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  • Writer's pictureRay Sanford

Excellence in Service

SJC Rotarians Ray Perez, Tom Hribar and Teagan Barnes.

When people first learn about Rotary, some think it seems exclusive. A global network of business and professional leaders? It sounds like a closed circle.

But they’re wrong.

Rotary does attract accomplished individuals - entrepreneurs, executives, and community leaders. But its core principle, "Service Above Self," reveals its true nature. It's better to think of Rotary as a service-based platform that serves others as well as our members. We do things others can't do by paving the way to future opportunities for everyone.

In my club, members range from small business owners to retired librarians and young professionals. They're united by their commitment to community engagement, not by status or wealth.

This spirit extends to our global work. Rotary collaborates with various partners to address issues like disease prevention, clean water access, and literacy. We do this through a cooperative, not paternalistic, approach; leveraging our local clubs, members and contacts who are closely integrated into those communities.

Rotary's fight against polio illustrates this perfectly. Since 1988, they've helped reduce polio cases by 99.9% worldwide, working alongside the WHO and the Gates Foundation. This achievement came through broad engagement, not exclusivity. Currently the global number of wild polio cases is contained in two countries - Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Rotary shows how pooling diverse talents can uplift communities. We're a group of high achievers focused on serving others, not ourselves.

In essence, Rotary embodies excellence without elitism.


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