It’s time again for making resolutions; and 2008-2009 Rotary International District Governor of Colorado, Steve Cantrell, has resolved that – in addition to being a good Governor – he will do what he can to “Make Dreams Real” for those in our world that desperately need our help. Cantrell says: "My dream is for every Rotarian in our district (who generally represents those in the world who are better off than most) will find their passion and 'Make Dreams Real' through humanitarian outreach work for those less fortunate both locally and internationally."
'Make Dreams Real' is this year’s theme and goal for all of the Rotary Clubs. With its rich, evolving history, Rotary is an organization of business and professional men and women united worldwide who provide humanitarian services, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in more than 200 countries with approximately 1.2 million members (of all religions, cultures and races) that belong to more than 33,000 different Rotary clubs.
Steve Cantrell joined Smoky Hill Rotary in 1991 and served as the President in 1995-96. Like others who first join a service organization, his first six months left him wondering whether Rotary was for him. At that moment he became a 'Rotarian' and not just a member of a Rotary club. Steve made a commitment to be passionate about what he was doing to help improve the lives of others, and he saw his involvement in Rotary as an opportunity to really make a different. For Steve Cantrell, it was full speed ahead from then on with all his heart.
Steve was awarded the club’s Robert W. Tschappat Award (Rotarian of the Year) in 1998, and he showed the importance he placed upon Rotary’s activities by maintaining perfect attendance. He has proposed and sponsored more than 25 people in Rotary. No less than five Presidents of the Smoky Hill club were sponsored by Steve, and he has helped add many new members to each club in his district.
Steve is a wonderful mentor to many Rotarians. His feedback is well-thought out and extremely helpful. His enthusiasm for Rotary is contagious, and his confidence in his fellow members is impressive. Steve has a special soft spot and concern for the world’s under-served children and observes: "I was shocked to discover almost 27,000 children under the age of five die every day from preventable causes. These children die from pneumonia, measles, and malaria due to lack of basic medicines, vaccines, and mosquito nets. They die by the thousands every day because they only have dirty water to wash in and drink."
Steve Cantrell and his wife, Mary, also happen to live right next door to me, and I consider myself lucky to have such kind, caring and decent people as my neighbors.
Steve is hopeful and optimistic about the future of the world and will make you think about what you should be doing to give back. Cantrell likes to empower people and is a 'nuts-and-bolts' kind of leader who makes himself accessible and comes prepared with tips and personal observations that help motivate his listeners. He has overcome many obstacles of his own - and shows others that in spite of any so called limitations you can be an example and inspiration to others.
What is the main objective of Rotary? The main objective of Rotary is service - in the community, in the workplace, and throughout the world. Rotarians develop community service projects that address many of today's most critical issues, such as children at risk, poverty and hunger, the environment, illiteracy, and violence. They also support programs for youth, educational opportunities and international exchanges for students, teachers, and other professionals, and vocational and career development. The Rotary motto is "Service Above Self."
Why and how did you get involved in Rotary? In 1991, I was invited by a friend, Michael Peterson, President of Adolfson & Peterson, a commercial development and construction company, to visit the Rotary Club of Smoky Hill. At that point in my life, I felt blessed and was looking for an avenue to serve those less fortunate in my local community.
What do you hope to accomplish during your term as District Governor? I am the 2008-2009 District 5450 Governor serving sixty-five (65) Rotary Clubs and approximately 3,300 Rotarians. As District Governor, I am the only officer of Rotary International representing our District. I have (17) Assistant Governors and over (200) District Leaders that assist me in serving the Rotary Club’s. The purpose of my position and that of the other members of the District leadership is to help every Club achieve their goals and objectives by providing them with the leadership, education, training and access to the many available resources through Rotary.
Steve, so far, how many of the clubs in your District have you and Mary visited?
The clubs in District 5450 are awesome! As of this date, Mary and I have visited over 30 of the 65 clubs in our District, including the two soon to be chartered provisional clubs. I have had the privilege to deliver my message titled; “Passion in Rotary” to the club’s membership and meet with each of the club’s Board of Directors. I have heard about many fabulous club projects and activities that are serving those that desperately need our help in our local and international communities. I am truly humbled and honored to serve the wonderful passionate Rotarians in District 5450! I am also excited about the membership growth I have seen in just the first two months of this Rotary year.
Have you added any new Rotary Clubs to your district? The number of clubs in our District has increased significantly over the past several years. On July 1st this year, we were also delighted to welcome the two clubs from Castle Rock, formerly of District 5470, to our Rotary family.
Why did Rotary choose Ending Polio worldwide as their top goal? Most of us assume that polio no longer is a health threat. Ending polio worldwide remains one of Rotary's top goals. Polio is still prevalent in many developing countries. Vital to helping achieve that goal is “Rotary's US $100 Million Challenge” to match the Gates Foundation's $100 million grant to The Rotary Foundation to eradicate polio once and for all.
In addition to Polio eradication, we also are very active in providing clean safe drinking water to communities that have none. Did you know 1.1 billion people live without safe clean drinking water? Some other areas we are working to improve; malnutrition (50% of the worlds population suffers from malnutrition) and literacy (70% of the world population is unable to read and write). I am not sure how Polio was selected to be the primary focus of our organization, however all it takes is one infected person to travel to the United States to create another epidemic. How many service organizations can say they played a major role in eradicating a terrible highly infectious disease?
