The variety offered by Rotary Club 29 is amazing and should be a source of pride for all members.
First, the variety of our programs spans the arts, philanthropy, sports, government service, science, business and finance, humor and drama. In recent weeks we have heard from business leaders ranging from Steve Hahn, President of AT&T Oklahoma, to brewers of craft beers available on our state’s craft beer trail.
We have heard from present and past political leaders including Jim Bridenstine, who left his position as Congressman from Tulsa for a stint at NASA, and Tom Cole from the Fourth Congressional district which stretches from Tinker Air Force Base to Altus Air Force Base, and beyond. Tom has one of the brightest minds in Washington, which is not intended to be an oxymoron. He is truly sharp.
Annually we get a Bedlam perspective on the two most prominent football programs in the state – with good natured barbs and bragging on both sides.
For variety we heard from the Executive Editor at the Oklahoman and a panel of military doctors who all served in combat situations. The doctors gave us a glimpse of the horrors of war and the true professionalism at work saving lives and mending bodies. Every speaker that day was a hero in his own right.
Second is the variety of the causes in which we engage as a club on a very regular basis. We honor our teachers with public recognition, reward and our genuine applause. Each year we send out a cadre of volunteers to ring bells for the Salvation Army and collect money for their important work keeping our at-risk citizens warm and fed. Bell ringers are rewarded by the smiles and generosity of strangers as well as spending an hour or more getting to know fellow Rotarians on duty with them.
We have combatted disease on a world-wide basis as well as adopting new rules and procedures to combat a pandemic on our own turf. Annually we choose a beneficiary for our “one pledge”. Through those gifts we have enhanced learning for children in day care and are currently helping to get food to the hungry, among the many projects we have taken on over the years.
Third, and perhaps most important, are the contributions our members make in the community, every day, most often with no public recognition or tangible reward. We serve on boards that do good work. We are officers of charities working toward better health in the community, better schools, bike paths and hiking trails, as well as important issues in the criminal justice arena.
We are business men and women who give back to the community. We are retirees who continue to work for the greater good. We are doctors and lawyers and public servants and bankers and insurance executives who refuse to live only in their professional world but want to stay engaged in the world at large.
Whatever the reason we join Rotary – for personal and business networking, opportunities to socialize, hear interesting speakers – it does not take long for “service above self” to sink in. Once it sinks in it then plays out in the Rotary world.