The Rotary Club of the Abingtons and the Abington Lions Club recently joined forces for fun and good cheer at dinner at the Ramada. The purpose of gathering both service organizations together was to get to know one another better. The event was put together by Rotarian Steven Selige who made the arrangements and was master of ceremonies.
At the event, Magistrate District Court Judge and Rotarian Paul Keeler presented slides on the newly formed Veterans Court. He explained how veterans often are suffering from issues that happened when they served our country. These traumatic events shaped their lives and caused psychological illnesses. Often the veteran feels there is no way out of his or her problems and falls back on drugs, alcohol and the crimes that are encouraged by these vices.
Judge Keeler says no one wants to see the veteran in any court at all, but Veterans Court gives the vet a second chance through treatment and perhaps recovery. Paul spoke in a quiet voice to a hushed room as information on the terrible plight of our local veterans was told through slides and words. This topic is one not often heard and the audience listened and learned.
These two service clubs of Lions and Rotarians have worked together on many projects through the years. You have seen them at almost every Fourth of July fireworks event, working in nearby booths for our community celebration, so the night that brought us together for information on how to help veterans was especially meaningful.
Not only are Rotarians working with other service clubs, but also we are reaching within to encourage community goodness. As Rotarians, we sponsor a high school service club in the Abington Heights High School, called the Interact Club. Any high school student is free to join and the purpose of the club is the same as our own Rotary Club — to do good.
When the Interact Club meets under the direction of their teacher, Mr. Baker, it is not unusual for 70 to 80 kids to show up. Here is what they did in the past few weeks:
They sent letters to every single person who works in the high school, maintenance people, bus drivers, nurses, teachers and administrators, telling each one how much their work was appreciated. As if that was not enough, they had “Pay It Forward Week.” Good things were done for each other or for just anyone. For example, money was collected for a family who recently had a fire in their house. When the good deed was done and it was “thank you” time, the person receiving the gift is asked to pass it along to another in need. It is an example of gifting in the purest form.
If you read stories in the newspapers about the bad things that teenagers do, it is wise to remember that in our own high school kids show up for meetings before school begins, tackle a mission that is difficult but worthwhile and do their best. Two girls from the Interact Club recently spoke at our Rotary meeting. They were smart, well dressed, spoke with personality and conviction about doing good in their club.
You just cannot help yourself. When you go to a Rotary Club meeting, whether it is combined with the Lions Club or just at our own Thursday lunches, you can be inspired.