Each year the current District Governor has the privilege of selecting and honoring outstanding achievements. These are usually announced at the Annual District Conference. Rotary years 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 were anything but usual. Let’s just call them the “Pandemic Years” and everyone will know what you will be referring to.
Although the pandemic tried its hardest to stifle, slow down, stop or even suffocate Rotary, you saw to it to NOT let this happen. On March 13, 2020 you did see things come to a screeching halt, but you soon picked up the pieces and got back to the business of Rotary.
The Aloha Presidents* became the COVID-19 Presidents. Meetings went from being in person to meeting on Zoom or Skype. Projects were assessed and in cases where they could, they became virtual. Everybody had to follow strict guidelines of social distancing, small gatherings, and strict health protocols.
Many club leaders rose to the challenge, pivoted, switched gears and kept going. There were numerous challenges to meet head on.
This Governor asked for members to nominate their fellow Rotarians for the highest district honor of “Rotarian of the Year.” There were several nominations, all worthy in a normal year, but remember this wasn’t normal.
This Governor took all these nominations in consideration, with the other duties of the nominees. Considerations like goals and results when applicable. Considerations like dealing with crisis, when this was not part of the playbook. Always looking for a way to win, a never-say “die” attitude regardless of the headwinds.
After all the nominations, reports, discussions with other Rotarians, and my tedious research, it was an obvious choice naming the recipient of Rotarian of the Year.
Mrs. Lorena Beckius!
Congratulations to Lore. It’s worthy of mentioning Lore’s leadership guided the Ogallala club during the 2019-20 year with the following list of accomplishments. We can all get great inspiration from Lore’s creativity, her genuine love of community, and her extraordinary achievements! Here is the full list that I compiled. All very well documented at https://www.facebook.com/OgallalaRotary.
Club Projects BEFORE March 13, 2020.
- Mrs. Nebraska Adair Reese BBQ
- Kites & Castles Lake Mac (Winter Coats fundraiser)
- Rotary Colorado Peaches (Scholarship fundraiser)
- School Supplies For children
- Adopt-a-Beach Lake Mac
- Runway for Rotary Fashion Show (PolioPlus, Collister Park)
- Rotary Youth Exchange Student Yulliia (Ukraine)
- Rotary Baked Potato Bar (Henry Rifle Raffle)
- Blood Drive Clean up and Tear down
- Rendezvous Chili Cook Off
- Kayak Big Mac
- Reading with Rotary
- Meals on Wheels
- Unity Project
- World Polio Day, Purple Pinkie
- School Dictionary Project
- TeamMates of Ogallala
- Christmas Caroling
Club Projects after COVID-19.
- The Grocery Grab (postponed twice)
- The Rotary Superhero (monthly)
- Royal Family Kids Camp
- Rotary Connects Game board
- Rotary Diaper Drive
- Neighborhood Teddy Bear Hunt
- Supporting COVID-19 first responders pick up the lunch tab
- Do it Local, COVID-19 Community Coupon Book
- COVID-19 Masks and coverall collection
- Community Cruise Nites (Social Distanced to support local drive-thru businesses)
- Community Cruise Nite Food Drive
- Puzzles, games and letters of love to area seniors in nursing home
- Support your Local Businesses – Buy Gift cards
- Ogallala High School Senior Graduation Cruise Nite
- Josh the Otter Youth Water safety book
- Holiday Hero Blood Drive
- 2020 Ogallala High School Academic Scholarships. $2,250
- 6ft Cleanup Challenge, Cleanup environmental plastic waste
- Supporting Terry LaFore #StrongerTogether
- Arthur Bay Beach Cleanup
- Big Red Blowout
- Ogallala Interact Club
- Lake Mac Rotaract Club (chartered March 10, 2020 w/17 members)
- Covid-19 Global Grant w/ Amboto, Ecuador
- COVID-19 Grant to make 3D printed shields for front line workers
- First Club to meet on Zoom (March 21, 2020)
*Rotary International Convention was scheduled for June 2020 in Honolulu, but was cancelled out of an abundance of caution for world travellers.