Reflecting on the 2019-2020 Rotary year, it seems my Rotary year began just yesterday and is now wrapping up much sooner than I anticipated.  Looking back,  I recall with great clarity how inspired I was following the International Assembly in January 2019.   It was only then that I fully understood the awesome responsibility, great honor and tremendous opportunities that lay ahead for me as District Governor.  I asked each club President-Elect in February 2019 to be “All In’ and to taking their clubs to new heights, and gave my very best to model what I had asked of each Pres-Elect. Who could have imagined the challenges and opportunities that 2020 would bring?

I began my Rotary year visiting both Ketchikan Rotary clubs the first week in July and I remember the high I felt from the energy of Rotarians putting on the 4th of July Duck Race and Parade. During the next four months I was able to visit the remaining 37 Rotary clubs. Some highlights were more parades and duck races, seeing inspiring club projects, Polio runs, tremendous Foundation events and many club socials welcoming Sheri and I. In late January I completed my final club visit in Utqiagvik (Barrow Nuuvuk). We experienced the very best of Rotary hospitality in every Alaska community we visited.  A common feature was meeting the many dedicated Rotarians who serve others while having fun doing what they love.  The hospitality I experienced and the mutual appreciation expressed by so many Rotarians was a highlight. We met so many dedicated Rotarians and made many new friends in the process.

I had high hopes for each of the initiatives I shared during my club visits.  Many were successfully implemented, others fell short of my best hopes.  D5010 members gave generously to Polio Plus this year, raising 148% over last year.  I'm especially proud of the new mobile APP that was developed, the success we had with our virtual Training Assembly in late April, the success of the Peace Scholarship Committee, and the work of the committee tasked with the developing a new Education and Training initiative. I'm especially proud that D5010 could provide every club with $1,000 to help their community in response to the pandemic, under the cause of D5010 Rotary Cares for Kids.  I'm also grateful for the partnership with the Alaska Community Foundation and $25,000 in funds donated by our members that will further help communities where we have Rotary Clubs. The Rasmusen Foundation has generously matched these donations 1:1, so we will soon distribute  $50,000 statewide to further help in response efforts.

My biggest disappointment (and those of the Conference Planning Committee) was not being able to host our Peace Forum and District Conference in Fairbanks due to the pandemic. Along the way, other opportunities and challenges presented themselves but we were able to PIVOT and keep moving forward.  The Coronavirus proved to be a formidable challenge.  I was stunned after learning I had tested positive for Covid-19 in late March, and feel very fortunate that I recovered without time in the hospital. I appreciate the many ways clubs stayed connected with their members and continue to do the important work of Rotary. 

In just a couple weeks, Governor-Elect Joe Kashi will begin his Rotary year, bringing his unique expertise, vision and priorities to the role.  Joe has worked quite closely with me over the past two years, and also with Cheryl Metiva (DGN) and Mike Ferris (DGD).  I wish Joe all the best for a successful year in 2020-2021.  

I would like to give a special shout out to Rosie Roppel (Ketchikan First City Rotary) for her work as my Lt. Governor in 2019-2020.  She has been an invaluable resource to me and brought so much enthusiasm, fun and support that helped make my year a success.  I want to thank Dean McVey who has served as our Treasurer this past three years,  PDG Brad Gamble, who is completing his 3 year term as Foundation Chair, and Lindsay Knight who is completing his 3 year term as Membership Chair.  Thank you Janine Becca for the consistent support you've provided to me and all our officers this year. I have so much gratitude and appreciation for our dedicated Youth Exchange Chair(s), Jeff Johnson and Cheryl Keepers, their executive team of officers and the club level YEO's for their work and dedication this year adapting to the challenges of supporting Youth Exchange students, host families and clubs while maintaining excellence we have come to expect.

Finally, thank you to all the Past District Governors who provided sound advice and support when I reached out and to others who helped me in so many ways when I asked for help.  Our Rotary District is blessed to have so many who served this year in Leadership roles and on various committees. Your help was invaluable, and your friendships will be one of the highlights of my Rotary year.  I will be recognizing all the many D5010 volunteers as part of the Thursday, June 18th Awards Celebration.


Andre’ Layral (and Sheri)

D5010 Governor 2019-2020

Fairbanks Sunrisers Rotary