Why I joined Rotary - Joe Ramirez

My father worked with Cesar Chavez in Ventura County in the 1960s, arbitrating on behalf of migrant farm workers protesting for better working conditions for the migrant farm workers.


I grew up in the Oxnard area, surrounded by those who felt strongly about the need for human justice and treating others fairly, so I got to see a lot of the civic activities they were involved with. For obvious reasons, I quickly learned to appreciate the impact one person could have on the world around him.

This is why my reason for joining Rotary is perhaps one of the easier life questions I’ve ever been asked to answer. I watched my father as he sat on the county grand jury, ran for city clerk, and found ways too numerous to mention to benefit the community in which we lived.


All of this made a big impression on every single member of my family on the need to give of ourselves to those around us. As I got older and was raising my own children I found myself looking for a way to give something back to the community and help make it a better place. That I would contribute was never in question; how that contribution would manifest itself was the only issue.


Ironically it was my wife who made me aware of Rotary and how I could fit in there. She was involved with a bilingual grade school whose teachers traveled to Ecuador to help local Ecuadorian villages. These educators willingly shared their professional knowledge and vocational skills with their counterparts 3,500 miles away, coordinating with Rotary and other international groups, and oftentimes paying for the privilege from their own pockets.

This generosity of spirit and treasure touched me deeply, persuading me to find my own strategy for trying to make the world a better place. Convinced it was time, I went club-shopping in search of the right fit to my schedule and personality. Attending a few meetings, I discovered Rotary Club of Carlsbad to be the perfect match.


My sponsor, Russ Hanthorn, then proceeded to get my son involved with youth exchange, and today I am the club’s Youth Services Director. It’s been an enjoyable and fulfilling ten years, and I feel like we’re just beginning this wonderful relationship!

I am grateful for the opportunity, and would recommend it to everyone. Regardless of age, gender, politics, or career path, there’s a place for you here at the Rotary Club of Carlsbad.