Past District Gov. Mark LaCour (2012-13) visited the Rotary Club of Zachary on July 9 as the guest of Zachary Rotarian James Castello.

LaCour brought with him the Good Ship Rotary award, explaining that a little-known history fact was used as inspiration for the award in an effort to make his community a better place — one of the main reasons he joined Rotary.

“The concept was developed by Paul Harris and George Means to keep Rotary at full sail and always going places,” LaCour said. “We should use our membership in Rotary to build friendships and network to help others out when they’re in need.”

LaCour endorsed the Choices program, which is used to persuade youth to stay in school and get an education beyond high school.

Zachary Rotary participates in Choices, sending volunteer members to talk to middle school students each year.

“Keeping children in school helps everyone in the community,” LaCour said. “Choices is a good hands-on project for all the Rotary Clubs in our district to be involved.”

LaCour gave Zachary Rotarians tips on how to host a successful district convention, since Zachary will be the site of the 2017 District 6200 annual conference.

“The time to begin planning is now,” LaCour said. “Be sure to include Rotary Youth Leadership Award students as part of the convention, give other clubs a chance to set up booths in which to display their projects and club information, and think about having the convention’s Food Fest near or at the hotel site.”

LaCour said the Food Fest is a popular part of the conference that draws large crowds.

LaCour was inducted into the Rotary Club of Gonzales in 1993 and has served his club in various leadership capacities, including as service chairperson and club president in 2008-09. As club president, he won the District Membership Award for inducting eight new members and designed and built the public relations vehicle known as the “Big Wheel.”

LaCour has many years of perfect attendance, is a multiple Paul Harris Fellow achiever, member of the Paul Harris Society and Rotary Leadership Institute trainer.

On the district level, he served as public relations chairperson from 2009-12; wrote and was awarded a district public relations grant to build five Big Wheels for other clubs in District 6200; served as assistant district governor for area Baton Rouge clubs; and was the public relations contact for the 2011 Rotary International Convention in New Orleans.

Also, he was awarded a grant to build eight Public Relations Pedestals and has served as a Rotary Youth Leadership Association counselor for several years.

LaCour graduated from Gonzales High School in 1966 and from Southeastern Louisiana University in 1970 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology.

After teaching sixth grade for one year, he entered the family retail furniture business in 1972.

He and his wife, Debbie, have been married for more than 40 years.

LaCour said when he isn’t snake catching, he’s playing golf, antique collecting, swimming or pursuing photography.