Posted by Patrick Morris on Dec 06, 2017
Tom Carroll is Governor of District 5020, which extends across all of Vancouver Island south through western Washington State to Olympia.
Tom Carroll has been a member of Rotary since 2008, after a career spent in the US Navy. He is a member of Tacoma Gateway, which is now in its sixth year. He noted that District 5020 is the largest district in North America and Europe.
Part of the experience of the District Governor is meeting one’s peers, the other 525 District Governors. This provided an opportunity for public-speaking practice in the form of “your Rotary moment”. Tom emphasized that every effort in club activity is a contribution.
Rotary challenges us to be better people. Rotary challenges us to contribute in whatever way. Not all contributions are financial.
Rotary’s goals are to build clubs, engage in humanitarian efforts, and raise the profile of Rotary.  We have a diversity challenge in age (i.e. not enough younger members) and the gender balance. Part of addressing this is more varied forms of membership. Tom posed the obvious question: “Would Paul Harris join Victoria-Harbourside today?”
The District Conference is being convened May 4-5 in Tacoma. This will include the training activities formerly organized in the annual District Leadership Training Assembly. The Conference will be highlighted by five strong motivational speakers, including the only couple to have climbed the world’s seven highest peaks; a serviceman blinded on active duty in Afghanistan who is still serving in the US military; and a New Zealand Olympic medalist.
Tom introduced his wife Laurie, who is a pharmacist by profession. She posed a challenge to the members, to donate two books per member, through any local organization. There is no restriction on target audience, organization, or age-group, although there is always the tendency to favour children’s books. And in response to a question, she referred to the Four Way Test.
Tom expressed his thanks for the contribution made by Harbourside and its members, noting that we don’t thank people enough.
The nature of Rotary is that it encompasses many diverse backgrounds, professions, and skill-sets. It also encompasses a network of 35,000 clubs worldwide, constituting community service on a global basis. This is unique but what makes us Rotarians special, and why are communities better with a Rotary presence. Communities are local, regional, national and global. Importantly the test, on an individual basis, is “What is the payback for me?” And the answer is “nothing.” The central characteristics of each member should encompass service, friendship, honesty, trustworthiness and caring. Through these, we endeavor to change the world, one person at a time.
In addressing questions, Tom noted that a club with less than 20 members is considered “in crisis”, but also that a good functional size is +/- 60 members. He reported that there have been only 14 cases of wild polio this year, compared to 37 in 2016. [There can also be rare cases arising from the inoculations.] Rotary is transitioning from the oral vaccine to an injected form. The decline in immunization levels in the developed world will present a significant risk for resurgence of the disease.
Tom and his wife were thanked with one of the club’s hand-made Christmas fruitcakes.