What they did for love

First Posted: 2/3/2015

Birthdays. We all have them and mark them for ourselves and for others. We keep pictures as reminders of birthdays of our family. Kids with cake on their faces are pictured strapped into high chairs, while adults wearing funny hats, smile.

If we are lucky enough to just get old, then the celebrations become, perhaps less rowdy but maybe more meaningful, as we rejoice on the successful living of another year.

In January, Rotarians stood and clapped and sang for a special birthday. Howard Hyde, our oldest Rotarian, celebrated his birthday, his 96th, at the Inn at Nichols Village at a Thursday Rotary Club meeting.

Howard joined our club in 1970 and for each one of those years he has been a faithful member who has lent his many talents to Rotary projects. As a registered architect, working with local architectural firms, he tackled big projects on a national and international level but was never too busy to design and oversee plans to help our community.

Although Howard is the oldest member, we have others who joined in the 1960s and 1970s and come to almost every Rotary meeting. Rotarians Gus Vlassis joined in 1968 and Warren Watkins in 1969. Both of them took their leadership skills beyond the local level and became Rotary District Governors, leading multiple clubs in the northeast.

Steve Selige and Wayne Trivelpiece became members in 1973. Guy Cali joined in 1976, Harry Mumford in 1978, and Gene Little in 1981.

These men came from all different career paths: teacher; electrical designer; real estate developer; photographer; industrial engineer; businessmen and more. Each joined Rotary to combine their talents and skills with others. Collectively these eight men have contributed almost 300 years of service. If you just wander around our area you will see the results of the work they did in that time period.

When the playground at the Waverly Community House was re-constructed in the 1980s, these Rotarians were there. Not only did they bring their own tools but when they arrived, each had a kazoo in hand and walking toward the playground, they played, “Hi ho, hi ho! It’s off to work we go…” All the other volunteer workers just stopped and applauded as Rotarians marched up to sing and to work.

If you go to the Clarks Summit Senior Center, just stop outside that door and look around, the landscaping around the center was put in place by the Rotary Club of the Abingtons. No work was too dirty or too backbreaking as bushes were planted, dirt was moved, grass was put in, and weeds were dug out. The same kind of landscaping was done at the Abington Community Library.

If you stop on a summer day for a drink in the shade, perhaps you will sit in the pavilion at the South Abington Park, designed and constructed by some of these same Rotarians in our club.

Do you throw trash in the receptacles along State Street in Clarks Summit? Planters and receptacles were designed and built by them. Planters continue to be maintained by one of them.

A road sign featuring the Rotary wheel advertises our club and stands on Summit Hill in Clarks Summit. Construction for it was completed years ago by these same Rotarians. A few weeks ago, the sign showed its age and although all of these men also show their ages, they refurbished the sign and returned it to the road. They never said a word to anyone at our meeting about what they had done.

Why would anyone, busy with career development and family responsibilities, do the physical and mental labor that these men did in the 1970s and continue to do today? The answer is love.

Marvin Hamlish wrote these lyrics in the famous Broadway play, “A Chorus Line.”

“Kiss today goodbye,

And point me t’ward tomorrow

We did what we had to do

Won’t forget, can’t regret

What I did for love.”

Imagine that! Eight men have contributed 300 years of all kinds of community service just for the love of doing good.

February is a month for remembering those we love. Valentine’s Day is the one day of the year when love is especially exchanged through cards and candy and flowers. For Rotarians, love showing is not just for that one day but for any day where good can be done.

As Rotarians, we are pointed toward tomorrow. We don’t forget, we can’t regret what we did for love.

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