TORRINGTON – With a host of community service projects in the works, local Rotarians earned kudos Monday when their District Governor came to town.
Bill Emsley is a retired Naval officer and U.S. Navy Academy graduate who served on submarines. Now, following a second career that spanned 35 years in the electrical power industry, Emsley leads and represents Rotary Clubs around the region as the District
Emsley talked about some of the projects his Rotary chapter in Fort Collins, Colo., has worked on in recent years, including overseas relief and aid missions to such far-flung places as India and Nepal. But it’s the work local Rotarians do in their own home towns that garnered praise from Emsley, including the group
“Every club has important projects they’re working on,” Emsley said. “I’m thrilled to hear about all the things you’ve been doing lately.”
He highlighted just a few of the projects the local club and its satellite group have been working on, including the backpack program to provide food to school students in need, working with the Land of Goshen Ministries and honoring local high school academics with its Students of the Month awards. He also noted the work of the recently-established satellite club to provide training to individuals who want to help out families of people suffering with Alzheimer’s.
“If you do nothing else, keep doing what you’re doing to benefit your community,” Emsley said. “Do what you’re doing every day and make incremental increases where it’s possible.”
For the coming year, the parent organization, Rotary International, has several recommendations for clubs at the local level, both to promote the organization and to help those local clubs keep helping at home. The call is going out, for example, for increased support for those local clubs at the district level and above, ensuring the resources to continue local efforts are available.
Local clubs are also being called on to increase their humanitarian services to their local communities, Emsley said, the efforts “local Rotary does so well.”
One upcoming, international project is to plant one tree for each and every Rotarian in the world. Emsley had a little fun with the local membership Monday, asking them to guess how many trees that would be.
He told them the plan world-wide is to, in fact, plant 1.2 million trees, including some 3,000 in the local district that includes Torrington, he said.
Another effort in coming months will collect the stories of Rotarians, getting them to talk about their efforts, community service experiences that typify the Rotary experience for them. Those stories will then be published and used, not only to bolster Rotarians, but to introduce the organization to the public.
“I think it’s a great story,” Emsley said. “I want it told.”