Ernie Hays

Ernie Hays
DG Ernest F. Hays II

District Governor challenges Rotarians to growth and new goals

July 17, 2012

District Governor Ernie Hays visited with Putnam Rotarians today and challenged club members to continue to grow in community service and membership numbers.

The Bluefield attorney is the chief Rotary leader in the southern part of West Virginia for 2012-13, the Rotary International District 7550.

But the new DG is no stranger to Putnam or to Teays Valley. "At one time or another, I have stayed in every hotel and eaten at every restaurant in the valley," he told Rotarians today. "This is really a homecoming for us."

Hays was accompanied by his spouse, Beth. The couple at one time made several trips from Bluefield for her to obtain medical treatments at CAMC - Teays Valley -- then Putnam General. "Those trips were often stressful," Hays said. "This trip has been a pleasure."

He commended the local club on its many service projects. "Not only are you rendering service," he told the group, "but you increase fellowship among members, a great side benefit of being a Rotarian."

Hays said that the life of Rotary needed to be open to more people. The number of local clubs in southern West Virginia is now down to twenty-seven. "Our district has the smallest number of local clubs of any Rotary district in the world. Membership numbers are good, but we need to have service and fellowship opportunities available in every community."

Greetings from the RI President

Hays brought a message from the International President,Sakuji Tanaka.

"Sakuji grew up in post-war Japan, and he told me that never again should a people be subjected to such a tragedy. He wants to be known as the 'peace president' of Rotary.

"We all wish for a peaceful world and by working to help others as Rotarians, we can help bring lasting peace to the world."

Theme Logo
The banner for this theme is serene and beautiful. Embossed on the banner are cherry blossoms, together with an origami crane on a field of light blue. All of these are symbols of peace in Japan."

The Year Ahead

Hays sent a general message through an open letter on the district web site: "Each Club in this District is important, regardless of the size of membership. Small Clubs with big hearts accomplish as much as large Clubs with large funds, when it comes to serving others. Together, we can make a difference in southern West Virginia.

"We will, together, grow membership, serve our local communities, and participate in district and international projects.

"Service Above Self reminds us that none of us can live for ourselves alone. A life lived in isolation is empty and without joy. But when we live for others -- when we focus on our role within our family, our community, and all humanity -- then we begin to realize our own place in the world.

The Water Jug Project

"We have a great opportunity to work within that theme with the water jug project for water wells in South Sudan," Hays has said.

"This is a new country torn by strife, poverty, and war, whose people are struck with the terrible parasite, the guinea worm, which exists because of unsafe water conditions.

"We can help with the digging, drilling, or refurbishing of water wells, giving these people clean, safe water. We can wipe out this parasite from the face of the earth.

"We have already helped Ghana wipe out the guinea worm completely, and now we can help abolish the parasite everywhere.

"One step at a time -- that is all that it takes! If every Rotarian just gives $1.00 a week, we can secure matching grants to truly show 'Peace Through Service.'"

As he acknowledged a standing ovation from Putnam Rotarians, Ernie Hays placed with the group a cooler water jug in which loose change might be deposited throughout the coming year -- to help rid the world of the guinea worm parasite.

DG meets Putnam Rotary directors District Governor Ernie Hays (right) meets with the Putnam Board of Directors. Pictured with him (left to right) are Steve Patrick, Beth Hays (wife of the District Governor), and Christina McComas (President of Putnam Rotary).

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