Melissa Baxter turned over the club presidency to Rich Murray at a memorable presidential induction, like hundreds of Rotary clubs across the country and the world. Melissa accomplished so much in her year as our leader, notably bringing together other West Chester Rotary clubs in joint events. Apparently we did not overtax her, because she has now stepped up to join Jeff Cantwell in heading up the Chili Cook-off on October 8th! Talk about going “from the frying pan into the fire!” Fortunately she and Jeff have over 100 Rotarians and many other volunteers beside them as they venture forth, including Melissa’s supportive husband, Aaron.
Continuing the excellent leadership of his predecessors, Rich commented “we have the friendliest club in the district, and I am happy to be your meeting host for the next 52 weeks!” Keeping leadership in perspective, Rich had to explain to his 5-year- old son, Logan, that he is NOT president of the United States, but only of this club at which he will use a gavel and ring a bell at each meeting.
After the induction of Rich and his board members by District 7450 Governor Renee DeCoskey of the Conshohocken Plymouth Whitemarsh Rotary Club, she announced the new RI theme Create Hope in the World. “We need to become more visible in our communities and think about how we are perceived,” she said.
After introducing Assistant DG Alissa Harnish, Rich thanked Melissa for her compassion, and presented her with a plaque, and past presidents pin, saying, ”wear it proudly.”  He also thanked Renee, Sue Casso, Bob Frame, Glen Sweet, the new board and all the others who helped make the evening a great fellowship event. Of special note, Rich’s co-worker Diana Liberi invited his staff to the induction as a surprise to Rich. And, Melissa ordered Rotary wheel gold (chocolate) coins from a Rotarian owned and RI sanctioned candy maker in Mississippi! Such thoughtful Rotarians are typical of our club!
“We have survived much and endured much in our lives,” Rich said. “We have Rotarians who have been members for over 35 years and still remain active. We are going in the right direction! We tell our Rotary story through our actions like the Chili Cook-off, CPC, Rotaract, RYLA, reading to school children, ringing bells for the Salvation Army, supporting Stockings for Soldiers, an Interact Club and International Service Committee.”
“How can we ramp up our involvement? I challenge each member to bring one guest to a meeting in the coming year so they can see what Rotary means to us,” Rich said as he concluded his remarks. Watch for more information on his goals for this year in an upcoming Thursday noon meeting.