It is with pleasure and a bit of hesitation that I agreed to be the first secretary to fill in for Ernie Wolfe while he travels Australia. How could I ever possibly follow his lead with the detail of The Windmill publications? So, if you forgive me, the highlights….
JACK HARRIS led the Pledge to a moderate number in attendance this past week. LENNY FRIEDMAN conducted us confidently through the first stanza of “You are my sunshine”, and we all stumbled through the second stanza (sorry, Lenny). DICK ROBINSON gave a very patriotic invocation, compelling us to remember the troops that have served and are currently serving, reflecting on the freedom and leadership they provide to our country. Might it be that we keep an open-mind and support our political leaders in hopes they find refreshment and rejuvenation in the difficult decisions that lie ahead.
WVRC had a few guests for lunch. STEVE SCHERER introduced for the second week LORIN RUTTENBERG. He also introduced MARK KNAUSE, who is the pastor at Westwood Hill Church. Many of you know RON KLEPETAR who was a member of WVRC in the past and whom we hope will be a member again very soon. RON LYSTER introduced his guests, and our speaker for the day, BOB & PATTY MUTCHLER from the North Sacramento Rotary Club, of which she is now President.
CHRIS BRADFORD moved the meeting ahead before our lunch break by ribbing HENRY TSANG about his ability to ‘cut a rug’ in Alhambra… even for a centenarian. RON LYSTER was giving the WVRC some good press in the ROTARIAN magazine. And ELLIOT TURNER told a joke about the unlikelihood of some of our older members ever hoping to impregnate 18 year olds. Gotta’ make sure those Smith & Wessons are loaded, boys!
And with that, we ate.
RON LYSTER gave a wonderful introduction to BOB MULTCHER, our speaker. He comes to us from District 5180 and has had perfect attendance since 1970. He was awarded the District 5180 Service Award in 1999, the Rotary International Award for Meritorious Service by the Rotary Foundation Trustees in 1998-99, and the Rotary International Regional PolioPlus Service Award for 2002-2003.
PolioPlus has helped eradicate polio from the entire world. In 1987, Rotary International pledged $120 million to the W.H.O. and within a year Rotary came forward with a full $247 million instead. The W.H.O. and United Nations has continually been so impressed with Rotary International’s impact on polio world-wide that RI is the only service organization given full-time representation at the U.N.
Only 4 nations continue to need polio vaccinations (Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, and Nigeria), but these are especially difficult due to political and geographic hurdles. In 2005, PolioPlus had nearly finished their mission in eradicating polio worldwide. However, that same year, Nigeria’s nomadic culture spread the disease to 11 previously eradicated countries. To combat this, Rotary once again asked its members to raise $80 million in one year. And we raised $120 million instead. Rotary International was instrumental in getting a Nigerian law passed that now mandates jail time for parents not getting their children immunized. The number on people contracting polio has dropped in Nigeria from 500,000 in 1987, to 350 in 2007.
In 1986, our club had 100% participation in giving $1000 by each member to the PolioPlus initiative - $125,000! The International Fellowship of Motorcycling Rotarians has included Bob for the last 15 years, as he has completing marathon rides to increase awareness for the PolioPlus program. Due to his own special needs due to contracting the disease when he was 9 months old, Bob is able to accomplish these tremendously long rides (often 1000 miles a day for 15-50 days!) by using a sidecar and handshifter.
It used to cost 9¢ for a single immunization dose, now it costs 55¢. Bob has made a plea that if Rotary members can all donate $1000 again with 100% participation, we may finally eradicate this disease from the planet. The Rotary Foundation invests all the money donated for 3 years, then uses the interest to pay for the administrative overhead. Therefore, there are NO administrative costs taken from the donation 100% of your contribution goes to immunizing against polio.
Bob has received hundreds of publicity spots including television, radio, newspaper, and magazine stories. He’s also received dozens of legislative proclamations from states and cities all over North America as he rides across our country spreading the message of PolioPlus. Bob ended his passionate talk with a quote from Winston Churchill …”History will be kind to me, because I will write it.”
Thanks for the opportunity to write this meeting down and therefore revisit a very impressive talk.
WVRC Yearling, Leah J. Vriesman