March always has been one of my favorite months.  With winter coming to a close, daylight (day length) now gaining the upper hand in the battle with darkness, and spring just around the corner, it’s an easy time of year to be optimistic.  But history, lore, and legend remind us March also is a month of unexpected change, transition, and some upheaval.  Don’t believe me?  Just ask Julius Caesar….”Beware the ides of March.”  And what about this “coming in like a lion and going out like a lamb” stuff?  And every Iowan seems to have a story about fighting the elements on the way to or from the high school state basketball tournaments in Des Moines.  Yes, March is a month full of surprises…some good and some not so good, but as Rotarians, we’ve learned to weather the storms, keep our chins up, and never listen to soothsayers wearing togas.
Speaking of change and transitions, I want to publicly bid Melissa Mundt a fond farewell.  In case you haven’t heard, Melissa will be leaving her post as Assistant City Manager of Ames to take on new responsibilities as Assistant County Administrator for the unified government of Kansas City, KS and Wyandotte County.  It’s always sad when we lose a member of our club, but this departure is especially difficult to swallow because Melissa was totally and completely involved in her community and in Rotary.  There was never anything half-hearted in Melissa’s approach to life.  Nope…her philosophy seemed to be full steam ahead…take no prisoners…let’s make it happen.  So, before she leaves town, make sure you take a moment to thank her for her many contributions to Rotary and to the City of Ames. 
March….at least March, 2015 will see our club’s first attempt at hosting a major fundraising event.  By now you know March 28 is the date set for Perfect Pairings Around the World…a wine-tasting fundraiser with proceeds going to Rotary’s effort to rid the world of polio (PolioPlus).  Now I know, wine might not be everyone’s “cup of tea.”  But c’mon folks, it’s for a great cause and besides, the planners of this event have tried very hard to make this a one-of-a-kind affair.  And I promise you this…you won’t leave the event disappointed.  And if you imbibe just a bit too much of the vino, you won’t be leaving at all.  One of the advantages of having a wine tasting event at a hotel!
Finally, to wrap up my rather meandering March message, a gentle reminder about how important it is to always be on the lookout for prospective members for our club.  We’ve added some great new members recently, and I’m confident we’ll continue to do so, but the search never ends.  And you know the kind of people we’re looking for, right?  We’re looking for those who inspire others through their acts of kindness, civic responsibility, and simple determination.  People who like to make a difference…a positive difference in their communities.  Do you know anyone like that?  I bet you do.  Why not bring them to one of our Monday meetings?  They’ll thank you for it.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! 
Jeff Iles, President
Rotary Club of Ames