Monday, January 21, 2019
Ask the ExpertIn the Community

Rotary International: Make Service Your Legacy

They say that success is finding satisfaction in giving a little more than you take. The gift may be material like money, clothing, and books, but also intangible, like kindness, attention, and time. It turns out that to achieve that kind of success one needs not be Superman (like Mr. Christopher Reeves to whom the quote is attributed), but a person with a simple desire to better a fellow human being’s life. And what do you know, in a few of our Miami neighborhoods there are many such folk who successfully find satisfaction in giving. You may know one or two. They call themselves Rotarians.

When asked to define Rotary International, I tell the story of a historically successful organization of 1.2 million international business and professional leaders, passionate about unifying resources, sharing best practices, and taking action to tackle the world’s greatest human concerns and local community challenges in an effective, responsible, and sustainable way. Decidedly, Rotarians are leaders who want to “make service their legacy”.

Rotary District 6990 encompasses nearly fifty Clubs from Broward, Miami-Dade, and Monroe Counties, and the Grand Bahama Island. Locally, the Rotary Clubs of Miami-Kendall, Coral Gables, Palmetto Bay, South Miami, and Pinecrest, actively channel their work through several avenues of service which encourage every Rotarian to find ways to improve the quality of life for people in their communities and to serve the public interest, promote international peace and understanding via overseas projects, and empower youth and young professionals through leadership development programs. Here is a very small sample of the good, continual work of a few local Rotary Clubs:

Rotary Club of Miami-Kendall: Book bags for underprivileged children in Homestead, FL. Support of Safe Space Foundation’s Women’s Shelter. Nepal Earthquake Fundraiser. Co-Leadership of trip to India to vaccinate children against Polio. Honoring of WWII Tuskegee Airmen’s service. Youth leadership development program at Felix Varela High School (Interact Club).

Rotary Club of Coral Gables: School Supplies Drive. Helicopter Golf Ball Drop for fight against Polio. Support for the Lotus House, a shelter for homeless women and children. Co-Leadership of Trip to India to vaccinate children against Polio. Project to furnish six apartments to house homeless veterans.

Rotary Club of Miami-Dadeland-Pinecrest: Homeless Veterans fundraising project. Scholarships to Palmetto Senior and School of Advanced Studies students. Christmas presents to the C.O.P.E. Center, a school of choice for expecting or teenage parents and their children. Quest for Peace Art Exhibition. Support for Shoe Drive USA.

Rotary Club of Perrine-Cutler Ridge-Palmetto Bay: Support for Wheelchairs for Kids. Scholarship Fund for Maggard Migrant Ministry. Contribution to the Children’s Hunger Relief Fund. Project for Rain Harvesting and Water Recycling at Ma’apilim Schools in Jerusalem, Israel. Thanksgiving Dinner project to feed 250 underprivileged families in West Perrine.

Rotarians are your neighbors, your community leaders and some of the world’s greatest history-makers. We share a kinship with JFK, Winston Churchill, Bill Gates, Walt Disney, and Pope Francis, as well as with Carol Nobles (Kendall), Michael Kesti (Palmetto Bay), and Noelle Galperin (Coral Gables). Whether spreading literacy, eradicating Polio, making potable water, or promoting peace, every day, around the world, ordinary folk are accomplishing extraordinary things.

Luis Ortega
the authorLuis Ortega
Luis Ortega is a former, prior-enlisted, U.S. Marine Captain. He enjoyed serving alongside many Marines, airmen, soldiers, sailors, and coastguardsmen for eleven years, worldwide. He owns and operates Security Arms International, a firearms store and school in Palmetto Bay and is available to swap war stories at