Incoming RI president polio fundraising superstar

John Germ of Tennessee will become RI president on July 1.
John Germ of Tennessee will become RI president on July 1.

From The Rotarian magazine

When John Germ takes office as Rotary International’s president in July, it will mark his 40th year in Rotary. In that time, he’s likely best-known for leading Rotary’s $200 Million Challenge, a fundraising effort sparked by a challenge grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Rotarians surpassed that goal in 2011, raising $228.7 million toward polio immunization activities.

“I never questioned that we would raise the funds,” he says. “Rotarians have been so generous.”

In fact, raising money for polio was one of Germ’s first leadership roles. He became a member of the Rotary Club of ­Chattanooga, TN, in 1976.

“I wasn’t involved, other than going to meetings, until 1983 when I was asked to be club secretary,” he says. “Then I was asked to participate as district co-chair for the polio fundraising campaign.” After that, he was hooked. “The more active I became, and the more good that I saw being done, the more I wanted to do.”

Germ went on to serve Rotary as vice president, director, Foundation trustee and vice chair, and RI president’s aide. Professionally, he continues to consult for Campbell & Associates, a Chattanooga engineering firm he started working for in 1965 and eventually served as chairman and CEO.

Go here for a Q&A interview with Germ conducted by John Rezek, editor in chief of The Rotarian.



RSVP by today for Thursday’s dinner meeting

Screen shot 2016-05-03 at 2.21.20 PM
On Thursday’s menu

LuAnnn McCormick, director of the Capital Region chapter of the Girls On The Run organization, will be our after-dinner speaker this Thursday at Quigley’s.

Sounds like a good program that might be of interest to guests as well as Rotarians, but we need to know who’s coming to dinner.

If you have not yet emailed dinner coordinator Debbie Brown ( if you plan to attend, and if you plan to bring a guest, the deadline for doing so is this evening (Tuesday).

PRICE REMINDER: Our dinner price goes from $15 to $18 as of this week to allow us more selections. Please try to bring some singles so Murray doesn’t have to conjure up change out of thin air. Thank you.


If you haven’t visited our Facebook page …

Samples of special postings on Facebook.
Samples of special postings on Facebook.

… recently, you’ve missed connecting with a number of interesting and important stories.

That’s because although the club’s Facebook page has most of what is posted on the blog portion of our website, it also frequently has other postings illustrating the wide range of pubic service efforts made by Rotarians around the world.

The most recent postings deal with a Brazilian supermodel who serves as a Rotary ambassador and worked on behalf of RI’s “World Immunization Week”; Rotary’s efforts to stop female circumcision in Africa; how a Rotary grant funded clean water for thousands in Ghana; what Rotary is doing to help alleviate the plight of Middle Eastern refugees streaming into Europe; Pope Francis’s meeting with a Rotary delegation to discuss anti0polio efforts; and on and on.

So, why not bookmark both the website and the Facebook page for quick access on a regular basis? You’ll be glad you did.


Clothing drive deadline is Thursday

Screen shot 2016-04-20 at 4.03.23 PMA Reminder To All:

The Southern Rensselaer County Rotary Club’s “Clothes For Kids” drive will end this Thursday, May 5. Please be sure to drop off your final donations of clothes at our dinner meeting. Particularly needed are clothes for kids of middle school and high school age.

We’d like to have every member involved — even if you don’t usually attend our Thursday meetings — since this effort since it is part of Rotary International’s annual “Day of Service” initiative, this year with an anti-poverty theme.

Your donations will be distributed through the local family assistance organization Circles of Mercy. Contributions are tax deductible.

Thank you for your generosity.

Bill Dowd
Project Coordinator


Pope continues support of RI’s anti-polio work

Pope Paul; greets RI President K.R. Ravindran.
Pope Paul greets RI President K.R. Ravindran.

From Rotary International

Nearly 9,000 Rotarians from around the world attended the “Jubilee Audience” in St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City on April 30 at the invitation of Pope Francis. Afterward, meeting with a delegation led by RI President K.R. Ravindran, the pope emphasized the importance of vaccinations against polio and urged Rotary to continue.

