On March 1st, 2014, the Rotary Club of Springfield, Ohio celebrated its 100th Anniversary with a Centennial Gala. As any well-planned event goes, the lights sparkled, the guests were dressed to the nines, and the food was amazing. Honored Guests included Rotary District Governor Mac Hickman, and State Representative & Springfield Rotarian Ross McGregor. However, there is more to this story than just one night, and much more depth and meaning beyond the good food and pretty clothes. The club’s motto is “Service Above Self,” and the evening was truly about celebrating all that Springfield Rotarians have done to embody that ideal.
In 1914, spearheaded by Harry Kissell, thirteen local businessmen established the Springfield Rotary Club, a men’s only, professional business club for networking and improving the community. In the early years of Rotary, The Club saw a need to serve crippled children, and in 1922 they hosted the first Christmas Party for crippled children. As the years have gone by, the focus on children still remains, as does the Christmas Party. Some things have evolved however, such as women club members and a service focus on children with disabilities. This past year the Rotary’s “Help Me Play Campaign” raised almost a half million dollars to build an inclusive playground so that children with disabilities have a place to play and be active. The Club also gives scholarships to students, grants to teachers, is active in the fight to end polio, and currently supports the Moteskuoa Orphanage, in Africa, giving them skills which will allow them to become self-sustaining.
Over the past 100 years, the Rotary Club of Springfield brought together business leaders of our community who were engaged and passionate about their businesses and their city; The Club continues to do so today. The energy that fills the room at a Rotary function is electric, because the room is full of people who are not there solely for themselves. They have a vision and a heart for the greater good. I would pose the question as you look at the day in front of you: as a Rotarian puts “Service Above Self”, what are you putting above your own interest today? Are you planting a seed that will continue to sow a harvest in 100 years? Whether in your business or your personal life, are you living out a legacy worth leaving?
“One thing I know: The only ones among you who will really be happy are those who will have sought and found, how to serve.” –Albert Schweitzer