Polio, once a dreaded disease crippling hundreds of thousands annually, is nearing eradication worldwide and Warwickians have played a part in this decades-long project. Rotary District Governor James Damiani, who heads the 60-club, eight-county Rotary District 7210, recently updated the local Rotarians on the battle against polio.
Warwick Rotarians have been active with Rotary International’s PolioPlus project from the start. During the presidency of Leo Kaytes, Sr., in 1986 and 1987, the club raised more than $10,000 with fundraisers, including a rock and roll concert. Almost every year the Warwick Valley Rotary Club has donated funds to the PolioPlus project.
In what is hopefully a final effort to eliminate polio, Rotarians from 35,000 clubs internationally are seeking to raise $150,000,000 in a matching grant challenge from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. They are part of the Global Eradication Initiative, a public-private partnership led by national governments with five core partners: the World Health Organization (WHO), Rotary International, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Its goal is to eradicate polio worldwide.
Proceeds from the Oct. 25 Warwick Citizen of the Year celebration honoring Stan Martin and Outstanding Community Service Honorees Tom Buchanan and Paul Orthmann will benefit PolioPlus more than anticipated. Carole Tjoa, District PolioPlus Chair and a former Rotary district governor, informed the club that the $2,000 raised at the Citizen of the Year dinner will be matched 2:1 by the Gates Foundation, making Warwick’s contribution $6,000.
Dr. David Kruger, a volunteer assistant on the District 7210 PolioPlus Committee, accepted the club’s donation and thanked Warwick Rotarians for their on-going support and generosity.