As you read this, we are only 2-3 weeks from the end of the 2017-18 Rotary year. For me, it means I add a final letter to my string of DG titles - from DGN to DGE to DG and finally graduating to PDG - Past District Governor - a title I will proudly wear for the remaining years of my Rotary involvement (Hopefully many).
From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU!
THANK YOU for being such strong and dedicated Rotarians.
THANK YOU for taking my recommended DG One initiatives to heart, and implementing many ideas to strengthen your clubs, our district visibility, and your own members' involvements.
THANK YOU for putting your green thumbs to work in answering RI President Ian Riseley's call for all Rotarians worldwide to plant at least one tree each during the 2017-18 "Rotary year. Lots of our clubs participated, with  the Austin and Temple areas even attaining mayoral proclamations in their communities; all planting clubs earned valuable publicity in their home communities. I don't know if we technically fulfilled the D5870 goal of 2550+ trees, but Central Texas will certainly be greener now in any case.
THANK YOU for responding so generously to the financial challenges in our communities and around the world. Admittedly our donations to The Rotary Foundation are below last year's record levels contributed during TRF's 100th Anniversary, but we can still be proud of our achievements. In addition to our ongoing Foundation contributions, Rotarians in District 5870 also funneled an astounding $307,824 into our own Keyway fund to aid immediate recovery needs here in our own district and in neighboring districts, caused by the dual hurricanes which hit the US Mainland and Puerto Rico almost simultaneously. You saw a need, you responded.
THANK YOU for adding members throughout the year, and striving to retain many whose involvements had begun to wane. As I write this, we are up approximately 45 new members in District 5870 (last year we ended with deficit growth). Keep inviting... and involving.
THANK YOU for continually answering my and other District leaders' calls to participate on District teams and at District functions. Valuable team players.
THANK YOU for feeding my wife Kathleen's little piggy banks that she distributed to all clubs as we made our formal Governor visits last summer. You sent in nearly $6600 over and above your stated Foundation goals, to help continue our Rotary Polio Plus campaign to totally eradicate this dreaded disease.
THANK YOU for welcoming displaced Rotarians into your fold as the Bee Cave and Cedar Creek clubs were merged into others to strengthen our base, and another struggling club elected to close. No, we did not retain all of these orphaned Rotarians, but a strong percentage transferred to other nearby clubs.
THANK YOU for being so adaptable when we were pursued behind by Earth (earthquake in our sister District 4130 in Mexico), Wind (the infamous hurricanes of last summer/fall), FIRE (as our planned conference center in Boerne for out spring district conference burned to the ground). The add -SALE to the word "fire" as our replacement conference venue in San Antonio changed hands just weeks before our conference, adding still more challenges. But as Rotarians, you went with the flow throughout the year and made things happen!
And finally, THANK YOU for giving me the honor and opportunity to have served as your 2017-18 District 5870 Governor. I am humbled still by this position. I will forever treasure the memories of this experience, both the great times and the challenging speed bumps that rose throughout my year. But in the end, I think we are an even stronger organization practicing Service Above Self, and honoring the principles of the Four Way Test.
Humbly in Rotary Service,
District Governor Gene and Kathleen Holiman