Four Rotarians from Lander -- Jim and Renee Kniola and Jerry and Cassy Venters -- were inspired and energized by the internationality of Rotary at the recent Rotary International Convention in Houston, Texas (June 4-8).  This was the first in-person International Convention for Rotary in three years; the last two were held virtually because of the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic.  More than 11,000 Rotarians and guests from around the world attended the five-day event in Houston.  Some of the more inspirational moments for the Lander Rotarians:
  • A spontaneous two-minute standing ovation caused goosebumps and not a few tears when the flag of Ukraine reached center stage in the flags presentation.  Flags of more than 200 Rotarian countries -- more countries than there are in the United Nations --were paraded across the stage  In contrast, when the Russian flag was presented, the hall was silent.
  • Rotary gained 45,000 new Rotarians this last year, including 150 Rotactors,  placing us at 1.4 million Rotarians.  Most new Rotarians are in India, Korea and Africa.
  • 19 Million lives have been saved with Polio immunizations. 20 Million lives were lost in WWI. 
  • Speaker: General Charles Duke (USAF Ret.) was the Lunar Module pilot on the fifth moon landing during the Apollo 16 mission. Speaking of the work involved… “If this thing fails, it isn’t going to be my fault. There was no jealousy.  No one was fighting for glory.”  “We chose to go to the moon." 
  • Speaker: John Hewko – General Secretary of Rotary and a member of the Rotary Club of Kiev, Ukraine.  “Young people are hungry for meaningful, personal engagement. Meaningful connections.  How do we do that?”  Rotary membership has increased in Ukraine since the war began earlier this year. 
  • Speaker: Dr. Olha, who came from Ukraine to speak at the convention, even without flights out of Ukraine.  She told us “to see a friend, no road is too long.”  She talked of the difficulty of performing operations. That alone was inspirational.  An anesthesiologist in the audience kept wiping away tears imagining what her colleague had endured.   Dr. Olha reported that the Rotary district in Ukraine holds special online meetings twice daily to coordinate deliveries of supplies to those most in need.
An international convention is a great way to meet Rotarians from around the world and experience the internationality of Rotary.  Next year's convention will be in Melbourne, New South Wales, Australia, 27-31 May.  Registration is now open at: