I recently was honored by our local Huron Valley Rotary Club by being named a Paul Harris Fellow. I am honored and humbled by the selection for that honor. The Paul Harris Fellow Award is the Rotary honor for service to the community is pursuit of the goal of making the world a better place for all. The Rotary has that goal and has done great things both locally and internationally.
As I was thinking about what to say in accepting the award, I drew inspiration from my most dependable source, the Jack’s Winning Words blog. I save the little quotes that Jack uses to open each blog post, because they usually come in handy as inspiration for something that I want to write about later. In this case, they seemed perfect as comments on this honor.
The first was this quote by Clarissa Pikola Estes –
“Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach.”
Small, local groups, such as local Rotary Clubs, Optimists Clubs, local Chambers of Commerce, Good Fellows groups and many others, are the backbone of local efforts to make the part of the world that they can reach a better place to live for all. Often their efforts go unnoticed, because they work in the background on projects that may not garner much attention in the media; however, it is through those efforts that things get done, that needed to get done. Playgrounds are built, parks are cleaned up, homes are rehabilitated, meals are delivered to shut-ins and so much more.
Sometimes the results of a dedicated and tireless effort does have worldwide impact, such and the Rotary International effort to eradicate polio. Rotary clubs joined the fight against polio in 1979 with a campaign to provide polio vaccine around the world until polio was totally eradicated. By 2018 the campaign has achieved a 99.9% success rate against the polio virus worldwide and the fight continues to take the vaccine into the most remote regions of the world where the virus still exists.
The second quote that I used was from Helen Hayes –
“We relish our heroes, forgetting that we are extraordinary to someone.”
To those children who otherwise might go hungry this summer, the heroes are those who make sure that the school meals programs continue through the summer vacation. To those shut-in who might otherwise go hungry, the Meals on Wheels van drive is a hero. To the homeless veterans who otherwise would not have a blanket to sleep under or a new coat to wear when it get cold, the heroes were those who collected and distributed those gifts. To the child who wandered down the wrong path for a while the heroes are those who reach out to help and counsel and not just to condemn. To the widows who lost a husband in war or in service to the community, the heroes are those who offered support and comfort and helped then find a way through their grief and the strength to go on.
There are many who toil in the background who probably never get an award or recognition of any sort from those that their efforts help or whose lives are made better because of their efforts. I was fortunate enough to be recognized for some of what I try to do in the community that I live in, but I think it is important to take a moment every now and then to give thanks for all who serve their communities and those in need there. They don’t do it to get recognition. They do it because it needs to be done and they have answered the call to do it.
Here are a couple of quotes that I found since that night that I wish I had used then, especially in this highly charged political year –
“Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in.” — Unknown
I write here often about getting out and serving others by volunteering for things in your community that need to be done. I also write about self-help quite often and dealing with life. That’s one reason that I like this quote by Mahatma Gandhi –
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
So, find something that needs to be done in your community and just do it. Volunteer. Serve. Find yourself.