Traveling to the convention in style
District Governor-elect CarolAnn Jeronimo plans to drive her heavily-decorated PT Cruiser to the RI Convention in Montréal. Photo courtesy CarolAnn Jeronimo
When District Governor-elect CarolAnn Jeronimo arrives at the RI Convention in Montréal, Québec, Canada , later this month, she is sure to be noticed.
Jeronimo, a member of the Rotary Club of Woodbury Breakfast, New Jersey, USA, and incoming governor of District 7640, has converted her PT Cruiser into a moving billboard for Rotary, covering its exterior with Rotary logos and messages.
She plans to drive the decorated vehicle 460 miles from her home in Logan Township to downtown Montréal for the convention, arriving Saturday, 19 June.
"When the Cruiser is coming toward you, you see the End Polio Now message," explains Jeronimo, who had originally thought about wrapping the whole car in a polio eradication decal but then decided on a more diversified approach. "On the top of the windshield is 'Rotary: Humanity in Motion.' On the side is next year's theme, Building Communities -- Bridging Continents . On the back of the trunk are the four Rotary youth programs."
Jeronimo came up with the idea while pondering a PR grant for her term. She first approached 2009-10 District Governor Sam Conte Jr., who owns an auto repair shop, with the idea of applying for a grant to buy a big truck and decorate it with Rotary messages. "But he thought I was crazy," she recalls. So she turned her attention instead toward her own vehicle.
Doug Painter, a member of the Rotary Club of Woodstown and owner of Astro Sign Company, helped Jeronimo make her PT Cruiser stand out. All of the signs and decals are removable, so she can modify the messages as the year progresses.
"It has to go back to the shop next week because we need to add Service Above Self. We also have to make a small change to the Humanity in Motion sign," to conform to proper usage of the Rotary Marks, she says.
Jeronimo has already received many comments. "Everyone wants to have their photo taken with it," she says. "When I pull into a gas station, people will ask, 'What is Rotary?' So it is a great chance to explain what Rotary is all about. You have to have your elevator speech ready."
Another sign on Jeronimo's PT Cruiser -- "Don't Feed the District Governor, Feed South Jersey's Hungry Instead" -- promotes the district project for her term. During her official visits, she will ask clubs to donate the money they would have used for her meals to feed the hungry, and club members to contribute a can or two of food at each district event.
She plans to keep her vehicle decorated throughout her year, changing the signage periodically.
Asked if she would recommend this public relations ploy to others, she responds with a laugh: "Only if they're as crazy as I am."
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