Two past Rotary 7210 District Governors, Tam Mustapha (1999-2000), IMRF President, and Knut Johnsen (2003-2004), discuss their involvement in the International Relief Medical Foundation (IMRF), founded by Dr. Hrusi Parida from Rotary District 7210’s Middletown Club. The IMRF, a nonprofit, nonpolitical organization collects surplus medical supplies and equipment for distribution to poor areas in need in developing countries around the world and in the United States. Perfectly sound equipment, gently used but slightly outdated, is tested by IMRF and shipped. Rotarians in recipient countries receive each shipment and assure effective distribution. No medications are exported, but almost all other medical supplies, even Band Aides, are welcome. Listeners were encouraged to ask their doctors and dentists about discarded equipment that could be donated. Each area around the country houses the donated equipment until it is ready for shipping. In the Hudson Valley, Guardian Storage volunteers its storage facilities for IMRF needs.
District Governor Bonnie Sirower (Rotary District 7490 in New Jersey) describes the lasting effects of Hurricane Sandy, one of the worst tropical cyclones in the history of New Jersey and New York. Many still do not have power or heat and are living in tents. Access to power, phones, roads, and other transportation was often lost. Businesses and homes have been destroyed. Ms. Sirower became the “command center” after gaining access to electric power, and when word went out, Rotary clubs and organizations from the U.S. and all over the world (including Australia, Russian, and Turkey) responded with donations. The website established by District 7490 identified what was most needed. Rotary District 7210 in thr Hudson Valley supplying the most vital initial donations: nearly 30 generators for use in New Jersey and on Long Island. Warehouses collected food and building materials, which ten were sent in convoys of trucks traveling from places such as Vancouver and Florida.
Assistant Governor Skip Rottkamp (Rotary District 7210) from Fishkill Rotary discusses project Operation Warm. Mr. Rottkamp, an educator, observed children get off school buses during winter months in T-shirts and spring jackets because they had nothing else to wear. Realizing the need, Mr. Rottkamp organized 17 clubs in Rotary District 7210 to join the nationwide program Operation Warm. Rotarians work with school nurses in the Hudson Valley to select children in need. Then they distribute new winter coats to those children through elementary schools and other local agencies. Ever since the project began a few years ago, the need has increased. Some of the effective results are improved attendance, which can lead to better grades.
Nanuet Rotarians Kevin Muir (owner of Nanuet Collision Center whose slogan is “The Collision Physicians”) and Donna Lennane (club President) discuss Recycled Rides, a national program that repairs and donates recycled vehicles to those in need (i.e., disabled veterans). Recipients are identified through a collaboration with local charitable agencies to help people get on with their life. Cars are donated by insurance companies, body shops, or individuals, and after much work by professional volunteers (up to a year, in some cases), they are absolutely good as new. The program is supported by volunteer labor and donations (i.e., paint companies and parts companies) and funding by service organizations such as Nanuet Rotary. President Lennane describes her club’s strong support of Recycled Rides as well as other humanitarian projects that save and repair lives.