Greetings Fellow Rotarians.  Welcome to January 2021!
It has been some time since the turning of the calendar has felt so good!  Goodbye 2020! 
January is Vocational Service month on the Rotary calendar.  Vocational service can be hard to define, but it is easy to describe:  It is simply the point where our Rotary lives and our professional lives Intersect.  When we put our Rotary ideals to work through our work, that is vocational service.
As I have traveled on my Rotary journey, I am again and again reminded of how often our work and Rotary intersect.  Here in La Crosse, a few Rotary leaders had an interesting thought:  If I asked area organizations what they would do with $250,000… what would their answer be?  The results of this simple question, asked of the many incredibly talented and well meaning charitable causes around the Coulee Region, resulted in some truly remarkable ideas.  From those discussions emerged an idea – to collaborate with the St. Claire Health Mission, Gundersen Health Systems, Mayo Clinic Health Systems, the La Crosse County Health Department and the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration to support a Mobile Medical Clinic that can travel throughout the region.  The vehicle will provide family practice clinical services, preventative care, flu vaccine clinics, youth sports physicals, lab draws, mental health and pharmacy services to adults and children without health insurance.  My work in finance puts me in a unique position to have an impact.  I knew I could turn my professional path to good and help make this project a success and improve health care for those not covered by our systems throughout our district.
As Rotary became part of my journey, I discovered that the words of Paul Harris became the basis of Rotary – that shared effort knows no limitations – were also true for my vocation.  I can’t bring a fantastic project like the Mobile Clinic to those in need alone.  But through partnership, both with the doctors from our medical partners, along with the good folks at the Health Department and with the guidance of the Franciscan Sisters, we could change everything.  The goal of a few became the shared goal of many – and now it is becoming reality.
Rotary emphasizes the dignity of every vocation and the worth of every calling.  Remember that the four founding members included no doctors or peacemakers – just an attorney, a mining engineer, a coal dealer, and a printer.  From the beginning, the diversity of these vocations gave Rotary a special strength.  And that diversity is reflected in our classification system, which aims to ensure that each club represents the full range of businesses and professions that serve each community.
Paul Harris put it this way:  “Each Rotarian is the connecting link between the idealism of Rotary and his trade or profession.”  It was true when he said it and it should be equally true now.  We only spend an hour or two a week at our Rotary meetings, but most of us spend most of our waking time at work.  Through Rotary, those hours are also an opportunity for service:  a chance to Open Opportunities to those we work with, those who work for us, and the communities we serve.
Be well and healthy,
Bill Pritchard
6250 District Governor 2020-2021