R. I. President & TRF Chair's Messages

Rotary International John Kenny's October 2009 Message

September 2009

My fellow Rotarians,

There are many service organizations in the world today, but none so old or so successful as Rotary. There are many reasons for that, and Vocational Service is one of them. This year, I wish you to place a special emphasis on Vocational Service, which is sometimes the forgotten Avenue of Service in Rotary.

High ethical standards in business and personal life are still as important today as they were in 1905. Indeed, many of the problems our world is facing today have been caused by the failure to observe such standards in business affairs.

Vocational Service, in Rotary, means that we are committed to honest business and unassailable ethics, and that we are equally committed to using our vocational skills and advantages to help others. The idea is simple enough – but it is unique to Rotary.

Many service organizations are open to anyone who wishes to join. That has never been the case in Rotary. Rotarians only seek out as members those who are qualified – those who have the character, the ability, and the resolve to make a real contribution to their club.

I have long believed that the bedrock of Rotary is our commitment to ethical behavior. It has been putting what's right above what's convenient – and Service Above Self – that has made Rotary different from the rest. That is why we must always remember that whatever we do, we are each the public face of Rotary. We are each the standard-bearers of our organization. What one member does, for good or for ill, reflects on all of us.

So much of what we've achieved as an organization has come about because of the trust the world has in Rotary and in Rotarians. That trust has been a major part of our success in polio eradication – the fact that we are known in every community, and known to be people of goodwill and good hearts.

If we wish to see our organization grow and prosper, we must keep Vocational Service front and center in our minds and actions. We must seek out skilled and determined men and women of character. We must do what is right, even when it is inconvenient. And we must always, always, put Service Above Self.

The Future of Rotary Is in Your Hands.
John Kenny
President, Rotary International

TRF Chairman's October 2009 Message

With Polio, our determination must not waver

On 24 October, we mark World Polio Day. It is a time to reflect on the progress we have made and to strengthen our resolve for the work ahead. It is a time to raise awareness of our efforts to eradicate polio, and to help meet Rotary’s US$200 Million Challenge.

We have come a long way. We have reduced the number of polio cases by over 99 percent, from more than 350,000 a year in the 1980s to about 1,650 in 2008. We have brought the number of endemic countries from 125 to 4. And we have vaccinated over two billion children.

We are proud of these accomplishments, and we are closer than ever to achieving our goal of worldwide eradication. But we must recognize that our greatest enemy is complacency. We cannot slacken our efforts now, because as long as there is wild poliovirus anywhere, the disease can easily spread again. The number of cases in endemic countries is down this year, but the number of cases in countries where polio has been reintroduced has increased significantly – a reminder of how polio knows no borders, and how vigilant we must remain.

Polio is still endemic in Afghanistan, India, Nigeria, and Pakistan. Difficult terrain, civil unrest, remote settlements, poor sanitation, and terrible poverty are just some of the obstacles to immunization. But we, and our partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, are determined to continue our work with persistence and creativity.

I have been inspired by the incredible strides already made this year: In one 10-day period, a total of 222,270,331 children in 22 countries were immunized against polio. The effort and the commitment are phenomenal. This is a testament to the resolve that has brought us this far – and that will soon bring us to our goal of complete eradication.

Glenn E. Estess Sr.
Foundation Trustee Chair

Source: Rotary International

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