By Jade Marceau–Mary
The Rotary Club is an international organization founded in 1905 in Chicago, IL., by Paul Harris. The Rotary’s Areas of Focus have since been to promote peace, fight disease, provide clean water, sanitation, and hygiene, save mothers and children, support education, grow local economies, and protect the environment. The Lebanon Rotary is part of District 6510, which extend from Route 50 east to Indiana and south to Cairo.
The Rotary Club met at the Lantern at 6 p.m. last Thursday. The meeting started by assigning both Savannah Webster and Coleman Cummins the $500 Rotary Scholarships on Thursday, July 20th. Cummins said he plans to use his scholarship by going to McKendree University and later work in museums. Meanwhile, Webster received her scholarship check at a previous meeting. The Rotary Club then went into saying the Pledge of Allegiance and a joint prayer following the recognition. Jeff Thornton, the past district governor and recently past president of Lebanon club but currently in charge if the meetings until the current president recovery, gave a speech explaining Rotary future projects. He explained how Rotary was looking for volunteers for a Disaster Team Training Exercise event at New Athens on Sunday, July 30th from 2 to 3:30 pm. “The purpose of the training exercise is to test our water purification system and also practice setting up a Volunteer Reception Center,” Thornton said. Thornton also mentioned the Lebanon Rotary was currently working on organizing a picnic with Lebanon interact club on August 20th. “It would be a chance for interactors to have fun, and we provide food, open for all, especially for potential Lebanon high school students that want to be part of the interact club.
Thursday was one of the biggest crowds Rotary had ever reassembled in a meeting as the District 6510 Governor, Christopher H. Lyons, joined to explain the Rotary International President’s goals for the new logo and the 2023 year. The speech started with the Rotary International President, Gordon McInally, ideas and inspiration for this year’s logo. It was the first time the Lebanon Rotary got introduced to the ideas and meaning of its 2023 District logo. This year’s theme is “Create Hope in the World.” McInally was then inspired by the British artist JoLoMo, John Lowrie Morrison, to bring vibrant colors into the logo under the shapes of paint brush strokes. Lyons followed up with the three main priorities for Rotary District 6510 this year: Mental health; Promoting peace through cultural exchanges; and Empowering women. In regard of mental health, the goal is to make it more accessible for people to reach out for help by breaking the stigma. “Talking about mental health should be as easy as talking about a broken knee,” Lyons said. Rotary is looking to encourage conversations between the different Rotary clubs around the world to promote peace. With Rotary, it is possible to do so virtually through the “Rotary Peace” program, already available in four countries. Such exchange is beneficial to help reduce stress between communities, especially in times of conflict, and to educate people. Last, Rotary is looking to empower women. “Many countries discriminate against women, making it hard for them to own businesses or attend school. Our goal is to sensitize and raise awareness so that people can take actions internationally,” Lyons said.
Lyons also describes the year project for Rotary: helping people with Alzheimer’s and the one taking care of them. Rotary is involved with Alzheimer’s associations through the
A.D.R.A.G., the Alzheimers and Dementia Rotary Action Group. For this year, the Rotary Clubs in District 6510, including Lebanon Rotary, will collect items for people with Alzheimer’s and those taking care of people with Alzheimer’s. Rotary will bring these items to the District Conference in Centralia, IL, on November 3rd and 4th. The District will collect and distribute these items to people in need. For more information about Rotary and its projects, contact Jeff Thornton at 618-530-4447.