(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.) 


Mark Watson

Joined F.C. Rotary March 13, 2013

July, 2022


My Rotary Story begins in Babylon, New York. As a boy, my father used to tell me that once you have taken care of the basics for your family, you should start to use some of your talents to help those who cannot. Decades later, I moved back to my hometown and saw my childhood dentist, who was a Rotarian. He started to tell me about Rotary. Their ideals fell in-line with my father’s teachings. So, I joined the Rotary Club of Babylon, New York. There, I started the Club’s first Interact Club, focused on the environment, at the very high school I attended. Through Rotary, I learned how to make connections to get things done. One great aspect of the organization is that we consist of leaders and future leaders.  The high school principal was a member of our Club, as was the town’s mayor. By working with them, and others, we were able to create unique and exciting experiences for the Interactors and enhance their ability to serve the community.
When I moved to California, I put my Rotary journey on hold as I attended law school and raised a son as a single father. My first boss as an attorney was Deborah Wilder. She tried to get me to join Rotary for years. As time passed, I became friends with more Foster City Rotarians and I finally decided to join the Club. This was the best decision that I have ever made.
As a Rotarian, you can make a difference. When I was President of our Club, I spoke to many elementary students about Rotary and its mission. My message was never to let anyone say that you cannot change the world. I pointed to the other Rotarians in the room and noted that they were people in our community. While they were like everyone else, they were also Rotarians. By working together, both in our Clubs and with other Clubs throughout the world, Rotarians change the world every day. In 1988, Rotarians banded together and eliminated Polio from the United States. Now, we have nearly eradicated it worldwide. By working with a Rotary Club in India, our Club provided a way for children in remote areas to learn and receive a better education. Rotary brings sustainable solutions including fresh water to communities throughout the world. 
Locally, we help schools improve their programs, distribute food to people having a hard time in life, and provide scholarships for college, trade schools and other programs. We host an education seminar to help people face issues dealing with aging. We also help scouting troops and other youth groups. There are actually too many groups to mention.
I have been lucky enough to enjoy a great career as a Rotarian. I have served the Club as its Club Administration Director for two years, running the nuts and bolts of the Club. I served as President-Elect, President, Past President, Public Image Director and a member of many committees. I have also served on the  Rotary District 5150 level as a member of the District Membership Committee, District Vocational Services Chair, and am now an Assistant District Governor. In that position, I work with four other Clubs to help them realize their goals.  However, the role that I enjoy most is helping others grow to become leaders in both Rotary and the community.
One of the best aspects of being a Rotarian is the fellowship. Serving the community by working with other members develops a camaraderie and strong bonds. It breaks through barriers in a special way. Through service, I have not only met Rotarians in my own Club, but those in Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo counties as well as throughout the world. Some of my best friends are Rotarians and I cannot imagine a world without them.
Rotary has also changed my viewpoint toward the world. Seeing the conditions that other people live under, and survive through, brings a new perspective as to my own life. I am more thankful for the world I live in.  I stay a Rotarian because I want others to have a better world, the world that they deserve.