Van Der Linden (left) conducts the induction ceremony of new members Amy Freeze and Jeremy Shaw.
Troutman Rotary welcomes District Governor, inducts new members
By DEBBIE PAGE
Troutman Rotary Club was honored by a visit and inspirational speech from the Governor of District 7680, Scott Van Der Linden, at its Tuesday morning meeting at Town Hall.
Van Der Linden, a member of Rotary Club - Charlotte South, has had perfect attendance since 1992 and served as the club’s president from 1996-97. Under his leadership, the club won the the Best Club under 15 members and the Rotary Presidential Citation.
He rose to a variety of district leadership positions before becoming district governor. He is also a Paul Harris Fellow and a major donor to the Rotary organization. He believes his most significant achievement is helping to charter 14 new clubs and mentoring three through their early years.
Van Der Linden, representing Rotary International (RI) President Ian Risely, reminded listeners that although the club has a strong international presence, the important work gets done at the club level. “Rotary International solely exists to support you.”
The district governor also lauded the near-eradication of polio, a cause that the organization has supported since 1985. The Bill Gates Foundation matches each dollar Rotary raises two to one, this year pledging up to $350 million in matching funds.
Van Der Linden, who climbed Africa’s Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise funds for the effort, estimates that an additional $1.5 billion (about $35 per member) is needed to finish the club’s commitment to wipe polio from the earth. “We need to make people aware of what we are doing.”
The district governor set several goals for clubs for the 14-county district to strive for this year, including planting a tree in the community for each member. He further challenged members to plant a tree for each of their family members and to get high school Interact clubs involved in the effort as well.
Van Der Linden also wants clubs to attract younger members, as well women and minorities, to address the graying and diversity issues of the organization in North America and Europe, though he noted Rotary membership is exploding in India and other areas.
“Your club is in pretty good shape in all these accounts,” Van Der Linden noted, asking them to continue what they are doing to recruit new participants.
He also urged the club to finish the year in better standing than it started, to earn the presidential citation, and to decide to make a difference in their community and world but have some fun while doing it.
Van Der Linden next mentioned the Coins for Alzheimer’s Research Trust, a cause close to his heart since he lost his mother, aunt, uncle, grandmother, great-grandmother, great uncle, and mother-in-law to the disease.
Rotary Clubs in the Southeast gave $750,000 to cutting edge research this past year, according to Van Der Linden. The club seeks researchers who have promising ideas but lack the funds to move forward to get the data to secure large grants.
He cited a $100,000 Rotary donation to an Emory University researcher who used the funds to explore his theory, which later earned a $25 million grant from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to continue his promising work.
“Maybe the dollars you donated today will go to somebody who finds a real solution to Alzheimers. That to me is really cool because we are close to touching what is really happening out there,” added Van Der Linden.
Van Der Linden noted other RI projects, including clean water, maternal health, infant mortality, education, conflict resolution, and economic development. He particularly praised micro-financing programs, such as one that helped oppressed Guatemalan women start small businesses that have transformed their villages’ and families’ lives.
He finally encouraged members to take advantage of opportunities outside of the club to develop their leadership skills and to attend district, national, and international events. He urged them to look at their Rotary magazine for information about these events and trainings.
Van Der Linden encouraged listeners to look for hands-on opportunities to serve their communities. “Consider what what you can accomplish - it’s wonderful.”
Thanking the district governor for his words, Assistant Governor James Mallory praised the Troutman club for “punching above its weight” in financial giving and participation. “You are involved in many local projects and are out there making a difference on a daily and weekly basis.”
Van Der Linden also inducted two new members into the club, which brings its membership to 28.
Troutman newcomer Amy Freeze, a former UMC pastor for 12 years, moved to the area after beginning her new job as Manager of Community & Faith Partnerships for Habitat for Humanity. She will work with pastors and their congregations as they volunteer with the organization.
New member Jeremy Shaw moved to Troutman three years ago with his wife, Sheena Bailey Shaw, an SIHS grad. The couple met while attending UNC-Wilmington. “I never felt more welcome in a town, and I’m excited to see what the future holds and to be a part of this.”
Shaw is finalizing work on his Cedar Stump Tavern location near Subway and hopes to be open by the end of August.