Recently Rotary International authorized the formation of "specialty clubs" that would have a specific focus. From that idea came an idea from DGE Barb Bartle that we look into how we might best identify and serve the needs of active duty and veteran military men and women in D-5650.

Toward that end I was asked by our district leadership to spearhead this effort. From that idea has come the beginning efforts to establish a District 5650 Veterans Rotary Club or 2 or even more!

The initial effort will be focused in the Omaha metro area, but certainly not limited there. The potential exists to have at least 2 Veterans clubs in the district and how many satellite clubs - your guess is as good as mine. 

Since a club of this nature by design crosses into the "territory" of many existing clubs it is very important not to become involved in a perception of "poaching" eligible members from current clubs. At the same time there may be occasions where it is best for a current Rotary member to make the change. Why? Some of us have moved since joining our current club, some of us find the timing more convenient (evening vs. noon, etc) and some need the stimulus of the new club to refocus our Rotary efforts in making our community better. 

The new club will start meeting after the first of the year. The goal is to reach the minimum number to charter of 20 members within about 90 -120 days +/-. The long range plan for meetings is to have one fixed meeting a month and the second monthly meeting at a project. That might be any number of things including feeding homeless veterans, some sort of involvement with the Veterans Cemetery, blood drives, projects working with the Iowa or Nebraska National Guards, support of the VA Hospital, helping recently separated military members transition into civilian life - the list is almost endless!

So, the bottom line is this. The District 5650 Veterans Rotary Club's Recruitment Office is open for business!

If you or someone you know who is not already a Rotarian might be interested, all they need to do is to contact me at catspaw4@cox.net and I will give them any and all information at my disposal. 

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the names of some very fine Rotarians who have stepped up and offered advice and sweat equity in keeping this effort moving forward. Mick McKinley, District Extension Chairman and Roger Lempke, District Membership Chairman, along with Lead Area Governor Rob Simmon. Also helping a great deal has been the Board of Directors of the Bellevue Club and, more specifically, Rotarian Jeff Smith. His ideas and suggestions have gone a long ways in helping to bring the various efforts into focus and to push us closer to the reality of this not so long ago dream.   

~ ~ Bob Collins, PDG, 1998-99.