Free Portland News

Entry November 2020 by Keith


 

Welcome back

“It really was lovely being back working in the community again”

This is a comment from one of our members who helped out at the mass flu vaccination session on 10th of this month.  Unfortunately I was unable to attend the event as I was double booked and in Suffolk at the time, but I understand that the event was well organised, well carried out and dealt with a lot of people.  Moreover I understand that our members were very well looked after by the organisers – our thanks for that courtesy.

As I have said, probably ad nauseam, Service Above Self, our motto, is just that.   Not simply eradicating polio, or helping the Food Bank, or supplying fresh water to villages in Nepal, it is about helping people in any way we can.  And Rotary is based in local communities – we are part of that community so helping with flu vaccination comes into our ambit. That is why we are always on the lookout for potential members who want to help their own, or the international communities.  If anyone is interested in finding out more about Rotary, or in joining our movement, please let me know.

On the subject of communities, we have now received the names of candidates for this year’s Community Award – that award for those special individuals who go those extra few metres to help their fellow men, or women, in need.  As soon as the decision is made on the recipient for 2019 – 2020 which has been delayed because of Covid, I will put it in FPN so all will be aware of our choice of the latest recipient.

At the time of writing I cannot tell you exactly what we will be doing at Christmas.  Santa has asked us to get his float sorted out but with the restrictions in place, or likely to be in place in seven weeks’ time, I do not know whether we will be able to escort Santa around the island this year, or even to deliver parcels on behalf of Santa on Christmas morning.  All I can say is – watch this space.

Our President, Elizabeth, will definitely be involved in laying a wreath at the Cenotaph next month to remember and thank all those who made the supreme sacrifice during the wars to enable us to live the lives that we do today but, yet again, I cannot tell you exactly how or when this will be done. Never in the 115 years since Rotary was formed have we had so many problems because of a small virus.   Even during the wars Rotary Clubs carried on working in their communities so this is as frustrating for us as it is for all our many supporters.

Having said that, one thing we have realised is that, even if we cannot meet our fellow Rotarians face-to-face until the New Year at least, the work can still carry on.   And one interesting more is to start a Rotary e-club in this area i.e. a club that meets purely on-line.  Nearly all communication is on-line, but members can and do meet face-to-face if they so wish, Covid permitting.   Zoom meetings are now taking place to progress this idea and see where we go from here.   Another suggestion is that younger people might like to volunteer to join a Rotaract Club – we had one on Portland some 30 years ago.   Unfortunately because younger adults typically over 18, are very mobile because of changing jobs or college, Rotaract clubs have a high turn-over rate and sometimes struggle to maintain membership.  The last one on Portland finally gave up the ghost some 20 years ago.  So if anyone is interested in volunteering with a lot of other young adults, instead of geriatrics like me, let me or any Rotarian know, and we will see what can be done.

One of the real advantages of meeting using, in our case, Zoom Conference facilities, is that we are able to get speakers from all over the world.  At no cost.  Easily. And providing we remember that they may be in a different time zone!!  A few weeks ago I joined a meeting from Beirut where the Rotary Clubs there are trying to refurbish a children’s hospital which was devastated when the port blew up.  The photos and videos shown were astonishing and appalling, so we are now supporting them in their efforts.  Also recently we have the President of Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland telling us all about his plans for the Rotary year ahead (Covid permitting) and helping us to see the potential of not actually meeting face-to face.  It was interesting to see a new approach instead of the same old patter over and over again!!  And finally, in two weeks’ time we will be joined, from Decatur Alabama, by the President of Rotary International for last year who will tell us of what we did and did not accomplish, and how a small virus is being challenged by Rotarians all over the world.   Should be very interesting.

Stay well and safe

Keith

 

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