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2013 District 5790 Conference a Huge Success!
Under the theme, PEACE THROUGH SERVICE, the conference kicked off with an All Clubs luncheon at the Sheraton Fort Worth Hotel. Attended by some 185 Rotarians and guests at lunch, the conference got off to a rousing start as photos of club presidents and their significant others were posted on the big screen as they stood to be recognized. Past Rotary International Director Phil Silvers was introduced as the RI President’s representative to the conference. He set the tone for the remainder of the conference with a message from RI President Sakuji Tanaka emphasizing the importance of the conference and the importance of the Rotary theme – Peace Through Service. The keynote speaker was LTG (retired) Rick Lynch, Executive Director of the UTA Research Institute (UTARI). General Lynch gave a captivating talk about leading soldiers into battle and the leadership challenges he faced. He talked about his faith and how that faith helped him to successfully meet the many challenges he faced. That was followed by a very moving Celebration of Life led by PDG Paul Lucas. Photos of recently deceased district Rotarians were shown on the big screen as Paul read personal highlights of each individual. This was accompanied by the ringing of a bell and the placing of a rose in a vase for each individual. All in attendance were very moved. Following the luncheon, breakout sessions featuring district international and club projects were led by DGN Larry Petrash and AG Harris Brooks.
The highlight of the conference occurred at Friday evening’s dinner which featured a panel of experts discussing the fight against polio. Experts from the World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control (CDC), United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), and RI presented a captivating evening describing the mission of their respective organization, its role in the effort to eradicate polio and how each organization interfaces with the other. Captivating really does not do this event proper justice – this was an event that is truly unique to a Rotary district conference. RI Director Silvers stated that the participating organizations sent their “A” team. He further stated that in his many years in Rotary, he had not experienced an event of this magnitude at a district conference. What more can be said…
Saturday opened with a bright and early breakfast session monitored by PDG Sharron Miles. The keynote speaker was Diana Phillips who discussed literacy needs throughout the nation. Sharron also discussed the Blue Bonnet society and the grants generated through that organization. After breakout sessions on New Generations led by Kent Brown and Education led by PDG Sharron, a “bloody” lunch was enjoyed by all. PDG Chuck Kurtzman introduced speaker Merlyn Sayers, President and CEO of Carter Blood Care and followed his talk with a presentation of “vampire capes” to Merlyn and DG Hollis. It was a lighthearted program that placed proper emphasis on the need to give blood. Well done Chuck!
The afternoon breakout sessions featured youth. GSE presentations were given by our outbound team to District 4770 (Brazil). Our team was headed by Rotarian Chris McLucas. Also presenting was the incoming GSE team from Brazil featuring singing accompanied by a team member on the guitar (see the video below). It was quite apparent that the Brazilian team had a great time visiting Texas and there were more than a few tears shed as they discussed their adventures in our district. A big thanks to Stan Wiles who was the district coordinator for the Brazilian team visit. We had an extra treat as our district GSE team from last year that went to Australia also presented. This team was led by Marci Junge. Must be tough going to Australia on a Rotary visit… The afternoon concluded with the much anticipated youth 4 – Way speech
contest. Mike Pope coordinated this effort and did a great job. This year’s contest featured seven contestants! In prior years, we normally had four speakers but due to increasing the number of regional contests and a tie in one contest, we had seven. And great they were! This contest is always a feature of the conference and this year exceeded expectations. As a matter of fact, in spite of having seven judges and scoring to the half point, we had a tie for first and fifth positions. The district is very generous in the prizes awarded to the contestants so I am sure they all walked away happy, regardless of their position finish.
The Governor’s Banquet marked the end of Saturday’s activities. DG Hollis presented awards to the top AG’s and to key members of the district staff. PDG Dan Morales was awarded the coveted Service Above Self award. In recognition for their giving to the Rotary Foundation, Major Donor awards were presented by RI Rep Phil Silvers and DG Hollis to DGN Larry and Paula Petrash and Dub and Karen Hirst. The evening concluded with a penetrating discussion by RI Rep Phil Silvers on the place of Rotary in the Middle East.
DG Hollis and I would like to express our appreciation to all who assisted in making this a successful conference. There are too many to individually thank at this time, but know your efforts ARE very much appreciated. Also a big shout out to all of you who attended the conference – thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to join us. Director Phil was very complementary of attendance and all other aspects of the conference.
PDG Bill Harnagel
District 4770 GSE Team serenades District 5790 Conference Attendees
Leonardo Malo, Marcelo De Oliveira Ferreira (team leader), Andrea De Sigueria, Bruno Cardoso, Latierias Soares & Thais Alves
Learn more about this dynamic GSE team from Brazil at District 4770 GSE team link.
Bluebonnet Society Awards Grants at the District 5790 Conference
Past District Governor Sharron Miles announced the award of 3 matching grants in support support of girls & women's issues worldwide.
Thanks to the generous contributions from the 5790 Bluebonnet Society we were able to give three grant awards to clubs to advance the status of women and girls. congratulations to the Rotary Clubs of Arlington Sunrise, Lewisville Morning and Mid-Cities Pacesetters