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Andrews wins coveted Rotary Avenues of Service Award

Special to The Leader

 

Vidor Rotarian Sally Andrews was honored with the prestigious Rotary International Avenues of Service Award on Monday, May 1 at the Vidor Rotary Club’s weekly meeting.  The award, given by Rotary’s International President, can only be awarded to one club member a year, and can only be awarded once in a Rotarian’s lifetime.  ​The award’s intent is to recognize that the strength of the Rotary ideal is founded on the service carried out by Rotary Club members worldwide.  It provides a means for Rotary clubs around the world to recognize a club member for outstanding service in the five Avenues of Service of Rotary:  Club Service, Vocational Service, Community Service, International Service, and Youth Service.  The citation commends the service carried out by an individual Rotarian in the club, and reinforces the importance, which Rotary places on the personal involvement of each Rotarian in service activities that are important to Rotary worldwide.

Andrews, a 10-year Vidor Rotarian, was nominated by Vidor Rotary Club President Karen Tipton.  “Several years ago, the club was down to eight members, and at many meetings, there were only three of us present!” said Tipton at Monday’s recognition.  “Sally went right to work rebuilding the club,” she says.  The Vidor Rotary Club currently boasts twenty-nine members.

Rotary District 5910 Assistant Governor Bobby Simon was on hand to present the award to Andrews.  “Governor Doris Lockey sends her regards and her apologies for not being able to join us today, but I’m honestly glad she couldn’t come, because now I get to do this!  I’m sure that, when I announce the recipient’s name, you will not be surprised, because she is heavily involved in each of the five areas of service.”

As far as the five Avenues of Services, Rotarians who received the award must have participated in each, and Andrews certainly has done that. As far as club service, not only did she amass a team to rebuild the club when it was at its lowest point, but she has been instrumental in creating the annual chili dinner, the new Cajun Music Night, the Service Above Self essay contest, the semi-annual garage sales, and perhaps Vidor Rotary’s most significant service project: the little green bus bookmobile and feeding station.  She also spearheads a summer reading camp for low interest readers, now in its second year and doubled in size, serving Vidor children.  Andrews also created Halloween Safe Night, a great evening for families which has been held twice.

Many things Andrews does in the area of vocational service overlap club service, but it’s easy to see how her job as Coordinator of Community Relations for Vidor Independent School District gives her the opportunity to do much through her job. “It’s wonderful being employed by Vidor ISD,” says Andrews.  “It helps me to see the needs of children and youth in our community, and many of our local projects are based on those needs.  The Students of the Month and essay contests, scholarships for graduating seniors, Read and Feed, and summer reading camp are just a few of the ways that our club members work to make certain that our children have some of their most basic needs met.”  Community service also finds many things in common with the club and vocational service, although in addition, Andrews participates in labeling magazines to be taken to area nursing homes as well as the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, which provides free books monthly to children up to age five who live in Vidor.  She also helps with the Flags on Main Street, Flags in the Park, and Show Your Colors programs of Vidor Rotary by getting letters out to individuals and businesses, advertising the flag holidays, and working with Boy Scouts to make sure the flags are put out and collected on each flag holiday.

International service is not as easy, but there are several things that the Rotary Club does as a whole. “We all contribute to help eradicate polio,” says Andrews.  “In addition, our club participates in Books for the World, in which we send used textbooks and other collected books to Africa for use in rural schools and learning situations that are very lacking.  I’m so excited to be part of that program!”  Andrews, her husband Tim (District 5910 Books for the World coordinator), and the members of Vidor Community Rotaract have even traveled to the Books for the World warehouse in Pasadena to spend a morning getting books ready to go overseas. “It’s really inspiring to know that we can help another country.  The books that we are going to discard here in Vidor because they are out of adoption and often out of date are valuable treasures to those in South Africa, where many children are sitting on dirt floors in a hut with only a small chalkboard.  Sometimes those books are even torn in half so children can all have something to read, and that hurts my heart. I think it’s vitally important for us to reach out to other countries and share education. We are pretty blessed here in America!”  Andrews and the club have also provided some wheelchairs for people overseas through The Wheelchair Project, and they have sponsored a child in another country by providing his school supplies.

Last, but certainly not least for Sally Andrews is the area of youth service.  As the District 5910 Interact coordinator, there were eight new Interact clubs formed under her leadership this year. “I’m tickled to say there are four more in the works for the coming year!”  The Interact clubs are school-based clubs under the sponsorship of Rotary, and are not only a great help to their sponsoring Rotary clubs, but are consistently standouts on their school campuses for their strong programs and awesome accomplishments. “Working with youth is a passion for me, and again, my job helps me do that.”  Andrews was also instrumental in getting another Youth Services program going this year….Vidor Community Rotaract. The group is comprised of young folks ages 18-30 who meet twice monthly. They, also, are sponsored by Rotary.  This year she has planned several mixers in which Interactors, Rotaractors, and Rotarians have met to do a service project.  They have done powdered drink packets for American soldiers in arid countries, supplies for young ladies rescued locally from human trafficking, and most recently, socks for homeless men in the area.

“It was overwhelming and surprising to be given this honor,” says Andrews. “But we function as a team in Rotary, and I couldn’t do anything without the work and support of everyone else!  I love working in Rotary and I strongly believe in all it stands for. I can’t think of a better place to serve than alongside not only the twenty-eight amazing people in Vidor Rotary Club, but the thousands and thousands of Rotarians worldwide.  We may recite the Four Way Test in different languages across the world, but we all have the same motto:  Service Above Self, and that’s what we believe…..we are here to serve.”