This is what Rotary means to me

Published 6:20 pm Friday, February 3, 2012

People sometimes ask me, “How do you have time for this or that?” Being active in Rotary has led me to be confronted by that question all across the state. Well, I try to take time for family, faith, and hobbies to keep me balanced and all in perspective. And yes, the balance can be difficult to maintain at times.

The way I look at it, I can serve my patients one at a time, each with a dedicated investment of my concern, knowledge, and therapeutic caring. I must follow my calling, and that is to be a physician.

However, when I look across my exam tables out into the future, I see big needs there as well. As I gaze around me in the world today, I know that we have social problems that are creating much of the illness I treat every day.

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How would it be if I could prevent problems from developing? How would it be if I could impact hundreds or thousands at the time, instead of just one at the time? That is where Rotary comes in for me. I have never before been exposed to such a powerful force for good that has such a reach around the world!

Do you realize that there were no new cases of polio in India last year, due to a Rotary-led effort that includes the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control? We are indeed close to eliminating this devastating disease from the planet. Rotary has been on this mission since 1985 and we are intensifying our effort. Bill Gates has been so impressed, he has given pep talks to Rotarians and his Foundation has now contributed more than $400 million to Rotary to empower our final push.

Did you realize that Rotary has several Peace Universities around the globe? The sole purpose of these institutions is to offer graduate level education on conflict resolution and the building of international bridges of understanding. Don’t you believe our world needs that? (Maybe we should send Congress there).

Well, these are lofty works, I think you will agree. But that is only a limited representation of what we do internationally. Even with all the work we do around the globe, I don’t know if I would be so dedicated, if we didn’t have a dynamic effort here locally as well.

When we can reach into every fourth-grade class room in Decatur County to teach ethics and behavior, I think we are making a difference. When we help the local Family Connection’s Backpack Program efforts to provide food for kids over the weekend to keep them from growing desperate from hunger, I think we are making a difference. When we reach out to every ninth through 12th grader in this county and empower them to write essays on the life lessons of truth, honor, and caring; I think we are making a difference. When we send high school leaders off to a week of leadership camp called Rotary Youth Leadership Award, I believe we are making a difference.

We are involved at Bainbridge High School with the Interact Club. We are proud of these youth. We partner with them, helping to sponsor their sacrifice during the American Cancer Society Relay for Life. We are also involved with the Rotaract Club at Bainbridge College. The Bainbridge Rotary Club buys foodstuffs that these two clubs help to pack up at “Kids Against Hunger” to be distributed to less-well-off youth around the world. As we support these clubs, we realize we are helping to foster an environment where caring leadership skills are learned and can flourish. The members of these clubs are also a strong part of our team that gives up a Saturday to work in clean-up at Rivers Alive. Throughout all this, we are teaching service, networking, and partnership; all worthwhile skills for their futures.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention our local Boy Scout Troop, #502. Over the years, we have provided adult leadership to an ever-changing group of kids. We have provided the “hut” that is their meeting place and we have provided funds when needed. We are rightly proud that this troop is a veritable eagle’s nest for Eagle Scouts.

We do so much, and we do it every year. We are a source of constant support, whatever the economic ups and downs. Since 1937, the Bainbridge Rotary Club has been here for this community. Our business leaders and professionals gather together; bringing our skills, talents, and resources to better this community. We have a dynamic history and we have a dedicated future. As we head to the Casino Night fundraiser on Feb. 18, we want you to know that you will have a fun time. But even more so, we want you to know that you are empowering the salve of caring that the Bainbridge Rotary Club offers this community.

If you could, wouldn’t you help another in need? If you could, wouldn’t you help 100 in need? If you could, wouldn’t you help 1,000 in need? Ah, you see my point, I hope! Never stop helping the one, but never pass up the opportunity to help the more!

That thinking might make you a Bainbridge Rotarian like me. Now you may see why it is essential that I make the time to be a Rotarian! Come out and help us, you will feel good about it!

Dr. Don Robinson is a member of the public-relations committee for the Bainbridge Rotary Club.