Rotary promotes ‘service above self’

Published 11:39 pm Friday, November 20, 2015

To the editor:

Rotarians are men and women who live among us. They are your neighbors, co-workers and friends.

Rotary was founded in Chicago in 1905 by a young lawyer, Paul Harris, who felt out of place in a big city and needed some friends. He and three others agreed to alternately meet at each other’s place of business on a weekly basis, and from this rotation of meetings, Rotary was begun.

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If you look around the community, you may or may not see Rotarians in action. But they are there. Houses are painted, handicap ramps are built, playgrounds are constructed, funds are raised to help support the Food Bank, Western Tidewater Free Clinic, the Roc Solid Foundation, scholarships for local students, mentors to students, and many, many other activities.

More than 20 years ago, the Rotary Foundation, which was founded “to do good in the world,” began a campaign to eradicate polio from the world. This year may well be the year that job is completed, which is fitting because the theme for Rotary International this year is “Be A Gift To The World.”

I just read that America is the story of everyday people who did extraordinary things in quiet ways. That describes the men and women of Rotary.

And their guiding principle? It is the Four-Way Test. It is 24 words that can change your life. The author was Herbert J. Taylor. He was asked to take over a bankrupt company and he knew if it was to become successful, the company needed a short slogan for a guiding principle by which employees could judge their every decision.

After a time of prayer at his desk, he wrote these words: “Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it promote goodwill and better friendship? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?”

It was decided that every decision, in the things they thought, said or did, had to meet the criteria of these four questions. It wasn’t always easy, but it was the principle that made them a successful company.

Suffolk is fortunate to have two Rotary clubs, the Suffolk Rotary Club and the North Suffolk Rotary Club. I was asked to become a member of the North Suffolk Rotary Club more than 35 years ago.

It has been a blessing to me to be associated with men and women who daily live up to our dual mottoes: “Service above Self,” and “He profits most who serves best.”

Archie Brock