Rotary welcomes district governor as guest speaker

Staff Writer

Starkville Rotary Club welcomed District 6820 Governor Pam Smith as the guest speaker at Monday's afternoon meeting.

District 6820 is comprised of 45 clubs between U.S. Highways 82 and 84.

District Governor Pam Smith is from Florence but makes it an annual visit to the club.

Smith is a charter member and past president of the South Rankin Rotary Club.

Before earning District Governor, Smith served as assistant governor for four years.

She has several degrees from the Mississippi University for Women, University of Mobile, and University of South Alabama.

Smith is a registered nurse with a background in surgery, cardiology, oncology, pediatrics and labor and delivery.

Her five daughters, son and 18 grandchildren are near and dear to her heart.

"I'm very blessed and humbled to be a Rotarian," Smith said.

The theme for the Rotary Club this year has been "Be The Inspiration."

"That is applicable in any area of our life, it's not just Rotary," she said.

She encouraged members to be the inspiration amongst their families, friends, work, church and other community activities.

Smith's inspirations are her family, South Rotary Club of Rankin County, District 6820 and her late husband Rob Smith who served as district governor from 2013-2014.

Before passing away, he encouraged her to push forward with Rotary and continue the legacy.

Here she is now proudly choosing to wear her small Rotary pin so that people will squint, fail to read what it says and ask 'What is Rotary?'

"It's always good to be able to share the information," Smith said.

Smith said her goal speaking Monday afternoon was to encourage members and cheer them on for the things that they are already doing in the community and to do more things.

"I feel like I'm a messenger to be able to give you information from the district and international Rotary so that I can be your cheerleader," Smith said.

She applauded Rotary for doing a great job working to eradicate polio.

"Rotary has really done a great job working with polio and we have not had an active case reported in Nigeria since August 2016 so we are on our way," Smith said.

Smith said no other organization in the world has gained the support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as Rotary International.

"With a 2:1 match up to an additional $450 million over three years which will end in end in two and a half years," she added.

She went on to say that another reason that Rotary is important to her is because it is the largest international service organization in the world.

"As of today Rotaract has 10,904 clubs with 250,792 Rotaract members - Interact has 20,372 clubs with 468,556 members in 162 countries, so if you add those two numbers to our current 1.2 million Rotarians, that's over 1.9 million," Smith said.

She announced that the South Rankin Rotary Club will be making some adjustments to reel in more members.

Teachers and independent, single business owners can't leave their place of work to attend the noon meetings.

"So we are going to start a satellite club which is an extension of our club," Smith said.

There are 17 individuals who are interested in meeting two Monday nights per month.

She used this to encourage Starkville Rotary members to think outside the box and begin initiatives.

Smith applauded Starkville Rotary Club for being the only club to recognize Rotary Youth Exchange.

Elisa Ceriani was the RYE student from Milan, Italy who was present yesterday and recognized.

To conclude her speech, Smith encouraged members to sign up for Rotary car tags, sell tickets for the Ford truck raffle and volunteer for international service projects such as the upcoming trip to Guadalajara.