For husband and wife, Mark Burton and Dickie Van Breene, Rotary is much more than belonging to a humanitarian organisation. It’s about making a difference in the world.
“When you’re a part of Rotary, you’re really making a difference, both locally and internationally,” Burton said.
“When you think about all the wonderful things Rotary has accomplished, who wouldn’t want to be part of one of the most successful humanitarian organisations in history?”
It’s the first time a husband and wife have served as Rotary presidents concurrently in Los Angeles district, Burton said.
Since the two took the reigns at the same time, they were able to attend workshops and training sessions together as incoming Rotary presidents.
“It was fun to be able to do those things together, and it’s nice now because we can bounce ideas off of one another,” Van Breene said.
“Of all the people I’ve met in my life, I enjoy her (Van Breene’s) company more than anyone else, so I get to spend more time with her. It made it very special in that way,” Burton added.
Burton joined Rotary after retiring from his position as the Los Angeles’ senior assistant city attorney in 2012.
Van Breen joined 15 years ago, while she was working as an educator for El Segundo Unified School District. She joined because she believes in the Rotary’s service projects, she said.
“For Rotary, I’ve always done the gently-used book drive. The district would collect all the books, and then we’d give them to an elementary school in Lawndale,” Van Breene said.
“At the particular school, the kids don’t have many books at home, so they got to keep the books for their home libraries. I just felt what we were doing was so important for those children.”
Burton said Rotary sparked his interest after he attended one of group’s meetings. The topic was partnering with Wells Bring Hope to donate $1 million to build wells in Africa.
“The look and passion I saw on every Rotarians’ face, I thought, ‘Wow. I want to be part of this too,’” Burton said.
For his one-year term as Manhattan Beach Rotary president, Burton said he’s adopted the theme of children in need.
“There are a lot more children in need and families in need than you would think,” Burton explained.
To go in line with the newly adopted theme, the club sponsored 10 scholarships for PS I Love You Foundation’s 2017 Day at the Beach.
Additionally, 20 Manhattan Beach Rotarians participated as mentors during the Day at the Beach.
Van Breene said during her tenure, she will focus on facilitating more service projects.
“We’re pretty good at raising money and giving money away to different organisations,” Van Breene said. “But I really like the hands-on service projects, where you can see you’re making a difference.”
Burton agreed, adding, “It’s nice when we give money to a project; it’s better when we participate.”
Burton and Van Breene said they’re honoured to serve as Rotary presidents.
“I would say one of the best things I ever did in my life was join the Manhattan Beach Rotary Club, because they’re just the most righteous group of people I’ve ever known,” Burton said
Source: The Beach Reporter