The various Rotary Clubs around the world need to let their communities know what they are doing and how they are helping so that the communities will know who they are, what they do and help them to accomplish their goals.
These sentiments were expressed by Barry Rassin, Past Director Rotary International, Rotary Club of East Nassau as he addressed the Rotary Club of Freeport's 50th Anniversary banquet on Saturday January 28, 2012 at the Grand Bahama Yacht Club.
He began his address by recognizing charter member Doug Silvera, whom Rassin said, without he and his colleagues 50 years ago, the club would never have existed.
Rassin went on to say that there were three other clubs in The Bahamas who were also celebrating 50 years – one in Nassau, another in Abaco, and another in Eleuthera.
Looking specifically at the Freeport Club he noted that their first project was to clean and maintain a field that later became the YMCA here in Freeport.


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The past international director then said that at the International Level there are six areas of focus which are; Peace and conflict prevention/resolution; Disease prevention and treatment; Water and sanitation; Maternal and child health; Basic education and literacy; and Economic and community development, all of which are and have been touched by this local club, as noted from their history.

One project in particular he was most impressed by was the joint project with the other Rotary Clubs – the Grand Bahama Emergency Water Relief Foundation, which he said at the International level they have been trying to see how they can duplicate this project in other islands/countries.

"We are promoting it not only in District 7020, but in 7030 where we can find islands that have the same needs that have hurricanes, which most of us do, and can use it," Rassin said. "We already have a doner to start the next one so congratulations for this great project."

Turning his attention to their assistance with the International project to eradicate polio he stated that they have got to finish the job in the eradication of Polio on the face of this earth.

"India, for the first time for a little over one year, has had not one case of polio. It is no longer considered an endemic country. Only three countries left in the world – Tiberia, Pakistan and Afghanistan. It is strongly believed that at least one of them will be finished by the end of this year and the other two by the end of next year.

"We are close .. we are this close to eradicating polio and we will do it. Why? Because of Rotarians like you. It is clubs like yours who have helped us raise almost $1 billion and immunize the children globally to save the lives of two million that might have died if it wasn't for us."

Moving on from this Rassin said that they are to look at the future, to see what lies ahead.

"We also recognize that around the world we've got to be telling our story. What is Rotary? Who are we? What do we do? The more they understand who we are, then the more they will help us to do what we need to do. We've got to tell the story.

"We've go to do the public relations, marketing individually and community wise. What will we do in the future? I believe our future revolves around our core values. We already know our core values – service, fellowship, integrity, diversity, leadership. There isn't a club around the world which doesn't have projects, which doesn't do service in their communities.

"The clubs with the most fellowship are the clubs with the most service. We must not take our eyes off the fact that we must have that fellowship and continue it."

Rassin stressed again the need to represent all parts of the communities.

He stated that Rotary has to be the leaders to bring integrity to every corner of the communities – to the schools, the business, politics – make sure it is a part of everything they do.

Also during the evening awards were given to the club for its anniversary with a special certificate going to the president of the club, President Leantandore Percentie, while Rotarian Harold "Sonny" Waugh received the Sir Durwood Knowles Humanitarian Award, and Assistant District Governor Peter Turnquest received an award for all the clubs in Grand Bahama from the Rotary Club of East Nassau for the service rendered to their communities.