Rhinebeck Rotarian Louis Turpin is the District Governor (DG) for Rotary Year 2016-17 for District 7210, Rotary in the Hudson Valley. Rotary’s governance system has new officers undertake one-year terms starting on July 1, but District Governors have several years training before their year in office. DG Turpin discusses his goals for his year, which he summarizes as “Do Good, Have Fun.” Turpin has previously had many roles in his club and in the district, and also serves as member of the Board for ShelterBox, an international relief organization allied with Rotary International. DG Turpin’s year coincides with the hundredth anniversary of the Rotary Foundation, the charitable arm of Rotary, best known for its efforts to eradicate polio, now on the verge of success.
Rhinebeck Rotarian Bob Phillips, along with 23 other Rotarians from around the United States (and some from Canada and the United Kingdom) went to Côte d’Ivoire in West Africa in the summer of 2015—mission, prevent polio. As he told the RadioRotary co-hosts, the ten-day trip was the most memorable experience of his life, from the West African Fair to actually administering the two drops of polio vaccine to infants under five years old, the target group. Of course, this was part of Rotary’s PolioPlus project, which since 1988 has worked with UNICEF, the World Health Organization, and the CDC to eradicate the disease, which was causing a thousand cases a week when they started. As a result of this effort, there were only 70 instances in all in 2015, all of them in Pakistan and Afghanistan, with the disease essentially eliminated from the rest of the world.
Pleasant Valley Rotarian, and 2015 winner of the Jeffrey Keahon Foundation Award, David Kruger describes the work of The Rotary Foundation, the part of Rotary that not only does good in the world away from our communities, but also helps fund many local projects. While its most notable success has been the worldwide reduction of polio to a handful of cases in two countries—with complete elimination on the horizon—The Rotary Foundation may have saved even more lives with its projects for clean water, maternal and child health, and peace. It is also the most effective charity because nearly all of every dollar given to The Rotary Foundation is used for its work instead of spent on administration or fundraising.
Rotary District 7210 Past District Governor Bill Bassett (Walkill East Rotary Club) describes the history and current success of the effort, started by Rotary in 1979, to completely eradicate the terrible disease poliomyelitis, commonly called polio. Polio has a long history as a human disease that often causes lifetime paralysis or even death. In the early 1980s a thousand persons per day contracted it and it was endemic in 125 nations. As a result of a partnership led by Rotary, but including the World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and UNICEF, the number of cases has been reduced to about 150 per year and it is endemic only in Pakistan and Afghanistan. This effort has been aided by hundreds of millions of dollars from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation put forth as matching challenges for The Rotary Foundation, currently a two-for-one match to every Rotary dollar up to $35 million per year.