Greeting military personnel at the USO lounge at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and reading to children at Woodward Elementary School are among the volunteer opportunities Brookhaven Rotarians embrace.
“‘Service above self’ is the motto,” club president Tom Hughes said. “We all share that passion for community involvement in Brookhaven and DeKalb County. It extends to an international community because Rotary is international.”
The local club spun off from the Northlake chapter in 1989, getting its charter as the Rotary Club of West DeKalb.
Predating cityhood by 10 years, the club changed its name to Brookhaven to “have better community identification and recognition” in 2003.
“The club settled into its new home at the Capital City Club in Brookhaven,” the club’s history relates.
Its nearly 40 members range in age from 30s to 70s and in profession from accounting to utilities.
“We have not had any well-known or famous people as members,” Hughes said. “Our club consists of a group of average people trying to do great things in our community.”
Amy Ellis, a banker and one of the club’s seven women, helps service men and women navigate the airport between deployments.
“It’s hard to describe because it’s a touching experience,” Ellis said. “It’s a good reality check to see people who are sacrificing so much, leaving home and leaving family.”
Today’s meeting is at the Shepherd Center in Buckhead, the beneficiary of the club’s May 13 golf tournament at Cherokee Country Club in Roswell.
“The SHARE program is really neat,” Ellis said about Shaping Hope And Recovery Excellence, a program to treat brain injuries in returning troops. “Shepherd is the best place for them to be.”
In the club’s literacy program, she reads to second-grade Wildcats at Woodward Elementary School in Brookhaven.
“I was read to as a child. I’ve always loved to read and that’s probably why,” Ellis said. “It encourages curiosity and the love of reading.”
School librarian Rosemary Scalessa said the club’s actions and donations are far above average.
“It’s one of the smaller Rotary clubs, but you’d never know it from the amount of support they give Woodward,” she said. “I think it goes without saying that it’s a positive thing for the children and the school.”
On the web: www.brookhavenrotary.org