Service above self is a phrase that every Rotarian takes to heart. And during this 50th Anniversary year of Brentwood, the Brentwood Morning Rotary Club is celebrating 20 years of service to the community they all love.
“Their charter is special,” said John Miles, then District Governor. “It was signed by me, as well as the Charter President, Larry Boyd, and the Rotary International President, James Lacey. That rarely happens, but everyone was at the Sheraton Music City for a four-district conference.”
This club has been blessed with some massively giving and caring individuals. Ed Power, for whom their Humanitarian of the Year Award is named, continued giving to the community even when he was ill himself.
“After Ed’s wife became ill, he spent every day taking care of her at home,” said Boyd, “but one of us would go and pick him up every week so he could come to Rotary and have a respite. Eventually, he became ill himself, and under 24-hour nursing care. As we went to leave one day after visiting him, his nurse came out and handed us a twenty-dollar bill. He wanted us to put it in the ‘Happy Buck’ jar.”
Happy Bucks is a thing the club does where members put a dollar or so into a jar when they share a happy event that has taken place in their lives or the community. What is collected is given to charity.
From the beginning, the Brentwood Morning Rotary has put much of their personal and financial efforts towards literacy.
“We started reading to the students at J. E. Moss Elementary,” said George Campbell, another club member. “Then when our contact their moved to Tusculum Elementary, we moved our program there. We also participate in a dictionary project where we make sure every third grader gets a dictionary of their very own. We have a book project, too. Giving books to the students at the school, because any don’t have any at home.”
What Rotary Does
Rotary has been around for over 110 years. Started in Chicago, Illinois by a group of businessmen, their concept of mutual support and community service caught on and moved quickly around the world. It is currently 1.2 million strong in 200 countries.
The organization has six areas of focus, dedicating themselves to working on the world’s biggest issues: promoting peace; providing clean water, sanitation, and hygiene; growing local economies: saving mothers and children; supporting education; and their largest effort, fighting disease.
Since 1985 Rotary has been dedicated to eradicating Polio, and has, with the help of the Gates Foundation, donated more than 1.6 billion dollars toward the effort. It is currently 99.9% eliminated.
Business Comradery and Support
Rotary also brings together local leaders in business, government, education, and non-profit together once a week to listen to speakers and to provide business comradery and support. They work together on fundraising projects, like the club’s annual concert, and these events create lasting friendships.
“This club is about friendships and lasting bonds,” said past president Teresa Beard. “And we make new memories along the way.”
Why They Started a Morning Club
The Brentwood Morning Breakfast Club started because there was a need for another club for those who couldn’t make lunch. There were many who wanted the comradery, and the club started with 45 members with the help of the older Brentwood Rotary Club.
“I was approached before women were let into the club, but the Friday noon timing was not good for me,” said Francene Kavin. “With this club, I can go before work and get to court on time.”
Ask any member of the club and they will tell you that they are proud to be a Rotarian, and look forward to 20 more wonderful years filled with friendship and service to others.