Pam Gray and her husband, Brian, (third and fourth from right) at the District 5160 conference in 2018.
By Pam Gray, Rotary Club of Paradise, California, USA
I grew up in a small family. My parents were both only children – that means I have no aunts, uncles or first cousins. As a child, my entire immediate family could sit around a dining table set for eight. My four grandparents, my parents, my sister and I filled the table. There was no additional ‘kids’ table!
Fortunately, my dad was a member of the Rotary Club of Paradise. Our Rotary family consisted of five families, all of similar age, so we had plenty of celebrations with this extended family growing up. Continue reading
The Gray’s home after the fire.
By Pam Gray, past district governor and member of the Rotary Club of Paradise, California, USA
While 77 days may seem like a long time, it has been a flash for those of us who were living in Paradise, California, and the surrounding foothills on 8 November, 2018.
My husband and I are members of the Rotary Club of Paradise. I was a District 5160 Governor during the 2014-15 Rotary year, and my husband, Brian, is currently club president. Brian was known as the “First Dude” as we traveled to visit 71 Rotary clubs the year I was governor. Continue reading
Rotary members and family pack health kits to distribute.
By Pamela Godoy, past president of the Rotary Club of Mandaluyong-Pasig-San Juan, Philippines
Not long after Super Typhoon Haiyan (known locally as Yolanda) made its first landfall on 8 November, Rotary members in District 3800 began mobilizing donations to help the relief efforts.
Instead of the usual items for relief packs (canned goods, instant noodles, etc.), the members of my Rotary club decided to take a different approach and focus on Continue reading
Rotarians deliver Christmas gifts in Lac Megantic. Photo courtesy of Marty Helman
By Marty Helman, past governor of District 7780 (parts of Maine and New Hampshire, USA)
Lac Megantic in southern Quebec made headlines for all the wrong reasons last July when a train filled with crude oil derailed in the town’s central business district. The resulting fire destroyed the town’s economic base, killed 47, and 24 local children lost one or both parents. In the wake of the disaster, Rotarians in District 7780 across the border in southern Maine and coastal New Hampshire geared up to help. Continue reading
David Shirley with one of the tents ShelterBox deployed for families left homeless by the tornado. Photo coutesy ShelterBox USA
By David Shirley, past governor of District 5770 (Oklahoma, USA) and a ShelterBox volunteer
Arriving in Bethel Acres and Little Axe, Oklahoma, in June, I was greeted by a scene of total devastation that was both overwhelming and heart breaking. Where there had once been homes and cars, there was now only rubble.
I had been asked by ShelterBox to assess the need for help. On my initial visit 22 days after the F-4 tornado struck, I actually missed the turn into the housing area as my attention was drawn to a mobile home standing in perfect condition, except for the completely absent roof. Continue reading
Residents look over the damage in Moore, Oklahoma, USA, after a category 5 tornado touched down 20 May. Photo by Moore Monthly/themooredaily.com
By Brent Wheelbarger, a member of the Rotary Club of Moore, Oklahoma, USA
The tornado bears down on Moore, Oklahoma. Photo by Moore Monthly/themore
I sat in a bus along with other media outlets from around the world. It was the day after the tornado and we were being shuttled to the various damage sites so reporters could shoot video and file stories.
For many of them, it was a first glimpse at the extent of destruction … for me, it was a pit of emotion. Many of our neighborhoods gone. Our hospital destroyed. Hundreds of cars twisted, stacked, crushed. Innumerable businesses gutted. Two of our schools reduced to rubble. I didn’t like what I saw and I didn’t like how I felt. Continue reading
Bonnie F. Sirower
By Bonnie F. Sirower, governor of District 7490 (New Jersey, USA)
On 10 November, with the help of nearly 150 volunteers, about a third of them new to Rotary, we sorted materials delivered by about five large trucks from all over the United States.
Then we packed pick-up trucks to the hilt with food, clothing, cleaning supplies, toiletries, baby stuff, and blankets and set off in many different directions to deliver these goods to more than 12 communities throughout the affected districts hit by Hurricane Sandy nearly two weeks ago. Continue reading
People line up at the Nazareth House in lower Manhattan seeking supplies that will get them by for the day. Photo by George R. Camp, past district governor
By Joe Clark, past governor of District 7230 (Bermuda, part of New York, USA)
Hurricane Sandy has left its mark. In lower Manhattan, many elderly, infirmed, homeless and single parent families are suffering. They have no power, food, water, blankets, or warm clothing to get by, and with harsh weather approaching, they don’t have heat or other essentials to keep them going. They are at risk of illness or death from exposure.
Many of these people are invisible to the rest of us, hidden by the brick, steel, and concrete of shelters that hide them from public view. They are fighting to get by one day at a time. They visit the Bowery Mission and the Nazareth House, two charity organizations, on a daily basis to see what they can get to provide for themselves and their families. Continue reading