Archived Story

Niles-Buchanan Rotary embodies motto of ‘Service Above Self’

Published 9:03am Thursday, June 19, 2014

For more than five decades the Niles-Buchanan Rotary Club has helped guide some of the areas brightest students toward achieving their higher education dreams. That effort will continue this month — with the chance for the community to pitch in.

The club has been awarding scholarships to area students for 52 years, handing out nearly $300,000 over the years. This year, the club is presenting a $1,000 scholarship award to one student each from Niles, Brandywine and Buchanan schools.

“The Niles-Buchanan Rotary Club has had a priority focus on assisting youth at least since I joined the club in 1991. The scholarship program is the largest single funding event we do every year, but it is not the only thing we support that pertains to youth,” said treasurer Rob Habicht. “However, the program affords members of the club the opportunity to review applicants (there were 80 this year) and to personally interview the finalists. Those that serve the club in this capacity will tell you that it is a difficult task to select just one student from each school, but that the process is personally rewarding and uplifting in that we see firsthand that the future of our community is in good hands with the caliber of students graduating from our schools.”

However, it isn’t like the civic organization is sitting on a pot of gold to foot the bill for this goodwill effort.

As its single largest project of the year, members are working hard to finish the annual raffle that will be held June 30 at the annual dinner.

Who doesn’t want great odds to win big money, while helping youth at the same time?

Rotarians are only selling 200 tickets, at $100 each. So, the odds are really good, as far as raffles go.

Even if you aren’t motivated by altruistic reasons, maybe the chance to win big will do the trick. The club will give away $8,000 in raffle prizes, including $5,000 for the winning ticket.

People can purchase as many tickets as they want. Groups can split the cost as many ways as they would like. Siblings can share a ticket. There are lots of ways to buy tickets, and the club needs to sell all of them.

Several of our members have sold 10 or more tickets. Paul Rifenberg is setting the pace with 22, making the rest of us look like slackers. I have sold my minimum amount of five but would love to sell more or help others sell theirs. Anyone who is interested in trying his or her luck for a good cause can give me a call.

Rotary is one of the world’s leading civic organizations, with more than 1.2 million members serving in more than 34,000 clubs. The service club is built on the principle of “Service Above Self.”

Here in the Niles and Buchanan area there are generations of current and former college students who are living proof that this concept changes lives.


Michael Caldwell is the publisher of Leader Publications LLC. He can be reached at (269) 687-7700 or by email at


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