When I was a child, I could not fully comprehend why my family was so generous to, as they put it, "the unfortunate." Immigrants from Croatia, they were of modest means themselves, but they always found a way to help someone needier. Settling in a steel town outside of Pittsburgh, my grandmother always kept a pot of soup on the stove to feed the homeless transients who rode the rails. This was her way of giving back, for having the great fortune to live in America and for being able to feed 12 or so strangers daily, as well as her own family. Grandma never talked about it, but she clearly understood what her sacrifice meant to them. That message is crystal-clear to me today.
I am about to take the helm as president of the Snowmass Rotary Club for the next year. What is special about Rotary? Living in paradise, we can grow accustomed to the beauty and bounty that is our norm. But we also realize that there is no shortage of need in our community, our valley and in this world.
I, like my grandma and the 1.3 million Rotarians worldwide, feel the moral obligation to give back, because we can and because we should. Rotarians live and work by four principles: "Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?" Our primary mantra is "service above self." When you associate with others who truly embrace these values, you find yourself caught up in the spirit of giving, camaraderie and fellowship. My hat goes off to our founding members who saw the potential of Snowmass as a giving community 21 years ago, and our past presidents, officers and current members, all of whom make up the "Village" that continues to make a difference. I have found the greatest personal fulfillment in being a part of the Snowmass Rotary Club, and look forward to a year of serving such generous and caring individuals.
The Snowmass Rotary Club supports local nonprofits and international causes, including worldwide polio eradication. Visit www.snowmassrotary.org for information about our club, membership opportunities and the upcoming Snowmass Wine Festival.