The term "service above self" is an appropriate motto for members of the West Bay Rotary Club of Camden, who devote themselves to giving back to the community through outreach, fundraising, scholarship and grant programs.

Each Thursday morning, members of the club meet at the First Congregational Church on Elm Street. Over breakfast and coffee, men and women in the club open the meeting with a patriotic song, and share humorous anecdotes of life and recent travels along with upcoming project deadlines and causes in the community they hope to support.

A member of the community is invited by WBR to speak at each of its meetings, and present an organization or group which may be in need of the Rotarians' support. A cause which Rotarians Ray and Deborah Fink are particularly passionate about is One Less Worry, a Rockland-based organization which provides toilet paper and personal hygiene products to those in need.

Following a presentation last year by One Less Worry's founder, Sharon Hobson, Ray was so impressed with the work she was doing to help others, that he and his wife Deborah decided that the would actively work, with the help of their fellow members, to increase the aid provided to financially insecure people in the area.

"I heard the story of a woman who had to decide whether to buy toilet paper, feminine products or food. I was shocked, and wanted to make sure we could do something to help people facing this situation in or community," said Ray, who handles public relations for WBR.

For three weeks the proceeds of collection buckets placed atop tables were collected after meetings, and with a matching donation by the Finks and Rotarian Debbie Hitchings, $1,130.50 was donated to One Less Worry.

Ray Fink spent years as a Methodist minister before moving to Maine and joining the West Bay Rotary. He said his decision to join came completely by accident, when he went one year to purchase a tree from a Christmas tree sale hosted by the club.

"I thought to myself, 'I should be volunteering,' and I began by participating in a "Frozen 5k" race and selling the Christmas trees. Over the years I have felt such a strong fellowship with the other members, and as a group you can see each of our personalities in the events we do socially and as fundraisers," said Ray.

One year, when Ray was called out of town and unable to attend some of the club's events, he volunteered his wife Deborah as a "substitute."

"I didn't know what to expect at first, but I went to one event, then another, and realized I wanted to join. This experience has been unbelievably rewarding: you get to see the difference you make in the community, and hear first-hand how you have helped or have been appreciated by someone else," said Deborah.

Over the years the Finks say that they have met many good friends through their involvement in the West Bay Rotary, and there is an underlying tenet of the club which all of the members practice: "See a friend, support a friend." This concept involves a sense of friendship not only at the meetings but also out in the world, where members are always encouraged to support their friends, fellow members and acquaintances.

"It's important to put a personal face on what we do; our involvement doesn't seem 'real' until there's a smile or a handshake. When people ask me about the Rotary and about volunteering, I tell them that not only do I volunteer, but I pay to be in this club," says Ray of the club dues associated with membership.

The Finks can often be found volunteering as parking attendants for events, and Deborah has recently been on the scene at fundraisers throughout town, waving to passers by from inside the club's plush mascot: "Lucky," a bright yellow duck.

The duck is an appropriate animal for West Bay Rotary, as the club plans to host their annual Duck Derby on May 26. The Duck Derby is a popular event each year, as thousands of brightly colored rubber ducks are sent racing over the waterfalls in Camden Harbor. The ducks are each numbered, and once collected, winners are announced. Funds raised by raffle tickets benefit the Rotary and several local organizations.

On April 21 the West Bay Rotary hosted the eWaste collection event, where electronic waste, clothing and prescription disposal, and shredding was provided in Rockport. Next month there is also a fundraising dinner planned to benefit the Rotary's Wheelchair Project.

The project was suggested to the WBR by fellow member Joan Lemole at one of the group's weekly meetings. Lemole became aware of the dire need for wheelchairs by  citizens in Bolivia in Ecuador, and allied herself with the Ellsworth, Portsmouth and Bangor Rotary clubs to create a fundraising project which aims to send 500 wheelchairs to the South American countries in 2019.

On Thursday, May 24, a three-course meal benefiting the project will he hosted by Chef Tom Sigler at the Penobscot Language School. Reservations for the event can be made by calling 594-1084 or by visiting penobscot.us

"Although some of what we do may go on behind the scenes,  we want to make sure that people in the community, no matter what their background, get to enjoy some of the niceties of life. People are always welcome to attend one of our meetings, and we are always looking for new speakers to share with us. You never know when a story will touch someone and make them want to get involved," said Ray.

More information about the West Bay Rotary can be found at WestBayRotaryOfMaine.org