This week marks 110 years since Paul P. Harris, Gustavus Loehr, Silvester Schiele, and Hiram E. Shorey gathered in Loehr’s office in Room 711 of the Unity Building in downtown Chicago for what would become known as the first Rotary club meeting. It also is 30 years since Rotary launched its campaign to rid the world of polio.
Rotary clubs are celebrating the milestones in a variety of ways. The Rotary Club of Mt. Warning AM, New South Wales, Australia, gave away pancakes and handouts on the village’s main street. Continue reading
Rotary members in Panama City, Panama, celebrated Rotary’s anniversary last year by lighting up the Biodiversity Museum with the End Polio Now logo.
This year marks 30 years since Rotary launched its campaign to rid the world of polio.
During a speech at Rotary’s annual training event for leaders in February 1985, then President Carlos Canseco announced what he called “the biggest news in Rotary,” an organized campaign to eradicate polio by working alongside the World Health Organization and UNICEF. Prior to that, Rotary Foundation grants had supported immunization activities in individual countries.
Leading up to Rotary’s anniversary, 23 February, we will have coverage of our progress in eradicating polio, and what Rotary clubs are doing to celebrate, on Rotary.org and endpolio.org. Send photos of your club’s celebration to firstname.lastname@example.org to be included in a special gallery here.
Jerry Venters (left) and Roger Samuel, members of the Rotary Club of Kansas City Plaza, show they played 100 holes of golf, adding the “This Close” gesture.
By Jerry Venters, a member of the Rotary Club of Kansas City Plaza
Some golfers played 54 holes, some played 65 holes. Others played 100 holes, and one played 126 holes. All in a single day in September, in a drive to raise money to help eradicate polio. And, oh, how they succeeded!
In our district’s first-ever Pars v. Polio Golf Marathon, Rotary members in District 6040 (north Missouri) raised $42,530 in pledges and donations. When you figure in the Bill & Melinda Gates pledge to match 2-to-1 every dollar that Continue reading
The climbers raise banners on Mount Olympus, Greece.
By Kostas Karvounis
In September, I joined two fellow Rotary members in Greece, Vassilis Papagiannis and Spyros Gravellas, in climbing Mount Olympus to raise money and awareness for polio eradication.
Almost three-decades ago, Rotary promised to eradicate polio, and we intend to keep our promise. Even though Greece has been polio-free for more than two decades, I still remember close family friends who were disabled by polio. I have four children, and I know that until polio is eradicated from the world, it remains a threat to children everywhere. So offering our children a polio-free world is the least we can do. Continue reading
Tom Woods is training for the El Tour de Tucson.
By Tom Woods, Rotary staff
Prior to joining the staff at Rotary Headquarters in Evanston, Illinois, my only exposure to Rotary was through my grandfather, Richard Stannard, who was a member and past president of the Rotary Club of Oak Park-River Forest, where I grew up.
Grandpa never really mentioned much about his membership with Rotary, but when I told him that I had been hired to work with the Secretariat in Evanston, he became really excited and invited me to come to his club’s lunch meeting. I had never seen him so proud when he announced to the club that I would be working for Rotary, and it became clear to me in that moment how much the organization meant to him. Continue reading
Marc Prevot on a training ride.
By Marc Prevot, Rotary staff
As far back as I can remember, there were always bikes in my home. Since there is no better way to explore new neighborhoods or new cities, I’ve been on bicycles most of my life.
When the opportunity to be part of Rotary’s team for El Tour de Tucson came along, I jumped at it without a second thought. Being an avid cyclist, I already ride several times a week, but this gives me a far worthier motivation than adding miles to my bike. Continue reading
Adam Arents, second from right, leads the Miles to End polio team in a yoga stretch.
By Adam Arents, Rotary staff
For the past two years, I’ve helped coordinate yoga classes for staff at Rotary headquarters in Evanston, Illinois, USA, bringing in a yoga instructor to lead us in stretching, bending, and breaking up the stiffness that can accumulate after too many hours staring at a computer. I appreciate yoga for the ways it challenges me, loosens me up, and quiets my mind in the midst of the cacophony of everyday life.
Recently, I’ve felt the need for yoga even more as I’ve spent hours riding my bike around the Chicago area to prepare for the 104-mile El Tour de Tucson. Continue reading
Catherine Lankford trains as part of the Miles to End Polio team.
By Catherine Lankford, Rotary staff
My upcoming participation in El Tour de Tucson as part of Rotary’s Miles to End Polio team means a great deal to me on many levels.
My first introduction and connection to Rotary began in Mexico, Missouri, through my paternal grandfather, who was a member and president of the Rotary club in that community. I remember hearing stories from him about his weekly meetings, the work he did with his club, his commitment to polio eradication (both as a Rotarian and medical doctor), and the lifelong Continue reading
Alison Randall and her boyfriend, Jerry, during at a training ride for El Tour de Tucson.
By Alison Randall, Rotary staff
Being a part of the Miles to End Polio team has been helping rebuild my confidence in bicycling.
A few years ago, I was living in Madison, Wisconsin, riding to class one morning, when another student cyclist I was passing decided to turn left without warning. I crashed and fell off my bike, but thankfully was not seriously injured. Nevertheless, after that incident, I decided to walk to class. No more biking for me.
Time has gone by, and now many of my Continue reading
Kristin Brown, left, and Marga Hewko, wife of Rotary General Secretary John Hewko, take a break during the North Shore Century ride.
By Kristin Brown, Rotary staff
In 1987, I returned home to Evanston, Illinois, for the summer after spending a year at the Istituto Affari Internazionali as a graduate student in Rome, Italy. Rotary International was moving into a new building in downtown Evanston and ramping up efforts to eradicate polio. I didn’t know much about polio then, but Rotary needed temporary staff and I needed a summer job.
Never would I have guessed that more than 20 years later, I’d come back to Rotary as a manager in RI Programs, that I would follow my father and grandfather in becoming a Rotarian, and that I’d be serving as captain of the 2014 RI Staff Miles to End Polio team, training for El Tour de Tucson. Continue reading