First Posted: 11/17/2009
Members of the Mount Airy Rotary Club were honored with a visit from Wes Patterson, district governor-elect of Rotary District 7690, at their meeting yesterday.
The district governor-elect was the special speaker at the Rotary meeting, which takes place each Wednesday at noon at Cross Creek Country Club.
Patterson told a joke about a congressman at the beginning of his speech, but then he quickly turned a serious focus the eradication of polio.
This goal, to completely erase polio around the globe, is one of the priorities of Rotary International. Patterson reminded the local branch of this priority.
Until every child is inoculated, were not safe, said Patterson as he got into his speech.
District 7690, which Mount Airy is a part of, has raised $171,000 so far to go toward the eradication of polio. These funds were able to purchase 278,000 doses of the polio vaccine.
How many lives has Rotary saved? Patterson asked the crowd.
The future district governor described families affected by polio and children being crippled by the disease.
Patterson said, These are things that youre stopping from happening … You allow a child to throw away those crutches. What greater opportunity can a civic organization have than to do this?
Polio is now rare in the Western world but can still be found in other countries, especially in Asia and Northern Africa. Patterson described the difficulty of trying to vaccinate everyone in India, where 34 births take place each minute.
Rotary has contributed to the reduction of annually diagnosed cases by 99 percent, but Patterson said that isnt good enough.
Were 99 percent home, but we can be 100 percent back if we dont finish the job, he stressed.
According to Rotary statistics, 1,337 polio cases have been diagnosed this year to date. This is down from 1,473 at this point last year. Now polio is only endemic or maintained in the population in four countries. It used to be endemic in 125.
Patterson showed the Rotarians a video on the global polio initiative. This video focused on the efforts in India, where recently 17 million people were inoculated in one week.
The speaker then opened the floor for questions. Rotarians asked a variety of questions about the disease. Patterson explained that polio is a viral infectious disease that is primarily contracted through the mouth from feces, which often get into drinking water or swimming areas. The oral vaccine is 99 percent effective and costs 60 cents per dose. Polio cannot be cured, but it can be prevented.
Patterson urged the club to continue its efforts to raise money for the polio eradication campaign.
Also at the meeting, a few Rotarians were recognized for achieving the status of becoming Paul Harris fellows or society members: Hugh Peoples, John Haynes, Dick Johnson and Joan Inman.
The Mount Airy Rotary Club just began holding a food drive, and 138 items have been collected so far. Several Rotarians brought bags of food to the meeting. The club has a goal of collecting 1,000 items to donate to Yokefellow Cooperative Ministries in Mount Airy and the Foothills Food Pantry in Dobson.
Rotary members will also be ringing bells in the Mayberry Mall for the Salvation Armys Red Kettle drive in upcoming weeks.
Contact Meghann Evans at [email protected] or 719-1952.