“Serve to Change Lives” is the Rotary International motto of 2021- 2022 which I believe rings true not just for our benefactors, but also for engaged Rotarians. When I was just 17, Rotary sponsored me as an International Youth Exchange student to India from rural Canada. That year was filled with incredible experiences that led to lifelong global friendships. Due to the work of others, I benefited, and that experience forever made me an adherent to the Rotary creed, “Service Above Self.”
Then came 2012 while working in development in Afghanistan, I helped to charter the Rotary Club of Kabul City that similarly encouraged this culture of volunteerism and service. We were able to connect Afghans to Rotary clubs internationally, as well as inform Rotarians globally about the fight against Polio in South Asia. We further co-sponsored scholarships and programs which changed the lives of entire families! Personally, I felt I only became a true resident of the city once I joined with Rotarians there, enmeshing me in the society that I proudly called home for five years.
Following Afghanistan I enjoyed a sabbatical, a ‘global walk about’ in 2016. During that time, I visited Rotary Clubs in Australia, Africa, Europe and North America, always finding great fellowship and inspiring conversations. I later got to meet Rotarians from across the world at the 2018 Rotary International Convention in Toronto, observing how their foundation, grants, and members changed lives in communities across the planet. Inspired beyond my expectations, I realized I would be a Rotarian for life. I wanted to be around these types of people who facilitate change.
When I visited Washington in 2018 while courting my now wife, Melinda, the RC of Dupont Circle provided that crucial connection to the city and its community. The diversity of its membership blessed me with an immediate group of friends with similar ethics and life purpose, their genuine welcome made my transition to living in the United States so very enjoyable. If anything I’ve said was interesting to you, just wait until you meet our other members!
So, whether you are passing through the nation’s capital on business, looking to visit us virtually or learn about what Rotary does both in the District, the nation and globally, please drop in on a meeting. Guests are always welcomed, and you will surely hear of further lives being changed through our service. I sometimes hardly recognize my life, and Rotary may just change yours too!