October 1, 2011

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Local Service Organizations Make a Difference at Home and Abroad

Peri Kinder

October 1, 2011

Sandy City has a long history of providing service to its residents. Business and government leaders support and manage several service organizations within the city including the Sandy Rotary Club, Honorary Colonel’s Club and the Sandy Exchange Club. Not only are these groups making a difference in the lives of Sandy residents, but they are helping others beyond the city’s borders.

Service Above Self
In 2002, Sandy joined with sister cities in Piedras Negras, Mexico, and Riesa, Germany. The Sandy Rotary Club jumped on board immediately and raised donations to build a children’s wing at a hospital in Mexico and stock it with medical supplies.

The Rotary Club also paid for a water purification system for an elementary school in the same city. Former Sandy Rotary Club President Byron Jorgenson says he never realized how much a small contribution could change so many lives.

“From what we’ve heard, people come from miles around to get clean drinking water for their families,” he says. “They have needs beyond what we understand.”

Projects like these keep people motivated and inspired to stay involved with service organizations. The Rotary Club has many ongoing activities for its members. Jorgenson says the club has provided shoes for The Sandy Club, painted a house for an elderly resident, fed homeless men, organized a Sub for Santa and served as bell-ringers for the Salvation Army. And for a small amount of money, the club bought a goat to help a family in Mexico, creating a source of food and income.

The Rotary Club is made up of people from every type of business and organization including city officials, bankers, printers, lawyers, realtors and entrepreneurs. New members must be sponsored by a member within the club and be willing to promote and support the club’s wide variety of service opportunities.

“It’s service above self,” Jorgenson says. “What we try to do is provide service [with] both local and international projects. It’s not only a place for friends to come together and learn and grow, but it has a strong service aspect.”

Local Pride
Since 1980, the Sandy Exchange Club has been reinforcing American values, traditions and beliefs. Organized to promote pride in the country, respect for the flag, appreciation for sacrifices made from military men and women, and to create awareness for freedom, the Exchange Club supports a variety of patriotic programs.

Each year the club places a Freedom Shrine in public schools and buildings. The shrine consists of 20 to 30 of America’s most important historic documents. The club also distributes small American flags to parade attendees during The Fourth of July parade. The club’s Proudly We Hail award recognizes four individuals and businesses who display allegiance to the flag.

Sandy City Community Development Director Mike Coulam joined the Sandy Exchange Club in 1984 and served as its president from 1986-87 and again in 1998-99. Coulam says the club’s main focus extends beyond promoting patriotism to serving the overall community. “I’ve seen what a well organized group can do to make our city a better place to live,” he says.

Coulam, who received the National Exchange Club Distinguished Club President Award, played an integral role in development of the Sandy Pride program. “All residents in the southeast area of Salt Lake Valley are invited to join together to clean up, fix up, beautify and make our community a better place to live,” he says.

Organized by the Exchange Club, Sandy Pride is a community project that encourages residents to beautify their communities, homes, streets, churches and businesses. For more than 25 years, people have come together for Sandy Pride to foster connection in neighborhoods by sponsoring a one-day, city-wide clean-up activity. Thousands of volunteers spend the day weeding, landscaping, helping elderly residents, laying sod and painting. In 2010, Home Depot donated $5,000 in grant money toward the event.

“Community involvement is our main interest,” Coulam says, “We are working with people with similar interests to make our community better...I enjoy providing service to my community and fellow citizens. Sandy is a great community, I love doing my part to keep the community beautiful and a great place to live and work.”

New recruits are always welcome at the Exchange Club and members pay a nominal fee each week to participate in its weekly breakfast.

Community Wellbeing
Sandy City doesn’t take its police officers for granted. The Honorary Colonel’s Club is an association of business people and residents who support the Sandy City Police Department. The club promotes a dialogue between officers and business people to give and receive feedback to improve services in the city.

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