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In April, 2020, in the midst of the stay-at-home orders, Club President Keller McDonald published this op-ed in Sonoma West.  We want to share it with all our friends because it captures how the Club has come to view its role now, when community service and caring for your neighbors has become more important than ever.
Keller McDonald
We’ve had two rounds of fires, a flood, and now a pandemic, mixed with a swiftly descending round of hard economic times.  
Not that we’d wish all of this calamity on anyone, least of all ourselves, but there is an upside: now is the time a service club can really show its value to its friends and neighbors.
As the President of the Rotary Club of Sebastopol this year, I see that our pledge of community action – “service above self” – makes more sense than ever.  Not only does it make sense right now, it’s what Rotary has focused upon for over 100 years.  
In a normal year, a time I can hardly remember any more, we supported education, local community groups, battered women, international aid programs like eradicating polio around the world, and more.  We took pride in our grants to West County teachers to help them enliven their classrooms with projects they could not fund out of school budgets.  And we delighted to step in to fund the Construction Corps, an introduction to the construction trades for seniors at Analy, El Molino, and Laguna High Schools.
But now there is so much more to do.  We have launched multiple funds to help local businesses and organizations whose cash flow or contributions have dried up.  And we are more focused than ever on providing volunteer support for organizations like the Redwood Empire Food Bank.  We may not be meeting in person for lunch every Friday, as we used to do, but we still get together by Zoom each week and discuss how best to be of assistance to our community.
I’ve written this op-ed as an open letter to my fellow presidents of the many service organizations around the county.  We know you have willingly taken on the task of helping those who have been set back by any or all of our disasters.  While each individual service organization may be doing a pretty good job on its own, we have no doubt that there are many things we could do better if we were working with other, similar organizations here in Sonoma County. Moreover, if you’d like to work with us, please reach out.
And if you are not affiliated with Rotary or another service organization, but would like to help, please join us.  We’d be delighted to have you help with a volunteer project or sponsor of one our activities.  Or even better, join us as a member!  
There is one thing we all know: Even if we are staying home most of the time, there are things we can do to help our community get through hard times.  Whether it’s on your own or through a service organization, find some time to give your neighbors a hand.  We do it well in good times; we can do it even better when the chips are down.