Our own Gene McNease's involvement internationally in Rotary

According to Gene McNease, Rotary opens a world of possibilities and fellowship opportunities. Rotary International is offered around the world in the form of programs, fellowships, conventions, and the list goes on. Rotary is much larger than you can ever imagine. Rotary has more potential for personal growth if you’ll just reach out and touch other Rotarians of the world.

In 2007, Rotarian John Glenn was president of the Rotary Club of Thomasville. He and Gene McNease were fellow members of Glen Arven. If you knew John, you knew he wanted everyone to be as passionate about Rotary as he was. John discovered that a group of Rotarians from around the world gathered once a year to play tennis. He knew that Gene played tennis. John encouraged Gene to join, and Gene signed up to play in a tennis tournament in Saverno, Italy that year. Arriving in Italy, Gene was greeted by immediate friends who escorted him to his destination. During that trip, the Constitution and By-Laws were created for the ITFR (International Tennis Fellowship of Rotarians), and Gene was a part of the creation. He was growing his Rotary world one swing at a time.

“Rotary began with a small group of professional and businessmen seeking fellowship. Their friendship bond enabled them to change their communities. Today that same fellowship is the life blood of this “world-changing force for good” called ROTARY! The ITFR began similarly when two men, Tomislav Maravic and Mladen Novakovic sought to organize a small group of tennis playing Rotarian men for fun and fellowship in Zagreb, Croatia. Their zest for tennis and love of Rotary led to the formation of a larger group of Croatian cities with tennis tournaments, and a Rotarian fellowship was born. These two men applied for and received our charter from Rotary International in 2003.”

Gene continues to be an active member of the fellowship. He was president of the ITFR for 2 terms (4 years total). He is now Treasurer and an international board member. Gene has won trophies in all 4 continents and 7 countries. He has attended 8 different Rotary International Conventions.

“Rotary itself broadens the mind. When you are part of a fellowship, you are more aware of how other countries view Rotary and celebrate Rotary. You obtain a real new appreciation for your own country and your own club. The relationships you build are long-distance, but that distance is much smaller now than 10 years ago due to technology.” Gene has quarterly ZOOM meetings and feels the warmth when he travels to each tournament or any Rotary event. “Relationships with Rotarians and Rotary in their own country allows you to see how they perceive us, and we perceive them.”

Rotary has many fellowships already created. Visit this website to view them.


If your interest is not here, consider creating a new Rotary Fellowship.

Be sure to speak with Gene McNease. His passion for Rotary is contagious!

Posted by Angela Williamson
September 28, 2021


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