President Scott introduced Assistant District Governor Jay Jones. Jay oversees four clubs in the District for DG Jim.
Jim Erickson is a 3rd generation Rotarian born in Milwaukee Wisconsin. Jim was an Eagle Scout, attended school at the US Air Force Academy where he graduated in 1969. He was assigned to pilot training at Williams AFB Mesa where he met his wife Maryanne. He was then transferred to Reese AFB in Lubbock Texas and received his MBA. He left the military in 1974 and returned to Wisconsin to the family metal stamping business. His father was a member of the Rotary Club of Menominee Falls and Jim followed in his footsteps. In his Rotary career, Jim participated in a RID (Rotary Immunization Days) in India. Jim is a member of the Superstition Mountain Rotary Club, was president in 2009-2010, a group study exchange team leader , a continuous contributor to The Rotary Foundation and passionate about Polio Plus.
Jim greeted the club along with his “wake board”. Not only would one recognize the surf board from DG Jim’s weekly you tube videos but also as a promotion prop for his District Conference “Surf’s Up” in June at the Doubletree Paradise Valley Scottsdale Hotel. He is excited for the beach party, another edition of “Rotary’s Got Talent”. He hopes for a great turnout from the entire District.
One item of serious business he wished to impart to clubs concerned PETS. . This year 21 clubs did not send a representative to PETS, a loss of about $6000 to the District. This year every club must send at least one paying person (ideally the President Elect) or risk being deemed ineligible for any grant assistance for their club in that year. Non-attendance is a bad precedent and must be stopped.
He encouraged the club to work to earn the 2019 Presidential Citation and the District 5 Avenues of Service Award (formerly the District Achievement Award) both of which are more attainable than ever before. As one of the highlights of his visit, DG Jim presented a 2018-19 theme banner to President Scott.
Reminiscing about his father’s Rotary service in Menominee Falls, when his father changed jobs, he lost his classification and was dismissed from Rotary, Thankfully, that action does not happen to Rotarians today.
Jim’s passion in Rotary is polio. While in a hospital in Wisconsin he passed by a young girl in an iron lung from the ravages of polio and it made an impression. While on the Immunization Day in India, he was called to by a man also participating and found it was his camp counselor from Wisconsin. They witnessed a man with huge callouses on his hands and knees because of how he moved. He was a crawler. He had polio. He thought if he, administering two drops of vaccine to one child, he could save them from that kind of life, it is worth his time and effort to support. He also had the fortune to attend another National Immunization Day last year in Ghana. In 2017 there were 22 cases and in 2018 so far there is 14. The rate is up 55% mainly in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Those regions are difficult to rid because of the difficulty and resistance of the people from immunization. DG Jim wants every Rotarian in the District to donate $50 to polio eradication in his year.
In his official visit to our club he shared the following issues he deemed important with the members:
- Please donate to The Rotary Foundation Annual Fund. This enables funding Global grants such as our Navajo Water Program and District Designated Funds. 50% of funds donated come back to the District in 3 years for use as grants.
- Consider online contributions through Rotary Direct
- Have a “My Rotary” account. Jim announces that our Gilbert Rotary Club has the best record in the District for My Rotary accounts at 87.5%.
- The merger of the two districts into 5495 has not solved the membership decline in the District. Five clubs closed last year; however, the District chartered three new clubs last year. In 2017, there were 2,329 Rotarians in the District down to 2,246 in 2018. Over 80 members have been lost. He encouraged us to try and grow our club, remembering that a club statistically loses 10% of their membership each year. Remember…If we don’t ask we get no answer. Ask, even if the answer is no.
- Discover the Community—Jim told a story about maybe wandering the streets of Gilbert and meeting some interesting residents. He asked the first one what was wrong …to the reply of “I am a Rotarian…we are an organization of over 1.2 million members in 237 countries etc… I go to breakfast each week. Members sit at the same table and just go through the motions. The second man replied, “ I am a Rotarian. We are a leadership organization, we meet regularly to form friendships and we get things done. We are people of action who unite to make lasting change. Which Rotarian am I? Jim asked each member to look within themselves and try to emulate the story of the second person he met.
- Lastly, he created a special “Governor’s Coin”. On one side is the 2018-19 Rotary theme and on the other a desert scene. It is given to a Rotarian, It is special and must be earned. The coin was presented to Curt Ward.