President's Message 9-11-17

Posted by Cheryl Baker on Sep 11, 2017
September 11; the day conjures up so many images for me. At the time, I was working in advertising and marketing, and spent much of my time making weekly trips into NYC; a number of my clients, including the Journal of Commerce and PIERS had their offices in the Twin Towers. 
But, about six months before, The Journal of Commerce and all their divisions had decided not to renew their lease, and had moved everyone across the Hudson to Jersey City; my client at PIERS had gone on to work for The Economist, and so my trips to downtown were traded for trips to mid-town. As my trips there were winding down, I took one of the occasions in on the Thursday before Easter to take along my children, who used their "baseball card" Little League photos to show to the guards at the main floor so I could take them upstairs to experience what I saw up close and personal each week; I even took them up to the top floor, and the roof. We looked out over the skyline, and I am forever grateful that they, and I, had the opportunity to be there and do that. It remains a memory for us.
I was just returning from maternity leave after Labor Day; my first call was to my client at The Economist. She asked if I could visit the following Tuesday, the 11th. Then, later that day, she asked if I could switch my visit and instead come that Thursday, the 6th, as she had an employee who needed to be at a trade show at the WTC on the 11th and she wanted to be sure she was available, and ready for whatever she might need that day.
My journey in that Thursday was uneventful; the usual; a regular day in NYC. Little did I know that the following week, everything about life as I knew it would completely, and irrevocably, change. My client called me that morning as my mother and I watched in horror from my living room; I was working from home. Mariah, 12 weeks, was laying on a blanket on the couch as we tried to grapple with what we were witnessing, and hearing. At that time, Lynne and I were both thinking it was an accident, and she was excitedly telling me about how her sister, who worked in the north tower, had called out sick that day - what luck! She had been in touch with her employee, who was in the lobby of the south tower, and okay. But then, the second tower was hit, and we knew nothing would be okay. 
I started thinking about my dear friend Jess, who worked in Jersey City, but would take the express into NYC and then ferry across because it was faster. I called her husband, Dick; he said he hadn't heard from her. I didn't know what to say. It was hours until we finally did hear from her, and weeks until she told us her story. There were others I knew who didn't fare as well, and they, and those memories live within me. 
Weeks later, when I finally felt safe enough to return to the area, I visited first my clients at The Journal of Commerce. They told me how they watched the scene across the Hudson unfold and thanked their lucky stars that they were no longer lessees of WTC. That wasn't how they felt when they left. The Twin Towers was THE business address to have. Now, it was destined to be a memorial - to the innocent people from around the world, not just the United States, who lost their lives, and the brave men and women first responders from the greatest police and fire departments in America. 
Their sacrifice and willingness to help is one of the greatest illustrations of service above self we can ever have. Many gave their lives in the service of others - can we not at least give of our time, our talents, and our treasure to do the same? How, when this is our example, can we not all be Rotarians? Today should be a rallying cry for us to find others like us to join in service to serve our community, our nation, and our world. 
Last week we gathered at The Artisan for First Thursday and were joined by many new friends - some spouses of members, but others invited through friendship. We received word of three more willing to join us in membership - what a celebration!
This week we will be working! No speaker for us, as we have more important work - that of getting ready for our 5K/10K race. We will be stuffing bags! Come early, roll up your sleeves, and get ready to help. If you haven't signed up for a duty with the race yet, this will be your opportunity. 
We will, however, hear from member Jess Elliot about our project with Thomas Jefferson Elementary School. She'll fill us in on next steps and talk with us about how we can make a difference for them on November 4th. 
Until then, stay well, know you are blessed, and share that blessing with others.
Service Above Self. Making A Difference.
President Cheryl, Making A Difference
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