Great Bend Visit


Great Bend Visit


In 1870, buffalo hunters built sod houses near the "great bend" of the Arkansas River. This was also the location where the Santa Fe Trail crossed this river.  The railroad reached the area by 1872, and along with it, a growing cattle industry and a spirited town.

Speaking at your home club seems to be the least for me...but it was quite an honor to represent our Rotary Club of Great Bend as district governor.  I believe I am the fourth District governor from the city.

No one has ever asked me my "rotary moment," nor have I ever shared it publicly.  But I want to share it now, as the story embodies the Rotary club of Great Bend, as well as our community.  It's a story that never ends!

I'm sure most of you recall the 2005 Hurricane Katrina, which caused over 1,800 fatalities.  The hurricane was the subject of conversation at Rotary lunch one day, and someone suggested we do something to help.  I ran the idea by some folks at our church, and decided we would rent a trailer, and ask Rotarians and church members to help fill it with clothes and goods.  I next mentioned it to some of our Bank Officers.  To my pleasant surprise, a professional truck driver volunteered his 18-wheeler and his services to deliver a load of goods with us.  So, shortly there after, several of us adults, and some 8 of our church youth headed to Gulf Port, Mississippi with a large semi truck load, and the largest trailer U-hall would rent us, full of goods filled by anonymous Great Bend Rotarians and the community.

The exchange of cultures in Gulf Port was one I will never forget. Among other things, a couple of us spent the night in a homeless shelter.  From that "adventure," a couple of folks on the way back decided Great Bend needed a homeless shelter.  Next thing you know, the Rotary club of Great Bend is breaking bread at the local "soup kitchen," and touring what would some day soon, become the community homeless shelter.  I have to add that minimal of this was done "officially" as Rotary but rather as private citizens who happen to be Rotarians, and that much of the work for the homeless shelter was done by non-Rotarians as well, and that's ok, we don't need to do everything.  But this entire story, a story that is still being written, started at Rotary, and is an example of what so many Rotarians do in their communities, embodying "Service Above Self. "

That's my Rotary moment, or at least one of them!

Thank you to my home club of Great Bend, for all of your support this year.  Without this support I could not do this job.  Though many of my Rotary mentors have passed on, many others continue to mentor me.  I am grateful for the great example they have shown me.  We need to strive to pass on this idea, and this motto we try to live by: "Service Above Self."