This column in Attraction, by Amelia Blades Steward, visits the faces of those who have benefited from the generous and tireless work of the nonprofits on the Mid Shore or are one of the organizations giving back in unique ways to better our world. She has been a freelance writer in our community for over 20 years and offers a glimpse into the lives of residents on the Mid Shore whom she has met along the way.
When Bill Crabson of Easton recently took over leadership of Tidewater Rotary, he stepped from one mission field into another. Bill, a retired Colonel with 44 years with the Salvation Army, quips that he was not looking for the position, but instead it found him. A lifetime member of Rotary, he joined the Easton group about six years ago because it was the newest club in the area, and he wanted to be involved with something that was building from the bottom up.
Coincidentally, the first Rotary Bill joined was in Cambridge when he was 26 years old and just starting in his Salvation Army career. He reflects, “You meet people in Rotary, and it gives you a greater reach across the community. It was a learning experience as I was one of the younger members when I joined the Cambridge group. The other members there had already experienced success and I could learn from them. The fact that Rotary is international and has a global reach, like the Salvation Army, appealed to me as well.”
Tidewater Rotary Club was founded and chartered in 2011 in Easton and the club’s mission is to provide business, professional, and community leaders an opportunity for service to others to benefit the community and to promote high ethical standards, fellowship, and goodwill worldwide. At a local level, the club is a proud member of Rotary District 7630 that covers the entire Delmarva Peninsula and includes nearly 40 clubs across Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia’s Eastern Shores.
The Rotary motto is “Service Above Self.” This resonates with Bill, who dedicated his life to the work of the Salvation Army, something he refers to as a “calling.” He states, “My career with the Salvation Army was transformational. I was going nowhere in my life. I was a high school dropout, just completing 11th grade. I had ambition, but I did not have opportunity. I believe that Christ could transform any life and he did that. To serve the poor, to be in a position of trust and confidence with the community, and to give away millions of dollars to those in need over my lifetime was rewarding. I loved it and it still touches me now.”
Similar to the Salvation Army, the projects of Tidewater Rotary have served those most in need in our community. Among the projects that Tidewater Rotary has been involved in over the years have been CarePacks; Meals on Wheels; “Talbot Goes Purple,” which has spread across Delmarva and is supported by other Rotary clubs; a Bowling Fundraiser, which recently supported Talbot Humane and several sports teams; and “Supplies for Service,” which provides cleaning supplies and personal health care products to the Neighborhood Service Center in Easton.
The club has experienced cancer within its member base, families, and circle of friends and decided to come together to honor its loved ones and support its community through its current and largest project, “Flags for Cancer.” In its third year, this project supports two initiatives around the issue of cancer locally. The first is the Mike Menzies Fund, a scholarship program assisting local individuals pursuing a degree related to oncology, cancer research, or other cancer-related professions. The second is the Richard Slaughter Fund, which has been designed to help support cancer patients and their families through the Patient in Need Fund at the Regional Cancer Center.
Bill adds, “We’re in a position to help other worthy groups to achieve their missions through these fundraisers.”
Tidewater Rotary currently has 24 members and tries to match its members’ interests with the needs of the community. The demographics of the group are mainly middle-aged professionals, both men, and women established in their fields, who work or live in Talbot County, and who recognize that life has been good to them and want to give back in some way.
“These are people who may say, ‘I have a vocation, I have a home, and I have a family. But I know other things need to be done in the community and I want to help get those things done,’” Bill states.
The Tidewater Rotary Club meets on Thursdays at 7:30 a.m. at the Talbot Senior Center at Brooklett’s Place, as well as offers participation on Zoom. To inquire about membership, contact Bill Crabson at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 443-786-9177. Follow the club on Facebook @TidewaterRotary and visit www.tidewaterrotary.org to learn more and join.