Remember the first time your parents entrusted you with the keys to the family car?  As you sprinted out the door, admonitions such as these probably followed you down the driveway…  “Be safe!  Be home by 11:00 p.m.!  And no girls/boys in the car!”  Well, Dan Divine has just handed me the keys to our Rotary Club of Ames and my job for the next twelve months is simple: Don’t wreck the car.    This seems like a simple task, but as I’ve come to learn the job of president is no cruise on Easy Street.  In fact, as I reflect back on recent club presidents there is one common theme…hard work and dedication to the Rotary mission, both at home and around the globe.  So, right from the get-go I want you to know that I’ll do my best to live up to those lofty standards set by the likes of Divine, Goodhue, Walter, Howell, and the 91 other past presidents who’ve served our club with distinction since 1921.  I can’t promise there won’t be a few scratches in the paint, dents in the doors, or a broken headlight or two at year’s end, but Tanya Anderson can make those repairs before she gets behind the wheel next July.
Intentionally or not, every Rotary Club president puts his/her own unique twist on managing club affairs.  This doesn’t mean changing things just for the sake of change, but as you probably know by now, I think having a little fun at Rotary is a good thing.  This doesn’t mean engaging in silliness or unnecessary frivolity, or disengaging from our important local and international projects.  No, we will be as active as ever on those fronts!  But having appropriate and good-natured fun along the way can enhance the Rotary experience for new and not-so-new members alike.  Bottom line, I will do all I can to make our weekly gathering a “can’t miss” experience.  I hope you put our noon meeting on your calendar and that it becomes a ritual…just like visits to the gym, that Saturday night bath, or relaxing on the deck with a glass of Iowa wine at day’s end.  That’s right Dan, Iowa wine!      
Above all, I’d like you to remember that this is your club.  As President, I’m honored to serve and represent you.  But I’m not clairvoyant.   Therefore, if you have a suggestion, a great idea or even a criticism about the way things are going, please don’t hesitate to pass those comments along to me or to another member of your leadership team.  “Service Above Self” is more than just a motto, and for the next twelve months I’m here to serve.
Happy Independence Day!
Jeff Iles