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Rotary Happenings: Sanibel-Captiva club had a great year in 2014

By Staff | Jan 7, 2015

Wow! What a year- end, wrap-up, club-assembly meeting we had a week ago, just before the Holiday break.

There was so much to cover and all of it good. First and foremost we had elections of officers for Sanibel-Captiva Rotary 2015-2016.

These newly elected officers do not start their term until July 2015 but according to our Rotary International by-laws must be elected before the end of the calendar year of the previous year.

Why, not really sure but think it has to do with the training and preparation the new officers have to go through before taking office.

The announcement of our new officers will be contained in a future column, but until July 2015 our club President for the first six months of 2015 will continue to be Bill Rahe.

The club did a little looking forward and a little looking back at club assembly. We certainly had a great year of giving in 2014.

Big projects took the spotlight for the year starting with our contribution to Rotary International Polio Plus Program with a direct monetary gift from the club, matched by Rotary District 6960, matched again by the Gates Foundation for a total of $16,500 contributed to Rotary International’s Polio Plus campaign.

At the meeting, Bill announced that our club had just received the honor of Rotary International 100-percent Polio Club designation for 2014.

Bill was also responsible for running the club’s fundraising raffle-Summer in the Colorado Mountains-which directly benefited the club’s Polio Plus contribution and CROW.

We also had a great presentation regarding two Rotary Wheelchair Foundation distribution events this year by John Danner, Chet Sadler, John Grey and Bill Rahe.

John Danner, as many know is the Senior Pastor at the Sanibel Congregational Church, and when approaching his 60th birthday, decided that instead of doing the usual hoopla of celebratory parties created his own way of celebrating a good and meaningful lifethe Sixty for Sixty bike ridefrom Fort Lauderdale to Key Westtrying to raise enough money through sponsorships to donate funds to purchase sixty wheelchairs for the Rotary Wheelchair Foundation.

Again, most of you know that John surpassed his goal of 60 wheelchairs and almost tripled that number with sponsorship money donated by friends, church members, and our Rotary club.

Back in mid-September John Danner, his grandson Zak, Chet Sadler, and John Grey went to Trinidad/Tabago with the Rotary Foundation and participated in wheelchair distribution events around the Island. Participation in these events leaves a lasting impression and makes one realize the incredible changes this simple gift will make in the lives of other.

Zak who was at our last meeting for his grandfather’s presentation stated, “I’m ready to go on the next distribution event in Jamaica”.

John Grey, Chet Sadler, and Bill Rahe went to Guatemala on a wheelchair distribution event this year and while in Guatemala visited the club’s micro-financing partner in Guatemala “as green as it gets” and the coffee farmers involved in this project.

This projects is going extremely well and Sanibel-Captiva Rotary has been paid back its initial micro-financing investment with the coffee-farmers and will be continuing to reinvest in this project.

Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Guatemala Coffee is being sold at Bailey’s General Store on the Island.

The next Rotary Wheelchair Foundation wheelchair distribution event will take place, sometime very soon, on the Island of Jamaica.

Just a note here folks: the financing of these wheelchairs-that have gone to Trinidad, Guatemala and soon to Jamaica- have all come out of that initial Sixty for Sixty Birthday bike ride by John Danner.

One person can do so much to help so many.

The other thing I would like to mention about these wheelchair distribution events and all of our other Rotary events that require travel is that the expense of travel and accommodations are strictly paid for by the Rotarians themselves.

The Sanibel-Captiva Rotary meets on Friday mornings at 7:00 a.m. for breakfast at the Dunes Golf & Tennis Club, Sanibel. Guests are always welcomed.