By: Charlize Jamieson and Mike Rhodes—
Muncie, IN–On the weekend of Friday evening April 12 and Saturday, April 13, Rotarians from across Central Indiana District 6560 and guests from around the world, converged on Muncie’s Horizon Convention Center for the annual district conference. Typically, these conferences have been held in Indianapolis however, this year, Muncie’s own Dale Basham is the District Governor and downtown Muncie was privileged to host the 200 Rotarians who attended.
Rotary International is a service organization whose purpose is to bring together business and professional leaders in order to provide humanitarian service and to advance peace and goodwill around the world. Since 1979, Rotary has helped to lead the fight on the eradication of polio throughout the world by contributing $1.8 billion toward the elimination and efforts have reduced cases by 99.9% through the immunization of 2.5 billion children in 122 countries, which has helped to limit the present small number of remaining cases to Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan.
Basham is the 7th person to become District Governor in the history of Muncie Rotary.
I made a promise to everyone that I was going to bring the Rotary District conference to Muncie. I’ve been travelling to Indianapolis for years preparing for this role. So many governors over the years have come from Carmel, Fishers and Indianapolis. When I was elected, I was determined to showcase MY city and the people in it.—Dale Basham
During the Friday evening dinner program, District 6560 Rotarians heard from Abigail Ekeigwe, who provided an inspiring update about her journey, polio progress and other needs in Nigeria while Muncie Central’s Jazz Ensemble, “Jazz MaTazz”, entertained the crowd, closing out the evening.
Following the Friday program, several Rotarians hit Walnut Street and were treated to a unique Rotary charity benefit at the Mark III Tap Room. Drag Queens, Karaoke and Rotary isn’t something typically seen in one sentence, much less in person, yet there they were together, performing and contributing for the fight against polio. Nearly $500 was raised that night for that cause.
Saturday’s day long program was kicked off by Rotary Exchange Students, who lead the “parade of flags”, marching in from the “Passing of the Buffalo” statue at the round-a-bout, into the meeting hall carrying the flag of their country. Muncie Mayor, Dennis Tyler was on hand to proclaim Saturday, April 13, 2019, “Rotary International Day” in Muncie.
The Chin Community of Indiana, an ethnic community, originating in Burma and numbering 20,000 in Indiana, were also present, displaying their gorgeous, handmade native garments and presented Governor Basham with an ornamental blanket. The Chin Community, who has partnered with the Indianapolis Rotary Club to develop essential services, has recently hired an executive director and are looking to soon launch plans for a community center.
The afternoon was filled with inspiring, successful fund raising stories that were shared by several of the clubs in the district. Stealing the show were outstanding musical contributions from Muncie’s own Destiny Roberts, who sang Sam Cooke’s classic; “Change is Gonna Come” and Amanda Runge’s beautiful version of “I Dreamed a Dream”, had several dabbing at their eyes. Closing out the event were several inspirational speeches, including the three finalists from the Rotary speech contest and other emotional “I Am Rotary” testimonies from a variety of Rotarians.
If we were to describe this marvelous event in one word, it might be “Diversity.” That theme was prevalent throughout the event and there was little doubt in the minds of those in attendance, that all are welcomed and valued in Rotary. Also leaving no doubt in anyone’s mind is the fact that Muncie knows how to put on a convention and entertain.
The district conference was a wonderful event, not only for Rotary, but for the City of Muncie.
Basham said, “Our attendees commented on how the Horizon Convention Center was such a perfect site for the district conference. The Horizon Convention Center was elegant and intimate, yet expansive.” Basham said many attendees enjoyed the downtown area and some downtown merchants even donated a percentage of their sales to the Rotary Foundation. “The Horizon Center staff could not have been more accommodating, generous and friendly,” he said. “The Horizon Convention Center was just an extraordinary place to hold a mid-sized conference to show “all that is good” about Muncie.”
Centrally located in a thriving downtown atmosphere, Horizon Convention Center connects personalized service and expertise to fulfill your custom convention, wedding, or event needs. Your guests will love the heart of Muncie!