James W. Fleshman

2009 to 2010

Honor is a perception that is bestowed and received. Serving as your president this year has been an honor, which I humbly receive, knowing the stature of the individuals who have preceded me. I thank God daily for safe passage through this year, as I look forward to achieving that most desired status of Past President. I cannot take sole credit for this honor and, in fact, never imagined this to be possible in my youth. I have served with many of you in many areas of our society and it has been through those combined efforts that I have come to serve you as your president. Thank all of you for your friendship and hard work and thank you for this honor.

As I read through the speeches of 100 Past Presidents, I too became aware of the fact that everything that really needs to be said has previously been said. I refer you to this extremely interesting living history of our society which, thanks to Stella Zedalis, will soon be available through a link on our website. The struggle to identify a meaningful topic and a title for this speech has plagued every past president since A. B. Cooke first published his talk in 1910. As you can see from this table, I also struggled, until I settled on the “Impact of Professionalism.” Looking into the past has helped me understand our responsibility for today and given me hope for the future of our society. Our expressed goals will become the future (hopefully) and our actions will be seen as the past in a few short years. One can only hope that our “past” reflects our purity of heart, our soundness of mind, and our selfless pursuit of what is right today. Even though the issues in our 1st century of societal life are different from those in 2010, the methods by which we overcome those hurdles have not changed.