The Wheel for September 8, 2016
Linda Bertuzzi-Polio Plus in India
I have been really blessed to have been involved with Rotary’s Polio Plus program with my travels to the remote villages in India for the last five years to administer the Polio vaccine – just two drops for each child. This program was begun over 35 years ago with a focus on eradicating Polio from the face of the planet and at that time nearly 1,000 new cases of Polio were being reported daily. We are now under 20 for the entire world, year-to-date, and while the work must continue until we have zero for three consecutive years, this program has gone beyond the Polio vaccines. Thanks to the vision of Rotary Dream Team leaders PDG Elias Thomas of Maine and Rotarian Sanjiv Saran of Delhi, India, Rotarians from all over the world now come together as part of the Team to not only immunize the children of India, but also participate in the building of a water reservoir/retention dam to provide “sweet water” fed by the monsoons for the thousands of villagers. The hands-on work by Rotarians and friends has bridged the barriers of language to provide understanding and respect and provided a safe location for water harvesting, eliminating the need for the women to travel for hours to get water for their family. With the women now closer to home, this frees up the children from the confines of caring for their siblings and allows them to attend school. The water also provides a safe drinking supply, improving health for everyone in the village. My vision for the last few years has been to engage our youth, and not necessarily Rotarians, in this program and allow them to share in the experience of Service Above Self. This particular year was the most memorable with five wonderful young men and women working to change the lives of others, with smiles on their faces and joy in their heart as they worked tirelessly on the dam and immunized the babies. The story now can be told through the eyes of our children to inspire others and continue our work to build a better world.
Message From The President
Dear Fellow Rotarians,
Given the topic of today’s speaker, I thought I would turn my message to the subject of disease eradication in general, and Rotary’s mission to eradicate polio specifically. Some of you may have seen that last month the famous epidemiologist D.A. Henderson passed away aged 87. He was made famous as the person in charge of the smallpox eradication effort conducted by the World Health Organization. When he began his efforts in1966, 2 million people still died annually from the disease. By 1979, smallpox had been completely eradicated.
Similarly, Rotary’s mission to eradicate polio began in 1985 and over the last 30 years we have managed to eliminate polio from all but one endemic country. However, until it is gone everywhere there always remains a risk that it can spread out once again, as unfortunately we just learned from a couple of new cases in Nigeria.
“Future generations”, wrote Thomas Jefferson to Edward Jenner, the inventor of the smallpox vaccine successfully deployed by D.A. Henderson, “will know by history only that the loathsome smallpox has existed.”
As we prepare to celebrate the 100th anniversary of The Rotary Foundation in 2017, let us keep that same vision in mind for our efforts against polio and look forward to a special celebration event next year!
President 2016 -2017
Scribe – September 1, 2016
- • President David Thorson called the meeting to order.
• Arleen Sirois gave the invocation; Ted McAdam led us in singing “God Bless America”. The
Pledge of Allegiance was recited and the Sergeant-at-Arms was Past President Kathy Dalvey.
• President David Thorson recognized Ed Lepere for the National Restaurant Award Lawry’s
received this year for outstanding food.
• Due to an important recruiting meeting, the speaker presented at the beginning of the meeting.
Past President Brock Fraser introduced Coach Marvin Menzies of the UNLV Basketball Team
who spoke about the state of the team. He then opened the floor to questions to help him “fill the
stands” this year with basketball fans.
• President David Thorson presented Coach Menzies with the Soul Power Award.
• President’s Announcements –
o Francesca Gilbert identified this week’s Wheel Poem Correctly – Emily
Dickenson “September Baccalaureate” and was awarded a new branded
Rotary pin for her erudition.
o Rosalee Hendrick was the Car Show Name Winner – “Rotary Cars For A
Cause” and donated her prize back to the club. A spirited action ensued with
Francesca Gilbert ultimately prevailing with a $500 donation to the club.
• Craft Talk – Barrett Thomas & Megan Moreno talked about the Lemons Rally they competed in
that raised $1,760 for our Canned Food Drive!
• The Boy Scouts of America were presented with a $1000.00 grant check
• (1) Visiting Rotarian was introduced. (13) guests of Rotarians were introduced.
• The Birthday Table was introduced and Jerry Engel lead the Birthday song and provided some
• Anil Melnik announced the Tailgate Party – October 22
• Kirk Alexander announced Corazon Superbuild – October 15, 2016 and May 6, 2017
• Erik Astamecki announced his debut MMA Fight Night – October 15. He is raising money for the
club by selling advertising on his shorts. $250 per logo, all funds being donated to the club.
• Arlene Sirois reminded us of Wine to Water on October 7 at Sarah Brown’s house.
• Dave Lester asked for participation on Rotarians at Work Day – September 30 at our elementary
schools. As much time as you can devote 8:30am – 2:30pm
• Jackie Thornhill let us know the next base visit for Wetzel Awards will be September 29
immediately after the general meeting.
• Sarah Brown announced the Highway Clean Up – September 24
• Bob Fisher reminded us all to attend the SOAR awards on September 12 and provided some
detail on the outstanding program happening this year.
• Jim Hunt reminded us of the Cigar Fellowship on September 9 at Russ Swain’s house.
• The drawing began at $500 plus this week’s donations. The winner gets half the pot and half goes
to the Las Vegas Rotary Foundation. Ticket Winner: Michael Gordon who won $10. Lawry Bucks
Winner: Jorden Micev.
• Past President Brock Fraser advised the club of the passing of Tom Thomas’ father Perry
Thomas and provided a brief overview of the amazing accomplishments and contributions to the
Las Vegas community of the Thomas family.
• President David Thorson adjourned the meeting.
REMEMBERING THALIA DONDERO
Thalia Dondero passed away September 4th at the age of 96. Thalia was one of two initial female members of our Rotary Club and has continued to be an honorary member. She is another great example of the amazing leaders this club attracts. She was the first woman ever elected as a Clark County Commissioner and ultimately became chairman of that body. She served on the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents from 1996 – 2008. As a Clark County commissioner, she oversaw the expansion of McCarran International Airport and flood control projects. As chairwoman of the Las Vegas Valley Water District Board, she also helped ensure adequate water supplies. She also was on the Summerlin Hospital Board of Trustees and the Bureau of Land Management Resource Advisory Council. Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman tweeted: “Thalia Dondero was a true Nevada pioneer, in leadership and for women …devoted to education & community betterment with kindness for all.” The Las Vegas Rotary Club and the Las Vegas Community at large will miss Thalia.