Charlie Hammond:

Charlie Hammond "volunteered" to be the first to provide his story. Thank you Charlie.


Why I joined:

In 1991 I was asked to join Rotary. After these many years, it seems like only yesterday. The “ask” came from an old, crusty business man that my family had known for many years. Not a close friend by any means just someone I had some business with.

The scene sticks in my mind like a picture hung above the fireplace. The Rotarian asked to come talk to me at my home. My young wife and kids were home and meeting was anything but undisturbed. Over a coffee he asked me lots about my booming business and how it was going. He talked to me about my knowledge of Rotary and what exposure I had had to it. I had attended many functions over the years but it had never occurred to me that I wanted to be a part of it. It was an aging club not many young members under 60 year, many were 75 or more. He asked me what I wanted to accomplish in life and how was I going to achieve it. Like many busy business people I did not have many long term goals. I wanted a happy family and my business to prosper.

This was his hook line, “Thousands of customers will get to know you as a business person but very few of them will ever become true friends. Rotary will give you a chance to network with great people, make lifelong friendships and accomplish amazing projects that will change the community and the world.”

I decided that night to give it a few meetings.


Why I stay:

  • Get to work with incredible people.
  • Lifelong friendships.
  • The opportunity Rotary gives me to improve my community and the world – one person and project at a time.
  • The lessons and skills that Rotary continues to teach me.
  • Gives me the opportunity to pass these things to the next generation.

My aha moment:

My first aha moment in Rotary was after several months. I was struggling to remember names, who people were and what they did. One meeting the president made me the birthday and anniversary announcer. At every meeting I would announce birthdays and anniversaries. After about a year of doing this I realized there was no such position. They had made it up so that I had to remember the names and faces of the members. I thought these are clever people. I should get to know them. They have never stopped teaching me.  It was not my last position in Rotary.