The omega and alpha - last and first - of the Rotary year is upon us.  June is the last month of the Rotary year; July the first.  It is good.  Those in leadership the past year are ready.  Ready to hand over the reins to the next group who have stepped up, volunteered.  That Rotarian, the one ready to hand over the reins, is Bill Maule.  Some call him “Rotary Bill.”  The group that stepped up, volunteered, is led by Walt Elliott.  He’s been called “Walt the Salt.”

    Bill became a Rotarian at the age of 73, less than two years after the tragic loss of his wife to pancreatic cancer.  He did so at the urging of his cousin Mike, a Rotarian for decades. At almost ninety years of age, most would expect to be stepping down from civic and community activities.  Not Rotary Bill.  He stepped up to become Kingston North Kitsap’s Club President a year ago.  Bill’s career as a State Department Foreign Service Officer had him quite comfortable doing the Club’s International Services work.  Holding its Presidency was quite another matter. 

    As he looks back on his year in office, Bill is proud to have accomplished one of his personal goals for the year, that of building a training fund for Club members to offset fees and travel costs involved in attending Rotary District and International training.  “Oops, the pandemic eliminated those training sessions.  But the money is there, ready to tempt our members when training begins again.”  “As an old Boy Scout, I was pleased that our Club is now the official sponsor of Kingston’s Scout Troop #555 and Cub Pack #555.  I think six of us members who are old Eagle Scouts are especially gratified.”

    Maule’s year is office was challenged like none who have gone before him, except perhaps those of a hundred years ago - yes Rotary was around then, too.  “In my nearly ninety years of life, there has been no time more disruptive of our daily lives, not even those during World War II.  But we were able to continue, holding our weekly Club meetings and our monthly Board meeting via Zoom.”

     In signing off, Rotary Bill states “It has been a great honor to serve as President of the Kingston-North Kitsap Rotary Club for the year just ending.  I can think of no other group that I would prefer to work with.  Our Board and members have worked together harmoniously to follow our goals, to be the people of action doing service here in Kingston and elsewhere in the world.  I retain my view that our Club remains small but mighty.”

    On to the alpha of Rotary’s year, the month of July.  Walt Elliott, a Kingston resident since 1989 and Navy retiree since 2000, is president for the next year.  Walt grew up in the Bronx, in apartments that were a 1940’s haven for families returned from World War II. It was a city kid’s life.  Rockefeller Center with skating, the movies and the Rockettes.  Swimming from the East River docks.  By the 1950’s the family was in Bay Shore, the suburbs, on Long Island. “Bay Shore was like Kingston but flat as a pancake.  Life was messing around with boats.”  And that life was to be continued.  After graduation from the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Walt had a career in submarines, retiring as a Captain (O-6 rank).  He served on seven subs, including the USS Henry Jackson, a ship that came with a Scoop Jackson - long time U.S. Senator from Washington state - fan club.  His assessment of what a career in subs means is this: “Two things: quality and responsibility.  What was quality was for me an intimate career with nuclear submarines, the most complex machines in the world.  Responsibility is a unique concept.  If responsibility is rightfully yours, no evasion, or ignorance, or passing the blame can shift the burden to someone else.”

    Walt Elliott, and the other half of Team Elliott-Moore, Bobbie Moore, have been  Rotarians since 2012.  He has served on Kingston’s Citizens Advisory Committee, its Parks and Trails Committee, the state Ferry Advisory Committee, and he served a term as a Port of Kingston Commissioner, campaigning for the office as “Walt the Salt.”  In his spare (?) time, he writes a Ferry column and cartoon for the Kingston Community News.  Bobbie has spent two decades making the Village Green a reality and is a Park District Commissioner.  It looks as if the small, but mighty Club is getting a “two-fer” this coming year.  Walt and Bobbie.  Quality and responsibility.