Thanksgiving is only a few weeks away and I thought it would be a good time to reflect on what I am thankful for in the Brookings Rotary Club.  At a time when many Rotary Clubs are struggling with membership, we are still thriving.  Our membership may have dropped since before the pandemic but we are still a healthy, vibrant club.  It’s our membership that is the heart of this club.  I am thankful for each and every one of you, even if you aren’t able to attend meetings in person.  Even if I can’t see you in person, I greatly appreciate your support of our club and the Rotary mission of “service above self”.  If you find yourself in a position to attend our weekly meetings once again, please know you will be welcomed!  If you are able to attend our weekly meetings, then thank you!  Our weekly meetings are the foundation of our club and your continued attendance is recognized and greatly appreciated.  I hope you will continue to attend and I know our Program Committee, led by Erich Olson, is continuously working to invite interesting and engaging speakers.  The quality of speakers we successfully recruit is a testament to the welcoming atmosphere created by all of you.
Of course, Rotary is more than just weekly meetings.  Our list of accomplishments as a club over these past few months is quite impressive.  We have written a strategic plan, created a new corporate membership category, hosted two international Rotary exchange groups (Denmark and Australia), “bowled to fight Polio”, convinced the City of Brookings to write a World Polio Day proclamation, hosted SDSU students for a meal during homecoming week, marched in the Hobo Day Parade, helped repaint the Born Learning Trails, helped the Brookings School District address mental illness, and served food for people in need at the Harvest Table.  Our Membership Committee has hit the ground running to recruit new members and educate new and existing membership.  (Thank you Jen Olson and the Membership Committee!)  Finally, we’ve continued to raise money for scholarships and causes for the good of the local community.  We can’t forget this important part of our service to others.  (Thank you to the anonymous Scholar Dollar donor as well!)  We have lots to be thankful for, Rotarians.
We aren’t done yet!  Over the next several months we will have more opportunities to serve the community (e.g., Feeding Brookings, Salvation Army).  One of the goals of our strategic plan is to create service “themes” that we can build around.  I plan to work with Steve Sewell and the Service Committee on this goal in the coming months.  I am thankful that the Brookings Rotary Club continues to carry out the mission of Rotary International and that’s because of YOU, the members of this club.  We truly are blessed.
Yours in Rotary,
Michael Gonda