Youngstown Rotary Club welcomes homegrown district governor

By Lee Murray


Deborah Esbenshade was welcomed at a special meeting of the Rotary Club of Youngstown on Wednesday for the first time as district governor.

Esbenshade assumed her duties Monday.

The meeting, at Youngstown Country Club, was her first official duty in the position.

“It’s an honor,” Esbenshade said. “They’ve asked me to be here to install their officers, so it’s pretty special.”

The role of governor involves overseeing operations at 47 clubs in eastern Ohio. Esbenshade said she is the third woman to fill the role of district governor in the district, and the first one from Youngstown.

To be nominated, a candidate must have been a Rotarian for at least seven years and have experience as a club president.

Esbenshade said that she has been an active member for 19 years.

“I’m now responsible for anything that’s related to the district,” she said. “I have to make sure that the district remains in conformance with Rotary International and with the constitution.”

During the meeting, the club installed Scott Schulick as president; Becky Keck as vice president; David Turner as secretary; and Carol Chamberlain as treasurer.

Esbenshade will travel a lot in her new position to attend meetings at clubs from Kinsman to Wooster to Newcomerstown.

“It’s pretty large area. I have to make official visits to all the clubs as often as I can,” she said, estimating that she will drive about 25,000 miles per year.

Esbenshade works full time as vice president of Modern Builders Supply, a manufacturer and distributor of building materials based in Youngstown. She said that balancing work with Rotarian responsibilities will be a challenge.

The club also bid adieu to 17-year-old Gauthier Gaillard, a foreign-exchange student from Les Herbiers, France, whose spent his junior year of high school in Youngstown. Gaillard attended Rotary meetings and traveled extensively throughout Ohio during his year in the Mahoning Valley.

“It was a really good experience that I will remember all my life,” Gaillard said. “I’ve met so many people. I went on a lot of different trips and met lots of people and other exchange students.”

“I’m sure I will miss it here, but I’m ready to go home and see my friends again.” Gaillard added.

Esbenshade said she loves Rotary’s global reach.

“The humanitarian service that we do is phenomenal. It’s both local and international. It’s an awesome organization,” she said. is a collaborative effort among the Youngstown State University journalism program, Kent State University, University of Akron and professional media outlets WYSU-FM Radio, The Vindicator, The Beacon Journal and Rubber City Radio, both of Akron.

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