Possibility of leading Rotary International is ‘humbling,’ says Decatur’s Maloney | Decatur

Mark Maloney believes in paying what he calls “civic rent,” by giving back to the community through his time. But his nomination to serve as president of Rotary International could up his payments significantly for a year.

Maloney was the third of the six candidates interviewed by a 17-member committee that would nominate a president to lead Rotary International in 2019-20. After the half-hour interview Monday at Rotary headquarters in Evanston, Illinois, the Decatur attorney returned to his hotel room and worked on some projects and checked emails as he waited, a bit nervously, for the decision.

Around 5:30 that afternoon, Maloney received a call from the committee chair, asking him to return to the headquarters building, and he hustled out of the hotel and back to Rotary International offices as quickly as he could. The committee unanimously nominated him for the office of president for 2019-20, and Maloney will be declared the president-nominee Oct. 1 if no challenging candidates have been suggested.

“There’s the possibility that, for 12 months, I will be the principal spokesperson and public face of the international organization, and that’s almost a little hard to conceive,” said Maloney, who joined the Rotary Club of Decatur in 1980 and has served on the Rotary International board of directors, among other roles with the organization. The organization has more than 35,000 clubs around the world, with 1.2 million members.

“There are so many special things about Rotary,” said Maloney, sitting in a conference room of the law firm of Blackburn, Maloney, and Schuppert LLC, where he and his wife, Gay Blackburn Maloney, are members. Among them, “Rotary is one of the principal partners responsible for almost eradicating polio.”

In 1988, there were 350,000 new cases of polio in 125 countries, he said, while last year, there…

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