Brazil attorney Amos Thomas has served as both a state representative and a Rotarian — the latter for nearly 60 years.
If you ask him which one he prefers, longevity alone would indicate his love for Rotary.
The Brazil Rotary Club (Indiana, US — District 6580) is a part of Rotary International, an organisation that worked tirelessly to end polio in the world and has succeeded, except for a handful of cases in countries where outside medical professionals are not allowed to enter, according to information provided by Rotary International.
“I don’t know that I’ve enjoyed anything any more than being a member of the Rotary Club,” Thomas said one afternoon during the club’s annual 4th of July Celebration.
“The fact is that on Wednesday mornings I wake up and think, ‘Oh no, not one of those days,’ and then I think, ‘Oh, this is Rotary day,’ so I brighten up and enjoy it thoroughly and I’m going to go to Rotary meetings as long as I can.”
After college, he served in the US Air Force and graduated from law school before coming to Brazil to join his brother’s law firm.
John Thomas had been a member of Rotary since 1949 and suggested Amos join Kiwanis rather than both brothers being in the same service club.
In Rockville High School, Amos was one of the seniors invited to attend a Rockville Rotary club meeting.
“I thought, ‘I like this organisation, and, when I get older and I’m able, I think I want to join Rotary.”
So, when his brother suggested Amos join a service organisation other than Rotary, Amos declined.
“John, I’m not going into anything but the Rotary Club,” Amos told his brother.
John consented and Amos joined the Brazil club in February 1957.
During his years in Rotary, John served as district governor and in other capacities, maintaining perfect attendance for 60 years before his death.
Amos is approaching that 60-year mark with perfect attendance and he joked, “I hate to break his record so when I get to a month before, I may skip a meeting.”
Soon after joining the Brazil club, Amos served as secretary, one of the most difficult jobs in a Rotary club, many Rotarians would say.
He then served as president of the club, and, in 1994, he served as a group study exchange leader, taking four people to Wales for a month.
Later, he and his wife, Mary, took a group of 94 students from 22 countries on a three-week trip through the Western United States.
A year later, they did so again.
On his trip to Wales, he learned Rotarians had a different idea than their counterparts in the United States.
A court decision required male-only service clubs to admit women. So, Rotary International instructed its clubs around the world to do so.
In England, Rotary clubs ignored that directive.
When Amos group visited a men-only club in Wales, he saw that it was dying on the vine.
“I got up and said, ‘What you need to do is admit women into your club’ and they were all aghast,” Amos recalled.
“One of the Rotarians got up and said, ‘We in Wales don’t pay any attention to a federal court located in Chicago, Illinois, USA.’”
Amos did find a Wales club for women only and said it was “a very strong club.”
The current state of the Brazil Rotary Club is very strong, Amos added.
Source: The Brazil Times