At Thursday’s meeting of the Carmi Rotary club the club welcomed new Rotary District Governor, Chris Lyons of Centralia.
Christopher (Chris) Lyons was born in Evanston, Illinois. He studied Wildlife and Fisheries Biology and Chemistry at Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky. While at Murray State, he met and married Crystal. Both Chris and Crystal graduated from Murray State in 1981.
In 1983, Chris joined the US Air Force and trained to be a pilot. While he was serving, he worked and traveled all over the world in the C-130 Hercules Cargo/Transport aircraft. After 26 years serving in the military, he retired out of Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, then moved to Walnut Hill, Illinois.
The new DG began his talk with a little update on Rotary International. This past Rotary year, the world-wide organization saw their first ever female President, Jennifer Jones from Canada. Next year a woman from the USA (Pennsylvania) will be the second female President. That year will coincide with Robin Dean taking on the role of district governor for the southern Illinois region.
Chris explained that every incoming RI president chooses a theme for his Rotary year. This year’s president, Gordon McAnally from Scotland chose the theme “Create Hope In The World”.
Chris then explained the three goals set forth by Rotary International:
1 Prioritizing mental health issues. He explained that within the RI president’s own family, a brother had suffered with severe mental health issues and was reluctant to step forward and seek help. Because of this fear, he eventually committed suicide. President McAnally states that he wants seeking mental health to be as commonplace as going to the doctor for knee pain or a case of the flu.
2 Peace through world culture. The president believes understanding other cultures will help pave the way for a more peaceful world.
3 Lastly, empowering growth. This is especially important in countries where women and girls are treated as second-class citizens.
As for the district, Chris explained that he also has three goals for each club:
1 Membership. He is asking each club in the district to show a net growth of two members this Rotary year.
2 He is asking each member to donate one hundred dollars to the Rotary Foundation this year.
3 He is also asking each member to donate twenty-five dollars to the Polio Plus program.
In closing, he explained that the district office is available to support clubs in a variety of ways, and asked the Carmi Rotarians to reach out for help with anything on their upcoming calendars.
In club business, president Patrick Haskell did away with the usual 50/50 drawing and instead had a five dollar heads or tails contest. It took several rounds to name a winner, that winner being Patty Mills.
The Carmi Rotary club normally meets every Thursday at noon at the First United Methodist Church on Main Street in Carmi. However, next week the club will be holding their meeting off-site for a late Easter lunch. Anyone wishing to learn more about this civic organization is welcome to attend a meeting or speak with any Carmi Rotarian.