BY KAREN GERHARDINGER | MIRROR REPORTER — Take action on our world’s most persistent issues.
That’s the overarching goal of Rotary International, whose 46,000 clubs work together to promote peace; fight disease; provide clean water, sanitation and hygiene; save mothers and children; support education; grow local economies and protect the environment.
Rotary District 6600, which encompasses 63 clubs and 3,000 members in Northwest Ohio, is actively pursuing projects to achieve each of these goals, but two are most at the forefront at the moment, said Maumee Rotary past president Sharon Trabbic.
“We challenged all clubs to donate at least $1,000 toward the Rotary Inter-national Disaster Response Fund to benefit the Ukraine humanitarian crisis,” Trabbic explained, referring to the Russian invasion of the former Soviet state.
The Maumee Rotary Service Foundation and a private trust teamed up to match donations up to $10,000, with a goal of raising $50,000 to help the millions of Ukrainians who have had to flee their homes with just the clothes on their backs, said Maumee Mayor Rich Carr, a Rotarian. By April 30, Trabbic expects donations to reach $100,000.
While responding swiftly to the war in Ukraine, Rotary District 6600 continues to work on a project that will provide clean water and protect the environment by purchasing 61 acres of land along the Maumee River outside of Napoleon. Members have set a goal of planting 6,600 trees on the property, which is set to open to the public this fall.
“We want to send cleaner water up the Maumee River into the lake. That’s one little piece,” said Maumee Rotary president Justin Glover. “It’s a very pleasant little place where there will be biking, hiking, camping and fishing. We’re sending a clear message that this will be available for future generations.”
This fall, the Rotary will host a picnic for families and friends of Rotarians to come and see the site.
“This is duplicatable,” said Tim Ryan, environmental chair for the district. “Every club is doing something environmental because we recognize that wetlands are the kidneys of the river – filtering out the toxins.”
He wants to partner with like-minded organizations, such as Scouts, the Nature Conservancy, Sierra Club and the Toledo Zoo, as well as area agricultural industries, to create additional projects for environmental sustainability.
“We want to bring everyone to the table to be involved,” said Ryan, a Waterville resident who will serve as district governor in 2024.