Melanie Matteson (Rotary Club of Four Seasons-Hendersonville, NC-USA)
You can find future Rotarians everywhere…in your church, your office, your neighborhood, non-profits…but sometimes the best Rotarians come from the most unlikely places, like other service clubs. Not because we are “better than them,” but actually because we are a lot like them! Most people who join service organizations do so because they have a heart for service. Melanie Matteson is no exception.
After many years in another organization in her hometown (and mine) of Hendersonville, NC (USA), she decided to become a Rotarian because she saw not only more opportunities to volunteer, but also the ability to share that experience with the most important people in her life. (I’d like to say that’s me – her “BFF extraordinaire” – but we all know it’s really her children, and I can live with that.)
Having attended many Rotary projects and fundraisers over the years, Melanie was already familiar with Rotary International’s “avenues of service” and the charitable efforts of the Rotary Club of Four Seasons in her hometown. She had supported numerous activities as a sponsor, attendee or volunteer, often bringing one or more of her four kids along with her.
“So when I was invited to join, it was an easy decision for me,” she said recently. “Four Season Rotary is VERY active in our community, which is something I enjoy. Our club welcomes my children to participate too, so I get to spend time with them, help out our neighbors, and teach them (hopefully) the value of giving back.”
In her first year as a Rotarian, club leaders recognized Melanie’s commitment to her community and its causes, as well as her leadership qualities, and asked her to consider serving as club president in 2017-2018. “Being named president-nominee after only a few short months as a Rotarian is my favorite ‘Rotary moment’ so far…I know there will be others in the years to come, but for now I am humbled by their confidence in me,” she said.
All four of Melanie’s children have participated in Rotary activities since she joined 18 months ago – bellringing for Salvation Army, filling shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child, assisting at Special Needs Baseball, packaging meals for Rotarians Against Hunger, and even camping overnight in the cold to raise money for homeless students. “To be a Rotarian is the epitome of ‘service above self,’ – that’s our tagline for a reason,” added Melanie. “All of these activities are special to me if my kids are there with me participating. Hopefully they will want to be Rotarians one day too.”
*Melanie will attend PETS (President Elect Training Seminar) in March, and serve as President of the Rotary Club of Four Seasons-Hendersonville, USA beginning July 1, 2017. She will attend her first-ever Rotary International Convention this June in Atlanta, GA. She is the Advertising Director for Hendersonville Lightning in Hendersonville, NC, and can be reached at (828) 421-5399. If you would like to recommend someone to be the “Rotary Geek of the Week” to be featured on this blog, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.