My ‘Aha’ Rotary Moment
Ever since I joined my Rotary club, I would hear some member or better yet, the District Governor speak about their ‘Aha’ Rotary moment. I think the idea was to inspire me and others to totally embrace and become Rotary.
Like the character Morales from the Broadway musical “A Chorus Line”, I felt nothing. For seven years, I felt nothing. No matter what I did, I never experienced that Rotary moment.  And, this really begs the question: why I, or anyone, stays in Rotary?
Simon Sinek, the business author and consultant, wrote a book titled “Start With Why.”
Sinek explores the success of the most successful companies and people. For instance, everyone knows Ford makes cars. But does Ford knows why they make cars? Other than to make a profit.
Simon essays Apple Computer’s rise to prominence. The people at Apple don’t come to work to make i-phones, computers and watches. Though they do make those products. They come to work to change the world. Apple is anchored to this “why.” Apple’s passion comes through in their products and company culture.

Rotary is the same way. We all want to change the world through service to others. Service above self.
The Rotary Foundation is the engine that drives our DDF projects and Global Grants. The Foundation allows us to partner with Rotary clubs around the world to improve the lives of others whether it’s water projects, fighting disease or maternal and children’s health.
We know that participating in an international project makes a stronger, committed Rotarian.  A few years ago, I went with some of my club members to El Salvador to check on our projects funded in part by the Rotary Foundation. Our mission was to explore and plan future projects.
Our emissary picked us up in her van. We were accompanied by two armed guards with machine guns strapped to their shoulders (don’t tell my wife this, she’ll kill me).  She drove us to a place you couldn’t find on Google Maps, Mapquest or Waze. There were dirt roads the whole way. No street signs or markers to guide us. There high trees and plants obstructed our view. How we found the farm school was beyond me.
Once at the farm school, we went into a room. Concrete floor. Cinder block walls. Very stark. We looked out on the crops the people were growing. Not exactly a sight of vibrancy.  We could see the chicken coups where chickens were being raised for food; and eventually to sold for a livelihood.
From behind one of the walls a short, stocky woman came out. She asked if there was a doctor in our group. It was her good fortune that Dr. Art Mendoza was with us.  When we told her Art was a doctor, the woman went back behind the wall and brought out a little girl. The girl had a lump on her cheek the size of a golf ball.  Art examined the girl and said she needed to be seen at a clinic to have the lump excised and biopsied.

The medical clinic was a 1 ½ hour drive from the farm school.  So, we did what Rotarians do: we passed the hat around and raised the money to send the girl and her mother to the clinic.  The next day we got word that the tumor was excised and found to be benign. The little girl was in good shape and spirits.
That’s what we do as Rotarians. We help people we don’t know. People we’ll never know. We made that little girl’s world so much brighter.  Every day, in many ways, we change the world for good. For the better. This is just one example of people of action.
That is my why. That is why I stay in Rotary. That was my ‘Aha Rotary Moment.’  What is your why? What is your ‘Aha Rotary Moment?’