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Service Above Self

(From the Arizona Court Reporters Association publication ArizoNotes, Spring 2019, Volume 47, Number 1 )

Hi friends. First, my thanks and appreciation to our ACRA board and our AzNotes editor for their selfless contribution each and every week to our profession. Also, a shout-out to all of those who have served before over the years. Thanks to each of you, we as a court reporting family are better situated, better prepared and better informed.

My father-in-law Harold, (“H”) was a force to be reckoned with. Direct, bold, successful, yet extremely generous with his time. I particularly enjoyed and respected his business acumen and sense of community participation. H was a Rotarian, and he planted the seed of volunteerism from the day I first started dating his lovely daughter, Ann.

One day after a depo a client, who I also respect deeply, brought up joining Rotary. With an infectious smile, he invited me to breakfast at the Chandler-Horizon Rotary Club. That was 17 years ago. At the time Ann and I were overwhelmed. We were building a brand new business. We had a two-year old and a newborn, and we had just moved into a new house in the middle of nowhere, miles further out than I’d ever commuted before. Also, I was commuting back and forth to Los Angeles several times a month to comfort mom during her battle with cancer. I remember driving to my first Rotary meeting thinking, “What am I doing? I’ve got no time in my schedule doing charity work for strangers.”

I could not have been more wrong. I, like many, had no perception of the profound and positive influence a life of “Service Above Self” would have on me, my family, my friends, and most importantly those that we serve.

The Chandler-Horizon Rotary Club is an award-winning, dynamic Chapter of Rotary International . We work tirelessly throughout the year, volunteering with many organizations and causes to provide extra hands, love, and our commitment to help in order to make sure that as many needs as possible are met.

Is it exhausting? Sometimes. But, it’s been one of the most joyful and rewarding decisions of my life. The men and women of our Rotary “family” like most volunteers, are the most kind and giving human beings you will ever know. Whether its Saturday mornings at food banks, Friday night fundraisers, or weekdays volunteering at a local shelter, each week is a new opportunity for adventure with other enthusiastic community volunteers from all backgrounds and walks of life. I have learned that volunteerism is an amazing way to broaden your life experience while having a tangible, positive impact on your community

When Hurricane Harvey hit land, we Rotarians hit the ground running, tirelessly collecting supplies and emergency funds for victims, and sending a team to Houston to rebuild homes.

In 2018 alone I was privileged to be a part of many of our ongoing fundraisers and efforts for the Desert Cancer Foundation of Arizona, Foundation for Burns & Trauma, building storage rooms for The Clothes Cabin, helping build a well in Nigeria, fundraising for an eye clinic and water project in India, providing natural disaster Shelter Boxes to Haiti, working with Hope Crisis Animal Assistance, participating in The Rotary Third Grade Dictionary Project, boxing food for Feed My Starving Children, United Food Bank, and the Chandler Food Bank (Azcend).

In December, there was the tearful, but rewarding “Juguetes para niños” (Toys for Tots) in the expansive barrio of Puerto Penasco, Mexico helping “Santa” distribute 100s of toys, clothes and food to poverty-stricken masses of children.

I’ve stood crying with veterans of all ages organizing the Healing Field at Tempe Beach Park, and laughed with grateful 4th graders during the Back-to-School Backpack Project.

Apparently passion is contagious, as both of my teen daughters have spent their high school spring breaks and vacations on mission trips volunteering around the country. My youngest (16) went to Malawi Africa last summer with a team to support the medical clinic and orphanage.

Ask anyone who knew me 30 years ago, and they’ll tell you that Rotary and a life of “Service Above Self” has changed my life in more ways than I’ll ever be able to repay.

We’re all in this chaos together, with our insane schedules and busy beyond comprehension, right? But, think about this: The need is equally overwhelming. The world needs more people like YOU.

So, wherever you’re at in life, whatever you current level of service work or charity is, the next time you ask yourself, “What can I do?”
The answer is simple: “More.”

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