By now 102 years have passed since the day when the lawyer Paul Harris together with two friends established the first in the world Rotary Club in Chicago. It was 23 February, 1905. Years have passed; the world has gone through joys and pains, revolutions and crises, triumphs and defeats, but traditionally the Rotary year always starts in July…

 On 7 July the first Bulgarian presidency of Rotary Club in Chicagoland has become a fact. The Bulgarian Valentine Georgiev is its president for 2007 – 2008.

Valentine is one of the most famous Bulgarians in the New World. Only for seven years he and his wife Yana, started like many of us from “the zero”, found their feet. The new Rotary-president now is in the first dozen of specialists of Countrywide – the popular in the USA business empire for finance and real estate.

Rotary is a world organization of leaders in business and professions, which provides humanitarian aid, encourages high ethical norms in all professions and helps for the spread of well meaning and peace in the world.

 The official ceremony was attended by the former president of Westmont Rotary Club, Mr. Jim Glason who talked not only about what had been made, but also what is forthcoming, about the good expectations of the society, and the good hopes related to the new president. The presence of the high-standing in the hierarchy of Rotary International – Mr. Art Davis – came as a surprise for everyone.

The meeting between us, “non-Rotarians”, with the members of Westmont Rotary Club, who declared officially for their president Valentine Georgiev, was more than an event. It was a revelation for that that here in America, you really go ahead, that you are accepted everywhere irrespective of religions and races.

These people were natural; they behaved with us, the guests, as if they had known us for a long time – probably in their mind every Bulgarian had a part of the prestige and charm of Valentine.

We were astonished by the beauty and harmony of the family house, built with classic taste.The green meadow in front of the big house, the Bulgarian folk and dance group in Chicago “Horo” presented itself as “First Rotarian troupe” – professionally and in high spirits. The girls in folk costumes welcomed with a smile, with bread and salt, by old Bulgaria custom the official guests and members of Rotary Club, and somewhat unnoticeably everyone were in high spirits.

The general consul of Bulgaria in Chicago, Mr. Ivan Sotirov, thanked for the high esteem which is not only for Valentine Georgiev and its family, but also for the whole Bulgarian community.

The old chairperson of the club and its members talked with good feelings about their expectations from the forthcoming “Bulgarian period” in the board of their club.

It was an exceptional evening on Chicago soil. It was the night during which one of the many Rotary Clubs worldwide gave the keys for its management to each of us, Bulgarians, in Chicago!

We assess that as an event which outlines the new face of Bulgaria. Bulgaria which is closer and closer to the credo of Rotary:

“Humanism and honesty in human relations, respect for personal freedom of each person.”

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