President’s Comment – 30 Oct 16

Solomon island RAWCS trip

This week PP Richard Pottie from the Rotary Club of Wagga Wagga Kooringal and I have travelled to Santa Isabel, Solomon Islands to plan for some hands on teams that will travel to here during 2017.

Anyone who is interest in working on a team should contact me and register their interest. We are still requiring more funding so that all the work can be completed. All donations welcome at RAWCS Project 9-2009-10 on this website under International.


When I give to Rotary, I get so much more back

By Stephanie Witkowski, Rotary Club of Honolulu Pau Hana

At 28 years old, I decided to become a Rotarian, because Rotary changed my life.

I grew up in a small town in Oregon, USA, and was a young leader in my school. When I was 15 years old, I applied to attend a Rotary Youth Leadership Awards event in Rotary’s District 5110 to learn more about myself and what leadership meant to me. During that amazing week-long experience, I learned not only about how to be a better leader for my school and community, but about Rotary itself.

One of the things I learned about Rotary was the organization’s commitment to international service through the Rotary Youth Exchange program. I had always dreamed of learning about another culture through an international experience with students my age. So when I was 17 years old, I applied to be a Rotary Youth Exchange student. In District 5110, they have a wonderful tradition of selecting the student’s host country for them, and then SURPRISE! In 2005, I was off for a life-changing year in Slovakia.

Most students who have the incredible opportunity to study abroad speak of the experience as a pivotal moment in their life. That was certainly the case for me. While living with a host family, and studying at the local high school, I learned so much more about what it meant to be a global citizen and what my goals for my life were.

During this year, I began to appreciate different cultures and languages and what they offer to our world as a whole. This path over time led to a BA in cross-cultural communication, a Fulbright Teaching Assistant in Slovakia at age 23, followed by three years of graduate study in linguistics. My Rotary Youth Exchange experience set me on a path toward my current career (as a revitalization linguist for a Native American Tribe.)

During my educational and professional pursuits, I always kept my connection to Rotary. In summers during college, I served as a RYLA camp counselor. I wanted to give back to the next generation of young leaders and inspire them. But the truth is, I always came away as inspired by the youth and their commitment to Service Above Self.

Finally, this May, I joined Rotary to once again give back to an organization that gave so much to me. But again, I find that when I give to Rotary, I end up receiving so much more.
































President’s Comment – 23 Oct 16




We have only received four members surveys at this time.  Can those who have not completed it yet do so soon please?  We will be making a decision on these items at the AGM to be held Tuesday 15th November at 7.00pm ESDT

World Polio Day – 24 Oct 

Join in on 24 October for World Polio Day and share your voice that we are closer than ever to creating a polio-free world. Rotary will host its fourth annual World Polio Day: Making History live stream event at 18:00 EDT (UTC-4) from the headquarters of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. The event brings together the biggest names in the global fight to eradicate polio. Watch live on

I thought I’d never walk again

: Nancy Wright Beasley, who wrote The Little Lion, sits on one of the motorcycles used in the stage adaptation of her book during rehearsal at Swift Creek Mill Theatre. Photo by Clement Britt

Nancy Wright Beasley, who wrote The Little Lion, sits on one of the motorcycles used in the stage adaptation of her book during rehearsal at Swift Creek Mill Theatre. Photo by Clement Britt

By Nancy Wright Beasley, a polio survivor and member of the Rotary Club of Brandermill, Virginia, USA

I thought I’d never walk again, but I did.

I thought I’d never talk about polio either, but I’ve regularly shared my childhood memories of the disease since joining the Rotary Club of Brandermill in 2005. I had been  invited to speak about my first book, Izzy’s Fire. That’s where I first learned about PolioPlus, and decided — that day — to join Rotary International’s fight to eradicate the disease. I often say that I’m the only speaker who gave a speech then never left.

I contracted polio in the summer of 1952, in the middle of one of the worst epidemics in U.S. history.

Nancy Wright Beasley with her favorite muppet, Miss Piggy, spreading the word about polio eradication.

Nancy Wright Beasley with her favorite Muppet, Miss Piggy, spreading the word about polio eradication.

Some 60,000 people nationwide were infected, killing 3,000 and paralyzing 21,000 others. My brother still remembers the summer day when he found me, the youngest of four children, unconscious under a snowball bush just beside our farm house in Christiansburg, Virginia.

A spinal tap at Roanoke’s Memorial and Crippled Children’s Hospital confirmed a diagnosis of polio. At 6, I had never spent a night away from my family, but I was isolated in a sterile room, seen only by medical personnel swathed in gowns and masks. I cried with joy the first time a nurse wheeled me into the sunroom where my mother placed her hand on a glass partition opposite mine. A prisoner of polio —I talked to her by telephone.

