The Port Allen Rotary Club hosted the Rotary International District 6200 Reunion March 27-29.
The reunion, or district conference, was held at the WBR Conference Center at the WBR Convention and Visitors Bureau in Port Allen.
Port Allen Rotary’s Thomas Acosta Jr., who was the 2013-2014 Rotary District 6200 Governor, said that he counts it as an honor to host the district conference, as the annual event is usually held in larger cities throughout the district, which includes Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Lake Charles, New Iberia, and Thibodeaux among others.
According to Acosta, the district covers a 26 parish area with clubs ranging in memberships of 10 members in Grand Isle, to 488 members in Baton Rouge – which is the ninth largest Rotary Club in the world, according to Acosta.
“When I got selected (to be District Governor)… for the 13-14 year, I wanted to bring it to our home here in West Baton Rouge, in Port Allen, and my club graciously voted to do that to support me,” Acosta said. “They’ve done a super job.”
During the All Club Luncheon, held Friday, March 28, the crowd heard from guest speakers, Rotary International President’s Representative PDG John “Sandy” MacKay of District 5360 in Canada and Retired U.S. Army Lt. General Russel Honoré of Baton Rouge Rotary Club.
MacKay, from Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada, shared his experiences in Rotary International, and gave insight to how well he thought District 6200 was doing.
“This experience is a great honor for a Rotarian to come to a distant area of the world to see how Rotary is working,” MacKay said during the luncheon. “For me to come here to see how you are following the object of Rotary, which is to foster and encourage the ideal of service as a basis of where the enterprise, is really important.
“This is the whole basis of the existence of rotary, and if you’re doing a great job I want to see it and take it back to my district to improve what we’re doing.”
MacKay said that he hopes his visit to Louisiana and his experience at the District Conference will help him in his mission to improve Rotary.
Honoré shared remarks during the luncheon as well, honoring all District 6200 Rotarians who served in the military, especially those who served in Iraq and/or Afghanistan post-September 11, 2001.
“This is a powerful thing and a blessing; because of the sacrifice of this nation, sending the sons and daughters around the world to proliferate this concept we call freedom, we sit here today,” Honoré said. “I thank you… for this opportunity to come and recognize this great relationship between Rotary and our veterans.”
Honoré asked the room full of Rotarians to keep a warm place in their hearts for those who have served in the armed forces, especially for those who never returned home to their families.
During the conference, which was named the Rotary Reunion on the River, in the Conference Plenary sessions, highlighted were noteworthy Club and District community service, vocational service, international service and youth service projects and initiatives.
The conference also hosted the Vocational Study Exchange Team from District 9650 in Australia.
On Friday evening, March 28, District 6200 held their annual Food Fest as chefs from around the district prepared and shared their hometown culinary delights.
The conference came to a close Saturday, March 29, with their Governor’s Banquet.
“It’s been a great conference,” Acosta said during an interview after the luncheon on March 28. “They really enjoy the hospitality here. We’re giving them all kinds of tourist information about the parish, so hopefully they’ll have an opportunity, before they leave to go back home, to visit and tour the parish.”