John F. Germ

John F. Germ

President 2016-17

December 2016

I joined Rotary as an engineer. There are almost as many classifications in the profession of engineering as there are in Rotary, but I happen to be a mechanical engineer. A mechanical engineer calculates the heating and cooling loads for a new building, makes sure the right lights are in the right places, and plans the plumbing so your hot water pipe doesn’t end in a drinking fountain.

Mechanical engineers don’t stand out in a crowd, and they don’t call attention to themselves with what they do. You probably haven’t thought much about the engineers who designed the buildings you use, the car you drive, or the traffic patterns you follow. But every time you get in an elevator, turn the key in your ignition, or cross the street when the light says go, you are entrusting your life to an engineer somewhere whom you’ve never met. You trust that your elevator will open at the floor you want it to. You trust that your car will start and stop as it should. You trust that the traffic light is going to turn red before the walk light goes on. Every day, you put your life in the hands of people whose names you do not know and whom you might never meet. You might not think about them at all – but they touch your lives every day.

I could draw the same parallel to any number of other vocations – ordinary occupations with the same kind of life-changing impact. In so many ways – some of which we see and some we don’t – our vocations allow us to help other people live better, safer, and healthier lives.

Just like the work we do in Rotary.

Through our vocations and in our clubs, in our communities, and across continents, we are touching the lives of people we don’t know and might never meet. And in every part of the world, every single day, whether they know it or not, people are living better, safer, and healthier lives because of the work of Rotary.

The people we help might not have met a single Rotarian. They might not even know that Rotary exists. But they are drinking clean water from a bore well that Rotary dug. They’re learning to read with books that Rotary gave them. They’re living lives that are better, happier, and healthier – because of Rotary Serving Humanity.