Best Christmas Present of all Time
 
What was the best present you ever received during the holidays? Could have been Hanukah or Christmas or in my case birthday or anniversary as all the biggees for me fall in December (which is a double edged sword by the way). Getting in the Way Back Machine I might cite the 4th Grade Christmas I received a Man From U.N.C.L.E. Secret Agent kit and straightaway saved the world from the ravages of THRUSH. Two years later I got a fancy chrome English racer bicycle that was promptly stolen, which suggests one or two evil THRUSH agents were still on the loose. I also remember several gifts I have given through the years that have been special, which brings me to the moral of this article. Rotary International is a gift we all engage in and support that gives 24/7/52 and is truly transformational.
 
Each year each of us contributes $100 to the Rotary Foundation for their work around the globe. Rotary International and the Foundation exists to promote peace, to eradicate polio, to provide grants to provide clean water and fight malnutrition, provide sustainable living projects and literacy initiatives. In simple terms RI exists to literally rock the world. Maybe, possibly the best gift we give this year is given every time we pay our Rotary dues as a portion goes to RI. It is also possible for any of us to "give over and above" to either RI or to one of our projects like the Dominican clean water, the Dominican school build projects, our soon-to-be-unleashed hospital baskets, or to one of our monthly hey we need this focus needs. In January our focus need will be on Toilet Paper for several nonprofit groups in our area, as well as our new basket project.
 
Rotary gives... and gives... and gives. Rotary changes lives a little here and a little there and over time these little changes add up to profound shifts across the globe. And we are part of it all, a little here and a little there. We saw it when we were doing the McGinnis Ferry Road clean up, even though a few passers'-by thought we were prison crew, the majority got the correct message. Scores of Dominicans know Rotary was involved in providing their village clean water. Rotary provides dry-packaged meals to people far and wide and we were part of making hundreds of them. Cleft-palates have been fixed free in Third World countries thanks to Rotary, and we have helped make this happen financially. The fewest number of people ever are presently afflicted with Polio right now thanks to Rotary, and yes we helped make that happen too.
 
I do religious missions as a calling and can't see myself not taking part in that type of lifestyle, but I felt a need for a new outlet not associated with a faith organization or expression. In a word I felt a need to go secular and I looked at all of the organizations available to join. I chose Rotary partially due to what I read, but more because of what I saw in Rotarians like Everett Bennett and others. To me Rotarians were the "real deal." Nothing against the other groups but why not go with the group that has as its goal to literally change the world? It's a big bold goal but I like big and bold.
 
So as this year begins to wind down let's see our Rotary involvement as the present it is and let's plan to be both big and bold in 2016. The world needs us!