William D. Pollard Jr. addresses the District 7600 (Virginia, USA) Convention during his year as governor. Photo courtesy William D. Pollard Jr.
Most Rotarians have a story about what first attracted them to Rotary.
For William D. Pollard Jr., 2008-09 governor of District 7600 (Virginia, USA), that story includes a retired banker named Tommy. Pollard recounted the details when he visited clubs in his district during his term to stump for recruitment and retention.
He shared his address with Rotary International News in honor of Membership and Extension Month:
When I think of why we should ask someone to join Rotary, I think of Tommy.
Two years after starting my banking career in Richmond, I was asked to work in my hometown of Petersburg. One of the first people to visit me was Tommy Adkins, a retired banker, who asked me to attend a Rotary club meeting.
While I was growing up in Petersburg, Tommy lived on the same street as my family. I even delivered his newspaper. I had no idea what Rotary was but accepted Tommy's kind invitation to visit the Rotary Club of Petersburg.
Tommy passed away several years ago, and he probably never realized the impact he had on my professional and personal life:
- Because of Tommy, I have participated in many service projects helping others.
- Because of Tommy, I have tried to follow The Four-Way Test.
- Because of Tommy, I have supported The Rotary Foundation.
- Because of Tommy, I am going to help 2008-09 RI President Dong Kurn Lee reduce child mortality.
- Because of Tommy, my mother is a Rotarian.
- Because of Tommy, I stand before you today as our district governor.
- Because of Tommy, I have made so many new friendships through Rotary.
So I have three questions for each of you:
- Who is your Tommy?
- What impact has Rotary had on your life?
- Have you been or will you be someone else's Tommy?