Posted by Cynthia Denbo on Jul 30, 2017
”It all starts with one person's dream,” said Rotary District Governor Bob Rogers, addressing members of the Rotary Club of Southwest Eureka during their Friday meeting.   As District 5130 Governor, Rogers has begun a tour through the 46 clubs under his purview, clubs that extend from Crescent City  to Rohnert Park.  This week he visited the Rotary Club of Southwest Eureka, met with its Board of Directors, officers and committee chairpeople, and discussed his passion for Rotary–especially for one specific element of Rotary focus.
Years ago, as a recently retired professional pilot, Rogers was asked to attend a Rotary Club of Sebastopol meeting.  He did.  He attended a few more.  Within a couple of weeks, several Past-Presidents of the Sebastopol Rotary invited him to join their club.  Though he says that ”pre-Rotary, service was not in my life,” that all changed with a comment from one of the Rotarians. ”Oh, by the way, we're getting rid of polio.”  And with that, Rogers became a Rotarian.  ”I'd had polio, didn't know it was still a could I say no?”
As a polio survivor, Rogers has fully committed himself to realizing the goal of the Rotary Foundation, of more than 33,000 Rotary clubs, of more than 1.2 million Rotarians around the world, and of the Rotary Polio Plus program – the complete elimination of polio.  In striving to reach that goal, Rotarians have contributed more than $1.6 billion and, with their partners, have provided time, funding, and personal resources to immunize more than 2.5 billion children in 122 countries since 1985.
The Polio Plus program began with the seemingly impossible dream of one man, Dr. Benny Santos of the Rotary Club of Manolos, to eradicate polio in the Phillipines.  In 1979, the first Rotary program to immunize children was conducted in the Manila barrio of Guadalupe Viejo.  Six million innoculations later, the disease was eradicated in the Phillipines.  And now, 38 years later, the world-wide elimination of this disease is on the horizon.