Rotarians leave Thursday lunch meetings informed, inspired

First Posted: 5/4/2015

My husband, Bill Christian, was a member of the Rotary Club of the Abingtons for about 45 years. He would dress with care and watch the clock throughout the morning on Thursdays. Never late and rarely absent for Rotary meetings, he approached each Thursday with eagerness.

Since his death in 2011, I have become a member of this same club and I find myself looking forward to Thursdays, just as he did. About 11 a.m. or so, I begin wrapping up my work things, checking my watch, calculating my drive time so I will not be late either.

Why do we gather and enjoy our Thursdays at noon together?

Rotary is fun and Rotary is informative.

Each week a different program is offered to the group. Our Rotarian program director is Jim Pravlik. He sees to it that every Rotarian is given a week to bring in some kind of program for presentation to the group. The week you are assigned is published in our annual directory so you know when your turn is coming. The program you choose can be almost anything – and it is.

Some programs are thought-provoking and informative. Last week we heard from Michele Dempsey, who brought us data on the landfill expansion in Dunmore. Although this current topic is in the local news every day, she brought new insight into the environmental dangers that will affect everyone in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

I don’t know anything much about motorcycles, so when the program on Harleys and Hogs and riding in the wind was scheduled, I didn’t expect to like it. When I listened to the passion that the speaker had and how he explained the philanthropy given out by cyclists, I was stunned. Motorcyclists are just ordinary people who wear protective gear, ride together for fun and do good.

I had not expected to learn that day but that program opened my eyes.

The Northeast Genealogical Society sent a member of its board for a recent Rotary program. He informed us that just a few miles away in a renovated church in Peckville, a massive amount of documentation on every person who has ever lived in Northeastern Pennsylvania is being recorded. Stored on shelves and catalogued on software, census data, birth, marriage and death records are listed for easy search of other generations. So many Rotarians had never heard of this unique historical society until that program was presented.

Pipeline information was brought to us by representatives from the Williams Company. The company does not drill for natural gas but transports it through pipes to the ultimate destination. Rotarians asked many questions that day.

Although political candidates are not invited to come before election, we gladly welcome elected officials. Mayor Lawler of Clarks Summit told us about her plan for Clarks Summit. Representative Sid Kavulich showed us the complexities of having a bill go through the House of Representatives. Our local commissioners presented a program on what they have done for our county.

We have had entertainers, who juggled or sang, or played an instrument or even did magic tricks. We have had monologues of trips to faraway lands and have enjoyed slides and videos of other people in faraway countries.

So, what are you doing from 12:10 to 1:10 p.m. on Thursday?

Maybe you are doing nothing more than having lunch. Every Thursday at that same time, I know what members of the Rotary Club of the Abingtons are doing. Eating lunch? Yes, a great lunch at Nichols Village and much more than that. We will spend our time listening and learning. We will come away from that hour, informed and inspired.

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