Friday night we attended the rotary club's seventh annual fall fundraising event as it's come to be known. Rotary’s mantra is “Service Above Self.” Our local rotary groups across our country live this at all time.

It really got me thinking as members took a few minutes each at the microphone to first thank everyone for coming and then to also encourage us all to dig a little deeper in our pockets to support the good work that they do for our communities.

What also mesmerizes me the most about this nonprofit group is that it is known right up front that every penny they raise goes back to the local organizations in our communities that they support. There are no administration costs, building costs, or other hidden costs that a donation goes too.

If you donate $25 it all goes to the greater good. When Mike Dolan and Dave Harrison were speaking, Mike said to the crowd even if you can only give 2 cents, that is appreciated and it will go to a high school scholarship, to End 68 Hours of Hunger or to Liberty House.

I just thought it was also so great that they were saying to us that it’s OK to just give what you can. It doesn’t have to be big — even $5 will be put to good use. I’ve just never heard that before.

You know it’s funny too because honestly when John and I attend these events for any group we kind of go in knowing that the best we can do right now is the price of our tickets to get in. We usually just can’t bid or sponsor much at all. These words did cause us to spend a little more while we were there, and this time we left with two baskets! It just meant the world that they said that. Humble grateful hearts.

It got me researching some other nonprofits and many of them say that only 20% of what we can give goes directly to the group in need. All or 20% and that’s a big difference. Administrative cost are real, but when everyone volunteers like our rotary, 100% is given back.

Thanks to wonderful members and I wish I could list them all and past members like our own George Brooks of Brooks Real Estate Services and Claudia Charbonneau Dodds of RE/MAX innovative Properties many students, families and our veterans receive the help they need. Most importantly they know our communities care.

The rotary wanted to salute our first responders this year and they invited them to attend as their guests. What a beautiful sight and tribute. Many of these men and woman have also served our country in our armed services, too.

Jump from Friday night to Saturday morning and it was our town’s budget review meeting. I have to say, we have a very fair, impressive, sincere and caring Budget Committee. These are not easy committees to “volunteer” for. On top of it, you must actually run an election for these positions, six long weeks, again because their hearts are really in wanting to help our communities. Another group we should thank in all our towns if you get the chance. In Londonderry, my hat goes off to Chairman Tim Siekmann, Kirsten Hildonen, Chad Franz, Steve Breault, Jonathan Kipp, Greg Warner, and Christine Patton.

Now, a four-hour Saturday meeting may seem long, but thanks to the great presentations by each department it was 11 a.m. before I even looked at the clock. Public Works taught us about what it takes to maintain our local roads; Barbara, Sally and Betsy made me want to applaud our local libraries for all they bring to our communities for people of all ages, and then our fire department and police department presented.

When police Chief Bill Hart spoke to us, he reminded us that our first responders take on these dangerous roles because of their belief of “Service to Our Communities,” and that they put their lives on the line for us. They are ready, willing and able, each and every second, to help and serve us.

Town Councilor Joe Green said, “When we are running out of a situation or building, they are the ones running into it,” again for us. It really makes you stop and think. The things we take for granted or we forget is what their profession requires of them and their families. Many of these men and woman also have a military background — they made the decision to risk their lives not once but twice in the roads that they choose. Think of where we would be without all of these people who give selflessly for us.

The most important thing about this coming week is that Veterans Day is Monday, Nov. 11.

Thank God for our veterans and thank God above that we are free to even celebrate Veterans Day and all of these days in our great country.

We cannot thank veterans and their families enough. Thank goodness we at least have this day. We need to remember too that these great men and women that serve and served our country also go on to do great things in our communities once they leave active duty. Many of them become our first responders, our police officers, our firefighters, and our nation's leaders, as John always reminds us.

To end this week’s story, I have to thank Father Phil of St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Derry. I love the 6 p.m. Sunday evening Mass. The words and music always makes me teary and helps me focus on the week ahead. Father Phil’s homily spoke of World War II and forgiveness. Say a prayer, even a little one, and say thank you to our veterans whenever you have a chance.

Sherry Farrell is town clerk in Londonderry and a lifelong resident of New Hampshire.


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