Attending (18): Bill Dowd, April Dowd, Murray Forth, Pat Bailey, Jim Leyhane, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown, Ron Annis, Terry Brewer, Geoff Brewer, Dean Calamaras, Jim Butterworth, Carole Spencer, Stewart Wagner, Roberto Martinez, Dick Drumm, Debbie Rodriguez, Charlie Foote.
Guests (2): Richard Hodge, Monika Annis.
PROGRAM: A Gift of Life Update
President Bill Dowd introduced Richard Hodge, a board member of the District 7190 Gift of Life, who offered an update on pediatric medical care given locally and the latest medical mission to the Dominican Republic and thanked our club for its ongoing generosity in helping underwrite such efforts.
Rich spoke about Danny Ezequiel Jimenez Samiento, the six-year-old Nicaraguan child we supported for lifesaving cardiac surgery at Albany Medical Center. GOL worked in conjunction with Samaritan’s Purse, the philanthropic organization begun by famed evangelist Billy Graham and now headed by his son Franklin. That group selects the child in need and helps defray the costs of travel, interpreter service, and the like. Danny, you will recall, paid a post-operative visit to the SRC Club with his mother last fall to thank us for our support. Rich said another child is being brought to the Capital Region in September for a similar surgery.
He also showed images taken in the Dominican Republic, where Capital Region medical and support people worked with DR medical personnel to provide open heart surgeries and cardiac catheterizations, a total of 16 procedures in this most recent trip.
Regretably, the public hospital at which this work was performed has been closed by the government ostensibly for financial reasons. The matter of what happens to the closed hospital’s equipment is under discussion. Much of it was donated when Leonard Hospital in Troy was closed. Jim Leyhane and Bill Dowd joined other GOL board members at that time in building shipping containers for the equipment, beds and materials.
Coincidentally, Rich said, the GOL had planned this to be the last mission to the DR anyway because it had exhausted the amount of training it could provide to local medical staff and funds were running low. Missions to other countries now are under consideration.
ANNOUNCEMENTS / BUSINESS
CONGRATULATIONS — To member Charlie Foote and wife Barbara on the birth of their newest great grandchild, a baby boy (21 inches, 7+ pounds) named Isiah.
SCHOLARSHIPS — Our two scholarship essay competition recipients are Annie Paone of Tamarac High School and Paige Pangburn of Troy High School. They have been informed of their status, and each will receive a $500 scholarship grant. Annie will be attending SUNY Oneonta and Paige will be attending Siena College.
AID FOR NEPAL — The earthquake devastation in Nepal has drawn a swift response from Rotary International and ShelterBox. You can get details by checking out the message from RI President Gary Huang we have posted on the website, along with a 2+minute video from a ShelterBox team on the scene. Our club has designated a $3,250 grant to ShelterBox this year, but we certainly will accept any further contributions any members wish to make. Please see Treasurer Murray Forth if you are able to do that.
FINAL PROGRAMS — The closeout programs for the 2014-15 Rotary Year have been posted on our website and distributed by e-mail. We urge members to make efforts to extend invitations to friends, family, colleagues, neighbors, people off the street, etc., to join us for those with a broad appeal. And, a reminder that among the programs will be “The First Annual Great North American Whizbang Trivia Test,” with fun prizes for the best and brightest among us.
NEXT MEETING: 6:15 p.m. Thursday, May 14, at Quigley’s restaurant. Three students — from Columbia, Averill Park and Troy high schools — who represented New York State in the recent national “We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution” competition will make a presentation. Our club made a $1,000 grant to help underwrite expenses of the effort.