President of LA5 Rotary Club of Los Angeles
Alan Bernstein has been a member of the Rotary Club of Los Angeles since 2004, but these last twelve months have been his busiest and most productive. This Friday he will preside over the last meeting of his presidency. The pictures to the left show the wear and tear he has experienced fulfilling his institutional responsibilities.
When asked what’s on his mind at the conclusion of this Rotary year, Alan said, “I feel more like I do today than I did when I chaired my first meeting.” WOW! (OK, he didn’t say that. But had he been asked, he probably would have. After all, he is a philosophical dude.)
Every LA5 president sets the tone and creates the culture that defines that particular presidency. Alan’s high energy and invigorating smile have been contagious this year. He has been likened to a game show host, and referred to as the Energizer Bunny and President Happy. But that is not what we will remember the most about these last twelve months.
Alan’s vision of and commitment to making a real difference in Los Angeles was apparent everywhere he went and in everything he did. He believes in empowering people, regardless of who they are or what issues they face. He does that in his local neighborhood, as a parishioner and lay leader at St. Jerome Roman Catholic Church, and with the Society of Saint Vincent DePaul.
He did the same these last fifty-two weeks with LA5. He tried to do something significant for everyone. Programs and projects were directed toward many groups—children, seniors, students, veterans and persons with disabilities. Alan is like that in everything he does. Service Above Self is not a motto for Alan; it’s his commitment.
He met young Derek Jackson, and his little sister Germaine, through Catholic Big Brothers and Big Sisters, and developed a bond that is still active today. Alan and Derek were the Keynote Speakers in 2013 at the National Convention of Big Brothers and Big Sisters. This reporter first saw Alan in action during the five years he chaired the Rotary Scholarship Committee. He led with enthusiasm and organization, but he treated all students as if they were the most important person in the world. Following his lead those of us on the committee tried to do the same.
Since July 1, 2014 Alan has attended all types of Rotary-related events, written checks to numerous charities affiliated with LA5 members, and spoken at the funerals of beloved Rotarians. He greets visitors at our Friday meetings as if their presence made Alan’s day. The truth, of course, is that Alan’s engaging manner made everyone else’s day.
Winston Churchill once remarked, “We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” That’s what our President did this year. Awesome job, Alan! Thanks from all of us.