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Rotary serves local, worldwide communities

There are more than 1.2 million Rotary members worldwide. Rotary's motto, "Service Above Self," conveys the humanitarian spirit of this organization and its members. All Rotary clubs have a desire to serve their local communities, but also those in need throughout the world.

You may be aware of some areas of Rotary's international service, such as the exchange student program, the young adult business exchange program referred to as Group Study Exchange, the Ambassadorial Scholarship program and, of course, the Rotary mission trips which address areas of health, education and disaster relief. However, what you may not realize is Rotary's huge involvement with eradicating Polio.

After 20 years of donating financial resources and volunteer hours, Rotary and its partners are on the brink of eradicating Polio. But, there is still work to do. Even though the number of reported Polio cases worldwide has dropped from more than 350,000 in 1988 to 1,651 in 2008, Polio still needs to be addressed in areas of Afghanistan, India, Nigeria and Pakistan. Distributing the Polio vaccine in these remote areas is extremely difficult and presents political, financial and accessibility issues.

With a matching challenge grant from the Bill and Melissa Gates Foundation, Rotary is currently raising $200 million dollars. The resulting $500 plus million dollars will directly support immunization efforts in countries where Polio continues to infect children. As long as Polio is a threat anywhere, children everywhere remain at risk.

Global health experts are calling this final push to end Polio "the final inch." This remaining one per cent of Polio cases is the hardest and most difficult to prevent.

Join with the Detroit Lakes Breakfast Rotary Club and Rotary clubs around the world. Donate to the Polio Plus campaign and help us eradicate this devastating disease! If you would like to make a donation, contact any of our Breakfast Rotarians...and remember, if you'd like to participate in a truly worldwide organization, join us at the Speak Easy in Detroit Lakes, Tuesday mornings at 7 a.m., or e-mail me at