On a day celebrating the lives and sacrifices of veterans, the Martinsburg Rotary Club (West Virginia, US — District 7360) held a breakfast for the community, and over 30 volunteers dedicated their time to help raise money to eradicate polio and honor local military members.
Tamilyn Clark, a member of the Martinsburg Rotary Club, said polio has nearly been eradicated throughout the world. Polio cases have been limited to Pakistan and Afghanistan — a historic low, according to Clark.
Despite the progress, Clark said more funds are needed to continue living in a world without the virus.
The funds raised from the breakfast will ensure people in third world countries are vaccinated against polio, according to Clark.
Over 30 local volunteers attended the breakfast Monday morning. Serving drinks, food and cleaning up were all important jobs for volunteers.
Run’n Gun, a local travel basketball team comprising a third through 12th grade girls, had approximately 40 students helping the Martinsburg Rotary Club at the breakfast, according to Mike Saunders, head coach for 7th and 8th graders.
“It means a lot we could be here,” Saunders said. “It’s an opportunity for the kids to help and learn about their community.”
Clark said the breakfast was a combined effort between the Faith Christian Academy and Musselman Interacts, Blue Ridge Technical and Community College and James Rumsey Technical Institute Roteracts, the WV Run’n Gun basketball team and the Martinsburg Rotary Club.
The breakfast was free to community members, but donations were taken for the Rotary’s “give polio the finger” cause.
Pam Wagoner, of the Martinsburg Rotary Club, said the catch phrase was taken from the practice of dipping a person’s pinky finger in ink after their polio vaccination in third world countries.
“The ink was to prevent anyone from getting a double vaccination,” Wagoner said.
Wagoner and Clark said the Rotary Club did not set a specific funding goal because the event is pure donation.
“We usually give a small portion of the donations to the War Memorial Park for letting us use the pavilion,” Wagoner said. “But the rest of the money goes to polio.”
Wagoner thanked the Martinsburg-Berkeley County Parks and Recreation director Steve Catlet for letting the Rotary use the park space, and she thanked attendees and volunteers as well.
To promote the work the Rotary Club did, Miss Berkeley County recipient Tamia Hardy and Miss North Eastern’s Outstanding Teen Amanda Peer made an appearance for the breakfast as well.
“We’re here to connect with the community and help the Rotary Club,” Hardy said.
With the help of the local community, Clark and Wagoner said the goal of the event was to help prevent any future polio outbreaks.