There are so many advantages to being a member of an international organization like Rotary. With more than 34,000 clubs throughout the world and 7,800 in the U.S., Rotarians, 1.2 million strong, have accomplished so much.
As an organization, Rotary has been most instrumental in the near eradication of polio throughout the world. In 2012, only 222 polio cases were reported worldwide, a little more than one-third of the 650 cases reported in 2011. With India marking its second year without polio this January, only Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria are reporting any cases. Overall, the annual incidence of polio has decreased more than 99 percent since the Global Polio Eradication Initiative was launched in 1988, when polio infected about 350,000 children per year.
The Rotary Club of Carrollton was chartered in 1939, and currently has more than 90 members. We are male and female, Republican and Democrat, young and not-so-young, doctors, lawyers, business owners and managers, professional educators and administrators. The one thing we all have in common is a desire to make the world a better place.
In the past year, we’ve raised money and walked in Great Strides for Cystic Fibrosis, collected Toys for Tots and then helped distribute them, donated school supplies to a local church, and with help from a grant from our Rotary district, provided five new iPads for the local Boys and Girls Club. We donated, collected, and gave away hundreds and hundreds of coats, sweaters, blankets and hats when the weather started turning cold last fall.
We co-sponsored, with the League of Women Voters, the informative Great Decisions series and made monetary contributions to several local charities. We’re co-sponsoring an international student for a year at West Georgia and enabled three local high school students to spend a weekend away at Rotary Youth Leadership Academy. Next month we’ll host a group of Taiwanese business people for three days of their visit to Georgia and introduce them to the University of West Georgia, Tanner Medical Center, the new Justice Center, among other places.
Our weekly luncheon meetings are lively, fun and informative — recent programs have been as diverse as Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and a mind-reader, football prognostications and Open Hand Ministries. Next week, Georgia’s First Lady Sandra Deal will speak on her new “Read Across Georgia” initiative and later in the month CHS football standout Josh Harris will talk about playing for the Falcons.
The world’s first service organization, Rotary began in Chicago with a few businessmen “rotating” among their offices to meet on a regular basis. Much has changed since 1905, but the original purpose of Rotary and it’s long-standing motto, “Service Above Self” have not. We will continue to do what we can to improve our community and our world. For more information on the Rotary Club of Carrollton, please see our website: http://carrolltonrotary.wordpress.com/
Kress is president of the Rotary Club of Carrollton.