A message from outgoing president Mike (2020-21)
It is hard to believe that our Rotary year is coming to a close. I have to admit when I became your President, I expected a totally different Rotary year than we have experienced. When it became apparent that we were going to evolve into a zoom meeting only concept I said to myself “yikes” or words to that effect. So, what did we do as a membership: we adapted, we evolved and we accomplished more things than I thought was possible. Some of the things that we were able to accomplish as a club are:
  • In order to make the meetings as interesting as possible, we established a solid zoom meeting schedule adding things like the mystery guest, business spotlights, quotes, some good news, and the wheel of fun raffle.
  • We established the “care and compassion” component to our existing fellowship committee and engaged in member outreach to check on our members during Covid.
  • We improved our internal controls for the club.
  • As members we wrote cards to the residents of long-term care facilities that were on lockdown. 
  • You volunteered to mentor students from Western Washington University and agreed to expand that program further to include the Whatcom Community College next year.
  • As members we supported the annual turkey drive, Toys for Tots and hurricane relief efforts for Copan Honduras.
  • Some of us volunteered at the large-scale vaccination site in order to get community members vaccinated.
  • We donated to Jeff Hills GoFundMe page and helped out with his meal train.
  • We established a Stan Dyer Day of Service program to honor a beloved member of the club
  • We supported the Stove Team project and purchased cookstoves for residences of Latin American countries.
  • We donated to our Rotaractors Clean Water Project on the Western’s Give Day.
  • We granted $15,000 to local not-for-profits to support their engagement within the community, and donated monies to Communities in Schools to purchase backpacks for Shuksan Middle School students.
  • We provided seven scholarships to Squalicum High School,  Bellingham Technical College, and Whatcom Community College students 
  • We supported our multiyear major project Docks for Kids, spearheaded by Eddie Hansen and Bill Geyer.
  • Our activities were twice recognized by articles in the Peace Arch Journal once in the Bellingham Alive Magazine, as well as in the Bellingham Herald
  • We gained three new members during the Rotary year and said our final goodbyes to Stan Dyer, Jeff Hill and Past President Jerry Simons.
  • Members Heather Flaherty and Ian McCurdy welcomed new family members into their homes.
There were personal accomplishments by members as well:
  • Heather Flaherty was named Young Professional of the Year for Whatcom County
  • Guy Occhiogrosso received the Young Professionals award Top 40 Under 40 for the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives.
  • Flo Simmons was named interim Chief of Police for the Bellingham Police Department
  • Christine Palmerton was named as the Area G Assistant Governor
  • Sue Sharp received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Bellingham Chamber of Commerce.
So, as it turns out, this wasn’t the year I thought it would be, it was much more.  It has been my honor to be your President this year and I am grateful for your support.
Mike Bates