DG Don talks about “Creating Hope – Changing Lives”Over 130 Rotarians gathered on the last Sunday in June 2023 to celebrate the Installation of new District Governor Don Jorgensen.  The event was preceded for the first time by an end-of-year District Awards Celebration. (See previous “Awards” article.)
Rotarians were welcomed to the festivities by Emcee Emma Carrillo (Tucson Kino Club President) who kicked off the fun with a demonstration of the proper use of hand “clappers” with the aid of DG Don’s 3-year-old grandson Ryan.
Highlights of the DG Installation included:
  • Pre-event and lunchtime musical entertainment featuring guitarist and singer Ron Jorgensen and Ed Lannon.   
  • A special introduction of incoming District Governor Don by Past District Governor Randy Brooks, who shared anecdotes about Don’s personal and business accomplishments and their friendship. He then passed his own first District Governor pin on to DG Don.
  • A tribute and special thank you gift to Immediate Past District Governor Anita McDonald by DG Don.
  • Introduction and induction of the new District Governor-Elect Sue Archibald.
  • Introduction of the incoming Executive Assistant Governor Steve Johns and the 2023-24 Assistant Governors, described by DG Don as “a critical link and support for each of our great clubs across the District.”
DG Don shared a moving description of how his early life (13 schools, 15 homes) and challenges connected him to Rotary. His repeated experiences as the “new kid” underscored the need for clubs to welcome and engage new members; his understanding and work in alcoholism and behavioral health connects with Rotary’s ‘service above self.’  DG Don noted that all Rotarians have that ‘service gene’ for life. He also discussed moving examples of adding friends and value to his life through his Rotary travel adventures around the globe.PDG Randy presents gifts to DG Don & his partner Kathy
DG Don shared that he is committed to supporting each club and club president to help achieve their goals, with new District tech teams and communication teams to support club efforts.  District goals will include helping clubs to a) Measure and share the real-life impact of the Club service projects across the District, and b) Communicate the impact of Rotary club projects effectively to their members, potential members, and communities.  He emphasized that District 5500 will expand on this year’s Rotary International theme of “Create Hope in the World” with “Create Hope – Change Lives.”