“Service Above Self” The (Old) Addison Way and The Rotary Club

“Service Above Self”
The (Old) Addison Way and The Rotary Club
By Susan M. Halpern
Former Addison Councilmember (1992-1999)

“Service above self” is the primary motto of the Rotary Clubs, including three that meet in and around Addison. This motto dovetails with the Addison Way I knew when I served on the Council.  Employees lived it.  They were a cohesive unit back then, a family of sorts, fostered by strong, demanding, but fair leadership.  They thrived, and with them, Addison grew into a very special place.

Addison’s employees were encouraged to serve Addison and the greater Metroplex community. The Town felt strongly enough about the importance of its employees serving the community, that over the course of about 10 years, Addison sponsored approximately 30 employees who were members of various Rotary Clubs that met in and around Addison.  That put our employees on the front lines of the many community-oriented projects undertaken by the Rotary Clubs.  Our employees spread the goodwill of Addison, and they were also confronted with the reality of so many people who need help in a variety of ways, and who are helped by the services provided as a part of the Rotary Club philosophy.  They learned many lessons.

In addition to doing so many good deeds, the Rotary Clubs keep their members humble, reminding them always of the need to SERVE: “Service Above Self.”

The “new” Addison is very different. Fed by a misguided leader whose “stop at nothing” tactics are reminiscent of Lance Armstrong, the current council philosophy more closely resembles “Self Above ALL.”  Meier has focused the council on doing things his way, demanding their voting obedience.  Those who disagree with Meier are publicly attacked and disparaged.  It is an “us and them” atmosphere, with a focus on “defeating them,” and thereby “winning.”  The consequences to Addison are irrelevant.  “Defeating them” is far more important.

Such an atmosphere leaves no room for ideas that don’t belong to Meier and his cadre. Everything that came before is attacked.  Indeed, that philosophy has been the lynchpin of the shameful campaign Meier has orchestrated in his efforts to maintain control of Addison’s council.

Apparently, this disparagement now reaches to the Rotary Clubs. The “facts-don’t-matter” folks have attacked former City Manager Ron Whitehead (and, apparently, Jim Duffy) for Addison’s sponsorship of the 30 or so Addison employees who participated in three different Rotary Clubs over the course of ten years.

Of course, the “facts-don’t-matter” folks didn’t mention the 30 employees, the ten years or the three different Rotary Clubs. It sounds so much more damning if you leave out the facts that matter. 

Shame on these incumbents and their supporters for unjustifiably attacking and disparaging Ron Whitehead and all the employees who work tirelessly for DECADES to make Addison a special place. Shame on these incumbents and their supporters for denigrating Addison, and for bringing dishonor to our Town.  Shame on them for misleading the public.

Not a one of these incumbents or their supporters should ever use a park in Addison, walk on a jogging trail, go to a restaurant, use the Addison Health Club or attend a Special Event. They’ve disparaged everything that came before them, including all the wonderful and beautiful amenities and events that Ron Whitehead and others had the vision to create.  Benefitting from all that hard work while reprehensibly disparaging Ron and others is sheer hypocrisy.