Farragut Rotary: Connections and more connections

Tom KingFarragut

The Rotary Club of Farragut is all about connections. Connections with our community. Connections with our education and business communities. And connections with many of our nonprofits that provide invaluable contributions and services throughout Knox County.

So the club is excited about the 2019-20 Rotary International theme that was selected by new RI president Mark Maloney – “Rotary Connects the World.” Maloney is a Rotarian from Decatur, Ala.

Mark Maloney

“The first emphasis is to grow Rotary – to grow our service, to grow the impact of our projects, but most importantly, to grow our membership so that we can achieve more,” Maloney says.

Maloney believes that connection is at the heart of the Rotary experience. “Rotary allows us to connect with each other, in deep and meaningful ways, across our differences. It connects us to people we would never otherwise have met, who are more like us than we ever could have known. It connects us to our communities, to professional opportunities and to the people who need our help.”

Thus, there’s more to Rotary’s new logo for this year than first meets the eye. Farragut president Staci Wilkerson explains the meaning of the logo: “The large blue dot in the center represents the world. The gold dots are Rotarians connecting the world. The bodies of the Rotarians have different colors, which represents diversity. However, each body contains blue, which shows that we are all Rotarians. In my opinion, the logo is unique and appropriately displays our 2019-2020 theme.”

Maloney urges clubs to examine segments of their communities not represented and increase membership diversity. Maloney also says, “Through Rotary, we connect to the incredible diversity of humanity on a truly unique footing, forging deep and lasting ties in pursuit of a common goal. In this ever more divided world, Rotary connects us all.”

Being a banker by trade, Wilkerson says she fully embraces the new focus on making connections. “Banking is also very focused on growing relationships and making connections along with providing excellent service to our clients,” she says. “We all work together to make Rotary meaningful to those we serve and to our members.”

This year the club will be deepening its connections to Ridgedale School as our Partner in Education. The school serves two student populations – special-education students in grades K-12 and alternative middle school students.

Our upcoming July programs represent but a few of our connections to the community:

  • This year Farragut Rotary is sponsoring a new high school Interact Club at Hardin Valley Academy, and a few of their members and advisers will visit our meeting on July 10.
  • On July 17, we’ll hear from the Young-Williams Animal Center.
  • On July 24, a retired nurse, Mary Bell, will talk about organ donors.
  • We will end the month on July 31 with Chief Eve Thomas of the Knoxville Police Department, our city’s first female chief.

In August, we expand both our local and international connections when we welcome our 2019-20 Rotary Youth Exchange student, Erika Nahomy from Brazil. Her parents are both doctors in their small town of Bela Vista, and both are also Rotarians. She will begin school in August at Webb School of Knoxville.

Free Flu Shot, founded in our club in 1992, is about connections. So is the tradition of ringing the little bells for the Salvation Army during the Christmas season. We are 99 members strong, and we connect and reconnect at our weekly Wednesday meetings. We have a standing committee in our club – the Family of Rotary Committee – that exemplifies our internal connections and concerns.

Rotary connects with its 1.2 million members in 33,000 clubs worldwide.

As president Maloney says, “Making more connections and growing our membership is Rotary smart and allows us greater resources to connect in our communities.”

If you’re interested in exploring membership in Farragut Rotary, drop me an email. We meet at 12:15 p.m. each Wednesday at Fox Den Country Club. You also can call me at 865-659-3562.

Tom King has served at newspapers in Tennessee, Texas and California throughout his adult life. He started writing for KnoxTNToday in 2017.

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