Looking forward to civic service this time around

By: Carol Feineman, Editor
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No doubt about it, I was a lousy member when I joined Rotary in 2008. My boss, headquartered in Auburn and active with the Rotary Club there, wanted me to become involved with the Lincoln organization when I moved here.

Taking his suggestion, I started attending Rotary Club of Lincoln noon meetings on Thursdays.

I had trouble, though, arriving on time to the weekly meetings because I couldn’t get away from a last-minute phone conversation or longer-than-expected office visit. Then, during the meetings, I snuck glances at my watch as I stressed over phone calls and emails waiting to be answered at my office.

Finally, I skipped the meetings and justified that my work assignments kept me chained to my desk perimeter.

I always felt guilty for not giving Rotary my all as the club is a fantastic Lincoln asset.

With the motto, “Service Above Self,” the local Rotary Club’s civic services include youth-literacy projects and scholarships, park and school clean-ups, tree planting, and helping in the international project of eradicating polio.

It became easier for me to be at work instead of noon meetings so I wouldn’t have to make up work hours that night.

It has been almost nine years since I attended a Rotary meeting. But I see Rotary members helping make Lincoln a better place throughout the year. They’re giving back to the community. And it’s time that I did the same.

I asked Rotarians Joann Hilton and Art Deardorff at The News Messenger’s Best of the Best party in July if I could rejoin. (Rotary won for best service club). They put me in touch with the club’s membership chairman Jeffrey McCoy. 

I was surprised that the club is giving me another chance to join.

Very graciously, I must admit.

When the membership chairman invited me three weeks ago to a special Rotary social/meeting set for 5:30 p.m. last Thursday, I immediately RSVPed.

Last Thursday, however, I felt myself getting back to my former lazy ways. It was 4:30 p.m. and I was behind at work, after meetings at the Auburn Journal lasting four-plus hours. I was looking at another hour of approving time cards.

And I was tired. Watching my favorite TV sitcom with a beach book in between commercials sounded really relaxing.

The guilt set in once again, since I was anticipating the special meeting for weeks. I wanted to hear Joann discuss how the Rotary Club is combating sex trafficking. And I wanted to keep my promise to the kind and patient membership chairman that I would attend.

So I drove to the meeting, instead of directly to home. And I’m glad that I did. After walking into the meeting and hearing the conversations around the room, I forgot that I was tired a half hour before. The members were welcoming and focused on helping Lincoln and the region.

There are of course many other worthy local service clubs in Lincoln that need members, including Kiwanis, Lions and Soroptimists. I chose Rotary Club nine years ago because of my boss’ input.

Bottom line, being in a service club is fun and it helps the community. What an easy way to make a positive difference.

Looking back, I only had to be away from the office for about 90 minutes every week. I’m embarrassed that I didn’t commit to a service organization in 2008. But people can change! This time around, I won’t look at my watch during meetings.