Posted by Rick Rafferty on Aug 02, 2018
I have been a Rotarian for 26 years in two different clubs. I became a Rotarian through the urging and sponsorship of a friend, who, at that time was a member of the Maplewood, NJ Rotary. Maplewood, at that time was a small club of 14 members, who rendered enormous service to the community and the world through their projects. I was quickly introduced to the enormous tasks and the sometime tragedies that go along with rendering service. 
 
As I was becoming a member of the club, Maplewood was sponsoring a Gift-of-Life Child from Central America. Unfortunately, the little girl was mis-diagnosed in her native country and doctors here could nothing to save her. She passed while in the hospital in Newark. The club agonized over sponsoring another child, but ultimately decided to do so and since then have sponsored at least ten more children and raised money to save almost 50 more with donations to outgoing missions. I liked this about Rotary, saving one child at a time with Gift of Life, donating medical supplies to Haiti, supplying pajamas to kids in shelters in Newark, buying shoes for young boys in the St. Peter’s Home all contribute to serving.
 
Over my Rotary years I have been involved in raising nearly $1mm for charitable causes. My years in Maplewood saw the sale, over 20 years of 8000 Christmas trees raising almost $300,000. The “Affair of the Heart” dance for Gift of life always raised $15-25,000 a year translating to $400,000. The house tours and the “Antiques Road Shows” in Maplewood contributed another $30-40,000. As a member of the Denville Club we have raised at least $35,000 per year on average at our Street Festival, adding another $200,000. The greatest part of raising this money is that it has all gone to helping people and beautifying both towns. It has been so gratifying to see the Boy Scout Eagle projects we have helped such as the Electric car Charging station, to hand a check to Camp Merry Heart every year and to work on the painting, building ramps, replacing beds and so many other tasks to help the challenged campers who go there. Rotary in Maplewood adopted a park and worked to clean it out every year, and in Denville we worked to beautify the town with Benches and signage for Gardner Field and honored our Veterans with the Obelisk at Veterans Park. And, of course, to see a child, that your club sponsored for Life Saving Surgery, leave the hospital and get back on a plane with his or her mother, headed home to have a full life, nothing is better.
 
I could fill pages with the efforts and successes of the two clubs to which I have belonged, but I think you get the idea. I am a Rotarian for life. The motto of “Service Above Self” is not lost on me or my fellow Rotarians. We are here to serve.
 
                                            
I have been a Rotarian for 26 years in two different clubs. I became a Rotarian through the urging and sponsorship of a friend, who, at that time was a member of the Maplewood, NJ Rotary. Maplewood, at that time was a small club of 14 members, who rendered enormous service to the community and the world through their projects. I was quickly introduced to the enormous tasks and the sometime tragedies that go along with rendering service.
 
As I was becoming a member of the club, Maplewood was sponsoring a Gift-of-Life Child from Central America. Unfortunately, the little girl was mis-diagnosed in her native country and doctors here could nothing to save her. She passed while in the hospital in Newark. The club agonized over sponsoring another child, but ultimately decided to do so and since then have sponsored at least ten more children and raised money to save almost 50 more with donations to outgoing missions. I liked this about Rotary, saving one child at a time with Gift of Life, donating medical supplies to Haiti, supplying pajamas to kids in shelters in Newark, buying shoes for young boys in the St. Peter’s Home all contribute to serving.
 
Over my Rotary years I have been involved in raising nearly $1mm for charitable causes. My years in Maplewood saw the sale, over 20 years of 8000 Christmas trees raising almost $300,000. The “Affair of the Heart” dance for Gift of life always raised $15-25,000 a year translating to $400,000. The house tours and the “Antiques Road Shows” in Maplewood contributed another $30-40,000. As a member of the Denville Club we have raised at least $35,000 per year on average at our Street Festival, adding another $200,000. The greatest part of raising this money is that it has all gone to helping people and beautifying both towns. It has been so gratifying to see the Boy Scout Eagle projects we have helped such as the Electric car Charging station, to hand a check to Camp Merry Heart every year and to work on the painting, building ramps, replacing beds and so many other tasks to help the challenged campers who go there. Rotary in Maplewood adopted a park and worked to clean it out every year, and in Denville we worked to beautify the town with Benches and signage for Gardner Field and honored our Veterans with the Obelisk at Veterans Park. And, of course, to see a child, that your club sponsored for Life Saving Surgery, leave the hospital and get back on a plane with his or her mother, headed home to have a full life, nothing is better.
 
I could fill pages with the efforts and successes of the two clubs to which I have belonged, but I think you get the idea. I am a Rotarian for life. The motto of “Service Above Self” is not lost on me or my fellow Rotarians. We are here to serve.
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