I’m Indira Everett and it’s certainly a pleasure for me to provide today’s rotary minute and a little of my background. I am originally from a small town near Greenville NC called Williamston where my 86 and 84 year old parents still live. I have 1 brother who is 12 years older and lives in Odessa, Florida. And, I’m blessed to have married my high school friend Roosevelt Everett after not seeing him for 25 years. Roosevelt and I grew up living around the corner from each other and after high school went our separate ways…me to Raleigh to attend NC State University and he to England where he started his career in the Air Force and later retired in 2008. Today, we both currently work in Durham. I started working at Duke Energy in 2013 after its merger with Progress Energy where I had worked for 23 years, and my husband works in RTP. And, I have a 26 year old stepson who lives in Phoenix, Arizona.
As I thought about what I would say regarding my involvement with service and the community, I had to go back to the beginning and start with my childhood. Both my parents always taught me that “you reap what you sow” and so you should always be careful about how you treat others in word and deed. They taught me never to do things for recognition but out of a commitment to make life better for someone else.
Both my parents were educators, a teacher and a principal, and I always saw them giving back to their students and to those in the community through their church and in very informal ways. They would spend time mentoring young kids and sharing food for thought or just a meal if a kid was hungry and they still do that today. They never belonged to a formal Rotary club but they practiced rotary tenets every day. Growing up we had a garden across the street from our house and we raised vegetables that we shared with the less fortunate, particularly, the elderly. And today, my husband and I share that same passion for helping the less fortunate. I enjoy volunteering through my church where I have served as a trustee since 1998 and I especially like volunteering at homeless shelters, most recently at the Durham Rescue Mission where my husband and I coordinated a group of employees to serve the residents there.
Last November, we moved to Durham from Garner and we love the area. Durham had never been an unknown to me because I spent a lot of time visiting here when my brother attended NC Central. His roommate was your current county attorney, Lowell Siler, my god-brother. Today, I manage Duke Energy’s government and community relations at the local level covering 4 counties, Durham, Orange, Lee and Chatham and so my office really is in my car as I travel back and forth throughout the week trying to engage in each county.
One of my favorite parts of my job is that I get to reach out to the community and give back through advocating for foundation grants that support the community. In fact, in 2014, I helped secure over $204,000 for worthy Durham organizations including 18 Durham rotary member organizations like the Life and Science Museum, East Durham Children’s Initiative, Durham Tech, and the Durham Arts Council. It is certainly rewarding to know that my company has and continues to help make a difference in the community. So to me, I’ve found the perfect blend of personal and professional stewardship. Through rotary, I have the opportunity to hear about the needs in the community and actively participate by giving in so many ways through volunteer efforts or funding. For the last few years, I coordinated efforts for our employees to donate supplies for the “Fill that Bus” campaign and clean-up efforts at Ellerbe Creek and SEEDS earlier this summer. It truly is rewarding for me to sow into the community and in the lives of others through the means I’ve been blessed to manage, whether personally or professionally. So today, I want to thank you for joining me and sowing back into the community as well.