Pope Francis follows Paul VI and John Paul II in connecting with Rotary International to encourage their support of a more peaceful and compassionate world.

“It is a tremendous honor to be part of this Jubilee Audience,” Ravindran said. “Pope Francis has inspired men and women throughout the world regardless of their faith with his humble acts of kindness. His call to alleviate the root causes of extreme poverty and human suffering transcends religion, age, nationalism and politics. Rotary members from every religion, nation and creed share Pope Francis’ spirit of mercy and compassion, which inspires us to act boldly to address the most difficult challenges facing our world today.”

By virtually ending polio, promoting peace, fighting disease, providing clean water, sanitation and hygiene, supporting education, saving mothers and children and growing local economies, Rotary members are improving lives and bringing positive, lasting change to communities around the world.

Rotary and its partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative are on the brink of making global health history as polio is slated to become the second human disease ever to be eliminated. Cases of this paralyzing but vaccine preventable disease have plummeted by more than 99.9%, from about 350,000 cases a year in 1988, to 74 confirmed in 2015.

Since launching its PolioPlus program in 1985, Rotary has donated $1.5 billion and countless volunteer hours to protect 2.5 billion children in 122 countries from polio. More than 13 million people who would otherwise have been paralyzed from polio today are able to walk.

Pope Francis personally vaccinated a child against polio in Mexico in February. While he was Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, Pope Francis was named an honorary member of Rotary,  the first pope to receive and accept a Rotary club membership.

Meeting of 4/28/16: ‘Organic Nutrition’

Screen shot 2015-05-22 at 12.44.07 PMMeeting at Quigley’s Restaurant
593 Columbia Turnpike
East Greenbush, NY
April 28, 2016

Members Attending (16): Terry Brewer, Debbie Rodriguez, Pat Bailey, Bill Dowd, Jim Leyhane, Jim Butterworth, April Dowd, Ron Annis, Monika Annis, Carole Spencer, Dick Drumm, Roberto Martinez, Ray Hannan, Charlie Foote, Rommel Tolentino, Becky Raymond.

Guests (1): Dr. Mike Flesher.

PROGRAM: “Organic Nutrition and Fundraising”

Mike Flesher
Mike Flesher

Ron Annis presented a brief introductory talk and video on the benefits of proper nutrition, emphasizing a line of powdered supplements from a California company called Purium Health Products.

Purium transforms foods sourced from selected farms into dehydrated versions used in a variety of shakes and supplements.

Ron then introduced Dr. Mike Flesher, who also spoke about the benefits of nutritional supplements produced in an organic “farm-to-family” process. He, too, recommended Purium products.

After his talk, Ron passed around Purium special-offer cards that he suggested the club consider as an ongoing fundraiser. The idea is that the club would distribute cards to anyone in need of dietary assistance, and each time they make a purchase the club would receive $50.

[Independent reviews of Purium’s 10-day cleanse routine and its products in general are available online, here and here.]


Clothing ThanksCOATS FOR KIDS — Project coordinator Bill Dowd reported that roughly 300 items of clothing have been donated so far for our “Rotary Day of Service” poverty project. Bill said his goal had been 400 items, but now that we’re nearing that number he’s hoping for 500. He reminded members that next Thursday, May 5, is the deadline for donations, and said we now are mostly in need of clothing for middle- and high-school kids. He will be delivering the clothes to the family assistance organization Circles of Mercy.

DINNER PRICE HIKE — Terry reminded members that the price for the weekly dinner at Quigley’s is going from $15 to $18 as of next Thursday, May 5. He said that is to provide us with the opportunity to select from a wider range of choices. It is the first price increase the club has made in decades.

EAGLE SCOUT PROJECT — We have received a request for assistance from Justin Burdick, a member of Boy Scout Troop 522 in East Schodack. He said he will be making outdoor benches that will be available for public use at the Church of St. Mary in Clinton Heights (163 Columbia Turnpike, Rensselaer), and is looking for donations of money and/or materials. Terry said the board will consider the request since traditionally we have been supportive of Eagle projects.

