First off, Happy New Year!
Making resolutions are very commonplace right now.  A resolution is defined as “a firm decision to do or not do something.”  Having resolutions has been a great way to start each year. My favorite part of the word “resolution” is the root word “solution.” As part of the resolution process, it is important to be aware of potential problems as they come up and then try to focus on solutions.
One of my favorite examples of solution focusing is from the 1995 film Apollo 13 (based on a true story), directed by Ron Howard and starring Tom Hanks.  From this film, I was first introduced to the phrase “Houston, we have a problem…”  In fact, if the astronauts knew what else was coming, it would have been more appropriate for them to say “Houston, we have problems!”  The “problem” was that the oxygen tank exploded 56 hours into the flight and the crew was forced to abandon their attempt at being the third moon-landing.  Instead, they needed to somehow find a way to get back to earth.
One of my favorite parts of the film was when they realized the carbon dioxide levels for the astronauts were rising. As a result, they literally had to make a square peg fit into a round hole, by taking the cubic (square) scrubber from the command module and fit into the cylindric (round) scrubber in the lunar module.  NASA used the phrase “work the problem” to inspire their people to overcome incredible odds and find solutions.  When presented with the carbon dioxide problem, the engineer simply stated: “We’ve got to find a way to make this fit into the hole for this using nothing but that.”
In this situation, teamwork, creativity, and even an astronaut’s sock solved the problem and saved their lives long enough to tackle the next problem.  And eventually, the mission was deemed a “successful failure” when they all came back to earth alive.
There is no doubt that our communities, our nation, and our world have problems.  One of the things that I love about Rotary is that it brings us together and allows us to come up with solutions to the problems that so many people are facing.  Rotary allows us to “work the problem” and combine together to make a real difference.
This Rotary year, we have embraced the theme “Rotary Opens Opportunities.” I am thankful for the opportunities Rotary will give me this new year to take action and be part of the solution the world needs. That is the power of Rotary. 
Giving to Rotary, whether with our time, talent, or treasure, allows us to work the problems that are out there.  I invite each of you to make giving to Rotary part of your New Year’s Resolution.  Our communities, our nation, and our world needs us.  Together, we will make a difference.

Ben Nelson '20-'21 District 5400 Governor