Rhodes joined Rotary in 1999 at the request of Max Carroll.
“He didn’t give me a choice,” Rhodes said of his “dear, departed friend” in an interview.
“I had a kindred spirit with what Rotary was doing,” Rhodes said.
Becoming president was also someones else’s idea. Rhodes said when the Rotary Council of Former Presidents first asked him to serve, he declined. When friends in Rotary asked again two years ago, the council’s vote of confidence was enough to convince him to accept the position.
Rotary presidents spend a year preparing for their new role by serving as president-elect for a year. Rhodes said he has learned so much about Rotary. His favorite learning experience was attending the Rotary International Convention in Bangkok, Thailand, with his wife, Angie, and his two children.
During the Tuesday’s meeting, Rhodes presented a club banner he had received while attending the Convention.
“Even my kids went to every session of Rotary international,” Rhodes said.
Rhodes said he appreciated his family’s support of his being Rotary president.
“The task of any president of Rotary is one that most people would take with a lot of fear and a lot of anxiety, and I have that,” Rhodes said.
Rhodes thanked the members for choosing him to be president.
“I have a simple agenda and that is for this club to do as much as it possibly can locally, nationally and internationally and for us to have fun doing it,” Rhodes said.
Quoting a 1949 Rotarian book, Rhodes compared the club to a gear, which is the international symbol for Rotary. Without all of the teeth on a gear it cannot function properly and fully serve its purpose, and Rhodes said the same is true for the club. He said each member is needed for the club to be successful in making an impact.
The new president stressed that participation in Rotary means more then just showing up.
He encouraged the Rotarians present to volunteer time and give to the Rotary Foundation.
In the past contributions to the foundation had been a part of the quarterly dues required of each member. This year the contributions will not be required. However, Rhodes encouraged the Rotary members to give to the “End Polio Now” campaign and give consistently to the International Rotary Foundation.
“Last year India was declared Polio free, but we still have Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan that have epidemic levels of polio,” Rhodes said. “There has been an outbreak in Chad ... we can’t allow that to happen.”
Rhodes also revealed the theme for next year: “Peace through Service.”
“Peace comes in a lot of different forms, but it can only happen if you participate,” Rhodes said.
He works for the Church of God Benefits Board.
Also during the meeting, Rhodes also presented Casteel with a plaque, a new Rotary badge and Rotary pin. Public relations committee chair Pam Nelson also presented Casteel with a scrapbook of her. Nelson is now the president elect for the club and Tim Spires is vice president.