Screen shot 2015-09-11 at 3.06.33 PMPROGRAM AND SUMMER PLANNING — Debbie Rodriguez reported that all after-dinner program slots have been filled for May and June. Terry said we now should be thinking about our summer-casual schedule when we switch from formal dinner meetings to member-hosted cookouts, field trips (baseball game and picnic, summer theater, etc.) and the like on Thursdays through July and August. One outing under consideration is a chartered bus trip to the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome on a Sunday to take in the air show.

RONALD McDONALD HOUSE DINNER — Terry reported that Bill Dowd is heading up the SRC contingent that will be preparing dinner for families lodging at the Albany facility on Thursday, May 12. Also signed up to help are April Dowd, Debbie Rodriguez, Mike Dewey, Melissa Bill, Peter Brown, and Debbie Brown.

Screen shot 2016-01-08 at 1.49.38 PMSHELTERBOX — Bill Dowd, our club’s ShelterBox Liaison, has posted on our club website information on the current needs of the aid organization. He noted that although our club recently made a $5,000 contribution that will pay for five boxes, we can always donate more as individuals or as a club to help meet ongoing needs around the world. In addition to relief efforts already active in several parts of the world, earthquakes in Japan and Ecuador in the past 10 days have added to the strain on ShelterBox’s resources.

NEXT MEETING: 6:15 p.m. Thursday, May 5. The speaker will be LuAnn McCormick, executive director for the Capital Region chapter of Girls On the Run. The training program’s mission statement: “We inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running.”


ShelterBox aid arrives in Ecuador, Japan

(Video of an early report on both stricken nations.)

ShelterBox logoShelterBox was among the first non-governmental agencies (NGOs) to get aid to those made homeless by recent earthquakes in Ecuador and Japan.

Two quakes in Japan and one in Ecuador killed hundreds of people, injured thousands, and caused billions of dollars in damage late last week. Within 48 hours, an assessment team arrived to begin coordinating efforts. ShelterBox already had aid positioned in neighboring Colombia, as well as in Panama and Bolivia, which can be quickly transported into the country, but when such efforts are undertaken donations are needed to immediately replace the equipment so the organization remains able to respond to the inevitability of disasters elsewhere.

In Ecuador, the 7.8-magnitude quake that struck Saturday night killed more than 400 people, with 2,500 injured. Those figures are expected to rise as rescue and recovery efforts continue.

In Japan, the quakes hit the southwestern part of the country, killing dozens and causing landslides that obliterated homes, businesses, and highways.

In addition to ShelterBox, Rotary District 4400 in Ecuador and District 2720 in Japan have each created a disaster relief fund to coordinate other types of donations and in-kind aid.

At any one time, ShelterBox is juggling multiple active relief efforts. For example, even before the most recent Ecuador and Japan disasters, it was working in Madagascar and Bolivia after both were devastated by massive landslides and flooding.

Our club already has made its 2015-16 contribution to purchase five ShelterBoxes (at $1,000 each) this year, but obviously there is no limit to what we can contribute. If you have not donated to ShelterBox this year but wish to join those who have,  please check with our club’s ShelterBox Liaison Bill Dowd or treasurer Murray Forth for details.

Meal price going up just a smidge

(Past dates estimated.)
(Past dates estimated.)

Our club does not change the price of meals for the weekly dinner meetings very often, as you can see by the accompanying chart — especially compared to many other clubs. But, it will go up by $3 to $18 as of Thursday, May 5.

Why? As we discussed at several meetings, the goal is to provide members with more and better menu choices so we do not continue in a rut of having only a handful of selections rotating each week. We received consensus approval at two different meetings to make the change.

Debbie Brown, who coordinates the dinner menus with Quigley’s owner John Walsh, will be providing us in the coming days with more information on what we can expect.