Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Moments 1: Rose Antonio

In this outgoing rotary year 2012-2013, the Peace Presidents and Peace Governor Sue Sta. Maria produced a yearbook called ROTARY MOMENTS which was published during the District Handover last June 08, 2013. The club Presidents themselves should write their own memoir of some of their unforgettable moments as a club leader.

Some Peace Presidents could not write their own piece for various reasons. So I was asked by Gov. Sue to help by interviewing then writing an article for some Presidents assigned to me. I was asked to interview many Peace Presidents actually, at first I thought it was an easy task, but then my own work caught up with me too and I interviewed only a few of them. Some wrote their own papers and just asked me to suggest revisions and refinements to their papers.

I will post in this blog the stories of those Presidents and a few District officials who helped the District whom I have interviewed, or at least suggested revisions to their own papers. Each of these Peace Presidents and Past Presidents have wonderful stories to share, I admire their stories, and I think I should help publicize those wonderful stories and MOMENTS in my own little way.

I will start with our own club President.

Rosemarie “Rose” Antonio
Rotary Club of Taguig Fort Bonifacio

Leading a small but compact club is both a challenge and a blessing at the same time. A challenge because I could count on not too many members to be involved in our various community service projects. But also a blessing because club leadership succession is not a problem and securing members’ support is easy.

My Presidency came as a surprise for me. Way back in 2011, I was just a “baby Rotarian”. My presence in previous club meetings was mainly to accompany my husband, Niel Antonio, who was the Club’s Immediate Past President at that time. Few months after I was inducted as a new member, I was groomed to be a President Elect, a big surprise for me as I was not even expecting to be a Club Officer. I thought that my clubmates were just kidding me. Then I realized that it was the real thing when I was later officially announced as the club PE.

I was a bit nervous when I joined the PETS as the thought of being a new or “baby Rotarian” was still heavy in my mind. But when I met my would-be classmates, so many of them, plus the incoming District officers led by then Governor-Elect Sue Sta. Maria, most if not all of those doubts have been replaced by enthusiasm and friendship.

Club Presidency for me means responsibilities, commitment and fulfillment.  Sometimes it can be overwhelming and definitely, it really is.  Stressful, lots of work load, but it’s all worth it.  The reward is the feeling of accomplishment and fulfillment, friendship and the joy that I have done my best for my club and the communities where we have rendered various service projects.

Rotary for me is a catalyst for people to give community service on their own, willingly and voluntarily, without compensation and even digging from their own pockets, and still enjoy it. The friendship and fellowship with other people who hold the same ideals, and service orientation makes the work even more enjoyable.

For one year, I have seen many inspirational and heart-warming stories and community services. But the most unforgettable moment for me was when we visited the Philippine Cerebral Palsy, Inc. office in Makati.  I and my clubmates went there thinking that it could be a nice project to submit for our Global Grant application.  But when we were already touring the facilities and different therapy sessions, I felt like I was on the verge of tears just by looking at all those special kids with disabilities, mostly wheelchair bound. 

I always have a soft heart to children especially those who are somehow deprived of a normal life and physical well being.  Life can be perplexingly complicated sometimes. Lots of questions bombarded my mind then.  Why does it have to happen to those innocent juveniles?  Why are they almost incapacitated for life?  Will they ever cope up and have the chance to live a normal life?  They are so young and yet so helpless.

The past 12 months have been a tiring but fulfilling experience for me. I want to share these thoughts to my friends and readers. I swear that if I did not become a Club President, my appreciation for these thoughts would not be so  deep.

Be prepared always. Be flexible and have back up plans when the original plans and strategies do not work. Know as many details as possible, be immersed with the situation. Practice the  “Art of War Principle” – know yourself, know your enemy, and know your terrain.

Empowerment comes not with pride but with humility and reason.  Learn to utilize and share it.  A true leader inspires values in action. A great thought is geared towards realization.  An untainted principle and honest life is a noble life. 

It is easy to ignore and social indifference is everywhere, but a life lived with fulfillment and  responsibility is a big achievement.

I take pride in my unrecognized contribution, however small. For without it, I may not have given my best effort.

I may not be the best among my peers but definitely, I have somehow touched the lives of some deprived people.  And, that makes me happy and contented. 

Commitment is something that I always regard highly, a kin to responsibility.  If combined with truthfulness, they are definitely a perfect team.

Being a leader requires a lot of dedication. Combined with strategy and planning, it can lead to a  path of unknown adventures.

The greatest legacy that parents can give their children is to raise them properly and independently, prepare them for uncertainties in life and ensure that they can survive and thrive. 

See also: 
Club Planning Workshop, March 2012, April 02, 2012 
Club Officers, RY 2012-2013, June 01, 2012 
Club Relief Operations After the Manila Flooding, August 13, 2012

Art Peace 2013, April 24, 2013 
Peace President Rose Antonio, May 23, 2013

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