Why Do You Belong to Rotary?
When I was younger, I questioned everything.  Why do I have to cut my hair?  Why do I have to be home by midnight?  Why do I have to wear my seatbelt?  Why, why, why?  I’m quite certain Jack and Gwen (my saintly parents) thoroughly enjoyed my unbridled inquisitiveness.  But as I’ve grown older, wiser, and perhaps a bit complacent, I find myself asking fewer questions than before.  And folks, that’s not a good thing.  In fact, as Rotarians and leaders of our community, we are required to analyze, assess and question. 
So, if you agree with my thesis, that questioning is a good and healthy practice, then try this one on for size.  Why do you belong to Rotary…more specifically, the Rotary Club of Ames?
It’s a fair question don’t you think?  I mean, why belong to an organization, or anything for that matter, if you can’t come up with a good answer to this very basic question?  And let’s face it…Rotary asks a lot from its members…your time, commitment to projects, sometimes far afield from Ames, and then there’s the frequent requests for financial support for a seemingly endless array of worthy causes.  Why affiliate with such a demanding organization?
For me the answer is twofold. First, I like it when someone/something has high expectations of me.  In fact, I have no interest in organizations that seem content with receiving my monthly/annual dues and nothing more.  Just like you, I like to give back, get involved, and feel useful and productive. 
But the real draw for me….is you….the members of this club.  I’ve learned so much from each of you and have come to appreciate the myriad talents, skills, and personalities represented in the room each Monday.  Your creativity, generosity, and good humor inspire me.  I mean seriously, where else can you go to experience:
  • The Brag Bucket wielding Reno Berg and his uncanny ability to separate you from a “Jackson”….or in the case of Jim Mason, a “Washington.”
  • The musical contributions of Sarah Buck and Louie Banitt (with occasional assists from Charles Kniker and Deb Malsom) who always deliver that personal touch, and in turn make our visitors and guests feel welcome.
  • Hans and Franz (a.k.a. Norm Rudi and Ron Smith) and trainer John Shierholz.
  • The always effervescent Tanya Anderson…by the way Tanya, have I mentioned how much I’m looking forward to your presidency? 
  • New members and future community and club leaders like Kelsey Bolte-Carper and Erika Peterson.  Have you noticed how infrequently these women miss meetings?
  • The impeccably dressed John Russell.
  • My fashion consultant David Swanson…it’s a huge task but I think David is up to the challenge.
  • Bill Lagrange’s bow ties.
  • Mr. Operation Warm…Dean Phillips.
  • The increasingly humorous Joddey Hicks.  Just remember Joddey….less is more.
  • “Have Floss – Will Travel” – Dr. Amie.  I just know she’s judging my flossing habits.
  • Mayor Campbell….enough said.
  • Mr. Cyclone….Jeff Johnson.
Of course, each and every one of our members brings something unique to the Rotary table.  And our club is successful because of your individual and collective talents.  You make me proud to be a member of the Rotary Club of Ames.
But before you go, and since we’re on the subject of questions, I have just one more for you to ponder:
  • Are you ready for Brussel sprouts again?  As you know, they are very good for you.  And as your President, I can make that happen.
Happy Holidays!
Jeff Iles, President
Rotary Club of Ames