Happy July, Fellow Rotarians! Just like that, a new Rotary year has begun!
A few months ago, Past-President Don Norton gave me the opportunity to share a little about my Rotary journey, and I chose to start at the very beginning—back to my hometown of Sharon Springs, KS, located in Wallace County, that borders Colorado and is home to the highest point in the state, Mt. Sunflower.
Sharon Springs is also home to the Wallace County Free Fair, a three-day community event that draws families from all over Western Kansas—mostly not for the turtle races and rodeo and demolition derby, although those are fun, too—but primarily for the home-owned and operated carnival. Step right up! Ride tickets are just .25 cents!
I am proud to say that my father, himself a Rotarian, was a founding member of the Wallace County Amusement Association that had the idea to buy retired carnival rides, fix them up over the winter months, and bring them out during fair week to provide a low-cost, fun event for families while also raising funds for the Senior Center, the fairground’s upkeep, and the swimming pool. Another benefit was the friendships that were strengthened as community members worked together to bring a shared vision to life. The first ride the Association purchased and refurbished was a ferris wheel that the community dubbed “The Big Apple.” It still operates today, almost 35 years later!
I am proud to be my father’s daughter and to have learned community service, collaboration, and future visioning from him. I am proud to be a Rotarian and to serve with all of you, but just like ferris wheel cars that go up around together, my year as your Club President will not happen in isolation.  “My 2021-22 car” follows the excellent leadership of Past-President Don, and when this year is over, President-Elect Erich will be right behind to carry our next initiatives forward. I am thankful for the structure of Rotary International and District 5610, and for all the parts in the wheel that each of you plays. Together, we will move through the year, serving our community and creating stronger friendships in the process. And I bet we’ll even have some fun! See you on Tuesdays!
President Darla