In extending best wishes for the New Year, the magnitude of the bush fire devastation to parts of our State and elsewhere within our country preoccupies our thoughts as a stark reality which calls for a Rotary response.
And Rotary is responding. There has been contact with our DG Grant Hocking where a D9800 task force has been assembled as led by DGE Philip Archer which includes our PE Marion McLeod where the EMDR expertise that we have through Pam Brown has been sought. PP Mev Connell has written extensively to convey his advice based on his experience with the Black Saturday response by Rotary as has PP Chris Wang in relation to the adoption of Rotary Rochester following their period of drought and flood.
Also contact with D9820 DG Adrian Froggart and DGE Mark Humphries has identified avenues for fire fund donations directed to the East Gippsland devastation. In addition, offers to donate funds and equipment have been made directly to Rotary Melbourne. Peter Manger is coordinating a substantial donation whilst Bob Glindemann is busy receiving and dispatching goods from DIK, he and Reg Smith are now coordinating the air-freight arrival of a substantial shipment donated through a Californian Rotary connected charity.
Whilst the response focuses on the recovery phase, the task to coordinate efforts is the current agenda and further advice will be forthcoming from D9800 about where funds are best directed. Rotarians and their respective Clubs within the devastated areas can be readily identified so that any response can be tailored to their needs.
In the meantime, and as we reconvene on the 15th January, may I thank members for their generous support of our Christmas Giving in support of our R100 Hush Foundation project and our Wine Fundraiser efforts with sales commensurate with last year’s excellent level.
May I also thank nine of our Groups for the hospitality they afforded to Lisa and myself at their Christmas gatherings, where some 150 members and their partners participated. I do note that our tenth Group held their Christmas in July gathering. It is so evident that Group participation contributes to the strength of Rotary Melbourne in terms of friendship and project involvement.
I can advise as we reconvene, that Membership Director Amanda will be initiating a membership drive ’20 in 2020’. Also, VP’s David Carruthers and Cynthia Edgell with the assistance of Past VP Barbara Yerondais have undertaken a half yearly review of the vast project list which involves so many of our members and provides an opportunity for more membership involvement. Capitalising on the ‘How Rotary Melbourne Works’ session conducted in July which has continued to be accoladed, the task is to ensure that members who are not necessarily engaged but wish to be so are actually engaged. This task has been progressed through the recent focus group meetings arranged by Hon Secretary Reg Smith and will be a continuing endeavour.
In concluding, I look forward to the remainder of our Rotary year and continuing the good work of all Board members and our most valued Office Manager, Jo Mavros. Through our focus on the delivery of humanitarian projects, capitalising on the Centenary and enjoying our work as volunteers, we will meet the new challenges of 2020.