Jerry Wear named Rotary district governor

Jul. 04, 2013 @ 11:06 PM

Twenty-eight years ago, Jerry Wear got involved with the Pigeon Forge Rotary Club, and he was quickly convinced of its importance in the community and abroad. On Wednesday, Wear became only the second Sevier Countian to be named district governor elect. Presiding over Rotary District 6780, Wear will oversee 63 clubs.

In a speech following his pinning at the Holiday Inn, Wear emphasized the importance of individual members and noted that of the myriad of projects undertaken by the organization, they are most recognized locally for their community involvement and support of schools.

Addressing Rotary Club members at Wednesday's meeting, he said, "It's members like you that make Rotary Club great. I'm very appreciative that you gave me this opportunity and I hope I live up to your expectations."

Wear has numerous goals that he'd like to achieve during his year as district governor. Globally, his primary ambition is the eradication of polio. Since 1985, Rotary club members have helped immunize over two billion children against polio, and with only 77 cases of polio diagnosed this year, the club is well on its way to reaching its goal of a polio-free world.

Another project important to Wear is the Heart 2 Heart Mission, which provides philanthropic service to Mexico through grant projects, providing water tank systems for grade schools and kidney transplants for young adults and teens. Renal failure is  prevalent in Mexico.

Wear further hopes to aid Mexico in efforts to develop a rainwater harvesting system that will enable a three-month growing period for crops. "Starvation is the biggest killer besides disease in Mexico," Wear said.

In addition to the club's international focus, the organization is active locally, as Wear pointed out. The group's current local focus is on building a playground at Wear Farm Park that will be accessible to all children, including those with physical handicaps.

"We want brothers and sisters to be able to be together and play, and it won't be for just Pigeon Forge residents, it will be for our visitors and for everyone in the Sevier County Community as well," he said.

Working with youth is important to Wear, who said that over 600 students attended the Interact Conference last year. In additon, Rotary Club provides annual high school scholarships to seniors at Pigeon Forge High School.

"The Rotary Club really does a lot for the community, and they do it secretively," Wear said. They probably should be more outspoken about what they are doing. There are five Rotary Clubs in Sevier County, and they all give free dictionaries to third grade students."

Rotary Club member Laurie Taylor, who works as director of sales and marketing at Country Tonite Theatre, said, "The club is very honored and proud to have Jerry Wear in this position. He really is Mr. Rotarian, and I know he will be a huge asset to the group." n

jfrye@themountainpress.com