Starting KCS in August 2011 provided me with an opportunity to return to my consulting roots, but it also gave me so much more. By not having to commute into NYC each day, which I’d done since I was 18, provided me with several hours a day to dedicate to other endeavors. One of those was joining Rotary. I had little knowledge of what it meant to be a Rotarian, but it proved to be so much more than I could have ever expected.
For those of you that don’t know anything about Rotary, it is the world’s largest service organization with more than 1.2 million members in roughly 200 countries. The organization’s motto is “Service Above Self”, and it quickly became apparent that my fellow Rotarians are guided by that call each and every day.
In addition to meeting wonderfully caring individuals all focused on doing “good”, I’ve been extremely fortunate to be engaged in amazing projects, both locally and abroad, that have had a profound impact on the beneficiaries (and me, too). I bring this to your attention because one such project has recently brought fresh clean water to the village of Awhum, Nigeria.
There are roughly 30,000 residents in Awhum, and none of them had access to clean water. The villagers were forced to walk miles to get drinking water, and I’m not sure if it was actually clean water. I, for one, take for granted the availability of clean water.
How does a group of mostly middle-class suburbanites from Wyckoff and Midland Park, NJ get involved in a project in Nigeria? Well, we were extremely fortunate to have Father Felix Uguozor as a visiting priest from Nigeria join one of the local parishes for the past couple of summers. It was Father Felix that brought to our attention this critical need.
Through the cooperation of a Rotary Club in Nigeria, Rotary International, Father Felix, Brian Murray (local entrepreneur) and members of our club, we were able to raise sufficient funds to provide a 700 foot deep well that finally provided clean water to those in desperate need of some. Unfortunately, the digging of the well proved to be phase one, as the electrical grid proved unreliable, and the frequent outages meant that water could not be pumped to the surface.
Fortunately, were able to raise additional capital for a generator, which has recently been installed at the site of the well in Awhum. Here is a video of the villagers benefiting from access to clean water. There are just a few things that I feel trump my work in trying to preserve defined benefit plans for the masses. Being a part of our local Rotary Club, and helping to provide clean water to a village halfway around the world is certainly one of them. I would encourage each of you to get to know Rotary. It is an amazing organization doing incredible work throughout the globe. My involvement has profoundly impacted me, and I suspect it would have a similar impact on you.