Whether the Rotary Club is in Lake Houston or Margate, England, the Rotarian commitment to “service above self” never wavers.
Former Kingwood resident Johann Tuohy displayed that commitment at the Rotary Club of Lake Houston’s first meeting of 2022, Jan. 5 as he described the service projects of his club, the Rotary Club of Margate.
Tuohy, who has lived throughout the world, spent almost six years working for an oil and gas company in Kingwood. Now retired, kind of, and living in England, Tuohy described his work with the Rotary Club of Margate.
“I am not a ‘full-fledged’ member,” he explained, “because I still am in oil and gas, and I travel for work so much. There is no way I could commit to meeting with my club every Wednesday.”
So, Tuohy became what is termed a “friend of Rotary,” — he’s got a “friend of Rotary pin” to prove it — and has immersed himself anyway in a variety of Rotary Club of Margate service projects.
“Like all Rotary clubs, we meet weekly featuring a variety of speakers talking about both local and global topics, but I was particularly interested in what they do for their community,” he said.
Margate is a seaside town on the southeast side of England and directly east of London. It is perhaps best known to Americans because it is in the county of Kent and near Canterbury, the site of “The Canterbury Tale,” written in the Middle Ages by Geoffrey Chaucer.
Margate is very historic, Tuohy pointed out, recalling how the Axis army in Calais France, during World War II, would shell Margate which lies just across the English Channel.
“Because it is a beach town, our Rotary club has been very involved in beach cleanup,” Tuohy said. “Also, there are many couples and individuals who have retired to Margate with no family member around them, and our club has taken on the task of visiting them, letting them know someone cares about them.”
COVID-19 restrictions have made visits more difficult but Rotary clubs always find a way and “ … sometimes it is just a matter of dropping off food or just chatting with them in front door visits,” he said.
The Margate club also focuses on social networking, developing personal skills, supporting the local foodbanks, and eradicating polio, but Tuohy’s preferred Rotary passion is Margate’s arts program that provides art supplies to 37 area schools, for students ages 6 to 16.
“We raise the funds, collect the art supplies, parcel them out and then deliver them to art teachers in all 37 schools,” Tuohy said.
Students use the art supplies to create paintings which, at the end of the school year, are mounted and displayed for proud parents and friends, and reviewed by a team of renowned art experts.
“My expertise isn’t artwork or judging them,” Tuohy explained. “I help set up the displays.
The first Rotary meeting of 2022 ended with President-Elect Eric Gomez inducting Kathleen Sison into the Lake Houston club as a new member and declaring that Christina Allen has more than completed requirements and now is a full member of the Rotary Club of Lake Houston.
The Rotary Club of Lake Houston Area meets Wednesdays, 11:45 a.m., at the Lake Houston YMCA. The Summer Creek Satellite Club meets at 8:30 a.m. on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays at the 3rd floor Nimble Office Suite, 250 Assay St., in Generation Park. To learn more about the advantages of being a Rotarian, lharotary.com.