Today during our Club Assembly we heard from two of our own members - Brian Kabat, a new Rotary member and Jim Erickson, a 37 year Rotary veteran - talking about what Rotary means to them.
                                         BRIAN KABAT
Brian got interested in Rotary because of Dan Govinsky who knew him from other contacts and who invited him to a club meeting.  Brian liked who he saw was in the club.  The more he has learned about Rotary, the more he is convinced that it was a good decision for him to join.  He likes the genuine good purposes of Rotary such as sustainability, developing clean water sources, and improving sanitation. He was impressed that Bill Gates partnered with Rotary in the polio eradication fight and that Warren Buffets son was working on sustainable agriculture in Africa.  He is anxious to introduce his son and daughter to Rotary as they grow up.  Brian participated in our Rotary the golf tournament.  He likes the variety of speakers and finds the hour at Rotary relaxing to be away from the pressures of the job.  Brian is the owner of Frontier Ace Hardware in Apache Junction which he bought in 2006 after moving here from Michigan.
At the end of Brian's talk, Len LaFlesch stood to  praise Brian for how well Ace Hardware is run and how knowledgeable the staff are in helping customers.  Sharon Stinard also thanked Brian for the philanthropy he and his business have shown in the Apache Junction/Gold Canyon area.
                               JIM ERICKSON
Jim Erickson is a 3rd generation Rotarian following in the footsteps of his grandfather and father who were Rotarians.  Jim joined his local club in Wisconsin in 1972 and was a member there for 30 years.  He too joined Rotary because someone asked him to become a member.  Jim has perfect attendance for 38 years - a record that is important to him even though Rotary has de-emphasized attendance.
As to the question of what motivates him to remain a Rotarian, he mentioned friendships.   Rotary club members were the first friends he made on moving to Arizona.  He, like Brian, has great respect for what Rotary does locally and internationally.  He participated in the 2004 National Immunization Day in India.  Jim enjoys visiting other Rotary clubs to hear what they are doing . 
His advice to new Rotarians is to find a couple of Rotary causes that "float your boat" - something that interests or inspires you - and get involved in them.  The May to October period has traditionally been a quiet time for our club service projects due to the heat but it doesn't have to continue to be that way.  He encourages new members to bring new service ideas to the Board for consideration.  He encourages all Rotarians to go to the club, District 5510 and Rotary International websites and look around to see what Rotary is doing.
As to District 5510, Jim says Rotary has a membership problem.  RI requires 1,100 active members to be a district.  Right now 5510 has 1120-1140 members and that puts us at risk of losing district status and having to join one of the other two districts in Arizona.  There are lots of small clubs.  At 48 members, we have the 7th largest club in the district.  Retention of members is the biggest problem.  We recruit lots of new members but they drop out for various reasons.
Jim is on track to become the District Governor for 5510 in the near-term future.  We wish him the best as he undertakes these new responsibilities.