Once again, the generosity of the Southern Rensselaer County Rotary Club has pushed us over the top — well before deadline — for our latest major philanthropic endeavor.
On March 1, club member Terry Brewer challenged the club to raise $10,000 to underwrite a Gift of Life cardiac surgical session for a child to be brought from his or her home country to Albany Medical Center for the treatment.
That came after Dr. Melissa Ehlers, a GOL board member, addressed our club on the topic of medical missions to the Caribbean and lifesaving cardiac work done by GOL at Albany Medical Center.
As she wrote in The Toolbox, the District’s e-newsletter, “Numerous questions were asked, but the most significant one was “What is the most important thing that you need to continue this work? ‘MONEY’ was the blunt answer. Within the next 90 seconds, 5 members of the club pledged to donate $1,000 each and then they pledged to canvas their other members to come up with the remaining $5,000 in order to sponsor their own Third World child for life-saving heart surgery at Albany Medical Center.
“I was awed by the generosity of this club and am truly thankful that we have such wonderful people who want to make a difference not just locally but around the world as well. (Just another day for a Rotarian, I suppose.)”
Earlier in this Rotary Year, the club’s members donated $10,000 to the ShelterBox program to purchase 10 boxes of disaster relief, particularly for people in the typhoon-ravaged Philippines.
All this came in addition to smaller, targeted fundraisers such as funding and/or food/clothing/etc. for autism programs, Ronald McDonald House, equine therapy programs, a trio of food pantries, the family aid organizations Circles of Mercy and Unity House, high school senior scholarships and so on.