District 6710 Gov. Otha Ray Stearman told Paducah Rotarians on Wednesday that if you want to grow your membership, you have to ask people to join.
Stearman, who hails from Greensburg Rotary Club, stopped in Paducah for his 32nd club visit of a year-long district governorship, covering 55 clubs throughout Kentucky. He served as this week's Rotary Club of Paducah speaker in the Myre River Room at the Carson Center.
He told Rotarians about a new membership initiative, "Grow Rotary," and shared an anecdote about recruiting an old friend to the club.
The friend had ties to past presidents of Greensburg's club, but he wasn't in Rotary himself.
"I said (to him), 'How come?' What do you think his answer was? Nobody asked him," Stearman said. "Nobody had ever asked him to be a Rotarian and so, I said, 'Well, consider that done.'"
"You have to ask," he added.
"… If I was a young person, I'd join Rotary. If I had to do it over again, I'd join. We've got one member in the Greensburg club, who's been a member since 18 and believe it or not, he's 93. He's been a member 75 years and never misses."
Stearman later praised Paducah Rotarians for their work in the community, such as the club's fundraising efforts to fight polio -- a longtime mission of Rotary member and state Sen. Danny Carroll, R-Paducah, who also spoke at the meeting and presented Stearman with Senate and House of Representatives resolutions that recognize Oct. 24 as World Polio Day.
Stearman told The Sun that Paducah's club is special because its people are very giving and "love to help other people."
"The big thing for Paducah, I think, that really shows their love is the (annual) Polio Plus bake sale, where people will pay $500 for a cake because they know they're giving it to (eradicate) polio," he said. "That's a good example of how you can see it in Paducah ... it's the people."