Long before Matt Cartwright was the representative of the 17th Congressional District from Pennsylvania, he was an active member of the Rotary Club of the Abingtons. Last Thursday, Matt was asked to put aside his national responsibilities and come home to a Rotary Club meeting.
Before he arrived, we were busy getting ready. A large poster board was set on an easel in the front of the room. It was an enlarged picture of a Rotary play done in 2001. Some older members of the club were in that picture. The play was about Dorothy, played by the orthodontist Dr. Douglas Thran who wore red shoes and a gingham blue dress. The wizard was hardly recognized with beard and wig as Rotarian Wayne Trivelpiece. Sandvic executive John Petry was also in the picture, wearing a lion’s costume and sporting a long lion tail. In the front row of the picture was the Scare Crow wearing a costume of burlap, complete with a hat, and it was none other than Matthew Cartwright, who sang and danced in that play.
Matt was and still is a member of the Rotary Club of the Abingtons. When he was the Rotary sergeant-of-arms, a position that usually required joke telling, he chose instead to write a limerick about each member of the club and then printed all of them in a book. He had become Rotary District Governor from our region, where his leadership skills were honed. He said that his years of active Rotary membership had served him well.
Now as a member of Congress, he was asked to invite an influential person to speak at a national committee. He chose Bill Gates, who spoke of his partnership with Rotary in the elimination of polio.
At our meeting, it was clear how well informed Matt is about his position and how hard working a Congressman he has been since being elected to the position in 2013. He easily answered questions about the many difficult problems our government faces and the length of time matters take as they proceed through the House and Senate.
At the end, he looked around and said he would take just one more question.
Rotarian John Petry asked, “Matt, how are the kids?”
Perhaps that question would be out of place at any other meeting Matt would attend. But our members remember when his kids and their kids attended the same day care center and the same schools. We watched his kids grow up.
So he answered with a shy smile that both Jack and Matty are well. Like any other father, he showed pride in their accomplishments and hope for their future.
I am glad to belong to the Rotary Club of the Abingtons where one of our own, who has gone forth and had the national spotlight turned on him, can come home and be welcomed with arms wide open, even while we poke fun at him for being the Scare Crow in a Rotary production.