Rotarians fund good works

Published 12:09 am Saturday, April 28, 2012

When I became a Rotarian about two decades ago, the club I joined still wasn’t sure about letting girls in.

One man left because two women joined. The other one who had thought it was a bad idea soon learned that we would laugh at his jokes every single week, and started saving us a seat. Then the men figured out that we were workers, and pretty soon, we had roles and responsibilities.

I love the camaraderie and lunchtime fellowship. Not only do we sing, we are led each week by Joe Proctor, and accompanied by one of Andalusia’s best pianists, fellow Rotarian Louisa Baker. When Joe chooses “Little Liza Jane,” Earl Johnson can be counted upon to begin the chorus one beat early, and I can be counted upon to stop singing and start laughing.

But I also am very proud of the work of both local Rotarians and the international organization. The Rotary International Foundation funds many great projects, but its main focus for 25 years has been the eradication of polio, which it has almost accomplished.

One of the leaders of the Polio Plus initiative spoke to a group of Rotarians last year about the experience of administering the polio vaccine in a Third World country. As he was giving precious drops of the vaccine to a small child, he felt someone tugging on his pants legs. It was the little girl’s older brother, crippled by polio, who had crawled over to thank the man for saving his sister from the disease.

I was proud to be a Rotarian when I heard that story. But I was never more proud than on two recent occasions.

The first was when Dwight Mikel approached the Rotary Club and asked that our local foundation serve as the funneling agent for contributions to the new Miracle League of Covington County. Dwight explained that a pledge drive was about to be under way, and he felt Rotary was a trusted organization, and one to which people would feel comfortable sending money. It is flattering to be so trusted.

The second was on Tuesday night, when our local foundation president, David Darby, announced that our club would be the first non-government agency to contribute to Miracle League at the Grand Slam level, and presented Dwight with a $10,000 check.

We were able to do that because of the support of many, many people during our annual World Championship Domino Tournament and sweepstakes event. Club members work hard to sell those tickets and pull off the tournament, but we depend upon the support of a generous community to make the event profitable. In turn, we support a number of causes, including this one.

Thanks to all of you who have supported us in these endeavors, and thanks to my fellow Rotarians, both for their work, and for brightening my day each Tuesday.