When it comes to service, what goes around comes around

Members of the Rotary Club of Summit County may have joined the club to serve others, but their service also has positive impacts on their own health and well-being

Written by Lauren Glendenning
For the Summit Daily
Rotary Club of Summit County

The Rotary Club of Summit County meets over breakfast every Tuesday morning at the Summit County Community and Senior Center from 7 to 8:30 a.m.

For more information about attending a meeting as a guest or becoming a member of Rotary Club of Summit County, visit or email

Editor’s Note: Sponsored content brought to you by the Rotary Club of Summit County

The Rotary Club of Summit County’s annual award ceremony for its community reading buddy volunteers.
Courtesy Rotary Club of Summit County

Whether they’re going on a 100-mile bike ride to a potluck party or volunteering to help a worthy cause, the Rotary Club of Summit County’s members are always finding their sense of purpose.

Turns out that volunteering for causes that positively impact your community isn’t just good for the soul, it’s also good for a person’s overall health. According to Blue Zones research, people who have a sense of purpose and surround themselves with like-minded folks live longer than those who don’t.

Summit County Rotarians are finding all adept at finding ways to make this happen. With an international motto of “service above self,” these members learn that living to serve is best for all parties involved.


Lou Wagner was sitting in a Rotary Institute in San Diego in 2018, when  the keynote speaker described his experience growing up as an orphan in Russia. The man recalled sliding down the slide at a playground built by a Rotary Club in Krasnoyarsk, Russia

Wagner couldn’t believe his ears. He’d been responsible for starting that Rotary Club in Russia nearly 20 years prior.

“I cried when I heard the story. I had given up on any good coming from that long-ago project,” Wagner said. “The feeling in my heart was overwhelming and convinced me that our Rotary mission is worthwhile.”

Personal passions

Rotary Club of Summit County member Mary Anne Johnston with a Rotary scholarship student in Guatemala.
Courtesy Rotary Club of Summit County

As a former teacher, Mary Anne Johnston always understood the value of reading — both for knowledge and for pleasure. Through her membership with the Rotary Club of Summit County, she’s combined forces with other Rotarians to create several educational programs that promote literacy both in Summit County and in international communities.

“Since retiring and moving to Summit County, Rotary has increased the opportunities for me to become more involved in education and my community. I am immensely grateful that this experience has allowed me to continue acting on my passion for education,” Johnston said. “For 8 years, I have traveled to Guatemala with other Rotarians to provide textbooks, storybooks and computers to schools without these educational resources.  This amazing experience has given me an understanding of the enormous needs of developing countries.”


Rotary has helped Sandy Mortensen contribute to making her community a better place, but it’s also helped her learn more about who she is and what she’s capable of doing.

She joined Rotary in 1991 and has held various leadership positions within the organization from heading up committees to becoming president of her club to serving as district governor of our district of 61 Rotary Clubs and 3,000 members.

“These opportunities came with incredible training and support that translated to my business and my family life. All of this contributed to increased confidence and self esteem in all avenues of my life,” Mortensen said. “Over the years, I have gotten enough feedback to know I have made a difference in the lives of others, but more importantly, Rotary has made a difference in my life.”

Social events

The club hosts periodic social events for members that include bike rides, sledding excursions, and numerous pot lucks, and they get together monthly for happy hours. Johnston said she loves how each event promotes collegiality among members.

“Our annual bike ride to New Castle, the annual summer hike in the Gore Range, the March sledding party, and the holiday party in December are a few of the events,” she said. “I am extremely thankful for many new friendships with members of Rotary and the larger community of Summit County.”

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