By: Dale Bonza
How wonderful it is to be together in person again! Estes Park Rotarians held the yearly President’s Night dinner on June 17 – a passing of the baton from the outgoing president and board to the incoming team. This night marked the conclusion and accomplishments of one very challenging Rotary year while ushering in a new one.
Outgoing president Bill Solms praised the club’s accomplishments throughout this difficult past year included raising an amazing $118,000 at the Duck Race for local nonprofits (known this year as the race in the Lazy River), donating $42,500 for high school scholarships, providing $9,000 for community Covid-19 relief, and sending $2,500 to support summer school projects for poor children in Albania.
Additional successful local projects noted were leading the community shredding effort, painting the pedestrian underpass, selling the Estes Park Friendship Card which provides funds for community projects and financial support for Bright Christmas.
Award Winning Rotarians we honored this night for their exceptional service are:
• Beth Weisberg – Spirit Award for untiring guidance of community service efforts. Beth was this year’s Little Duck and will chair the 2022 Duck Race.
• President Bill Solms – Distinguished Service Award for unending positive leadership throughout this past year, resilience, Zoom mastery and doing double duty as Big Duck for the successful Duck Race.
• Pete Sumey - Living Legend Award for his many, many years as a mainstay of E. P. Rotary. He led the club during the aftermath of the 2013 floods, and is a constant mentor/leader to our Presidents, keeping us consistent with our bylaws.
• Scott Thompson, Karen Thompson and Wayne Newsom - Rotarian of the Year Award honored an amazing family group of three whose endless service to others stands out in their daily lives. An unusual year. An unusual family: father, daughter and son-in-law who share a strong focus on the Rotary Club of Estes Park and the principle of Service Above Self.
Besides installing our new president, we acknowledged the newly appointed club and foundation board members. A sincere thank you was expressed to the club board members for their initiative during the ‘distanced’ year that made their jobs more difficult.
Special thanks went to Madison Casey for excellent service as Rotary Foundation President. The health of the Foundation Board is the lifeblood for our monetary gifts mentioned above.
Bill Solms expressed the club’s appreciation to Rita Du Chateau who is returning to Wisconsin for her years of service in publicity, club promotion, Club Runner and club website. Bill also recognized Karol Rinehart for her quiet and constant work in gluing all of the loose ends together, agendas, timing, and coordination of this President’s night.
With deeply personal and heartfelt words of thanks for the opportunity of serving as president, Bill Solms recognized several Paul Harris fellows and gave a tribute to Rotarians of the past. The gavel and President’s pin were presented to incoming President Jim Whiteneck, who in turn said words of thanks while presenting Bill with the Past-President pin.
Jim Whiteneck adjourned the evening with the Four Way Test and ringing the first bell of his presidency.