With the challenging and demanding role you play as District Governor, have you had much time to devote to your real estate career this year? Fortunately yes, Mary is a great partner in both helping with Rotary and Real Estate. I also believe in empowering leaders to be leaders, some people call it delegating. Lastly, it also helps that I am an extremely organized individual.
What can someone in the real estate business do to ride out these tough economic times? Stay active and visible in your community. People have always wanted to do business with people they know and trust. History has proven real estate has always had the low and high cycles; therefore you must conserve and live beneath your means when the times are good.
Have you changed in the last 10 years? You must always be changing and improving the way you do business to survive. In the next 10 years, I hope I am still doing what I am doing today, but constantly improving how I do those things.
What was the toughest decision you’ve ever had to make? Sending my son to St. Johns Military School in Salina, Kansas when he was 15 years old. He graduated from St. Johns last year and is currently serving in the U.S. Army Military Police.
What would be a dream come true personally for Steve Cantrell? My dream came true when I married my best friend and the woman who makes my dreams real, Mary.
What advice do you wish you were given years ago that you would like to give to a young person today? True happiness can only be realized by serving others. Also, love everyone regardless of their race, color, creed or religion. Personally and professionally treat and respect everyone as you wish to be treated and respected.
What should President-Elect Obama make as his #1 priority? Restore our faith in our government and political leaders and give us the belief we live in the best country in the world.
Who is the wisest person you know? The most humble servant and wisest man currently living I have ever had the pleasure to meet is Past Rotary International President Bhichai Rattakul from Bangkok, Thailand, and the person I most admire is Mother Teresa.
What is your favorite book of all times that inspired you that you like to recommend to others? A #1 bestseller, “The One Minute Manager” by Ken Blanchard, and a less known and uncharacteristic fiction by John Grisham, “A Painted House.”
What magazine or publication can’t you live without? This sounds strange, but the only publication I read on a consistent basis is the Rotary Club of Smoky Hill weekly newsletter.
What non-profit organizations have you worked closely with? In addition to Rotary International; Project Cure, Water for People, World Vision, Engineers without Boarders, Gateway for Battered Women, Shots for Tots and the Excelsior School for Girls.
What event do you look forward to attending each year? The Rotary International District 5450 Conference and a fundraiser “Puttin’ on the Ritz” Silent Auction and Dinner hosted by the Rotary Club of Smoky Hill.
What do you consider your own personal triumph? Succeeding professionally and personally with a severe hearing loss.
What are your favorite sports or leisure time activities? Watching the Denver Broncos, fishing, golf and reading.
You have done many incredible things in your professional life, what gave you the strength and determination to go out and become one of the top realtors in Colorado?I received my strength from my deceased father who worked three jobs most of his adult life to support our family and always had a smile on his face. I believe my determination came from wanting to be the best person I could be and professionally provide superlative service for my clients.
What do you feel most dedicated to at this point in your life - and personally, what do you want to make your mark doing? Being the best husband and father I can be. I would like to be remembered as someone who cared for all humankind and made a positive difference in others by being a part of their lives.
Steve Cantrell’s Honors and Awards:
Steve began his lengthy service to the District serving as the District 5450 Programs Chairman in 1995-96. He served as the District Foundation Chairman for two years from 1996 to 1998 in which he was the recipient of the Rotary Foundation District Service Award. Steve was awarded the distinguished Rotary International Citation for Meritorious Service Award in 1998. Steve served as Assistant Governor for two years from 1997-1999. In 2000, Steve served as the District 5450 Conference Chairman. Under Steve’s leadership and guidance, Smoky Hill hosted a conference that Rotary International awarded the Best District Conference in Zone 25 consisting of 17 Districts.
Steve has been a trainer for P.E.T.S. for the past ten years, served as the Chairman for the Quad District Rotary International Foundation Dinner and served as the District World Community Service Chairman from 2002 to 2005.
Steve’s service has been recognized many times, but most significantly when Steve was the recipient of the District 5450 Rotarian of the Year for 2003-2004.
Steve is a Four Multiple Paul Harris Fellow and an Annual Contributor. In addition, he made each of his twin children, Nick and Nina, Paul Harris Fellows. He is a Rotary Foundation Benefactor, and most recently a member of The Rotary Foundation Bequest Society.
He also served as District 5450 Conference Chairman in 2000, was named District 5450 Rotarian of the Year in 2004, received the Rotary Foundation District Service Award and is a Sapphire Paul Harris Fellow, Foundation benefactor and member of both the Rotary Foundation Bequest Society and Paul Harris Society. Steve has served as a trainer at the President’s Elect Training Seminar for 10 years and was a District Rotary Foundation chair for two years and the District World Community Service Chair for three years.
In 2006, he received the rarely awarded and distinguished RE/MAX International Lifetime Achievement Award.
In addition, he is a member of the exclusive RE/MAX Hall of Fame and recipient of the Platinum Club award for each of the past (14) years.
Cantrell was selected to appear on the cover of the Denver Edition of the Broker Associate magazine including a feature article.
In 2007, Cantrell was ranked as a Top 1% Realtor Nationally for the 16th year in a row.