by Tim Berney
I have been a member of Rotary Club 29 for nearly twenty years now. My original intention in being a member was to meet people that were in leadership positions in Oklahoma City, grow my network, and be exposed to interesting and important topics. At 32 years old and the owner of a small business, these were the things that drove most of my involvement in civic and professional organizations. I made decisions that were all about me, frankly.
Today, I have certainly received everything that I wanted from Rotary. However, what I wasn’t looking for at the time is where the real value and return on my time and investment has paid off. Yes, I have obviously gotten to know scores of leaders through our club. Whether in business, civic, non-profit, or government life, I have come to know most of those who drive our city forward. I have gotten to listen to US Senators, University Presidents, CEOs, and everything in-between discuss the work that they are doing to influence and improve our lives. My local network is significant.
All of these things that I hoped to get from our club have been accomplished. Yet, they pale in comparison to what I didn’t know that Rotary would do for me. This club allows me to make a positive impact on people that I will never know. Whether they are 10 year-old students, graduating seniors, or homebound elderly, we impact them. They have been homeless, blind, and sick, and we have assisted. Victims of terror and natural disaster. Hungry. Depressed. Helpless. Rotary Club’s dedication to service above self has been a gift. And not just to the people that we have been able to help, but a gift to me- the once selfish 32 year old trying to make a buck.
It is serendipitous. While I was looking for one thing, I found another. Rotary Club 29 (you included) has afforded me the opportunity to do things that have changed my life. If asked to join today, I would- but for far different and more important reasons.