When was your Rotary moment? It’s when you realise that being part of Rotary means more than just showing up for a meeting, when you discover you are part of something that changes the lives of others as it changes yours.
I will never forget the moment when I learned about Daniel, a Haitian child. Rotary Foundation trustee Greg Podd, who at the time was serving with me on an RI committee, had been trying to get Daniel on a plane for urgent heart surgery through the Gift of Life programme. But Daniel couldn’t get the visa to travel, and doctors had given him only months to live.
When Greg told me this, I remembered that Gift of Life was operating in Haiti and we could do the surgery there. This was on a Wednesday. Greg helped get a hold of Daniel’s medical records. The Gift of Life surgeon I knew — who visited only once or twice every month — happened to be in Haiti. By Thursday, the surgeon had looked over the medical charts and told us that he could repair Daniel’s heart but said he was travelling soon. We had to get Daniel to a medical facility by Friday morning. Daniel and his parents rode 90 minutes on a scooter through the bumpy roads of rural Haiti to get to the facility, and the surgeon successfully performed the procedure. Thankful, Greg and I moved on to other projects.
A few months later, I got an email with a picture of Daniel. I will never forget his smiling face, despite the foot-long scar running down his chest, and what he wrote: “I know you helped me. You saved my life. Thank you.” On behalf of Daniel and countless others, I am passing along that gratitude to all Rotary members who have helped or will help this year.
The beauty of Rotary, especially with The Rotary Foundation, is that we can create these Rotary moments anytime. Just reach out to others in Rotary and discuss our work. Our caring network, our dedicated volunteers, and available resources will take care of the rest.
If two people can make such a difference, imagine what we can accomplish by working together in larger groups through The Rotary Foundation. Picture the impact of clubs within a district joining forces for a Foundation district grant to boost literacy, or two districts from different parts of the world transforming a community through a water, sanitation and hygiene global grant. If you haven’t discovered your Rotary moment yet, keep searching. Serving Rotary through our Foundation is a great place to find it, and it will change your life.
TRF Trustee Chair