The fiscal year of Rotary Clubs begins in July. It is our new year and with it comes new hope for a year of service. Our financial books are closed at the end of June, all accounting is completed so the new year begins on solid financial ground. Just as the New Year in January brings out good times, so did our year begin with fun.
We went to the baseball game at the PNC Field in Moosic and watched a game together. The ball park is an easy place to have a good time. We rooted for the home team, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, ate hot dogs, drank soda, and got to know each other a little better.
The baseball night out was followed by our Summer Social. Last Monday, we gathered at Camelot Restaurant just for the fun of it. The countryside restaurant lends itself to easy ambience and good food. Rotarians of all ages from our club came together for good cheer and much laughter. We have work to do throughout this year. We must lean on the talents of each other to accomplish the good we intend to do. Getting to know a fellow Rotarian in a social setting, learning about the family that supports the Rotarian, discovering the strengths of another, will make our Rotary Club stronger.
On mission to end polio
The major goal of Rotary this year remains the same – to end the devastating disease of polio. No place on Earth is safe from polio until the disease is eradicated everywhere.
In the summer of 2015, two Ukrainian children were stricken with paralytic polio. Ukraine had only fully vaccinated 50 percent of its children against polio and low immunization rates are a source for an outbreak. To stop the disease from spreading, the country needed to administer more than 50 million vaccines through an emergency program, an impossible task to do quickly.
Large-scale vaccinations are an enormous undertaking, requiring money as well thousands of volunteers on the ground. The vaccine itself is not the biggest expense in a vaccination campaign. The distribution of the vaccine, transportation and staffing are the highest costs.
Money donated by Rotarians paid the costs of a Cameroun vaccination campaign, which involved 34,000 vaccinators. Neighborhoods were canvassed from home to home to find children at risk and to administer the vaccine. To get to the neighborhoods in a country such as Cameroun, volunteers used 21,000 rental cars.
Our Rotary dollars also went to Ethiopia, where the children of nomads were vaccinated. Before these children receive the vaccine, their parents and clan leaders need to be instructed on the perils of the disease. Volunteer educators and translators must do that job.
The International Polio Plus Committee Chair Michael K. McGovern recently said, “Rotary and its partners have administered 15 billion doses since 2000. We’ve immunized 2.5 billion kids. Repeatedly reaching the kids to raise their immunization levels is very personnel intensive.”
Once the final case of polio is recorded, it will take three years more to ensure that the last case is, in fact, the final one. That means that if the final case is seen this year, all of these programs will continue to need funding and volunteers until 2019 at a price tag of $1.5 billion that will be funded by governments and donors like Rotary. That’s in addition to the more than $1.5 billion Rotarians have contributed to the cause so far.
The numbers are staggering. How can this be accomplished? One dollar at a time.
Wear a crocus
Fabric crocus buttonholes are offered to members of the public in return for a donation to end polio. When donors wear their crocuses, they become walking advertisements for the End Polio Campaign. Each crocus comes on an information card telling about the eradication program and Rotary’s role in it. The crocus color is purple to match the dye painted on the fingers of children who have been immunized.
The Rotary Club of the Abingtons is off to a good start this year in our effort to do good locally, nationally and internationally. We are part of the big fabric, carefully being sewn together piece by piece for our own growth and the health and well being of our neighbors.
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