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Rotary -- giving back to the community

My name is Doug Gillam. My wife, Jane, and I have been frequent visitors in the Detroit Lakes area most of our lives. We've owned a cabin on Lake Melissa for many years and always treasured our time here. So much so that we decided last year to move to where our heart is and became full-time residents.

Even before we moved, I thought about the fact that I really didn't know a lot of people outside of golfers and residents/cabin owners in the Melissa/Sallie area. I wanted to get to know my community and its residents better, so looked for ways to do that. A long-time friend and lifelong Detroit Lakes resident, Paul Schornack, suggested I take a look at the Rotary Clubs in town. Rotary wasn't totally new to me as my youngest daughter, Sloane, had spent her junior year of high school as a Rotary exchange student in New Zealand. Also, my son-in-law is a member and past president of the Rotary Club in Hannibal, MO, and had spoken highly of it many times. Several other friends had mentioned their involvement with Rotary in other cities as well, so Paul's suggestion piqued my interest.

Paul is a member of the Noon Rotary Club and invited me to attend one of their meetings. I did and knew right away that Rotary was what I was looking for. Its focus is not on the betterment of its individual members but on the betterment of the community and helping others who need a hand up rather than a handout. "Service Above Self" is not just a motto on the wall, it's how we try to live every day and it feels great! I ended up joining the Breakfast Club because it fit my work schedule a little better than the Noon club. We have a friendly rivalry between the two clubs, but that's a topic for another day. Suffice it to say that we both have the same goals: to help our community and our world.

So, if you're new to the Detroit Lakes area or a long-time resident who wants to get more involved and get that inner satisfaction that comes with helping others, take a look at Rotary (especially the Tuesday morning Breakfast club). I've been a member for about a year now and every week I feel better about myself and our decision to become full-time residents of this great, giving city.