By Graham Sturgeon, staff writer
PASSING OF THE GAVEL – The 2014-2015 Durand Rotary President George Polen passed the president’s gavel to President-elect Mary Warner-Stone during the year-end rotary dinner at the Owosso Country Club on June 30. Warner-Stone, who is the Director of Durand Union Station, Inc., took possession of the gavel and began her duties on July 1. She said that she “does not know what the next 12 months have in store” for her, but she is excited to devote herself to the club and the community. (Independent Photos/Graham Sturgeon)
The Durand Rotary Club held its annual dinner at the Owosso Country Club on Tuesday, June 30,
the last day of their 2014-2015 year. Outgoing President George Polen recognized each of the club’s 24 members individually, presented a “year in review” slideshow, recognized nine Rotary veterans, honored six Paul Harris Fellows and passed the president’s gavel to incoming President-Elect Mary Warner-Stone.
Polen presided over the club during a year that saw many positive accomplishments for the club. The club added four new members and exceeded their fundraising goals for the year. The club accomplished their goal of increasing their membership by 10 percent, and they also gave thousands of dollars to community and international organizations. They donated $3,479 to Rotary International throughout the year, $7,600 to local organizations and a whopping $7,836 to the Durand Area Schools’ Backpack Program in December.
“It has been a busy, but rewarding, year,” Polen said during the dinner. “Conditions in the county are improving, but there are still many people who are struggling to pay their bills. We needed to help families and children this year and that is where we focused our efforts.”
The president’s gavel was passed to Durand Union Station, Inc. Director Mary Warner-Stone near the end of the ceremony and she pledged her service to the club. She gave an emotional speech to the members in the room, as she talked about how her late father inspired her to give more of herself to others. She also announced that the theme for 2015-2016 is “Be a gift to the world.”
The club honored Stephanie Boyer, Richard Clarke, Richard Misner, Tim Shaw, Pat Post and George Polen with Paul Harris Fellow status during the dinner, and Post became a member of the Paul Harris Society as well. In addition to those six honorees, the club also recognized nine members as rotary veterans. Owen Rood (63 years of service), Cloyse Lundie (49 years), Richard Misner (39 years), Ed Hatherill (34 years), Mike McKenney (34 years), Rajiva Tirtha (29 years), Lynn Markland (21 years), Leslie Dietrich (19 years) and Cindy Weber (eight years) were all recognized with the honor.
While she was already having a big night, Rotary International Assistant Governor Pat Post was announced as the District Governor Nominee for 2015-2016 during the dinner as well. Outgoing Governor Delores Brock informed the crowd that Post will be the first Durand Rotarian to be named District Governor. Post will spend the first year of her three-year term as the “nominee,” before transitioning into the full role by year three.
Brock also spoke about the success the Durand club has achieved over the past year and how they stack up to other rotary clubs in the area. She pointed out that only 11 clubs in the 32-club district received the Presidential Citation from Rotary International, and that the Durand club was one of the select few.
“Our district has a lot going for it, and your club is one of them,” Brock said. “This is a club doing good in the world and in your community. Your club makes our district look good.”