Introducing Bill Degnan

Why did I join Rotary, and why did I stay?
I never thought that I would join Rotary.  My observation of Rotary was that my father was in Rotary, and he was a Postmaster at Merbein, then Red Cliffs then Horsham, therefore “the boss”.  My father-in-law was in Rotary, and he was an electrical contractor with his own business in Warrnambool, therefore “the boss”.  The Divisional Engineer at the Country Roads Board, Warrnambool office was my boss and he was in Rotary.  I moved to the Horsham office and again my boss was in Rotary, and finally I moved to Traralgon and there again my boss was in Rotary.  I was not the boss.
In 2003, I was in a choir in Traralgon, the Yallourn Madrigal Singers. One night after rehearsal I was being driven home by Charlie Medhurst, the husband of our piano accompanist.  Charlie was President of the Rotary Club of Traralgon Central.  During conversation, I mentioned that I would be retiring in some months.  Charlie’s response was, “Well, if you are retiring, you’d better join Rotary”.  My response was, “Oh, that would be all right”.
So, I attended for a few meetings, thought they were all a good bunch and decided to join. I was inducted in May 2003. Three months later, I retired and the next day Judy and I were in the car starting a three month long journey around Australia.  I didn’t know anything about constitutions or by-laws, so I didn’t make any attempt to visit any clubs along the way as “make ups”.  When I returned to Rotary, no one suggested I had broken any rules and my Rotary life continued.
I attended the District Conference in Bendigo in March, 2004, hosted by the Berwick Club.  Ray Martin was District Governor.  I was blown away by the speakers and my fire to achieve things in the community for Rotary was kindled.
The next year, I was made Club Secretary and that continued into the following year.  The year after that (2006/07) I was inducted as President.  It was a good year, and we hosted an exchange student from Finland and sent a student to France.  There had been bushfires in the summer, so the club was involved in the clean-up of farm fences.
In 2009, I was awarded a Paul Harris Fellowship for apparently outstanding work in the club and the community.
Over the years, I have enjoyed working with Group Study Exchange teams from England, Kansas, Canada, Germany, Wisconsin, Holland, and Turkey.  I was proud to successfully nominate a girl from the Latrobe City onto an outgoing GSE team to India. I was President again in 2011/12, and the club continued to move on with our signature project, “Give a Damn - Give a Can”.
In 2013, DG Tim Moore invited me to join the District Leadership team as District Vocational Advisor. In 2013, I also joined a work party to travel to the Solomon Islands to assist with building a Medical Clinic in a village in the highlands of Malaita Island.  It was a four hour walk in steep terrain from the next nearest medical clinic to the village.  It was an eye opener to see these happy villagers, who really had very little income, but survived a subsistence living.  To me this work party was another milestone in my Rotary journey. 
In 2014, I attended the International Convention in Sydney.   What an example of the wide impact of Rotary in the world.
In 2015, we were honoured to attend the wedding of our Finnish exchange student from 2006/07, at the beautiful church in Karkku, with the reception in a lovely old barn in Sastamala, Finland.  We were made very welcome as Emmi’s Aussie parents.  Judy and I travelled through Eastern Europe to Finland, then spent some weeks in Scotland, Northern Ireland and England.  This opportunity would not have come about without my Rotary life.
In subsequent years, I have had roles on the District Leadership team as Avenues of Service Chair, Assistant Governor - Central Gippsland and Assistant Governor - South Gippsland.
Finally, after some prodding from members of my club and a Past District Governor, I submitted a nomination to be a District Governor.  Following an interview in front of a large panel of Past District Governors, I learned that I had been successful.  I was humbled and elated.  So here I am, two years of training later (much conducted virtually in lockdown) and hoping I can fulfill our District members’ expectations of me.
Why did I join?  Because I was asked.
Why did I stay?  Because there was always a challenge to be met.
District 9820 Changeover 
 Rotary District 9820 Changeover was held at the Quality Inn in Traralgon with 116 guests on 28th June. Outgoing District Governor Mark Humphries is pictured handing over to incoming District Governor Bill Degnan.  
Rotary Fellowship Groups
Rotary Fellowships are international groups that share a common passion. Being part of a fellowship is a fun way to make friends around the world, explore a hobby or profession, and enhance your Rotary experience. There are 90 groups which include topics such as Beard and Moustache, Dolls, Whisk(e)y and Comedy. There is even one for past District Governors!  
 Click here to go to their website to find out more.  
Rotarians for Bees - Pollination Garden 
The Rotarians for Bees are pleased to announce that two schools in District 9820 were awarded $500 vouchers for Pollinator gardens at the 2021 Victorian Schools Gardens Program awards. These schools were Flinders Christian Community College and Newhaven College.  Congratulations!
For information about the Victorian Schools Gardens Program click here
Yarram Golf Day  
Drouin BBQ
Club Visioning Facilitation 
Vision Facilitation helps a Rotary club design its own vision and to set out the steps necessary to achieve that vision. 
For more information click here:  Club Visioning | District 9820 ( or contact: 
Brian Norris, on 0418 633 446 or 
Aled Roberts on 0409 136 005 or 
Fun Facts about Rotary
The first Rotary Service project of the first Rotary Club was the installation of public toilets for Men in Chicago in 1917!  
Editors Note
Welcome to the July edition of the District 9820 newsletter. This is my first newsletter so please forgive me!  Request for inclusion in the newsletter can be made using this email address.  

Last month, 791 Rotarians opened this newsletter: 

I encourage Secretaries to review their email listings on Club Runner and add/remove old email addresses.  
Janet Pugh 
0410 328 636