Service above self

Some people love it and others are a bit shy when it comes to accolades, deserved or not.

An old council-mate, business colleague and friend was quite excited last week about a new fundraising plan he was working on. Jim Gibbons always seems to be working on something.

Then this week we noted a story circulating in the newsroom about the presentation of a Paul Harris Fellowship award. It is one of the highest honours Rotary bestows on a person.

History might be a little fuzzy but the last such local award to a non-member of Rotary was Don Doyle several years ago. Don, who spends much of his time with the Lions Club, was also named citizen of the year – a deserved honour in so many respects.

Jim was the initial push behind the granting of a Paul Harris Fellowship award to myself. It was a surprise the night it happened and I hoped to keep it as one of those personal moments. But Jim’s insistence that it appear in the Advertiser was made known to our editor at least twice, prompting us to say more than just a simple thank you.

In recent months the Rotary Club has expended great effort in setting up the Catch the Ace program. I still recall the day Jim first dropped by wondering if the newspaper could help promote it. The answer was yes and to his surprise, we also provided help with printing the tickets and other promotional items. That is what we are here for:  to get behind community projects and do whatever possible to help make good things happen.

It is almost hard to believe my time with Jim on county council was nearly 20 years ago. Where the time went and what has happened since is a testament to that old expression that time flies when you are having fun, which can be a subjective term. For those of us who find work fun, there has been plenty of it.

Although our enterprise faces the same concerns most publishers do, with a marketplace that keeps changing with every passing year, it has been rewarding to see our little company expand and flourish. Much of that has to do with tenacity of spirit and great staff, but it is equally due to focusing on meeting the needs of our customers – chiefly our advertisers and readers.

That notion of serving others well was constantly shored up by a sign at our old office that included the familiar Rotary motto: “service above self”. It was omnipresent, whether talking on the phone or seeing it in passing. If those daily reminders weren’t enough, the concept of community service was certainly drilled into us from a young age.

Our experience echoes that of others who make the choice to help out where they can because it is the right thing to do.

Service above self is a good motto live by.