thanks-receiving
 
 
Thanksgiving is one of my absolute favorite holidays.  There is nothing like taking a moment to celebrate all of our many blessings and good fortune by giving thanks.
 
A few years ago, I was in Boston with my wife for a conference and we had the opportunity to travel to Rowley, Massachusetts and pay our respects to Thomas Nelson.  Thomas Nelson and his father, also named Thomas, travelled from England to America in 1638.  By 1645, the father had enough of America and headed back to England, despite having a 6 acre house lot that was built in 1643 and having built both a grist mill and a sawmill on the Mill River; he was probably disappointed with the lack of reliable Wi-Fi and spotty cell phone service and decided to throw in the towel.  Thankfully, his son Thomas decided to stay in America and build a life here.
 
 
One of the things I am most grateful for is my ancestor Thomas Nelson’s decision to stay in America.  I cannot even begin to imagine how difficult that must have been to leave your home country with its established comforts and start a new life under extremely difficult circumstances.  And thanks to him and his efforts, I have been blessed to enjoy the many opportunities and freedoms that this great nation has provided for me. I give thanks to him and think about him during this holiday season.
 
In addition to thanks-giving during this time of year, I want to share the concept of thanks-receiving and how it applies to Rotary and each one of us.
One of the best parts of being a Rotarian is the results of our donations to both the Rotary Foundation and Polio Plus. I am thankful that I am able to give money to this incredible organization because of the many good things that it does.  In my position as a District Governor, I have recently been put in a position of thanks-receiving that has seriously humbled me. 
 
 
Back in January, I was in San Diego for International Assembly.  I was in a large room full of both Brazilian and American District Governors.  One of the Brazilian District Governors asked every single one of us to please stand up.  We all did and he remained seated.  He then said the following: “Because each and every one of you gives money to Polio Plus, I also am able to stand with you.  Thank you for your giving and making Brazil a polio free nation.”  On behalf of this man, people all over the world born and yet to be born, and on behalf of Rotary International, I thank you for your giving to Polio Plus.
 
 
In another meeting, a District Governor from Malaysia showed a picture of a very modest hospital that had just been built in his hometown.  He then showed a picture of a premature baby girl.  Next he showed a picture of the same girl, a couple of years older.  He said the following: “This girl was born in this hospital that Rotary helped build.  And because this new hospital had the facilities to handle a premature born child, this little girl is alive today.  In the old hospital building, she would never have survived.  She is alive today because you gave money to Rotary.  And because you gave money to Rotary, you can take credit for building this hospital and for her being alive.  Thank you for giving money to Rotary.”  On behalf of this Malaysian girl, people all over the world that have benefited from Rotary projects, and on behalf of Rotary International, I thank you for your giving to Rotary Annual Fund Share.
 
As we enjoy this Thanksgiving holiday season, in addition to giving thanks, I want each of you to also experience a little bit of thanks-receiving by thanking you for the difference you are making in the world.  Thank you for your generous donations to Rotary. 
 
 
Happy Thanksgiving!
 
Sincerely,
 
GOVERNOR BEN