Parkite John Hanrahan ready for his role as Rotary district governor of Utah
John Hanrahan is ready to start a new chapter in his life as Rotary District Governor of Utah.
The title will be given to the prominent Parkite who helped found the People’s Health Clinic and the Hope Alliance during a ceremony Saturday night at the Kimball Art Center, and he will begin his first one-year term on Monday, July 1.
“One of the enjoyable things I get to do is visit the clubs in the state and give them a presentation about how our district can help Rotary International fulfill their goals,” said Hanrahan, who is a member of the Park City Rotary Club. “During these visits, I’ll get to help individual Rotarians and inspire them as much as I can with the leadership team we have in place.”
Utah is home to 45 Rotary Clubs, with two in Park City — Park City Rotary and Sunrise Rotary.
“Rotary in Park City is very strong,” Hanrahan said. “Last night I was at a club meeting for a new one, the Park City Twilight Rotary Club, that will start up in the next couple of weeks. We are planning a charter ceremony for this new club, and that will be a big deal.”
This is the first year a Park City Rotarian will become the District Governor, Hanrahan said.
“Park City has 15 percent of the Rotarians in the state, so you would think we’d have done this earlier,” he said with a laugh. “It will be a real honor and privilege to lead the district this year.”
The Utah clubs are part of Rotary International, an organization that works with businesses and community leaders on humanitarian and goodwill projects, according to Hanrahan.
“The districts throughout the world are set up based on the number of clubs and Rotarians,” he said. “So you may have 3 or 4 districts in Los Angeles, and on one that covers 10 countries in the Caribbean.”
In Rotarians impacted nearly 900,000 people and clocked in more than 40,000 volunteer hours and provided more than $2 million in goods and services in 2017-18, according to the organization.
Hanrahan remembers his first hands-on international project with Park City Rotary more than 15 years ago when he traveled to the small town of Parral in Chihuahua, Mexico, with a group of Rotarians and high school students in Rotary’s Interact program.
“The project helped set up a computer lab and school,” he said. “We went there because one of our members was from that town, and it was a really moving and great experience.”
Since then, Park City Rotary has traveled multiple times to Guatemala, Belize and, more recently, the Hopi reservation to do similar projects, Hanrahan said.
On a local level, Hanrahan is proud of Park City Rotary’s work with the annual Miners Day celebration on Labor Day.
“Every single member of our club who is in town at that time is engaged in that event, and we all have a good time,” he said.
Hanrahan, a physician by trade, started the Hope Alliance in the late 1990s with Reverend Joe Mitchell. The goal for the nonprofit is to embark on medical missions to underserved regions around the world like Guatemala and Rwanda.
“Rotary provided a great opportunity for doing those types of international projects through networking and grant funding,” he said. “I fell in love with Rotary back then and joined.”
Around the same time, Hanrahan worked with Father Bob Bussen and Pamela Atkinson to found the People’s Health Clinic, which serves uninsured residents of Summit and Wasatch counties.
“The various people who have been involved in those organizations over the past 20 years have been extraordinary,” Hanrahan said. “They have expanded them and kept them vital and vibrant.”
Hanrahan stepped down from his role as clinical director at the People’s Health Clinic in February so he could give his full attention to his upcoming role as Rotary Governor, but he will continue to provide volunteer patient care when he can, he said.
Still, Hanrahan is looking forward to being Rotary Governor.
“My primary goal is to support the clubs in our district in doing what they are already doing so well,” he said.
Another goal for Hanrahan is to attract and engage younger Rotarians.
“As we move forward as an organization, if we don’t continue to bring in new passionate and excited Rotarians, the older ones will age out and we’ll lose our capacity to make an impact in our communities,” he said.
The last goal on his list, so far, is for all of Utah’s clubs to achieve a Rotary Citation.
“Each year the Rotary International president will come up with a list of criteria, and those can be anything from publicizing Rotary in the community, doing additional services projects, growing club memberships and contributing to Rotary Foundation,” Hanrahan said. “If a club meets those criteria, it will get a citation. And I would like to see all of Utah’s clubs get citations.”
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The Park City Police Department has stepped up its efforts to protect pedestrians after several accidents involving drivers and people walking along a road or crossing one.