Japanese Rotary donates to US fire victims Otsuchi Rotary is giving back to Sebastopol Rotarians who had mobilised funds to replace a fire truck lost in the 2011 earthquake in Japan.

FRIENDSHIP EXCHANGE: Sebastopol Rotarian Nao Noguchi (left) and Rotary President Jack Blasco (at microphone) are on hand to acknowledge a generous donation for Sonoma County firestorm victims from the Otsuchi Rotary Club. Photo: Submitted
FRIENDSHIP EXCHANGE: Sebastopol Rotarian Nao Noguchi (left) and Rotary President Jack Blasco (at microphone) are on hand to acknowledge a generous donation for Sonoma County firestorm victims from the Otsuchi Rotary Club. Photo: Submitted

Sebastopol Rotarians (California, US – D 5130) Nao Noguchi and Jack Blasco have received a gift of $5,000 from the Otsuchi, Japan Rotary Club for victims of the Sonoma County firestorm last October.

In 2011, Noguchi had spearheaded a fundraising effort on behalf of the victims of the tsunami that struck Japan after an earthquake, accompanied by flooding of a nuclear power plant.

Noguchi’s work resulted in a donation to the Otsuchi club of $15,000, which it used to help buy a new fire truck for the town, to replace one that had been lost in the disaster.

The presentation of the gift from the Japanese Rotary occurred at a March 21 meeting of the Fort Bragg Rotary Club, D 5130, because that city has a sister city relationship to Otsuchi.

But the Japanese club wanted to make sure that Noguchi, who had been so helpful in leading fundraising efforts, personally received the cheque.

The delegation from Otsuchi included nine students, two city government representatives, and a Fort Bragg resident who has been working in Otsuchi as an English teacher.

The delegation read a letter from Toshiro Ueta, the President of the Otsuchi Rotary, which said:

“The wildfires of last fall in Northern California had been reported in the mass media in Japan, and the magnitude of devastation was on everyone’s mind.”

“The recovery effort from such disaster requires tremendous effort and large expenditures. After the March 2011 Great Earthquake, your club sent us aid money to be used for the purchase of a fire pump engine, and we deeply appreciated your thought. We will never forget your love and support.”

Jack Blasco, president of the Sebastopol Rotary club, said: “The gift is extraordinary in so many ways. It shows how Rotary Clubs around the world reach out to help each other in times of need.”

“We were especially touched by Otsuchi’s gift since the club has only eight members. It demonstrates how much they appreciate our effort on their behalf, and we certainly appreciate what they have done for us in return.”

The donation will be placed in the District 5130 Fire Relief Fund, which is an effort of all 46 Rotary Clubs along the North Coast to support those who have suffered from last October’s fires.

Source: Sonama West

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