WHAT'S MY ROTARY STORY?
Hear from Rotary members what it means to them to be part of the Rotary Club of Richmond!
I am extremely honored and humbled to be awarded the Rotary Club of Richmond’s New Rotarian of the Year. When the President of Lane Homes & Remodeling, a long standing Rotarian, encouraged me to join, I had no idea of the power of Rotary International. It is incredibly rewarding to be a member of a club that makes an effort to not only better the local Richmond area but abroad as well.
Jumping in head first, I became a member of the first EarlyAct Committee in our region and am impressed with how well the program has done in a short amount of time. Also a member of the Social Committee, I enjoy planning the fellowship events outside of our weekly meetings so members can strengthen their relationships.
As a Virginia Tech alum, Ut Prosim “That I May Serve” has been instilled in me. The Rotary Club of Richmond is the perfect organization to continue to live that motto throughout my professional career. I am excited to be a member of a growing club that is impacting the world in such a positive way. It is invigorating to be apart of the next generation of Rotary International.
I am excited to be a member of The Rotary Club of Richmond. I first became familiar with Rotary in 2008 as a guest speaker at another club's breakfast meeting. I enjoyed the experience and was impressed by the genuine commitment of Rotarians to serve the local community and humanity as a whole.
After years of growing my own businesses and leading professional and civic organizations, I was looking for an opportunity to be part of an organization with a genuine commitment to service. I became a member in 2016. Since joining I have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunities to connect with other Rotarians, serve the community -especially with our Club's efforts to build wheelchair ramps for Project-Homes. It allows me to roll up my sleeves and work for a great cause with good people on Saturday mornings. Also, the weekly Tuesday luncheon meetings often serve as a personal motivation for me for the rest of the week and beyond.
I am about a year into my Rotary journey and impressed by The Rotary Club of Richmond's genuine commitment to serve its members and others in the Richmond and world community. I am proud to be a part of it and of the future role that I can apply my energy and skills to help this organization put Service Above Self.
Rotary's motto- "Service Above Self" really hits home with me. We are so blessed to live in the United States and enjoy the freedoms and health care that we have here. Those who are blessed need to help those less fortunate. When Rotary announced 30 years ago that it was launching a campaign to eradicate polio worldwide, I wanted to be a part of it. It is not often that we get to be a part of something so big that it changes the world. Eradicating polio is a world-changer!
I grew up in a time before polio vaccine existed and remember the polio scare in my small home town. I personally know several people taken by this dread disease. With a Rotary vision of a world free of polio, who could stand on the sidelines??? Only four countries in the world remain endemic with polio. Over $500 million has been spent on the campaign so far. If every Rotarian, and other friends of this campaign, pushes forward just a little harder - we will reach our goal.
This is the type of activity that makes me proud to be a Rotarian. The personal friendships, the local projects to improve our city, and the international campaigns like Polio Plus make Rotary the club that I want to be a part of for life.
I had never heard of Rotary until I met a Rotarian when I was 25--he was my girlfriend's father and past President of his club in Perth Amboy, New Jersey where he was also the President of the Raritan River Steel Co. When I asked him what Rotary was, he said it was "the most positive organization in the world" and went on to say that "the more people who knew you in a positive way the more successful you would be."
He jokingly called me "college boy". I am not sure what he thought of me, but he clearly knew something about success. He never went to college. He grew up in a steel mill town in Canada, obtained a book keeping certificate through a correspondence course after he graduated from high school. Mr. McMillan became an assistant book keeper, and twenty five years later was president of a steel firm with plants in Canada, France and the United States.
I made a mental note to myself--if I wanted to be successful I had to join Rotary. Today, I am a die hard Rotarian -just like Mr. McMillan and on Tuesdays at noon everyone knows where to find me. While I joined because I wanted to be successful, I stay in because it is the most positive organization in the world. The best thing about Rotary is the fun we have in our meetings and the relationships we form with other Rotarians. Our Motto--Service Above Self--attracts people who are committed to helping those less fortunate and making the world a better place. And somehow it makes us better people in the process.
My Rotary Story is one where persistence pays off. A former, well known Rotary Club of Richmond member, named Denny Pierce took the time to invest nearly two years of showing me how Rotary was important to the community and how The Rotary Club of Richmond was the best at it! At the time, Denny worked as the General Manager of the Berkeley Hotel on Main Street in Downtown Richmond. For many months, Denny would come over to the James Center Branch of Wachovia (now defunct) Bank to complete a transaction around lunch time every Tuesday. Eventually, we began to chat about the club and Denny would tell me about all of the hard work they did in the community and how he served as the Chair of the Membership Committee. Little did I know that was a force of one! However, Denny took the time to figure out that I was looking to introduce myself to the Richmond Community outside of my daily work duties and he showed me how Rotary could help me in that pursuit.
It took several more months of convincing -like 10 months more before I would attend my first meeting in the spring of the year! But once I saw the caliber of individuals in the club, I was convinced that Denny was right and I joined later that year. I have been a member for more than 6 years and feel very strongly that the commitment Rotary has to its community is immense and has even grown to involve my family. This past March, 2017, my wife Anna went to Costa Rica as a part of a humanitarian mission to bring books to children in Jicaral through the Give-A-Book Foundation. From supporting international efforts to eradicating Polio, to helping nonprofits to accomplish their local missions, Rotary supports! Thank you Denny Pierce, wherever you are!
I joined Rotary 5 years ago through family connections. Many years ago my siblings and I accompanied our mom to social events organized by her local rotary club. All along, I thought of Rotary as an avenue for professionals to socialize. It wasn’t until May 2014 (during the Rotary International Convention in Sydney Australia) that the true essence of Rotary was revealed to me. Listening to different speakers at the break-out sessions exposed the wider scope of Rotary, which includes: promoting world peace; alleviating poverty, improving education, fighting disease (to mention but a few).
Motivated by the very passionate speakers who demonstrated how they used their professions to change the world for the better; I resolved to do likewise. Given my background in healthcare; I returned back to my local rotary club in Nigeria and became and participated actively in the polio eradication efforts at the time.
I am currently with the Division of Epidemiology, VCU School of Medicine where I work as a research associate on a longitudinal study to better understand chronic exposures to stressful life events. We have a protocol that subsequently gets such individuals connected to community resources to mitigate their suffering.