RI President Sakuji Tanaka, in his August message, encourages Rotarians to share those special experiences that stand out as their “Rotary Moment.” Sharing these personal stories can go much farther, sometimes, than facts and figures in attracting prospective members.
This is my Rotary moment. It is a love story as well as a Rotary success story. It describes how I was transformed from being a member of a Rotary club into being a Rotarian, a transition that has changed my life.
By 2006, I had been in Rotary for 29 years, and had served as club president, district treasurer, district governor, and district Rotary Foundation chair. During this period, I had also concentrated on developing my business and raising two beautiful daughters. But there were also painful times, including a divorce. I had been too preoccupied to get involved in hands-on community service. I was tired, under pressure, and thinking seriously about shedding extra responsibilities like Rotary.
In late August of that year, I was sitting in my office trying to catch up on work when the phone rang. The caller identified herself as Silvia, a representative of an NGO working with orphans and vulnerable children in our district. They needed help, and she asked if Rotary could meet with them. Reluctantly, I agreed, and accompanied by my club president, kept the appointment.
Silvia introduced herself and her colleagues and proceeded to tell us a bitter sweet story about working with underprivileged communities in Zululand, with fewer resources than they needed, but brimming with energy and hope. I was moved beyond words, not only by the nobility and importance of their cause but also by the charming and sincere presence of the young lady telling the story.
As the weeks went by, my Rotary club friends and I worked tirelessly to identify needs and negotiate Matching Grants to assist the project. Hours were spent talking to community members, negotiating with overseas sponsors, planning and executing the project.
And, of course, during all this time Silvia and I were working, shoulder to shoulder, to make the project a success.
As you can imagine, one thing led to another and now, I am proud to say that the project has been successfully completed — and Silvia is my wife.
So I have to say, without a shadow of a doubt, that when my telephone rang on that fateful August day, it was the start of my Rotary transformation, and remains my quintessential Rotary moment.
What is your Rotary moment? Send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org