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Why I am a Daybreak Rotarian

By Kathleen Rutledge

As a new business owner in 1995, I realized that I wanted a greater connection to the Bartlesville community. I confess I knew nothing about Rotary. I was invited by  Jim Bohnsack to attend several meetings with him. The energy was exhilarating! The humor with frequent references to Chief Baconrind and the Dewey Dirties was intoxicating. I accepted the invitation to become a member and THEN discovered this was a weekly commitment!

I felt like I had discovered a hidden underground society, real life in Bartlesville! And not just an energetic group of fun people, but a group that loved to roll up their collective sleeves and do good works in the community and for the world at large.

For example, I found I was soon volunteering to prepare and serve meals at Agape and listening to children read on Fridays at Jane Phillips Elementary School. When the Club took on the Fantasyland of Lights, I dragged my husband along to replace broken bulbs. And for the last three years, I have been the proud caretaker of the four running squirrels exhibit.

And in the big picture, I know that my cash donations, combined with those of millions of other Rotarians around the world (and more recently with the added support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) are working on eradicating polio from the world. Imagine, an organization so respected, wars have briefly called cease fires so Rotarians could go in and inoculate citizens!

As a Rotarian, I am part of a global community of people joined in serving the betterment of mankind. We reach across barriers of race, religion, politics and all those “isms” that divide. As a Rotarian, I am encouraged to visit other Rotary Clubs wherever I happen to travel. I have attended meetings ranging from a breakfast meeting of bacon and eggs in Stillwater to a sushi and bento box lunch meeting in Honolulu.

After more than 15 years and nearly 800 meetings, I can’t conceive of not being a Rotarian.