Athens Review, Athens, Texas

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July 2, 2012

Helping others is a decision you will never regret

Athens — Twenty years ago on Friday, June 29, I went to work for the Cedar Creek Pilot. Amazing what a short 20 years it has been. 

A lot has happened in  the years since I applied for that part-time salesperson position.

Dan Youngman was the General Manager of the Pilot. I think he tricked me. I never worked part time.

Of most of the decisions I have made in my life, working for a community paper has to be among the top 10. Much different than working for a larger metropolitan paper.

The Pilot and the Athens Review have always been connected at the hip. Making the transition to Athens came natural.

Working for the Pilot gave me the opportunity to meet some incredible people. There  really are  people who really care about their community.  I wanted to be one of those people.

The first General Manager I encountered at the Pilot, after Youngman, told me she thought it was important I get involved in the business community. She was right. I knew a lot of people at the lake, including business owners. The Chamber gave me the opportunity to learn  what the lake area had to offer.

Twenty years ago, there was more than one chamber. The Pilot was a member of Kemp, Mabank, Eustace, Cedar Creek and Seven Points/Tool chamber.  Merging the chambers under one umbrella with branches was a great decision. This brought all the businesses together. No more separation by cities. Worked for me.

I spent a lot of my earlier years at the Pilot helping with chamber fundraisers.

In 2004, when I became the General Manager of the Pilot, I thought it was important I get involved in a civic organization. I am still a very large supporter of the Chamber, but it was time to branch out.

The Cedar Creek Lake Area has many great organizations. They have Kawanis, Lions Club and Rotary, just to name a few.

I knew people who were very involved in Kawanis and Rotary. I tried to decide which of these clubs would best fit my needs. They both do.

Charles Moore, owner of the Cedar Creek Shopper, had been trying for a very long time to get me to come to the Rotary Club.  Because of Charles' persistence, and because the Rotary met on Friday, I chose the Rotary. Friday was just a much better day for myself.

The Rotary and Kawanis are very similar. They both contribute a great deal to their communities. Most importantly, children. That's what I wanted.

The organizations not only give directly to the kids, they support other organization who are dedicated to making children's lives better.

Having grown up in a somewhat dysfunctional home, it's important that kids can be kids as long as possible. They will be adults soon enough, with all the problems that come along with growing up.

I am in the process of writing a story about the Henderson County Help Center and the Cedar Creek Lake Resource Center.  When I visited these two organizations, they both told me of the things the Rotary Club has done for them. It made me proud to know I was part of that.

I have now been a member of the Cedar Creek Lake Rotary Club for about eight years. I never regretted my choice. The people are great, and they contribute so much to the Henderson County area. 

This coming year, I will be the president of the Cedar Creek Lake Rotary Club. That is not something I had ever planned. Circumstances as they are, I am the president.

I am not the one that likes being in front of a camera.  I am much better as the person taking the pictures. So if you think you will see me in the paper a lot, think again. There are plenty of Rotarians I can put in front of the camera. Plus, the members should get all the credit.

Someone recently mentioned to me that up to a few years ago, they didn't even allow women into the Rotary. That is true. It was 1987 when women were allowed  to be called Rotarians.

The Cedar Creek Lake Rotary has had other women presidents. Andrea Pickens and Barbara Turner, who are still members of the Rotary, were two of the women presidents. I just want to be half the president these two ladies have been.  Pam Burton, another woman Rotarian, will be the president of the Athens Rotary Club. We've come a long way.

If you ever feel you have been blessed in your life, and would like to give back, think about joining one of these civic organizations.  There are always volunteer opportunities. If you retired or just have time on your hands, why not volunteer? The Resource Center is always looking for volunteers. Check the libaries out, or the hospitals and nursing homes. There are so many needs in this county.

Helping others is never a decision you will regret.

Kathi Nailling is a Staff Writer for the Athens Daily Review.

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