Rotary Moment – October 15, 2012 Fred Burgess, Rotary Club of Topsham Expresso Rotary International asked a group of Northwestern

University students to describe Rotary, and here is what the people said: Rotary is a worldwide network of inspired individuals who translate their passions into relevant social causes to change lives in community. Now, in my experience, Rotary is actually two worldwide networks, two organizations, organizations that exist side-by-side in sometimes parallel universes. One universe is the Fellowship Rotary, the weekly meeting Rotary, the Rotary where we get together each week over breakfast and listen to a speaker and plan the next Fundraiser. Then there is the Foundation Rotary, the Service Above Self Rotary, the Rotary where we align ourselves with a humanitarian cause, pool our resources, and go out and proactively do something to make this world of ours just a slightly better, more peaceful place. Maybe we help build a new house for Habitat or provide the Topsham Library with a stream of books. Maybe we provide clean water for Guatemala or participate “hands on” in the Dominican. Maybe we write a check for a good cause, but whatever we do, we do “something.” And that something makes a tangible difference. Rotarians make a difference in part – here comes the commercial – because our Rotary Foundation is one of the most highly rated, most effective charities in the world, and in part because Topsham Rotarians are committed to making Topsham and the world a better place. Whatever the reason, we make a difference. And as this year’s Rotary International President Sakuji Tanaka has pointed out, that service that we do builds peace among peoples around the world. What Rotarians do is build peace.

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Being a Rotarian is not about paying your dues, it’s not about reciting the Four-Way Test. That’s what it takes to be a club member. Being a Rotarian is about using your passion to change lives. It’s how we live. Rotary is a worldwide network of inspired individuals who translate their passions into relevant social causes to change lives in community. We are Rotarians. We believe that Service is bigger than Self. Finally, I encourage you to join President Beaumont, Dr. Ron and myself at the special Rotary Foundation conference in Naples on Saturday, October 27th. I for one have room for three more in my car.

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