Rotary International committed to the ‘annihilation of polio’

The pandemic has been rightly compared to the effort to find a cure for polio. 

On that note, Rotary International has approximately 36,000 clubs in 200 countries.

Rotary is a service club, like Lions and Kiwanis. It has 1.2 million members and the Rotary Foundation – through the Paul Harris Fellowship – is the largest foundation in the world. The organization sponsors medical teams who go to countries and work with people who have never seen a doctor or had medical care. 

These are volunteer Rotarians, such as eye doctors who bring back vision through surgery. Transportation and medical supplies are paid for by the foundation. Other teams may have expertise in sanitation and sewage for developing nations. Others work on water purification to bring fresh water to villages.

The main thrust was the annihilation of polio.

Most of the world has been declared polio-free due to Rotary inoculations. Afghanistan is one of the last countries to be declared polio-free. One country in Africa and one in Asia still report cases of polio.

In a presentation many years ago to new Rotarians – while serving in the role of Rotary historian – I mentioned that retired airline pilot Perry Earlin developed a navigational instrument for the U.S. Navy that was adopted by Boeing Aircraft Company.

The Rotary president, Jim Reeves, was in the audience that day. Jim was more familiar with this instrument than I, and he gave a little recitation on how this instrument was developed and used in aircraft.

By the way, Jim was Rotary president when I came to Rotary in June 1984.

We used to do more memorable ceremonies to induct new members. When I was inducted, Jim made the comment that “When you get Don, you get two.”

The year before, my wife Mary Jean had been named Woman of the Year by the Business and Professional Women, and also First Citizen of Cottage Grove by the Chamber. She had been South Lane County United Way Chair, Cancer Society, and Polio. She was involved in BMD. Consequently, Jim’s comment, with Don, “you get two.”



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