…I reluctantly joined Covina Sunrise Rotary in 1984 just a year and a half after its charter date and remain an active member. You may ask why. Well…when I think about it, I too question the sanity of my decision. Let’s see…
- I wake up at 5:30 AM every Tuesday morning…not easy!
- I pay for a breakfast I never eat-$
- I am humiliated along with three others who sing each week in front of the club. We receive incoming projectiles from our audience…really!
- I get fined for my birthday-$
- I get fined for my wedding anniversary-$
- I get fined for welcoming a granddaughter into the world-$
- I get fined when I miss a meeting if traveling-$
- I must present the Fine Master with a gift from my sojourn-$
- I must present the Club President with a gift as well-$
- I contribute to the Paul Harris Foundation-$
- I contribute to the Tex Everson Humanitarian Endowment-$
- I pay monthly dues-$
- I have spent countless hours in my earlier years with setup and breakdown of all CSR events
- I have spent countless hours participating in and supporting any and all CSR events
So, you may further ask, “is there something wrong with you?” The answer…“quite possibly, yes.” Like many other Rotarians worldwide, I too joined CSR for all the wrong reasons. Starting an Investment Advisory career and business and getting it off the ground at age 41 was difficult and finding new clients to support that enterprise was even more difficult. In my mind, joining a community service organization seemed like a good idea in pursuit of that strategy, and the end result was…I didn’t do a lick of business with my fellow Rotarians. However, within a three year period, I did business with about 90% of my Rotary brothers (and later sisters) who were now friends. I came to understand and embrace the mission of Rotary and recognized both my desire and need to participate in something for the greater good. When I looked around our meeting room, I saw a like mindedness which was the glue that kept our core coming back over and over again. That’s magic.
For many years, I was the CSR “induction machine.” The President would ask a proposed member to come to the podium where I would pin that individual in a semi-formal atmosphere and comment on the fact that ‘prospects’ have many choices when it comes to selecting the right service club. I always recognized Rotary as the “crown” of all service clubs but emphasized that CSR is the “jewel” in that crown. And it still is.
I am proud to be part of a committed community who see ‘service above self’ as a way of life. It is my privilege and pleasure to be associated with 35 Rotarians who give of themselves unconditionally in the ongoing fight to eliminate that great triumvirate of poverty, ignorance and disease worldwide, and right here in our local community and surrounding areas.
…I’ve always been attracted to oddballs and they somehow, they find me. In the early years, we were a collection of local guys who were looking for a connection to something…almost indefinable. We came in all sizes and shapes with great variance in our geographical backgrounds, religions, education, careers/jobs, etc. We just kinda found each other and became inseparable. Our respective families and circle of friends were becoming annoyed that we were no longer spending significant time with them but rather with each other and our projects. Spouses were an equal and significant part of that thing we became. Our core was composed of 10-12 couples who spent each weekend together doing fun things as well as those ‘all Rotary.” Our core was not socially engineered but rather connected via a natural affinity with and for each other. A team of characters was born. A defining moment for me was the passing of Tex Everson who was a charter member. After the funeral, we all gathered at Bill and Clojean Fortney’s house to grieve together, drink together and laugh at Tex stories of which there was no shortage. It was a significant and cohesive event. For me, that was the seminal event that created our “Band of Brothers.”