11.17.16 – Luncheon Notes & Photos
SPOKES Notes by Shannon Kolarik
We had several Interact Students in attendance at Thursday’s luncheon as well as new members Christine Lindeman and Adam Vranian. Grace Shearer opened with “Count Your Blessings” and Mark led us in invocation. President Sytsma introduced our keynote speaker District Governor Gernot Runschke noting his commitment to Rotary and lifetime of service. “The highest distinction is the service of others”.
Mr. Runschke shared a little bit of his life with us starting back in Munich, Germany where he grew up playing hide and seek in medieval castles and cross country skiing to school. He later came to Muskegon as an adult to work as an Architect. He then created his own company in Grand Haven before moving on to GMB Architects where he spent a great deal of his career.
The service work that Mr. Runschke has recently been involved in includes his work in Honduras, building water systems for local villages and sending down water closets and lavatories to have installed in their local hospital. One of the water filtration systems in Honduras helped a woman create a life for herself growing and selling vegetables, which would not have been possible otherwise. He noted that Rotarians set themselves apart by being globally and locally involved.
Some of the ways he noted Rotary’s involvement and current initiatives include:
- Youth exchange program – one of Rotary’s most important initiatives. He put precedence on finding host families for these students coming across the world as they bring a lot of culture to our schools and local community.
- New Members – getting young professionals involved in Rotary and strengthening our local network, utilizing our youth and bringing them up in Rotary.
- Training opportunities for our incoming Rotary Presidents – local conventions and evening meetings closer to home.
- Networking with other Rotary Clubs in our area and creating partnerships.
- The fight against Polio – hoping to completely eradicate by 2018.
- Strategic Planning – membership, foundation, public image, leadership.
- Local and global grants / scholarships – helping fund these.
- The Power of Interact – every school needs an Interact program; Runschke made special note of their fundraising and community projects, that they are a force to be reckoned with.
Mr. Runschke mentioned that November is foundation month and a better time than ever to get involved. He also encouraged us to attend a District Conference (the next one is held May 4-6 at Crystal Mountain) or an International Convention (this year’s is in Atlanta, Georgia). Lastly, you can get involved on a District level by serving on the board or running for District Governor.
Given District Governor Runschke’s contribution to water filtration in Honduras, President Sytsma gifted him with a basket full of local goodies as thanks for his time with us instead of the usual water filtration donation.