District governors for both the current and upcoming years made an annual official visit to Mount Airy Rotary Club on Tuesday.
Claudia Cannady, who is District Governor of Rotary District 7690 for 2018-2019, addressed the local club. She was introduced by Randy Perkins, who will succeed her in 2019-2020.
“I’m psychic. I have a vision,” began Cannady. “I see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change — across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves.”
Cannady then told the group of Rotarians her psychic vision was, in fact, a close paraphrase of the new Rotary International vision statement.
“Rotary is where friends get together, have a good time and do good work,” said Cannady. “Most people say we are a service organization, and we are the largest and the best service organization, but we are a membership organization, and service is our product.”
“The power of Rotary is the power of one person to change a life, or to change 10 billion lives,” said Cannady.
She went on to talk about national Immunization Day in which one million volunteers vaccinated 100 million children for polio in one day. The next day, which she called a mop-up, volunteers went house to house to get the ones who had been missed.
Cannady compared this to 30 years ago when one person had an idea that “we can eradicate polio in the Philippines.” After that goal was reached, the mantra became, “If we can do it in the Philippines, we can do it everywhere.”
In the ensuing years, 350,000 cases of polio worldwide a year has dwindled to 13 cases last year, according to Cannady.
“This is possibly the last year of new cases,” said Cannady. “It will require continued surveillance and continued immunization, but this could be the end of new cases.”
Cannady then challenged each Rotary member to donate $50 each to polio eradication, as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is matching Rotary gifts two to one. According to Cannady, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has said, ‘If anybody can do it, Rotary can do it.’
Then Cannady said that Toronto Rotarian Jeremy Hurst had taken on the project of providing clean water to everyone in Haiti by the year 2030. No small feat, said Cannady, speaking as someone who has been to Haiti a number of times.
Then she said, “If we can do it in Haiti, we can do it everywhere,” giving an indication of where Rotary may turn their considerable resources once polio is eradicated.
Reach Bill Colvard at 336-415-4699.