Posted by Jim Garrett
Kenny Rogers of (now) Pagosa Evening Rotary, and our local Assistant Area Governor,  introduced District 5470 Governor, Chris Peterson, of Carbondale.  Chris had spent an enjoyable social hour organized by Shellie with numerous Rotarians the prior evening at Pagosa Brewing, and was thus already known to several of the group.  But for the benefit of all, Kenny noted that Chris owns and operates hardware stores, and for recreation (when he can find time from keeping so many balls in the air with all his business and Rotary obligations), plays golf and does nature photography.      
Chris began his talk by recalling that before he joined Rotary, he dreaded public speaking.  But a friend encouraged him to join, and since he pretty much already knew all the members in his local chapter, he took the plunge thinking it would be a nice way to see his friends.  But, the next thing he knew, he was called upon to stand up, and introduce himself to the club. 
Well, he recalled, he didn’t die from the experience, and so he progressively increased his participation in Rotary activities, becoming addicted, he said, to speaking, even before large groups.  So when a friend suggested he might be a good District Governor, he decided to apply.  
Chris then pointed out that before the group had assembled, he had placed pairs of large nuts and bolts on the tables throughout the room.  (After all, he is a hardware man.  Your faithful reporter, himself being irresistibly drawn to nuts and bolts and such like objects, would likely have been busy fiddling with same at the time, but for being occupied instead scribbling notes.) 
Chris explained his curious handiwork by saying that Rotary could be analogized to the Eifel Tower.  It’s a giant structure, he observed, but only stands erect as a monument known world-wide because of the innumerable nuts and bolts that hold it together.  So too, he said, Rotary depends on its members to hold it together and support its globe-spanning activities.
Chris pointed out that Rotary is dedicated to service, which he broke into four categories: Community Service, Youth Service, Vocational Service and International Service.  Beneficial services of these types, especially when undertaken in partnership with other groups and through use of global grants, he said, brings distinction to local clubs.  And, he observed, “You guys do amazing stuff.”
Marveling at Rotary’s wide-ranging activities, Governor Peterson observed that Rotary’s founders in 1905 could scarcely have even imagined the organization’s scope today.   He emphasized the role in the breadth of that scope of the Rotary Foundation, and urged us to support it with generous donations, especially as some clubs are unfortunately less active than others,
To make Rotary stronger, Chris encouraged membership recruitment.  He stated the goal for his term as District head, is to see a 20% growth in membership, reversing a recent trend of decline.  Like the hedgehog protecting itself from a fox by rolling tightly into a spiky ball, in recruiting members know what you do well, he counseled.  Recruit people who will also do well.
And Chris solicited members to provide financial support for the District, citing especially a need to raise funds for the Rotary District 5470 Educational Group through tax-deductible donations, in order to broaden access to training for club officers, and to provide help to those individual chapters that need it.
Chris also encouraged Rotarians to volunteer to help out with essential District functions.  When he started his term as Governor, Chirs said, there were many vacancies on District committees that perform its vital functions.  While he has been able to make headway in recruiting volunteers, he reported, more help is needed.  He urged those of us able to pitch in to let President Shellie know, so she can forward that information to the District office.
Chris also reminded the group of the upcoming District Conference, to be held in Cripple Creek, Colorado, October 4-6.  The event is set for the Double Eagle Hotel and Casino, and rooms are a modest $95/night, he reported.  Call the Hotel at 719-689-5076 for reservations.   In addition, an interesting program of diverse speakers will be presented.  Registration for attendees, he said, will cost $150.  For more information see the District website,
When Chris finished his talk, Shellie took a few minutes to call on members for descriptions of several of the Club’s local activities.
Lassie gave some details of the Backpack program, Carrie Weiss described our substantial role in the Salvation Army Christmas “Bell Ringing” campaign, and various folks offered details of the hugely successful Rotary College Scholarship program.  The Exchange Student and 3rd  Grade Dictionary programs were also noted.