By JoAnn Laird
Special to The SUN
While the Pagosa Springs Rotary clubs are widely known for their fun and imaginative fundraising events such as the Kentucky Derby Party, Ice Melt Contest, Las Vegas Casino Night, Jewels and Jeans Barn Dance and Gary Morris concert, you may not know how far-reaching the results of the monies raised actually go. It’s all about the club’s motto, “Service Above Self.”
Locally, one of our largest endeavors goes to scholarships for Pagosa Springs High School graduating students. Since 1983, Rotary has awarded over $450,000 to 174 students to be used for advanced education in colleges and trade schools. In 2019 alone, $37,000 was awarded.
Rotary supplies weekly manpower and food to the elementary school Backpack Program, filling in the need for food left by the gap between Friday’s school lunch program and the Monday morning bell. Rotarians pick up highway trash, place benches for those awaiting public transportation, give beautifully crafted dictionaries to every third-grader, endow teacher mini-grants to defray their expenses, donate monies and items to the Food Pantry, help fund the Geothermal Greenhouse Project, host foreign students for the Student Exchange Program plus send local students to study abroad, fund expenses for high school students to attend RYLA (a leadership training program) and assist the town with the Fourth of July parade — rewarding, fun and, in some cases, life-changers.
Internationally, we are the face of eradicating polio from the world. We’re almost there. While polio still exists in two countries, between Rotary International and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, it is only a matter of time before this deadly disease will be forever gone.
Your local Rotary also funds educational and humanitarian efforts to Niger and Senegal, and has donated medical vehicles in Pakistan. Rotary monetarily assists other regional clubs with funds for some of their projects, like the installation of clean water systems and wheelchairs in Mexico and Central America.
Wanting to be there when our community is in need, Rotary has just authorized an additional expenditure of $15,000 for food and other community needs related to COVID-19 crisis. Rotary knows its 2020 fundraising efforts may not be as good as in years past, for obvious economic reasons; however, they will do what they can to help. After all, isn’t it all about “Service Above Self?”
There are two Rotary clubs in Pagosa. The original and largest club meets on Thursdays at 11:59 a.m. at Pagosa Brewing and Grill. However, at this unprecedented time and until further notice, meetings are held via the free and easy downloadable app Zoom. This is your invitation to attend a meeting from the comforts of your home on Thursdays at noon.
The Mountain Morning Club generally meets every Thursday, at 5:30 p.m., also at Pagosa Brewing and Grill, but is not meeting at this time.
Incredible speakers educate us about subjects from life after forest fire to the most current information available on the COVID-19 virus. Both clubs would love to have you as a guest, should you consider the giving of your to time to better our community. For more information, see www.pagosarotary.org.
Rotary authorizes $15,000 for food and community needs in COVID-19 crisis
By JoAnn Laird