Simms introduced as Rotary Club president


In the annual passing of the baton, the Portsmouth Rotary Club held its installation meeting Monday to introduce to the new president.

Lydia Simms was chosen to lead the Rotary Club over the next 365 days. During the meeting, Simms briefly touched on her goals while serving as the latest president.

“It’s a very short year but we have a lot planned,” Simms said. “We’d love to see the continuing service to our local community. We’re going to still be doing our fundraisers … in turn, those funds are going to be given back to the community …

“We also have an international program where students can travel aboard and they’ll meet up with another Rotary Club, and get placed in another school. That’s really exciting and the funds that we raise all go towards projects like that.”

Simms also wants to continue to focus on building relationships within the Rotary Club, which she believes will spread throughout the community, leading to extraordinary outcomes.

While Simms finds herself in a leadership role, at the age of 22, she is the youngest president to ever serve at the Portsmouth Rotary Club, which she admitted can be overwhelming.

“Definitely it’s something that I do think about, mostly because I’m with a group of people that have all this experience,” Simms said. “They’re really successful businesses owners, they’re CEOs, they’re leaders, so it’s intimidating to be with those people but at the same time they’re the nicest, kindest people I’ve ever met. It’s a Rotary family to me, so I think about it but it’s both an inspiration and a little bit of intimidation too.”

James Bussa, who is stepping away after serving his year as the Rotary Club president, said Simms has all the member’s support and confidence. However, as Simms takes office, Bussa did offer a few words of advice to his predecessor.

“Hang on, hang on for the ride,” Bussa said jokingly. “In all seriousness, she’s an absolute go getter. I give her 100 percent support and I know the rest of the club does as well. She will be the club’s youngest president here in Portsmouth. She already has some goals she’s already set and I support them 100 percent, myself and all the vast amount of experience in this room are her to support her.”

As far as Bussa is concerned, he is pleased with the progress the Rotary Club made during his time in office.

“First off, it’s a ‘we,’ it’s never a ‘me,’” Bussa said. “The whole club did fantastic. We met 98 percent of the goals set for the year but again it’s a ‘we’. It isn’t the James Bussa show, it’s the Portsmouth Rotary. We did set record numbers as far as new members and things like that, but that wasn’t me going out and getting them, that was the team.”

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The Assistant Director Governor of the Rotary Club Greg Erwin swears in the new President Lydia Simms during a banquet held Monday night. Assistant Director Governor of the Rotary Club Greg Erwin swears in the new President Lydia Simms during a banquet held Monday night.

By Chris Slone

[email protected]

Reach Chris Slone at 740-353-3101, ext 1930, or on Twitter @crslone.

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