Award for two decades of community service
Graeme Guilford says being awarded a Paul Harris Fellow was a pretty big deal, but it wasn’t the reason he gets involved in the community.
‘‘ It is something that happens after years of doing things. It is nice to be part of a group that helps other people,’’ the Rotarian said.
‘‘There was a quote in a book I read the other day. Ralph Waldo Emerson said ‘it is one of the beautiful compensations in this life that no one can sincerely try to help another without helping himself’, which is a pretty cool way of looking at it and it’s pretty much how it works.
‘‘If you help people you actually feel good and you’re probably a better person, you’re a winner as well.’’
Guilford has been involved in a number of aspects of Matamata life, both with Rotary and in the wider community.
However, through Rotary he has been involved in overseas projects. He and his wife Kate help sponsor a school in Africa.
Being the humble man he is, Guilford says he’s able to do ‘‘a little bit’’.
‘‘You’re not going to change the world but you might help one or two people quite a bit and that kind of changes their world.
‘‘One person can’t change the world, but the world needs people to do that sort of thing.’’
Guilford has been a member of Rotary for around 18 years, after moving to Matamata more than two decades ago.
At that stage of his life, getting involved was important to the business owner. ‘‘It’s a small town and a lot of people have lived here most of their lives. They went to school with each other, so they’ve got a group of friends they’ve had for 50 years.
‘‘When you move in, they’ve already got a social life. So if you want to move into their community you’ve got to go to them, rather than sit at home and think ‘they’re a bit of a clicky bunch’.’’
Guilford said it was important to join groups and clubs.
He joined a number of groups, including the squash club, the rugby club, the golf club and Rotary. ‘‘I’ve always liked to do that.
‘‘ I’ve always been a shy country boy. But I do like to be part of the community and to get on committees and try and be a part of things.’’
Being a small town man was what it was all about though, he said. ‘‘ You go down the street and you know just about everybody.’’
To be recognised by his peers at Rotary surprised Guilford.
‘‘It was a bit of a surprise, I must admit. It is nice to be recognised, but it’s just an add-on.’’
He said he was proud of the award, which was presented at a Rotary meeting earlier this month.
ACKNOWLEDGED: Graeme Guilford has been recognised by Rotary Matamata with a Paul Harris Fellow.