Who’s your Tommy?

140811_pollardjrBy William D. Pollard, Jr., Rotary Club of Churchland, Portsmouth, Virginia, USA

I joined Rotary in 1988 at the age of 25. Whenever I think of why we should invite someone to join Rotary, I think of Tommy.

Two years after starting a banking career in Richmond, Virginia, I was asked to work in my hometown of Petersburg. One of the first people to visit me was Tommy Adkins, a retired banker, who asked me to attend a Rotary club meeting. Tommy lived on the same street as my family when I was growing up, and I even delivered his newspaper.

I had no idea what Rotary was, but I accepted Tommy’s kind invitation to visit the Rotary Club of Petersburg. Tommy passed away several years ago and he probably never realized the impact he had on my professional and personal life.

  • Because of Tommy, I have made so many wonderful friendships with Rotarians throughout the world.
  • Because of Tommy, I have participated in many service projects helping others.
  • Because of Tommy, I have lived my life more ethically as I look to The Four Way Test.
  • Because of Tommy, I have had the satisfaction of financially supporting the life-changing work of The Rotary Foundation.
  • Because of Tommy, my mother is a Rotarian.
  • Because of Tommy, I have enhanced my leaderships skills serving as a club president, district governor, district Foundation chair, and in many other club and district roles.
  • Because of Tommy, I am helping Light Up Rotary this year.

So my three questions to you are:

  • Who is your Tommy?
  • What impact has Rotary had on your life?
  • Have you been or will you be a Tommy to someone else?

Join our global celebration of membership during the month of August. Post a photo of your club in action on Facebook, Twitter, Vine, or Instagram using the hashtag #WeAreRotary and show how Rotary makes a positive impact in the world. You can also signup for the webinar, Membership: It’s Now or Never, and discover more ways to celebrate this month.

4 thoughts on “Who’s your Tommy?

  1. Great indeed is to think of that person who ha helped to be what we are. I had a few “Tommies” . It was in 1988 [same year that William Pollard joined Rotary] when I was invited to pilot RYLA for Dist 3000. At the valediction, late PDG Ravindran besides admiring me for the conduct of RYLA wished me join Rotary. The then DG Siri Chandraratne, the RYLA Chairman, later DG, Raghavan and AN M Muthuraman joined the “chorus” as it were. Again I was goaded by Past R I director P C Thomas when I was Faculty for International RYLA. I owe them everything for what I am today.


  2. Yes, always Tommy is behind a Rotarian..

    When I joined Rotary in 1978, my motivator was one of my Friend and he is Rtn. Ramesh Sheth. I remember that evening of Rotary meeting, I was introduced by Rt, Ramesh, Pinned by Rtn. Dosubhai Oliaji (GGR of our Club) and Inducted by Rtn. Kalyan Banerjee (DG during that year and now Past R. I. President)

    Same way I played ‘role’ of Tommy and promoted and inducted many Rotarians…

    Even today also, I keep on exploring opportunity to act like Tommy!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great Post Bill. My Tommy is actually 2 people. Sam Smith from our Goochland Club who encouraged me for 4 years to check out the Fluvanna Rotary Club. He never gave up on me even thought the timing wasn’t right. Which leads me to my version of your Tommy, Bonnie Field. She has been a real inspiration.

    Because of Bonnie, I got involved with the Fluvanna Club. Because of Bonnie, I learned about and got involved with Interact. Because of Bonnie, my wife is an Interact coordinator and an Honorary Rotarian (soon to be a full Rotarian). Because of Bonnie, I got involved with District training and completed all of my RLI classes. Because of Bonnie, I see Rotarians from a Big R and a little R perspective. Finally, because of Bonnie, I am President of our Club this year and she is my President-Elect and together we are Lighting Up Rotary!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Who’s your Tommy? | Warsaw Rotary , Club 3393, District 6540

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