Posted by Al Anile

Guest Speaker Lawrence A. Dimmitt,  Director 2018-20 Rotary Club of Topeka Kansas

Guest Speaker Lawrence Dimmitt covered the following points:
  1. Rotary’s theme this year is “Rotary Connects the World.”  The Coronavirus has really made this a challenge all around the world.
            a. It has changed how we connect with each other.
            b. Changed how we provide service.
  1. Almost all Rotary communication is remote/virtual.
            a. 2020 RI Convention in Honolulu has been cancelled; will be held virtually.
            b. Rotary Board meetings are being held via Zoom.
            c. District and club meetings (like this one) are also virtual.
  1. Some other examples of virtual communication among Rotarians.
            a. The District Governor-Elect from Nebraska and his wife were stranded in Africa. Rotary helped them get home.
            b. A Rotarian from Ft. Collins, CO. was stuck in London. Rotarians from England offered her support.
            c. The RI Staff (like Greg Franks) are working from home.
            d. RI President Mark Maloney and RI Director Larry Dimmitt recently hosted a virtual meeting with over a dozen Latin American districts, with translation.
            e. Larry Dimmitt’s club in Topeka, KS held a Zoom meeting last week with     the Harlem, NY Rotary Club.
  1. Recent RI Board actions promoting connection despite Coronavirus.
            a. Members’ health is key.
            b. In-person meetings are discouraged at least through 2020.
            c. District Governors are strongly encouraged to visit their clubs via Zoom.
  1. How will Rotarians provide service during the pandemic?
            a. Rotary Foundation responses to the virus:
                        --District and Global grants can be used for Covid relief. These grants will be given priority.
                        --Rotarians are encouraged to contribute to the Foundation and the Disaster Response Fund (DRF). Each District may apply for up to $25,000 from this fund.
                        --Several million dollars have already been spent from the DRF.
                        --The May 2 Telethon raised over half a million dollars for the Disaster Response Fund.
            b. A partnership between Rotary and Global Impact, a non-profit, is sponsoring a new relief program—“Volunteer Surge”—providing free training to help from home or help community health workers,                             subject to social distancing and professional restrictions. (See or for details.)
            c. Fight to eradicate Polio must continue, with only 54 cases so far this year.
                        Contributions to PolioPlus must continue.
                        There will be a pause in vaccinations over the next few months  because of the virus.
                        In the meantime, Polio volunteers are being used to fight Covid.
  1. Examples of clubs and districts fighting Covid:
            a. Meals on Wheels volunteers in Topeka, KS.  Also supporting Harvestors,  a charitable food distributor.
            b. Providing a food trailer in Western Nebraska to feed first responders and health workers.
            c. A $225,000 grant between South Texas Rotarians and Guatemala to provide PPE.
            d. Providing ventilator “helmuts” for Covid patients in Evanston.
            e. Harlem NY Club working with the Salvation Army to deliver food and distribute PPE; provide advice to small business owners affected by the crisis; and conduct financial seminars for senior citizens.

Lawrence A. Dimmitt is retired from AT&T, where he was general attorney. He then was an adjunct professor at Washburn University School of Law, his alma mater. He is a member of several professional associations.

A Rotarian since 1983, Dimmitt has served Rotary as committee member, regional Rotary Foundation coordinator, and president’s representative. He personally raised $200,000 for a Million Dollar Dinner in District 6040 (Missouri) in 2010 and co-chaired a similar event in District 5710 (Kansas) in 2014.

Dimmitt has received the Rotary Foundation Citation for Meritorious Service and the Rotary Foundation Distinguished Service Award. He and his wife, Lois, are Benefactors and Major Donors to the Foundation, and members of the Arch Klumph Society and Bequest Society.