Newly inducted Rotary Club of Saipan president Oliver “Pete” Shilling urged Rotarians to focus on having peace within oneself and their families to achieve “peace through service,” Rotary International's theme for 2012-2013, which is vital in addressing critical issues within the community.
Shilling and other new officers and directors of the service organization officially assumed responsibility following an installation ceremony Tuesday night at the Hibiscus Hall of Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan in Garapan.
Rotarian Timothy Bellas administered the oath for Shilling and the rest of the 2012-2013 officers and directors: vice president Laila Boyer, secretary Dick Cody, treasurer Nhing Reyes, Club Services director Jay Santos, Community Services director Curtis Dancoe, Vocational Services director Kelly Butcher, International Services director Pete Igitol, Foundation director Glen Perez, and New Generation director Jeff Boyer.
Tuesday night's ceremony also featured the exchanging of pins and passing of the gavel between Shilling and outgoing president for 2011-2012 Pete Igitol.
Shilling, who attended the 2012 Rotary International Convention in Bangkok, Thailand, said in his remarks that peace is more than just the absence of military conflict. It also denotes lack of stress and internal tension, which leads to inner peace.
There should also peace within the immediate and extended families, said Shilling, because conflict and strife in the most basic unit of society would lead to peace within the island community.
According to Shilling, the Rotary Club of Saipan plays an important role in the CNMI by working on critical issues such as conflict, poverty, and hunger.
“If we work on those issues as a club, we take one step closer to achieving peace through service,” Shilling said, addressing some 50 Rotarians and guests in the audience.
Shilling shared his expectations for the Rotary Club of Saipan during his term, particularly increasing the community's awareness of the organization, which has been promoting its “Service Above Self” motto for 44 years. He said the club should avail a portion of the $15 million budget of the Rotary International to promote the club's public service and increase membership.
There should be a “concerted effort” among Rotarians to encourage one another to attend their weekly meetings, thus improving fellowship and friendship, added Shilling.
The club's purchase of a laptop, Shilling said, should enhance their efforts to maintain the club's records and history.
Shilling also vowed to continue the Rotary Club of Saipan's community projects such as the dictionaries for third graders and emphasized the need to find new ways to make funding available for these projects through new fundraising endeavors.
The new president thanked past president Igitol for his leadership, dedication, and service and presented him with a plaque. Shilling also acknowledged past club service directors and committees, saying the work of Rotary is concentrated at the committee level.
Igitol, for his part, said he looks forward to Rotary's new administration. He recounted of being worried when he accepted the responsibility of a president, which he was able to pull off with the assistance of the 2011-2012 officers and directors.
“Without these people, I would not have done anything this year. Thank you,” he said.
During his term, Igitol said the club was able to share their time, talents, kindness, and resources through their projects, including the dictionaries given to public students in third grade, donations to the Vladivostok Eko Children's Hospital and the CNMI Boy Scouts of America, the sponsorship for the Youth Basketball League, annual luncheon for the man'amko, replacement of dilapidated swing seats at the American Memorial Park playground, partnership with the Mariana Islands Nature Alliance for the International Cleanup Day, and regular guest speakers to discuss topics of interest to the community.