There is far more to Dolly Parton than meets the eye

Dolly Parton is a Paul Harris Fellow and an Honorary Rotarian

Dolly Parton is a Paul Harris Fellow and an Honorary Rotarian in the Cleethorpes Rotary Club

Dolly Parton, born 70 years ago today, is mostly thought of as a widely successful  American singer-songwriter, which is true,  but there is far more to her than just that.

She’s also an actress, businesswoman, entrepreneur, philanthropist, dedicated Wife, Doctor of Letters, Paul Harris Fellow and a Rotarian.

Dolly came from very humble beginnings in Tennessee where she was 1 of 12 children who’s family was so poor that it’s rumored her father had to pay for her birth with a bag of grain.

She is perhaps one of the most decorated musical talents in history with 25 certified Gold, Platinum or Multi-Platinum Records, 26 songs reaching No. 1 on the Billboard country charts, 42 career top-10 country albums and over 100 million recordings recording sold world-wide.

But don’t think for a moment that Dolly is a one-dimensional Gal… she’s never forgot her roots in poverty or the early struggles that her family endured as a result of her father being unable to read and write.

Dolly is a hands-on philanthropist who leverages her talents, her resources and her entrepreneurial skills to improve the lives of many others. A brief highlight of a seemingly endless list of Dolly’s good deeds include:

  • Being a longtime supporter of charities, especially those relating to literacy.
  • She established the Imagination Library in 1995, which sends one book per month to children from the time of their birth until they enter kindergarten. Many Rotary Clubs partner in this program.
  • Giving $500,000 to Fort Sanders Medical Center to help launch a new Cancer Hospital
  • Leading significant efforts to preserve the bald eagle through the American Eagle Foundation’s sanctuary at Dollywood.
  • Giving out countless scholarships through her foundation.

She’s very aware of her public persona and isn’t above poking a little fun at herself.

When asked in a recent interview if she’s had work done, she replied “It takes a lot of money to look this cheap”.

John Germ & Dolly Parton

John Germ & Dolly Parton

Dolly received an honorary doctorate of humane and musical letters from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville in 2009, so she’s really Dr. Dolly – or Double D as she referred to herself to RIPE John Germ on the stage of the Rotary International Convention in Montreal in 2011. Dolly was a keynote speaker at that conference and closed it with a performance of 9 to 5.

At 70 years old Dolly is still an energetic beauty with an amazing voice that shows no signs of slowing down as she’s still a significant presence in the music industry, works actively on her foundation to make the world place and generously gives of her time and talents to her family.

Dolly epitomizes Service Above Self by giving of herself day in and day out, she is the ultimate model of what a Rotarian is all about.

Dolly is also Paul Harris fellow – presented by RIPE John Germ in Montreal and she’s a Rotarian – a member of the Cleethorpes (Grimsby, UK) Rotary Club.

I wish that the North Haven Rotary Club thought of inviting her first.

Rick B

District 7980 Rotary Clubs recognized for achieving their goals

Recognition Wall of Fame

Recognition Wall of Fame

The Presidents of our 61 Rotary Clubs in District 7980 worked  diligently to achieve their stated goals this year and all of the Clubs accomplished some pretty amazing things for their communities and the world that we live in.

We left goal setting up to each Club rather than being prescriptive on the goals that we , the district, wanted them to achieve. Our district leadership team worked closely with each Club and monitored their progress towards their goals. This process kept everyone alert and engaged during the entire year.

The successful efforts of our Clubs and their Rotarians were recognized on the ‘Wall of Fame’ at our District Conference this past weekend with personalized super-sized awards (2.5′ x3.5 ‘) that acknowledged the unique accomplishments of each of our Clubs.

Please take a few minutes to scan through each of the following Club recognitions and you will be blown away by the amount of good that our Clubs do. It will certainly be easier to answer that question “What does Rotary Do?” the next time that you are asked.



Rotary Membership is Climbing

RI President Ron Burton - Engage Rotarians and Change Lives

RI President Ron Burton Engage Rotarians, Change Lives

Rotary International President Ron Burton has made turning the decline of Worldwide membership a top priority for this year by cleverly emphasizing the need for Rotarian Engagement and it seems to be working as after dropping to a low of under 1.18M members at the end of last year, RI has climbed up over the 1.2M mark once again.

Our 62 Rotary Club Presidents in D7980 have also been working hard to engage their existing Rotarians while adding quality new members to their Clubs and their efforts seem to be paying off as well.

Our March Membership report from Rotary International shows that our membership is growing both in our District (+ 36) and Worldwide (+28,977) since July 1st through March 31, 2014.

Membership report from RI through 3/31/14

Membership report from RI through 3/31/14

Just this past week several of our Clubs added new members.

Quality membership of ample size is the key to having Vibrant Rotary Clubs that allow us to support local community needs and do the projects that we care about around the world.

Rotary Leaders everywhere may have finally been jolted into action by the wake call of dipping below 1.2M members for the first time in over 20 years. Let’s keep it moving in a positive direction. Well Done.

Old Saybrook Rotary holds Wine Tasting / Silent Auction

The Old Saybrook Rotary Club drew over 150 attendees last night to their 16th Annual Wine & Beer Tasting / Silent Auction at the Saybroook Point Inn. An excellent turn out for and excellent event.

Rotary Club Fun(d)raisers for the next 30 days

There are many great Rotary Club Fun(d)raisers coming up in the next 30 days.

Be sure to come out and support these Clubs as Fun(d)raisers provide the gas in the ‘Doing Good’ engine.

Your Club’s event missing? Let us know and we will add it to this blog posting.