There is nothing like pressure. Pressure is taking the helm of a 95-year-old organization where the president of the club is tasked with the challenge of finding successful and creative ways to serve our community.Not only have those that come before me started raising funds for our annual nonprofit grants program, but they have led our club in being a part of Rotary’s first End Human Trafficking Symposium that led to assisting in the prosecution of the traffickers of our community’s first known victim of human trafficking.My predecessors have also led us in feeding our community’s children on the weekends who suffer from food insecurities, delivering meals to our communities senior and shut in population and have most recently started the music in memory program for those battling dementia and Alzheimer’s in our local nursing homes.However, the one thing that all of our presidents for the last 30 plus years have in common is the pressure of being responsible for leading the club in planning and executing the most important event outside of the county fair in our community – the annual 4th of July Fireworks.
In the Rotary Club of Newnan, the sole responsibility of the president elect is The Big Show.It takes almost a year of behind-the-scenes preparation and it is estimated that it takes over 500 hours of planning.The first and most important part is making sure that you have your pyrotechnics vendor secure and just exactly how much that is going to cost.We have seen the price of the fireworks increase tremendously over the last three years where it is nearly $1,000 per minute to light up the sky and pray that you please a crowd of several thousand.Not only is it important to find a vendor to do this, but one that is licensed, comes with references, that can handle the permitting, has the appropriate insurance and most of all making sure that no one gets hurt and nothing catches fire! Then you pray that it doesn’t rain and hold your breath until the grand finale.When all is said and done you can estimate that it is going to cost between $30,000 and $40,000 to produce the event.Keep in mind, that for us, it is not a fundraiser, this is a gift to our community.One hundred percent of what we raise pays for the event and if we happen to make a little money, it goes right back into making the event bigger and better each year.
I have heard some say that a Rotary president and president elect rarely catches their breath - I have found this statement to be true.It seems like from the time that I started PETS training as a president elect through the day that I was inducted as president, it has been non-stop.However, at the end of the day, I am proud to serve as the 96th president and the fourth female president of our club.I know that it is a lot of work, but in the end, it is about Service Above Self and knowing that our community and its citizens only benefit from the service that our club provides, so that makes every minute of pressure worth it. I am looking forward to helping Rotary Connect the World in 2019-2020!