Serving Others with our Time, Talents, and Treasures

Talents, Time, and Treasures

The Three Wise Men of Service


Long ago in 2004, our firm’s CEO, Neil O’Connor, approached me about becoming a part of a service organization called “Rotary International.”  I, like many, have been greeted by the “Rotary Wheel” that is displayed upon entering countless cities across the USA; but I didn’t have a clue about what Rotary did.  With a heavy sigh, I agreed to join the Rotary Club of San Juan Capistrano, knowing that I could always quit and pass that baton back to Neil.

Well, after six years, I love being a part of the Rotary Club of San Juan Capistrano.  We do so many great service events for the people of the city.  Seeing the faces of happy children, grateful parents and appreciative civic leaders makes me feel proud of being involved with something so special and rewarding.  Serving people through Rotary has become a well-defined part of my life.

On February 25, 2012 we hosted Dr. Harris Done, his teaching associates and their USC dental students.  What did they do?  Well, they provided dental care to sixty-five under-privileged students and some parents, from San Juan Elementary School.

The students and families are low-income, mostly Spanish-speaking kids whose parents came to the U.S. from Mexico and Central America.  They are great, lovable kids who all, even through a few tears, truly appreciated the dental care provided by Dr. Done and his team.

What I love about Dr. Done’s dental clinic is that everyone involved is so passionate about serving the kids from San Juan Elementary School.  They see their time as wisely invested and their talents greatly appreciated, especially by these families that cannot pay for their services.

I asked Dr. Done what motivates his student volunteers to participate in his dental clinics.  Here are some reasons for service:

  • Experience.  Experience.  Experience.  The students benefit from putting in the time practicing the dental techniques that they have and are learning. By the time a typical student volunteer finishes their “time of service” with Dr. Done, they will have worked on 50-70 patients.  This experience pumps up their confidence as they move closer to graduation and life as a dentist.
  • Camaraderie.  The teachers and students share their passion as they along side each other; like-minded dental students enjoying their work.  They show their care for the work that they do as they coach and encourage each other through each patient’s dental needs.
  • Making a Difference in Lives.  Each student volunteer believes that they are making a profound difference to that individual child’s overall well-being.  To see the student volunteers receive hugs and kisses from these grateful kids was a testament to the service they provided with genuine care.
  • Culture Experience.  Those student volunteers who also travel with Dr. Done to other countries experience a culture and lifestyle that is foreign to their own.  They realize how much need exists beyond our own borders and they understand that they can make a difference anywhere where there is need,

For years, our Rotary Club has sponsored the clinic with our money, volunteer time, food and facilities.  Everyone is cared for and everyone is served.  There is a wonderful synergy that is created when good deeds are performed with joy and care.

I loved watching these young men and women, our future dentists, dental hygienists and orthodontists, work as a team as they perfected their skills and shared smiles throughout the day.

Rotary International’s motto is “Service Above Self.”   This event was another testament to that motto. With these opportunities for service come so many opportunities to say, “Thank You.”  Thank you to all of us who believe in “Service Above Self” and take the necessary action to make a difference.

Learn about Dr. Harris Done at

Why do you think people choose to use their time, talents and treasure to support different avenues of service?

What do you choose to do?

Molly Keating
Molly Keating
Hello! I'm Molly and I run & manage the Blog here at O'Connor. I grew up in a mortuary with a mortician for a father who's deep respect for the profession inspired me to give working at a mortuary a try. Work at O'Connor has brought together two of my deep passions, writing & grief awareness. In 2016 I earned Certification in the field of Thanatology, the study of Death, Dying and Bereavement. I am honored to be able to speak on these taboo topics with knowledge, compassion, and a unique perspective. I want to sincerely thank you for following & reading the blog, I hope that this is a healing place for you.


  1. Lori Bristol says:

    Your loving demeanor makes you a natural for any type of service role.
    You put your heart into everything that you do and I know the children at San Juan Elementary School benefitted from your presence.
    Ironically, I first met you while I was in a service role in the memorial ministry at church. This proves to me that serving benefits us every bit as much if not more than it does those we are serving.
    It was your compassion and kindness that made me want to pursue employment at O’Connor Mortuary.
    Thank you for all that you do for us and the community of San Juan Capistrano.


  2. Amy says:

    Thanks for your service to the community. They could all use someone like you.

  3. Molly says:

    I love the community tone of this post; it gives a great flavor to Rotary, O’Connor, and yourself, Chris. You along with these entities in our community exist and have made your life’s work about serving others as best you can.
    I’ve had the pleasure of serving at my church at kids camps and for a few years in our junior high ministry. These were huge periods of blessing for me that I will never forget and am deeply thankful for.
    While I am no longer involved directly in leading anything through church, the mortuary, strangely enough, has taken the spot in my heart as my place of service. I am able to look upon a lot of the little things I do with a service attitude, knowing that even with just the typing of a name I am helping our staff at some point down the road in how they serve the families in some way. I love this job, I love that it involves service and that I get to be a part.

    Thanks for the post and the reflection your questions allowed. It was really nice to think about all of that.

  4. Patricia Kolstad says:

    Some of my greatest joys have come from my involvement with Newport Irvine Rotary. The life lessons I have learned and the incredible gift of our time and talents give purpose and meaning to our lives. You are a wonderful reflection of “Service Above Self”. Thank you for your dedication to our families and to Rotary Club of San Juan Capistrano!

  5. Kari Leslie says:

    Great Job!! The last few months I haven’t been involved in any kind of volunteer role, and your blog has provided me the push I needed to investigate opportunities for myself. Thank you so much for the encouragement to serve and the reminder of how vitally important it is not only for those receiving but also for those of us serving.

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