A new King George-Dahlgren Chapter of the Rotary Club was recently chartered at a formal ceremony at the University of Mary Washington (UMW) Dahlgren Campus. Several Navy employees assigned to Naval Support Facility (NSF) Dahlgren have played an active role in the founding of the charter and serve as its officers.
In true Rotarian form, the chapter is already involved in community service projects centering on literacy and education. Because the chapter has received so much enthusiastic support from people living and working in Dahlgren, its program is designed to accommodate busy working schedules.
"We found that having a noon meeting was a very good option," said Chuck Davidson, president-elect of the King George-Dahlgren Rotary Club, a lead scientist assigned to Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD). "It doesn't take much of your time as far as the weekly meetings go. Most people who are Rotarians have a community service itch in them anyway. Rotary provides a forum to plan and execute those things."
Giving back to the community as a Rotarian, while working a full-time job is no small task, but the professional and life-skills of Navy employees are a big help at an organization like the Rotary Club.
"You've got to be able to manage money, to raise money and track it," said Davidson. "You use the skill sets that are available from members of your club."
Members of the King George-Dahlgren Rotary who work at NSF Dahlgren have such skills, but it takes a special depth of character to find the time and energy to go the extra mile for their community.
"You seem to always have a little time in the evenings, here and there," said Joe King, foundations chair for the King George-Dahlgren Rotary and a systems engineer at NSWC DD. "You just make time."
King's decision to become a Rotarian was not based on any specific motivation, but rather, his general desire to contribute to the greater good. "For me, I've working in Dahlgren as a contractor for the federal government for the last 15 years," he said.
"It's been a pretty good place to work at and a pretty good community to live in. You get to the point in life where you have an opportunity to act. You just take on the burden and don't even think of it as a burden."
To that end, the King George-Dahlgren Rotary Club, which received its official charter on Oct. 25, has already started its community service. They've adopted a two-mile stretch of Route 3 highway that will be cleaned up four times per year, and they've collected funds for a literacy project at Sealston Elementary School.
"We decided early on that education was going to be a focus for us," said Davidson. "They have a need for a reading room. They have the room, but not really the supplies or the books. We have gifts coming from two banks and another Rotary Club that will put together about $4,000 for that need."
More projects are in the works, but, like all Rotary chapters, every community service idea is vetted in traditional Rotarian fashion. "Rotarians are known for something called the four-way test," said Davidson. "It's basically four quick ideals on how you treat other business, other people. Is it the truth? Is it fair? Does it build goodwill? Does it benefit all concerned?
"The unofficial fifth line there is, is it fun? So we try and keep it light," Davidson adds.
The King George-Dahlgren Rotary Club currently meets at noon every Tuesday, at the UMW Dahlgren Campus. For more information or to become a member, contact membership chair Mike Steele by phone at 540-644-1003 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.