President Greg Lynch’s Inaugural Speech
July 8, 2003 at the Rotary Club of New York
Dear fellow Rotarians, family members, friends and honored guests,
This is my first chance to talk with you, as president, about our club. I promise to be brief and to the point.
I’m recently back from the land of kangaroos and koalas, having attended the Rotary international convention in Brisbane, Australia, together with some 16,000 other Rotarians from around the world. Thank you for sending me there as the representative of our club. I hope that experience will help me work harder and smarter for you this year.
There in Australia, many new friends asked me how Rotary is doing in New York. I told them:
New York Rotary is better than ever.
Our tradition of excellence is stronger today than ever before. You, the men and women of our club are committed to service; younger and better looking; and a true reflection of the vitality and diversity of both our city and our international community. Truly, we are both the host club of America and the host club of the United Nations.
Today, we are rising to a new prominence in our community and a new greatness of spirit embodied in each of us.
Three (3) years ago, under President Serge Hadjolian, we had the good fortune of bringing to the club an outstanding Executive Director, Mr. Andreas Runggatscher, with whom I look forward to working this year. Andreas, thank you for making today and every day a credit to everything we, Rotarians, stand for!
I also want to thank our Immediate Past President, a gentleman of great, good cheer, Silvio Amori.
I’m often asked, “So what, exactly, does Rotary do?” My response is: Rotary is service. We serve our community and the world beyond. We create friendships. In our meetings, we foster better-informed citizens and build bonds throughout our community.
At Rotary, we live by ethical principles – our four way test. We promote understanding and work for our communities through our Rotary projects. In brief, we serve, we share and we achieve.
When i joined Rotary, i immediately enjoyed sharing fellowship and soon discovered a bond of common understanding. Whether attending a Rotary meeting in New York, Mexico City, Tokyo or Istanbul, I may not know the language of the meeting but, just the same, I surely understand the message and feel the bond, one we all share. This, fellow Rotarians, is what keeps me going.
Over the past years, my eyes have been opened to Rotary’s unique understanding that our children are the reflection of our future. I knew this in the poverty stricken northeast of Brazil, when i held an infant in my arms rescued by Rotary from hunger and violence. I knew this in the villa meserias - the slums - of Argentina, while sharing a school lunch with kids who’d go hungry but for the assistance of Rotary. We all know the immense value of Rotary when we look into the eyes of a child saved through the miracle of gift of life – and into the eyes of that child’s parents.
It is because we value of our children that we sponsor Rotary scholars, the Interact Club at Stuyvesant High School, Youth Exchange and Youth Leadership, and Rotaract, and we foster projects with taller Borrigua, Fraternite Notre Dame, the Metropolitan Museum, Gift of Life, Polio Plus and others. I am confident that our children will carry that same seeds of understanding and fellowship that unites us here today.
Let me finish with some promises to you.
- This year, I pledge keep our affairs in order and our accounts in the black;
- We will continue to build our membership and to keep the club relevant for each and every one of you here today.
- We will continue the exceptional weekly speakers program;
- We will provide members with dynamic service opportunities;
- We will build corporate partnerships corporate membership and community alliances;
- The four way test will – more than ever – become our compass for action;
- We will remember Paul Harris and revitalize the fellowship that bears his name;
- We will recognize club members who make special contributions to our successes;
- Our Public Relations and Internet Communications will reach new heights;
All this, i promise with opportunities to share, to laugh and to have fun, starting now.
To you, the members of New York Rotary, I raise my glass with the promise that i shall do all in my power to make you proud to be a Rotarian!
Thank you for your patience, your goodwill and your friendship.
The Rotary Club of New York