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September 20, 2011 > What makes a Rotarian?

What makes a Rotarian?

By Simon Wong, Photo by Simon Wong

Hayward Rotarians welcomed Hayward Police Department's Lt. Sheryl Boykins when her sponsor, Freddie Davis, President of the NAACP, Southern Alameda County, introduced her at Hayward Rotary Club's August 22 meeting.

District Governor District 5170 Arley Marley III also attended and informed Boykins she had been asked to become a member of the Rotary Club because she meets the organization's requirements. The motto "Service Above Self" and sentiments such as "high ethical standards," "goodwill" and "peace" are not mere words but a way of life. The community knows Rotarians by their involvement and what they do.

According to Marley, every club within Rotary is different. Some members may, or may not recall, the day they became a Rotarian. Marley recalls his, distinctly. He was 57-years old and training with other people at the Los Gatos track for his first marathon. Luke, a seven-year old boy with leukemia, followed everyone on his bicycle; he was bald because of chemotherapy and needed a bone marrow transplant. Marley learned from Luke's parents that some days were better than others for their son who, sadly, passed away about a year later because a bone marrow match was not found.

That marked the start of Marley's involvement with the Rotary Project Share Life Program which registers donors to the National Bone Marrow Registry for transplants for those with blood-related cancers. The Project's efforts registered more than 20,000 people and earned the Chairman's Citation Award from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. When Marley completes a marathon, he feels something special within, thanks God he was able to stay the course and looks down at the wristband that bears the name of the person for whom he ran.

"Why do people join Rotary?" asked Marley. "Rotary is all about finding passion. Perhaps one's passion for Rotary is the eradication of polio; according to the most recent figure I have referenced, there are 303 cases worldwide but that is still 303 people too many. Maybe one's passion as a Rotarian is fighting hunger; almost 1 billion people, or one in seven, don't have enough to eat nor do they have a choice. A malnourished child suffers 160 days of illness each year; that's 40 percent of a child's life. The reduction of infant mortality might be one's passion; proper sanitation can address the annual loss of 1.8 million children, younger than five-years old, to diarrhea. One's Rotary passion might be basic education and literacy either in our own communities or war-torn countries; we can rebuild lives through education. Perhaps promoting peace and conflict resolution is one's passion; Rotarians can achieve what governments can't; we think differently to negotiate obstacles and achieve our goals; we don't let politics get in the way."

"Rotary's Four-Way Test talks about Truth, Fairness, Friendship and Benefit; these are not mere statements but a way of life. We talk about 'Service Above Self' and not about serving self. The gift of life has been bestowed upon us; what we do with that life is our gift back to life," reflected Marley.

For more information about Hayward Rotary, visit www.HaywardRotary.org or call club secretary, Mona Diamantine, at (510) 632-0804. To learn more about Rotary Clubs in the San Francisco Bay Area, visit www.Rotary5170.org. For more about Rotary International, visit www.Rotary.org

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