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THE POWER OF LOVE: REFLECTION AND SERVICE

As we approach the end of our Rotary year, I am filled with gratitude for the dedication and passion each of you has shown in serving our communities. It’s been a remarkable journey as the 2023/2024 District Governor, marked by generosity, compassion, and the unwavering spirit of Rotary.

Growing up, music was a constant companion in my life. One band that particularly resonated with me was Huey Lewis and The News. Their songs played a significant role in shaping my teenage years, with their upbeat rhythms and meaningful lyrics providing a soundtrack to many moments. “The Power of Love” was more than just a hit song for me; it was a mantra that underscored the importance of love and connection in our lives.

Years later, I had the incredible opportunity to meet someone whose talents I had admired for so long. This meeting wasn’t just a fan moment; it was a profound experience that reminded me of the power of dreams and the importance of pursuing what we are passionate about. This encounter reaffirmed my belief in the values that Rotary stands for—welcoming, humility, and service.

In reflecting on our shared journey, I’m reminded of this song that resonates deeply with the values we hold dear. Huey Lewis and The News’ classic, “The Power of Love,” isn’t just a catchy tune from the 80s—it’s a powerful reminder of the force that binds us together and drives our mission in Rotary.

The Power of Welcoming

“The Power of Love” speaks to a force that lifts us up, that brings us together, and that transforms lives. In Rotary, this power is manifested in our ability to be welcoming. Just as love opens hearts, our openness and inclusivity ensure that every new member feels valued and every visitor feels at home. This welcoming spirit is the cornerstone of our clubs, and it is what makes Rotary a family.

The lyrics, “Change a hawk to a little white dove,” illustrate how love—and in our case, a welcoming spirit—can transform even the hardest of hearts. Think about the first time you attended a Rotary meeting. It wasn’t the grandeur of the event or the titles of those present that made an impact—it was the genuine warmth and hospitality extended to you. This sense of belonging is what we must strive to offer to every new face that joins our ranks. By doing so, we strengthen the bonds within our club and foster an environment where everyone can thrive.

The Power of Humility

Another line in the song goes, “It don’t take money, don’t take fame,” reminding us that true power doesn’t come from titles or wealth, but from humility. In Rotary, we are here to serve, not to seek accolades or recognition. No matter our role—whether we are a club president, a district leader, or a new member—we must approach our service with humility. We are part of something greater than ourselves, and our true strength lies in our ability to work together for the common good.

Huey Lewis sings, “Tougher than diamonds, rich like cream,” suggesting that love, much like humility, has an enduring and enriching quality. Humility in Rotary means recognizing that every contribution, no matter how small, is valuable. It means acknowledging the efforts of others and celebrating their successes as if they were our own. It means putting aside our egos and working collaboratively, always keeping our mission at the forefront. By embracing humility, we not only grow as individuals but also elevate the collective impact of our organization.

The Power of Service

At its heart, Rotary is about service above self. The power of love that Huey Lewis sings about can be seen in our commitment to making a difference in the world. It’s in the hours we volunteer, the projects we champion, and the lives we touch. Our service is a testament to the power of love in action, a love that transcends boundaries and unites us in our mission to create lasting change.

The song’s chorus, “You don’t need money, don’t take fame, don’t need no credit card to ride this train,” perfectly encapsulates the essence of Rotary service. Our work isn’t driven by the desire for personal gain but by a genuine commitment to helping others. Consider the countless projects we’ve undertaken this year. From providing clean water to communities in need, to supporting education initiatives, to our relentless efforts in eradicating polio—each project reflects our collective dedication to service. The impact of our work is profound and far-reaching, touching lives in ways we may never fully realize. It is this unwavering commitment to service that defines us as Rotarians and sets us apart as a force for good in the world.

Embracing the Future

As we conclude this Rotary year, let’s carry forward the lessons of this powerful song. Let’s continue to be welcoming, to serve with humility, and to harness the power of love in all we do. Together, we can achieve extraordinary things.

Looking ahead, I encourage each of you to reflect on how you can embody these principles in the coming year. How can you make your club more welcoming? How can you practice humility in your leadership? How can you amplify the impact of your service? These are the questions that will guide us as we move forward, united by our shared commitment to Rotary’s ideals.

A Final Thank You

I want to express how honored and grateful I am for the opportunity to have served with each of you during the 2023/2024 Rotary year as your District Governor. Your dedication, hard work, and spirit of service have made a lasting impact, and I am truly inspired by all that you have accomplished.

In the words of Huey Lewis, “You feel the power of love.” This year, we have felt the power of love in our fellowship, in our projects, and in the lives we’ve touched. Let’s carry this power forward into the future, continuing to make a difference and spreading the love that defines Rotary.

Thank you for an incredible year. Together, we’ve made a difference, and I am excited for what lies ahead.

With gratitude and best wishes,

Caleb Summerfelt
District Governor 2023/2024
Rotary District 5020

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