Posted by Hans on Dec 20, 2018

5th Charter Anniversary

The Rotary Club of Portsmouth is a Resilient Crew…

Allow me, President Hans, to give you my version of the history of RCP - Rotary Club of Portsmouth.

I believe I’m in a good position to talk about our history because I was there all the way ;-)

 

What most of you will not know is that our history starts in the late part of 2010.

Rotarian Dan Hopkins, member of the Rotary Club of Dominica in Roseau suggested to his board to start a Rotary Club in Portsmouth. He proposed to ask Rotarians Lise and Hans to form a committee together with him to do the necessary preparations.

The board of the Roseau club was a little hesitant. Dan, Lise, and Hans wanted to create a club mixed between Dominicans of the North and the Ross community. Concerns were that Ross members would come and go, but the challenge was accepted and so the journey started….

[[ If you don't see the YouTube video below, then copy+paste this URL into your browser to see the video: https://youtu.be/iiOur48QAJU  ]]

 

Early 2011 Dan had meetings with Hans and Lise and very informally they started looking for persons interested in founding a club.  Dan filled in the form to ask the District permission to form a new club and... the form got lost…

But Dan was persistent. He invited the District Governor for 2011-2012, Lara Quentrall-Thomas, to come to Portsmouth on her official visit to Dominica and around the first of November 2011 we had a meeting at Riverside during which a new form was filled in and signed right there and then by the District Governor. We could start forming the Portsmouth Rotary Club. The persistency of soon-to-be President Dan had paid off.

 

The process of getting the required 25 charter members had ups and downs. It took longer than expected but this is Dominica: be patient, be persistent, be resilient and bounce back and in September 2013 our papers were filed at Rotary International and on 30 November 2013 we celebrated our Charter Night, together with Past District Governor Lara. Success had been achieved.

 

Founding member Dan was the first President and in December Morrison Azille was chosen as President Elect 2014-2015. We didn’t know that Morrison was going to have a big challenge…

 

President Dan was a very experienced Rotarian with 30 years of Rotary service. He was coaching Morrison to prepare for his year as president but then Pastor Dan was called home by his church and on June 1st 2014 Morrison had to take over as incoming president with no Past President to support him…

RCP is resilient. The club confirmed their confidence in President Morrison and we moved forward with our signature project, the Emergency Room of the Portsmouth Hospital.

Morrison had an inspiring year and President Elect Lise prepared to take over on July 1, 2015. Little did we know that Lise was going to have a big challenge…

 

Lise was off to a good start with Morrison on her side until TS Erika hit us on August 27, 2015.

A 2 year old club without a disaster relief plan in place now faced the challenge of 4 days no communication, disaster areas in the north, and relief goods and gifts coming in. Lise and her board did a great job. We set up distribution using the Glanvillia community center as our logistics hub and M&R trucks to help us. Sadly enough we had to say goodbye to Past President Morrison who moved for work to the USA.

It was not the year that President Lise has in mind but we received a special award from the District for the great community services we rendered after TS Erika.

 

Rotarian Stewart was elected and took over in July 2016.

There was still an “after-shock” on the island because Erika had taken us by surprise. We realized that we were not well prepared for this type of disasters and our club started working on an ambitious plan under the lead of experienced constructor President Stewart: we wanted to equip all secondary schools with a weather-resistant drinking water system based on a global grant project.

We learned a lot about grants and met with clubs and districts in Florida but could not complete that project in 1 year. No worries. Incoming President Ezra, another building expert was ready to take over.

Little did we know that Ezra was going to have a big challenge…

 

July 2017, President Ezra has his investiture event at the beach complete with live violin music.

Drawings and plans for the water project pilot site were ready. Cooperation with Florida clubs was signed. Funds were promised. Questions of Rotary Int’l needed to be answered…

Then Category 5+ hurricane Maria totally devastated our island and the rhythm of life was completely changed for the next many many months.

The Rotary Club of Portsmouth is resilient and even though Maria sent many of our club members off island (with Ross or for health reasons) we got together and started on relief work and recovery plans.

I dare say that 2017-2018 was a spectacular year for our club.  Cover a Home, water filters, fish pots, plastic recycling and more and more.

Our resilient, decimated little club has put in tremendous efforts and when I took over as President Hans in July 2018 I had a ton of projects to work on.

 

So here we are, December 20, 2018, celebrating our 5th Charter Anniversary.

I want to congratulate all our current and past members, here on island and spread out over the Caribbean, USA and Europe. Great Job, Well Done!!

 

We are just 5 years young and have come a long way.

Our founding president was forced to leave us. Our next president could not stay long enough but we have 3 Past Presidents in a row, a current President, a President Elect Sari, and a President Nominee Lise.

We have an active board and a very involved and hands-on membership.

Together we will grow.

Let’s see what our club can achieve in the next 5 years. Clean up the island from plastic, make all students computer literate, keep fishermen fishing, and who knows what more. If we can dream it, we can do it because we are the resilient Rotary Club of Portsmouth, and we know we have the support of 1.2 million Rotarians in the world.

 

Let’s Be the Inspiration. Let’s take the flag and walk in front. Let’s show the world what a Rotary Club can achieve.

Thank you Rotarians for your inspiring community service. Service Above Self. Congratulations.

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