(The following narrative is a continuation of a series of how a member was introduced to Rotary and subsequent memories. If you would like Rotary to be part of your life's story, please contact Alison Proctor at alisonproctor@gmail.com.) 


Craig Courtin

Joined Rotary May 26, 1999

January, 2023

After moving to Foster City with my family in 1996 I wanted to get more involved in the community both personally and professionally. Then Rotarian, FCPD Captain Bruce Tognetti, invited me to a meeting. I was impressed with the friendly atmosphere and the ambitious community service agenda of the club. I joined and over the years have had the opportunity to be deeply involved in the club’s activities as well as building great friendships along the way.

I served on the Club Board for 8 ½ years, including two as Vocational Chair, 3 ½ as Community Service Chair, President Elect, President in 2013/14 and Past President. I also served on the Foundation Board for two years. Along the way I’ve been involved as the Scholarship Coordinator for several years and annual application evaluator, annual rose pruner and Ryan Park planting and City tree planting projects coordinator among others. I was the Cooking Crew coordinator for 6 ½ years and coordinator/cook for many of the cooking events during that time. Speaking of the Cooking Crew: a big thanks to Greg Kuhl, Larry Lowenthal, Rick Wykoff and Paul Williams for introducing me to what has become my post-retirement passion, fly fishing.

I also served at the District level for three years as its first Child Safety Officer after the District established its child safety protocol program.

International trips were both fun and enlightening. As President Elect, my wife Jeanette and I had the chance to attend the International Conference in Lisbon, Portugal in 2013. We also joined other club members and Interacters on two trips to Mazatlan to distribute wheelchairs and school supplies as well as re-painting a school.

But perhaps my most memorable Rotary moment came in a 5-day trip I took in 2002 with Paul Williams and then club president Larry Zanatta. We visited Paul’s mother at the short-term orphanage/care facility she established in Santa Barbara, Hondurus. A more inspirational, generous and compassionate person, I have never met. We distributed wheelchairs and donated medical supplies around the poverty stricken countryside and we worked with and were hosted by local Rotarians. But it was the spirit of the Honduran people that I found so uplifting: from the farmer living in an earthen shack with no visible posessions of any value, who nonetheless, with great pride was busy planting flowers in front of his home; to the young school girl who ran with delight to show her mother the second-hand dress she had just picked out of those we had brought; to the emaciated looking mother outside a children’s hospital who I watched hand a stranger’s hungry child her only half a sandwich; to the adorable abandoned infant at Paul’s mother’s house who lite up the room with her smile, albeit through a cleft palate, every time you’d peer into her crib.

Those memories are still personally very profound to me, but I’ve also come to realize these types of acts of service constitute the essence of what Rotary does.