“CELEBRATE GOOD TIMES--- COME ON!!” Some of our younger members may not remember the chart-topping 1980 song by KOOL AND THE GANG, but I couldn’t get that song out of my head this past
weekend at the HOPE IN THE HEARTLAND District Conference in Durant, Oklahoma. It all began Friday night at a Fish Fry dinner/reception/party; continued Saturday morning and afternoon with amazing speakers; we celebrated our Foundation accomplishments Saturday evening; and wrapped up Sunday morning with a Remembrance Ceremony and farewell presentations. Wow!
CONGRATULATIONS PDG JUDY GUTHRIE for receiving the Citation For Meritorious Service Award!
When District 5770 DG Patty Swink came to me and 5750 DG Jeanean Jones in October 2022 and proposed a three-district conference, I said “Sure?” a bit timidly, because I didn’t yet have the vision Patty had. But, as we met online and via emails, the idea became a reality, and I’m so glad I took the leap of faith!
At the District 5830 Foundation Celebration Saturday night, our EREY clubs were recognized- Cedar Creek Lake, Clarksville, Kilgore, Pittsburg, South Tyler, Sulphur Springs, Texarkana International, Texarkana Sunrise, and West Bowie County. Then, the 100% TRF Giving clubs were named- Cedar Creek Lake, Clarksville, Jacksonville, Kilgore, Pittsburg, South Tyler, Sulphur Springs, Texarkana International, Texarkana Sunrise, and West Bowie County. Then, the TOP PER CAPITA GIVING CLUBS were recognized-
#1 Cedar Creek Lake, #2 Marshall, #3 Athens. Thank you!

Our District continued by celebrating the generosity of our members. District 5830 recognized FIFTY-SIX NEW PAUL HARRIS FELLOWS, and ONE HUNDRED THIRTY-NINE were recognized for reaching the next Paul Harris level. FIVE New MAJOR DONORS, LEVEL ONE, and ONE NEW MAJOR DONOR LEVEL 2 were listed next, and then our District’s newest member of The BEQUEST SOCIETY, Level 2 and BENEFACTOR Tiffany Damskov was recognized. Thank you to you all!

I particularly enjoyed presenting PDG Judy Guthrie with the CITATION FOR MERITORIOUS SERVICE! I wish everyone could have seen the look of surprise on her face! I’m very proud that Foundation Chair PDG Jack Welge and I were able to keep this award a secret until Saturday night. The Rotary Foundation’s Citation for Meritorious Service honors one Rotarian or Rotaractor per District who has been actively involved in service related to The Rotary Foundation. PDG Judy joined Rotary in 2004 as the first woman in her Rotary Club of Carthage and served the Club as Treasurer, Secretary, President (2008-09 and 2013-14) and Foundation Chair (2015-17). On the District level, Judy recruited members for the Paul Harris Society, chaired the 4-Way Speech Contest 5 times, was TRF CPG Coordinating Chair 2014-15, AG 2009-12, DG 2018-19, DG’s Vice Governor 2022-23, and on the Council of Governors 2019-present. Judy is a perennial facilitator a both multi-district and local PETS training. I want to be Judy when I grow up. CONGRATULATIONS, PDG JUDY GUTHRIE!

Also, at our D5830 Foundation Celebration, Membership-Awards & Recognitions Chair PDG Tom DeWitt announced the 2024 Dist. 5830 Matching Points Campaign Benefitting The Rotary Foundation! All members in Good Standing of Rotary Clubs in District 5830 who make donations to The Rotary Foundation in the following classifications: Annual Fund-Share, Annual Fund- World Fund, Polio Plus, and Disaster Response between April 28, 2024 and June 30, 2024 in amounts totaling $100 or more, will be eligible for matching points at a ratio of one-one from recognition points donated for this purpose by other members or points controlled by individual clubs or District 5830. It’s a TWO FOR ONE SALE—DON’T MISS THIS OPPORTUNITY. See more information on this website.

In addition to celebrating our three Districts, attendees made new friends, shared ideas, and got inspiration from our outstanding lineup of speakers. Only because it was a Multi-District event could these Rotary “dignitaries” come to speak: Rotary International Director Beth Stubbs, RI Presidential Representative Robert Hall, Zone 31 Endowment/Major Gift Advisor PDG Ted Huffhines, Past Rotary
International Director Elizabeth Usovicz, Southeastern Oklahoma State University President Dr. Thomas Newsome, and Past Rotary International President Ron Burton. We also heard from Durant Chamber of Commerce Director Janet Reed, Regents Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at OSU Center for Health Sciences Dr. Jennifer Hays-Grudo, and Victory Life Church Pastor Lee Armstrong.

It was most definitely a CELEBRATION and GOOD TIMES. I want to thank everyone in 5830 who made this event happen, but especially our District Administrator Shirley Pinnix-Evans, who not only did the bulk of the work on the Convention and Foundation programs, but worked endless hours to coordinate the hotel reservations, the conference registrations, answered thousands of questions from me and other members—the list is endless. Thank you, Shirley!