An Encouraging Message From DG Rudy Habesch 

We all know that 2020 was an especially challenging year, not only affecting our personal lives but forcing us to reconsider different avenues to continue the great work Rotary does. By 2021, we acclimated to these changes and actually found creative and innovative methods to reach out and touch the lives of the people around us, all the while maintaining a six feet distance, of course.
This Rotary Foundation Month serves as a reminder to keep up moral and keep up our impressive efforts. Its also particularly important to acknowledge the fantastic progress we have made as a group — all this despite the unfortunate hardships, and in some cases, losses that we have been dealt. Our work becomes all the more meaningful when we collectively fundraise for and donate to programs around the world that focus on minimizing these losses for others.
In this spirit, I would like to share a story that is very close to my heart and that we all played a role in. Almost 46 years ago, in November of 1975, Grace Agwaru, a 5 year-old child suffering from congenital heart disease was flown to the New York, with the help of Rotarian Robbie Donno, to receive a life-saving heart surgery. This single initiative eventually expanded into the Gift of Life program which has assisted over 40,000 surgeries worldwide and changed the lives of so many others like Grace. Recently, our district, among many others, contributed to a Rotary Global Grant. That grant is now funding life-saving heart surgeries for 46 children in Amman, Jordan 11 of which have just been completed by Dr. Mark Turrentine and his team.
This achievement is a prime example of an amazing collaboration between so many Rotary districts, doctors, hospitals, and individual Rotarians. It all takes herculean effort to manage the entire process from start to finish, especially during covid.
Another example of a great success is our determination to eradicate polio. It started with one Rotarian in the Philippines that wanted to help his community and it grew into this incredible undertaking. Now, we’re really hoping that by 2026 the world will be declared polio-free.
None of these 40,000 surgeries or incredible efforts in the fight against polio could have been accomplished without The Rotary Foundation, without the clubs, governments, stakeholders in the communities, and without you. We have the capabilities to raise enough funds and provide expertise that are not easy to come by. Together we succeed, and Together we change lives.
So when we do good work, we should let the world know. If we expand our fundraising efforts to include the general public, we could raise a lot more money and possibly create more opportunities for The Rotary Foundation to make a difference in our world. By sharing our stories, we allow the public to partake in changing more lives for the better.
I would like to end today by saying thank you for all your hard work in Rotary and by sharing words by Rob Raylman, CEO of Gift of Life International and President of Rotary Club of Manhasset:
“Thank you for opening your hearts to healing the hearts of children in Jordan and the Region. The photo attached is that of Leen, a 4 year old from Iraq. Her face is indeed the face of what we do, the lives we help and the children we serve. Her future is our future…and her joy is our joy!”
Happy Rotary Foundation Month everybody!