Posted by Jim Gilmore

Why I am a Paul Harris Fellow

Following is an article from Zone 22 Publication about The Rotary Foundation written by Elly Contreras-Vermuelen. Isn't it funny how we perceive things differently when we don't have all the facts?
The first time I ever heard of the Paul Harris Award, was at a Rotary Club Presidents' Changeover meeting. The past President of the club was presented with a Paul Harris pin.

As a person who always wants to know everything, I asked the person next to me what this was all about and he replied: "Oh, that's not for you..........."

Oh, I thought, it's about prestige, big accomplishments in Rotary and status. Yes, you are probably right, that's not for me.

Then later, in that same year, I attended a meeting where more than one Rotarian received this same Paul Harris Award. At that time the presenter announced: "In appreciation of your contribution of $1,000 to the Rotary Foundation, we present you with this Paul Harris Award."

I thought: "Not only do you need to have a certain status and achieve something significant, you also need to be wealthy. I guess the man was right, "That's not for me."

Not bothering to find out more about it, I left it like that. A few years later I attended a District event and heard Carolyn Jones speak about the many wonderful things we were able to provide to orphaned children in Russia.

She said: "Thanks to your contributions to The Rotary Foundation, we are able to provide these children with clothing, a home and most of all, a future."

All of a sudden I figured it out: It had nothing to do with status, prestige or wealth, it has to do with the heart and with sharing.

Why was I not told that earlier? I have a heart, I am willing to share. We have so much and there are so many people in the world who have so little, we should be able to contribute to The Foundation, but how?

So when our club's foundation chair announced it was Foundation Month and asked for money, I gave him a check for $100.00 and then when our club organized their annual Walkathon, where the walker donates 50% to his or her cause and the other 50% to the club. I thought, "I could walk for The Foundation."

I raised a total of $ 1,500.00 in pledges and $750.00 of that went to the foundation. I continued to make contributions and not long after I asked my DG to present my husband with his first Paul Harris pin.

Then the concept Every Rotarian Every Year, $100.00 was introduced, and I thought, "I can do that, just write a check once a year," but I wondered if there would be an easier way. What if in a particular year I didn't have $ 100.00 to spare?

By paying attention and reading more about The Foundation, I learned that I could just go online, and sign onto a monthly automatic payment withdrawal. I don't even notice it in my bank account, because whether that money goes to The Foundation or towards a new outfit, it'll be spent one way or the other. At the end of the year I even get a tax receipt as a bonus.

Now both my husband and I are triple Paul Harris Fellows, and our goal is to become Major Donors. We have the "wings"on our PH pin that indicate we are benefactors, because we have made provisions in our will to have part of our estate go to The Foundation. I guess the next step is the Paul Harris Society.

Knowing that our contributions can help us build that playground in our community, complete the water project in Ecuador, the girls' school in Malawi, or knowing that we are so close to eradicating Polio,thanks to the generous contribution of Rotarians worldwide, don't you think it is worth at least that $2.00 every week? We can't buy much for it, but to a child in Africa it is an education, a future.

I am a Paul Harris Fellow because, as a Rotarian I strongly believe that in order to keep Rotary strong for the next 100 years and to continue helping those in need, we need to show the world that Rotarians Care and Rotarians Share.