Michel: Rotary motto is a guide for everyday decisions

Published 12:06 am Wednesday, June 28, 2023

In the Fall of 2017, I was writing a story about breast cancer survivors and invited Mrs. Beverly Harris, one of the ladies I was interviewing, to lunch.

“Oh no, not on a Tuesday,” she said. “That’s my Rotary meeting. Why don’t you come to the meeting?”

I knew nothing of Rotary, but I was curious about a group that met every Tuesday, and a member who didn’t want to miss a meeting.

I was surprised to find I knew many of the members, although I still didn’t know their purpose as a group. I was soon informed of Rotary’s motto, “Service Above Self.”

The founder of Rotary, Paul Harris, was a Chicago attorney who met with three other men in 1905. Harris wanted to form a club for men of diverse backgrounds to exchange ideas and form meaningful friendship. From that, Rotary has grown to more than 1.4 million members (men and women) around the world. Presently, the vision statement reads, “Together, we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change — across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves.

At that first meeting I attended with Mrs. Beverly, and at every meeting since becoming a member, the Four Way Test is recited. I have since used it as a guide, not just for decisions regarding Rotary activities, but for every decision I ponder.

Is it the truth?

            Is it fair to all concerned?

            Will it build goodwill and better friendships?

            Will it be beneficial to all concerned?


Ronny Michel can be reached at rmichel@rtconline.com.