Would it surprise you if I said that Illinois will continue to cut funding for social services? Probably not. But the question is – who will fill in the gaps?

To answer that, let me go back in years. “Service Above Self” was the motto of the 2nd General Hospital in Landstuhl, Germany. It really meant something and everyone was willing to put their service above themselves. After completing my tour of duty, I found “Service Above Self” again when introduced to Rotary International.

Rotary has touched my family in many ways. One of my sisters and her husband have been very active in Rotary; each serving as their Club’s president. My eldest son was employed by Rotary International at their headquarters in Evanston, IL. He supported Clubs’ efforts across the continents using his bilingual skills. He even joined a team on a Rotary service trip to northern Africa, helping local Rotarians build systems to provide that community with safe drinking water.

Currently I am an active member of the Rotary club of Downers Grove, IL. The officers and members understand the motto “Service Above Self.” Again, it means something to each one of us, which compels us to do more. Our Rotary is the host of Rotary GroveFest. Members and countless volunteers work multiple shifts to staff the annual community event which is held each June in downtown Downers Grove. Proceeds from this event fund the club’s service and a variety of charitable organizations such as The Charles Dickerman Music Scholarship, Rotary Youth Leadership Assembly, Rotarians Assisting Middle School Students, and scholarships to local high school students. In addition, we make donations to a variety of non-profits benefiting children (i.e.: local Cub, Boy and Girl Scout troops), as well as other local organizations (ie: K of C councils; local orchestras, bands and choral groups; DuPage Pads and more).

But Rotary is more than just the projects and service; it is also about the friendships and camaraderie that develop. We become a family in many ways, working together for a greater good.

We all have charities that are close to our heart. Many of us give time, talent and/or treasure to help support them. But with Rotary Clubs, you are not just a volunteer, you are part of the non-profit. You are the one making a difference. The Rotary Club of Downers Grove is one of many just in the Chicagoland area. As our state continues to cut services, you, too, can get involved to help make a difference in the lives of others. To learn more about “Service Above Self” or more information about this Rotary Club, contact me anytime at 630-638-4455.