Rotary feeds first responders

Published 6:11 pm Friday, October 4, 2019

Club kicking off fundraiser campaign



franklin police at first responders dinner

From left are Franklin Police Lt. Kenneth Barham, Southampton County Sheriff’s Deputy Justin Boone and Franklin Police Cpl. Kevin Muse. Stephen H. Cowles | The Tidewater News

The Rotary Club of Franklin on Thursday evening hosted a steak dinner with all the trimmings for the men and women who not only serve and protect, but also those who react to fire and medical emergencies in Western Tidewater.

This tribute the club presents to first responders — police, sheriff’s deputies, Virginia State troopers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians — is the third annual one, and again happened in the Charles R. Younts American Legion Post 73 on Armory Drive. There to help prepare and serve were members of the Post 73 Auxiliary.

Galen Butler, now in his second year as club president, said the dinner is among the ways that local Rotarians give back to the community.

In addition, the club is gearing up for its big event next February — the Bowl-a-thon.

“The annual Bowl-a-thon is our only fundraiser, which we will kick off soon,” said Butler, a Rotarian for six years. “We raised $24,000 in 2019, and for a total of the past two years, $35,000.”

In addition to the aforementioned banquet, the money raised has gone to two scholarships as well as grants for past recipients: Franklin Cooperative Ministry, Genieve Shelter, Western Tidewater Free Clinic, the Graz’n Acres Therapeutic Riding Center, Smart Beginnings, Blackwater Robotics and the Start Up program.

“Rotary is the world’s largest service organization, we have 1.2M members worldwide,” said Butler, who added that there are 50 members in the local group.

Speaking of global reach, the club has long been a part of the international Polio Plus campaign, which is dedicated to eradicating the disease.

He cited these facts from about the Rotary International Polio campaign:

• Rotary has been working to eradicate polio for more than 30 years. Our goal of ridding the world of this disease is closer than ever.

• As a founding partner of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, we’ve reduced polio cases by 99.9 percent since our first project to vaccinate children in the Philippines in 1979.

• We’ve helped immunize more than 2.5 billion children in 122 countries. So far, Rotary has contributed more than $1.8 billion toward eradicating the disease worldwide.

• Today, polio remains endemic only in Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan. But it’s crucial to continue working to keep other countries polio-free. If all eradication efforts stopped today, within 10 years, polio could paralyze as many as 200,000 children each year.