Dear District 6630 fellow Rotarians and Friends:
As every outgoing District Governor realizes at this point, the year advanced with incredible speed. There is always much more to accomplish, but the time for me to assist in those accomplishments as your Governor has passed. I am both humble and thankful for the opportunities that have presented themselves in the past year and very much look forward to our future.
This year has really been two separate years. There is the relatively “conventional” Rotary year as it took place from July 1, 2019 through March 13, 2020. And then “COVID” descended upon us, and we moved to an entirely different year.
I would like to focus for a few minutes on the “COVID” year. In March of 2020, we all found ourselves in what appeared to be a very unique situation—something that has not occurred in one hundred years. However, as I learned reviewing a City of Cleveland Department of Public Welfare communication from October 15, 1918, our parents and grandparents (not to mention our early Rotary family members) experienced this too. I have included the communication for you to review and reflect upon (click here to view).
Reflections aside, because of COVID the District made a tremendous pivot. By way of example 45 clubs now meet virtually and on a regular basis. In a very real way, this change has moved our District into the 21st Century. That movement has not taken place without loss or difficulty, but it is still a great achievement and one that we are still in the process of shaping, directing, and moving forward.
So what now? We face a world full of turmoil, both with regard to racial injustice and the impact of the COVID pandemic. We can retreat, wring our hands and give up, or we can take these challenges as opportunity, and one that Rotary is particularly well positioned to attack.
What is more deeply engrained in Rotary’s “DNA” than conflict resolution? We routinely sponsor Rotary Peace Fellows and we have for the last several decades participated in peace days in areas of conflict throughout the world so that Polio immunizations can take place. And what else is more deeply engrained in Rotary’s “DNA” than our concern with health and safety of all Rotarians, family, and friends? To borrow the recent comments of Rotary International Holger Knaack, “We [Rotarians] also have a special responsibility to be an international leader in public health.” Rotary has, for years, worked to improve public health through polio immunizations, fighting malaria, working on clean water projects, and many other health-oriented activities.
Thus, each of us and each of our clubs have an opportunity to continue to meet the challenges we face in our world today. We should do so with confidence, compassion, and energy. My best wishes to all of you in this endeavor and I look forward to working with you in Rotary service.
Yours in Rotary Service,
John Reyes
Rotary District 6630 Governor 2019-2020

Tel: 330.258.6469