Rotary Happenings: District governor visits San-Cap Rotary Club
Took a little time off at the end of September and unfortunately had to miss a visit by our Rotary District 6960 Gov. Richard Kirschner and his spouse, Nancy. Both are members of the Rotary Club of Naples. It is not that unusual for couples to join Rotary together or even in some circumstances to make a love connection with someone in Rotary. Sanibel-Captiva Rotary has our own Rotary couple, John and Joleen Raho. Both are active members and enjoy working on separate club projects or service projects together. Take note: It was in 1987 that Rotary International Rotary, with a little persuasion from the Supreme Court, accepted women as members. Rotary is lucky to have us, and they know it. There still are a few Rotary clubs around the world that are hold-outs, but they are few and far between.
Rotary district governors hold office for one year. Their many responsibilities include providing leadership, support and motivation to all the clubs in their district and providing direction in how to approach partnering opportunity with other Rotary clubs in the district, nationally and globally with sustainable service projects and participate in Rotary programs. Rotary District 6960 spans from Parrish to Marco Island and as far east as Clewiston, encompassing 51 clubs and more than 2,700 members. During their year in office, the district governors make it a point to visit all 51 clubs and this is when they address each club and encourage their participation in district activities from service projects to social activities. Kirschner was pleased to present to the Gold Citation Award, recognizing our club as one of seven clubs in the district for our achievements last year under the leadership of immediate Past President John Danner.
In my absence, Rotarian Joleen Raho graciously took notes on Kirschner’s visit, so that I can pass along the following information to you.
The first topic on the governor’s agenda started with recognition of two $5,000 contributions from our club for relief from Hurricane Dorian directly to our Rotary District Districts 6960 (which includes Abaco) and District 7029 (which includes Grand Bahamas). Kirschner shared that Rotary members do not normally function as first responders but in many ways, they have been first on scene in the Bahamas because they already have established clubs and club members familiar with the island communities. Rotary International Immediate Past President Barry Rassin’s home Rotary club is the Rotary Club of Bahama East. Rotarians from all over the world were writing checks for $10,000, $20,000, $100,000, even as high as $200,000, because that’s how Rotarians react when there is need. Kirschner estimated the total from money sent from District 6960, so far, is somewhere around $100,000 but money is still coming in. As the money comes in, it is immediately sent out to areas of need in the Bahamas. Bahamian Rotarians are making decisions on areas of need they themselves determine.
The governor told us that Shelter Box and Disaster Aid of USA, both organizations affiliated with Rotary, were on the ground in the Bahamas to make assessments. He spoke specifically about school-aged children that were sent off island (some made it to Charlotte and Collier counties) and are going to school locally. They may be here as long as two years. Kirschner proposed that we may do something to support them in the future.
Rotarians have reached in their pocket in a big way to support the restoration of the Bahamas and the restoration effort will take many more dollars and many years where Rotary clubs might take on specific projects such as clean water treatment centers and the building of schools.
This week, Sanibel-Captiva Rotarians will participate in our Rotary District 6960 Dictionary Day on delivering Rotary Dictionary/Almanacs to third-graders at The Sanibel School and Fort Myers Beach Elementary. Believe it or not, the kids really love the books and third grade usually includes writing assignment exercises, where they get to use their dictionaries.
For information about the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club, visit sanibelrotary.org or www.facebook.com/sancaprotary. The club meets every Friday at 7 a.m. at the Dunes Golf and Tennis Club, at 949 Sand Castle Road, Sanibel; visitors are welcome to attend.