When I was released months later, my parents were told I’d never walk again. Mama refused to accept that. She chopped wood to heat the water she lugged uphill from the springhouse, lowering me into a steaming tub and exercising my body beyond exhaustion. I’m fairly sure a home health nurse demonstrated the exercises, trying to stave off muscular atrophy in my legs. For months, Mama followed this routine twice a day, while acting as my substitute teacher; caring for my siblings, my father and grandfather; and helping with farm chores. With tears in his eyes, Daddy used to tell how Mama was so worried about me that he found her one day sitting on the bucket beside a cow and milking onto the stool.

Her hard work paid off — I eventually began to walk again, and though I had missed most of second grade except the last two months,  I passed with flying colors.

My brother still remembers the summer day when he found me, the youngest of four children, unconscious under a snowball bush just beside our farm house in Christiansburg, Virginia.

I gleaned two important lessons from that experience: I never take walking for granted, and I approach difficult tasks as challenges to be overcome. When my third book, The Little Lion, was adapted for the stage by playwright Irene Ziegler, the world premiere was held at Swift Creek Mill Theatre in South Chesterfield, Virginia, in January. I approached Tom Width, director of the Mill, as well as the play’s artistic director, and he agreed to assist in a fundraiser for PolioPlus. Brandermill Rotarians joined with me to “Fill the Mill for PolioPlus” on 20 February 2016. Students, friends and Rotarians purchased tickets, some coming from as far away as New Jersey to help support the project, raising $4,512 for PolioPlus.

DeJa View, a Richmond, Virginia, club whose members are polio survivors, was one of the welcoming audiences. The vast majority of members are physically compromised, and some have been stricken with post-polio syndrome. That didn’t’ dampen their spirits, and one member managed to sell 13 tickets for the show. Several sent donations, even though they couldn’t attend.

They, and the many individuals who helped, have inspired me to help carry RI’s task to the finish line. After all, “We’re this close.”

Beasley is available to speak to Rotary Clubs about her experience with polio and the books that she has written. She donates a portion of proceeds from her books to PolioPlus. She can be reached at

President’s Comment – 16 Oct 16

Club Logo - Transparent

Greetings to all

Members please completed your online attendance regularly and the survey by November 10th. The article below shows the ability of Rotary to respond to disasters and serve humanity.

Rotary and ShelterBox on the ground in Haiti

Staff from ShelterBox and the United Nation’s World Food Programme help unload a delivery of ShelterBox supplies at Les Cayes harbor in Haiti, where tents are likely to be used to help health professionals screen and treat cholera victims. Photo Credit: Alexis Masciarelli

Even as parts of Haiti were still recovering from a catastrophic 2010 earthquake, Hurricane Matthew tore through the impoverished island country 4 October, leaving hundreds dead and many more homeless.

The Category 4 storm affected an estimated 330,000 people in Haiti, including 6,400 who were moved to temporary shelters. Extensive damage to main bridges and other transportation networks have left some areas cut off and vulnerable. Torrential rains have resulted in flooding and landslides. And contaminated water supplies threaten to lead to a surge in cholera cases and other waterborne illnesses.

A ShelterBox response team of volunteers from Canada, England, New Zealand, and the United States traveled to Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital, last week to assess the damage and decide how best to help people. ShelterBox, an independent charity, is Rotary’s project partner for disaster relief.

Working with Rotary members, government authorities, and other relief agencies, ShelterBox is focusing on the cholera outbreak in the southern region of the island and emergency shelter. A shipment of ShelterBox supplies arrived in Les Cayes, in the south of Haiti, on Wednesday, which likely will be used to help health professionals screen and treat cholera victims.

“We hope to provide ShelterKits along with other crucial supplies like solar lights, mosquito nets, water purification units, and water carriers. All of which will help in the fight against cholera,” says Chris Warham, chief executive of ShelterBox.

With wind speeds reaching 155 miles per hour, Hurricane Matthew is considered the worst storm to make landfall in Haiti in more than 50 years.

Storm’s path hits United States and Canada

The destructive path of the hurricane cut through communities in Florida, Georgia, and South and North Carolina, USA, and as far northeast as Nova Scotia, Canada, causing flooding, severe damage, injury, and death. Rotary members are working together to provide emergency supplies and help families find shelter.

“Rivers are still rising and expected to crest on Sunday,” says Rusine Mitchell Sinclair, governor of District 7710 in North Carolina. “We’ll work with our neighboring districts to provide relief once the flooding has peaked and we can get in to assess what’s needed.”

How you can help

The and Rotary District 7020 are collecting donations for relief in Haiti and the Bahamas. The initial funds will be used to replace the roofs of 1,000 homes and provide Sawyer water filtration systems. Please visit their to learn about ways to give.

If you would like to help those affected in North Carolina, send donations to .

Rotary staff are in touch with district leaders in other areas affected by hurricanes Matthew and Nicole and are also monitoring storms in the Pacific. Contact for information about how to contribute to other districts.

Follow ShelterBox on and for the latest updates.

Learn how you can help at