing those lyrics from “Cowboy Logic.”
“If it’s community needs, put your whole club into it,” he said. “Put your soul into it.”
Contact Sheena Barnett at (662) 678-1580 or email@example.com.
SHEENA BARNETT / NEMS Daily Journal