Winnfield Rotarians Celebrate Installation, Hear About Their Impact on World

(Cutline for the photo used in the header above PDG Pamela Stewart from the Rotary Club of Lincoln installs and pins Kim Futrell as incoming president of the Rotary Club of Winnfield.)

Heavy is the head that wears the crown. Mary Lou Blackley, immediate past president of the Rotary Club of Winnfield, told members at their June 22 Installation Dinner that she’s proud of what this local service organization has accomplished under her presidency, with scholarships, Youth Leadership campers, dictionaries for third-graders, school uniforms, member support of the Food Pantry and the 5K Walk & Run Fundraiser.

But she also admitted that she’s happy to hand the reins over to incoming president Kim Futrell who responded in accepting the responsibilities that while she is a relative newcomer to Rotary, she is “looking forward to doing a lot of good things with a great group to work with.” Fittingly, a theme of the Rotary Foundation, the funding arm of this international organization, is “Doing Good in the World.” Conducting the installation of the new president Kim Futrell and ongoing secretary-treasurer Jennifer Vidrine was the past governor of District 6190 (north Louisiana), Pamela Stewart of the Lincoln club. She challenged Futrell, along the theme of outgoing international president Jennifer Jones, to Imagine hope, to Imagine dreams and to Imagine change. The speaker reminded members that the Winnfield club is in its 96th year, chartered on May 13, 1927.

During that time members have not only supported the local community through involvement, projects and sponsorships, it has also made a difference in the quality of life for people around the world through giving to the Rotary Foundation. Giving through the years has added up to $128,248. So where does that money go? For basic education and literacy projects. For community and economic development projects. For disease prevention and treatment projects. For maternal and child health projects. For peace-building and conflict resolution projects. For water, sanitation and hygiene projects. For environmental projects.

And since 1985, Rotary has worked tirelessly, garnering support from other organizations such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to eradicate polio from the world. “We’re This Close” has been a refrain for a decade as the number of polio victims has dropped from 365,000 annually to just a handful. Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only two endemic countries where this childhood disease has not been wiped out. But it only takes one exposure to bring it back (as recent occurrences in New York and London proved). Rotarians know that every single case must be resolved. And for those who don’t believe that people in those two countries aren’t involved in the fight, a report at the recent international convention in Melbourne, Australia, showed that 370,000 Pakistani volunteers (with a security force of 80,000) went out in a three-day immunization drive of 44 million children, despite the fact that 64 workers were killed in the process.

Rotary officers here in Winnfield for the new year are secretary-treasurer Jennifer Vidrine, immediate past president Mary Lou Blackley, president Kim Futrell and, performing the installations, PDG Pamela Stewart.