Governor Marty's Message

A Hundred Million Rotary Miracles

A new Rotary year is a time of anticipation. A time for putting in place plans for community suppers and elementary school projects, water wells and computer labs. Because whether it’s a service project to help our neighbors across the street or across the globe, giving back – and creating small miracles in the process -- is what Rotarians do.



Being a Rotarian is about creating miracles – it’s about promoting peace. We tend to think of peace in the political sense, but Rotary International President Sakuji Tanaka has pointed out that increasingly, without peace between people, we can never have peace between nations. When we help a mother ensure that there will be sufficient food on her table, or provide the means for a father to keep all his children in school; when we establish scholarships for young people in our own communities, or make sure the food pantry will supply our neighbors through the winter, than we are truly promoting peace.

Peace comes through the little things. And if the little things are done right, it’s amazing how big they can grow to be.


I learned that lesson early on in my Rotary career: My husband and I had been Rotarians about a year when we first went to Guatemala. In truth, we didn’t go for highly humanitarian reasons. We went because it was a corner of the world that was new to us; we figured that after a week’s worth of volunteer time we would squeeze in a side-trip to see the Mayan ruins at Tikal.


But that’s not exactly how it happened.


You’ve heard the story before, and many of you have lived it: We were blown away by the children we met – children who need so much but ask for so little. That first trip to Guatemala was back in 2005; it was been followed by several Rotary Foundation grants, one published book, a new school building and hundreds of thousands of donated dollars from Rotarians across this District and across this country. And the payoff is huge: Today, education is beginning to make a difference in the community via improved job skills as well as expanded horizons. And on a personal level, our sponsor student Juan Carlos has grown up and matriculated at university. His brother Jose is plugging away at high school. And my personal favorite: Their godmother Angela is also enrolled in school, and for the first time in her 65 years she can read street signs, understand pricing at the market – and sign her own name.


Guatemala has given Frank and me so much – but it only happened because we were willing to give Guatemala a try. So the message is simple: When you feel a tug, answer it! The life you change may very well be your own.


--Marty Peak Helman, District Governor