Service above self still shines
AS WE all know, time is precious.
So it might come as a surprise that more and more people are joining Rotary, an 110-year-old international organisation that provides donations and support to a number of causes all over the world.
It's a growing phenomenon that is encompassing younger generations year on year, attracting those from all walks of life who have the same 'service above self' mindset.
This year, the Rotary club of South Gladstone increased its membership by seven as well as ticking off a number of achievements.
It welcomed Craig Doyle, Luke Grice, Dale Ware, Aaron Cameron, Paul van Meteren, Sean Palmer and Richard Johnson.
A new Satellite Club in Calliope was also established.
In February, 26 members were recruited.
So, overall, the South Gladstone club brought 33 new Rotarians into the district.
It cleaned up in the annual district conference, collecting awards for best overall club, best increase in membership, best youth project and a social media trophy.
"But that doesn't mean we become complacent," the outgoing president of the Rotary club of South Gladstone, Peter Corones, said.
"Members just don't roll in, they are special people.
"We are ordinary people getting out and doing extraordinary things for others."
Mr Corones is like many of the members; modest but proud to be part of this tradition-rich club.
We found out volunteering wasn't a dying breed when we spoke to Mr Corones and the incoming president of the South Gladstone club, Jamie Lowry.
Mr Lowry, the owner of Lowry's Auto Body Repairs, was inducted as president at the club's 45th handover dinner this week.
He's been a Rotarian for 19 years.
"My brother-in-law suggested I have a look at Rotary," he said.
"Originally I thought Rotary was for snobby, high ranking business people. But I was made welcome from day one."
Mr Corones believes the beauty of Rotary is its ability to join people who have different backgrounds but the same goal.
"Bruce Hunt who used to be a big boss of QAL and Craig Doyle (is) the Ports Corp boss," he said.
"He is always the first one to set up tables and chairs."
Mr Lowry is no different. A panel beater for 43 years, he's also part of the furniture in Rotary.
"When Jamie started he was humble, quiet and not confident in speaking," Mr Corones said.
"I've watched him grow his skills and he's a model Rotarian now."
Mr Lowry said watching other Rotary clubs join the family had been highly satisfying.
"I've enjoyed watching the Calliope club being born," he said.
"For example, they have to make their own logo, organise shirts and pretty much start from scratch.
"But it's really good to see how they've grasped it."
Rotary has 1.2 million members across 200 countries.
"Rotary has become a lot better with publicity (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) because there never used to be any," Mr Corones said.
"Rotary can do what governments can't.
"Like with the launching of the flag poles on the corner of Dawson Hwy and Glenlyon Rd, we got state, local and federal governments with Main Roads to help with funding the project.
"To the main roads and council it wasn't important but for the community it's a big thing.
"There's nothing nicer than saying at the end of a project 'look at what we have achieved here'."
Having sibling groups such as Interact and Roteract in the community is also a big helper in building up membership in Rotary.
They're both involved in Rotary's annual local and international projects which include seniors week, the Anzac Day gunfire breakfast, golf days, the Gladstone Literacy Centre and more.
So combined with the weekly meetings, it's fair to say Rotary can take up a fair chunk of time.
But Mr Corones said the belief that people don't have time to volunteer doesn't exist in Gladstone.
"People don't just sit back and let things happen in Gladstone," he said.
"Everyone's busy but they find the time."
Gladstone region Rotary clubs