Robbins: Leadership is found and cultivated solely through community service

A view of Scottsdale Charros Executive Director Dennis Robbins at left, and Todd Peterson — who recently served as patron for the organization — at last year’s Outstanding Students & Educators Banquet where dollars raised by the Charros are provided through scholarships to high school seniors and the top-tier educators of Scottsdale Schools. (File photo)

Now that the election season is over let’s refocus on what makes our community a great place to live.

I understand too well how the political process can get out of hand. Many things are said and done that do not contribute to the long-term wellness of our city. At the end of the day, like it or not, you will be judged on your words and deeds during the campaign season.

It is my sincere hope that we can now direct our attention toward the hard work of building our community.

The great thing about Scottsdale is that regardless of the time of year people are improving our outstanding quality of life each and every day. Some examples of the types of people it takes to build community are Denny Brown, Nancy Cantor and Gary Shapiro.

Denny Brown

Let me tell you a little bit about what these fine people are up to.

Denny Brown works tirelessly to support children in Scottsdale who don’t have enough food to eat.

He makes sure that school children have meals during Holiday breaks from school and during the summer months. Denny recently secured a new freezer for the local food bank so that more protein was available for those in need.

Denny is a food provider warrior.

Nancy Cantor has been a strong advocate for the betterment of Scottsdale for decades. Nancy’s work on behalf of our schools and the incredible efforts she has garnered are very impressive. She has contributed diligently to assist children in need.

Nancy Cantor

Nancy is also a strong advocate for senior citizens. She promotes “aging in place” where our most mature citizens can stay in their neighborhoods throughout their lives and have access to comforts and services that are important to them and vital to their survival.

Nancy is a seasoned citizen warrior.

Gary Shapiro is a quiet giant.

Gary has been a leader for decades in education, leadership development and community service. Gary has been there for the Scottsdale Unified School District in good times and in bad times. He has supported good governance and speaks out when we are going in the wrong direction. Gary is one of the co-founders of Scottsdale Leadership.

Gary Shapiro

His commitment to leadership development in Scottsdale has left an indelible imprint on the future of Scottsdale. Mostly, Gary is just an all-around good man who would give you the shirt off of his back.

Gary is a community service warrior.

What makes our community unique is not just our weather, our parks and preserve, our schools, our events and our economy. What makes our community really work is the day-to-day, grassroots efforts of our citizens to make Scottsdale something special. It takes time. It takes sacrifice. It takes not wanting the credit but really wanting a special community.

I’ll take 10 people like Denny, Nancy and Gary and build our community before I look to those who make it only about themselves. We live in a great community because of the time we put in to make it better. That person staring back at you in the mirror is who is capable of and responsible for making Scottsdale the best place it can be.

Go be a community service warrior. You won’t regret it!

Editor’s note: Mr. Robbins is a resident, Charro and community advocate

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