There are people in this world who are "difference makers." They brighten their corner of the world — no matter where they are, no matter what job they have, no matter what age they are or what life season they are in. Difference makers ignite change. They make things better by their creative ideas or their helpful presence. They inspire transformation by their willingness to try a new approach, by their ability to envision and to act, or simply by their decision to be involved. In short, difference makers shine.
This week, the Rotary Club of Lockport recognized two such difference-makers at its annual awards event, the Paul Harris Celebration. Named for the founder of Rotary International, the Paul Harris Award is Rotary's highest honor, given in recognition of those who have demonstrated, with excellence, the Rotary motto "Service Above Self."
The Rotary Foundation, which is the giving arm of Rotary International, celebrated 100 years of "Doing Good in the World" two years ago, and the Rotary Club of Lockport is celebrating 100 years of service this year. Says Rotary International, "Together, we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change — across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves.
Aaron Carlson, president-elect of Lockport Rotary, serves as the club's Rotary Foundation chairman. He and his committee organized a beautiful event at Lockport Town & Country Club. I had the honor of leading the singing of the National Anthem.
The two individuals honored with Paul Harris awards this year were Maria Biano and Scott DeLuca. With accomplishments too numerous to list here, these two individuals have made incredible differences right here in the Lockport community, and beyond. Scott is an attorney with more than 20 years of outstanding, award-winning experience, and Maria is a retired, distinguished Spanish teacher with more than 37 years of teaching under her belt, and numerous awards and recognitions as well. Both of them received their awards with eloquence, humility and grace.
Dr. Charles Stanley, in his daily devotional book "I Lift Up My Soul," wrote: "Encouragement and hope are crucial to our well-being, especially when we deal with the pressures of this world."
I found being in the presence of these difference makers a much needed dose of encouragement and hope.
Jesus said, "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it gives light to all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." — Matthew 5:14-16
When you choose to let your light shine, as Maria and Scott have done, others around you are warmed, blessed, and encouraged by your light.
I encourage everyone to draw from the example of difference makers and let your light shine. You'll certainly brighten the lives of everyone around you.
Jackie Davis of Lockport is an experienced inspirational vocalist, musician and music instructor. Her column is published every other Friday in the Union-Sun & Journal. Contact her at email@example.com .
Make 'em wonder whatcha got.
Make 'em wish that they were not
On the outside looking bored.
Let it shine before all men.
Let em see good works and then
Let em glorify the Lord."
— Chorus of "Shine," recorded by The Newsboys, written by Steve Taylor anbd Peter Furler