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The president-elect of Rotary International is in Springfield this weekend for the 2007 Rotary International Institute for 12 Midwestern and Southern States. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports.
The president-elect of Rotary International is in Springfield this weekend for the 2007 Rotary International Institute for 12 Midwestern and Southern States.
Rotary International is a group of business leaders and professionals dedicated to humanitarian service.
Rotary President-elect Dong-Kurn Lee of Seoul Korea says he became interested in joining Rotary because of his father, who was a Rotary leader.
"My father was a Rotarian. Later, he became Rotary governor. He passed away about 20 years ago. At that time, I realized that Rotary Club is a very good organization, doing a good job. That's why I was envious of what my father did. That's why I decided in my mind to be a Rotarian."
Lee spoke to Rotarians at a luncheon today in Springfield. He says his message is a simple one: Encourage people to join Rotary, especially in this area which he says has seen a decline in membership.
"What I'm going to do is to push our Rotarians to bring Rotary members. In the last 7 or 10 years in this area, they're losing Rotarians, which I'm very regretful of that. So, if it's possible, let them bring new Rotarians for this year."
When he assumes the presidency, Lee will be the first Korean to be president of Rotary International.
He says after the Korean War, Rotary provided assistance to the country, helping it recover and thrive.
"Koreans are very grateful for the support and assistance we have received from the global community and charitable organizations which made it possible to realize our dream of recovering from the war. And I believe this is a significant why Rotary has grown in Korea as it has. We all want to give back some of what has been given to us."
Korea now boasts strong Rotary membership and is number three in contributions to the Rotary Foundation.
The Rotary International Institute continues this weekend in Springfield.