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Service Above Self

We meet Wednesdays at 12:00 PM
Meeting Address:
Rockland Elks Lodge
210 Rankin St
Rockland, ME  04841
United States of America
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Wheelchair Project, Dominican Republic
April 4-11, 2019 Districts 7790 & 4060
            Rockland Rotarians Keith Davis, Jane Newcomb, and Ferolyn Curtis participated in the Rotary Districts’ 7790 & 4060 Wheelchair Project in the Dominican Republic from April 4-11, 2019.  The project involved assembling and distributing 140 wheelchairs to needy recipients throughout the Dominican Republic provinces.  Our days started around 8:00 am and didn’t finish until 9:30-10:30 pm on most days. 
            Saturday, the first day of the project, we assembled and delivered wheelchairs to recipients at the newly opened El Hospital and to poverty-stricken neighborhood recipients in Monti Cristi, along the Haitian border.  We also visited a rehabilitation-center in Villa Vasquez, and two Rotary Clubs in Mao where several recipients were given wheelchairs.  Sunday, our travels took us to Puerto Plata where caregivers brought recipients to the Rotary Club facility.  While in Puerto Plata, we delivered wheelchairs out into impoverished neighborhoods to recipients who were unable to travel.  We also went to the Hogar De Anicianos San Antonio Ma Claret (San Antonio Nursing Home Ma Clare) to deliver several wheelchairs for residents living at the facility.  We returned to Santiago and visited the Rotary Santiago Club where several recipients were awaiting wheelchairs.
            Monday, we traveled from Santiago to Samana, where we stayed for two nights in order to deliver wheelchairs to caregivers at the Samana Rotary Club and the northeastern provinces.  Tuesday, we traveled to Nagua and distributed wheelchairs to recipients at the Nagua Rotary Club. We then journeyed on to Cotui, assembled, and distributed more wheeelchairs at the Cotui Rehabilitation Center where the Cotui Rotary Club met us.  We finished the day by distributing the remaining wheelchairs to recipients living in impoverished neighborhoods.
            Wednesday, the last day of our project, we visited an orphanage called the Centro Asistenial Para La Ninez Desamparada (Welfare enter for homeless children).  We handed out Beanie Babies, soccer balls, puzzles, games, and lollipops.  Overall, we visited 7 Rotary Clubs from District 4060 and presented each club with a Rockland Rotary banner.  We received banners from the Mao, Samana, & Santiago Clubs.
            This Wheelchair Project caused one to pause and take note of the living conditions of many of the neighborhoods. Although most lived in austere conditions, they seemed happy and kept their meager dwellings orderly and clean to the best of their ability.  The only odors noticed permeated from outside the dwellings from the open sewerage in drainage ditches alongside the roads.  It was heartwarming to observe many instances where the younger generations tenderly took care of their elderly or crippled family members. Many of the recipients had limited mobility due to single or double amputations, paralysis due to strokes, crippling due to cystic fibrosis, or other physical ailments.  The expressed joy and gratitude were evident in the smiling faces and tear-filled eyes of the recipients and their caregivers as they received a wheelchair that would help bring ease and freedom of movement to their lives.
            The project wasn’t without glitches.  We did not receive the wheelchairs that District 7790 had purchased and had shipped to the Dominican Republic from China.  We were told daily that we would have our wheelchairs the following day.  However, the project ended with us putting together and delivering wheelchairs that the Hospital El Buen Samaritana had stockpiled. Most of these wheelchairs were not collapsible and were difficult to maneuver in the impoverished dwellings we visited.  It was frustrating and disheartening to know that our wheelchairs would have been more practical and beneficial to those recipients.  The latest information we heard about our wheelchairs was that they were being held up by a shipping brokerage company after being shipped from China.  No one really knows for sure where our wheelchairs are and why we didn’t receive the 280 chairs District 7790 had purchased. 
Our fellow Rotarians, Ferolyn Curtis, Jane Newcomb, and Keith Davis, returned home this evening after days in the Dominican Republic traveling to remote areas building & distributing wheelchairs. We've added a photo album to this page and will share as photos come in.  Look for personal stories from our friends in the days to come.  Thanks to each of your for your volunteer service above self, and for representing us all internationally.
Rockland Rotary’s President-Elect Eric J. Hebert (right) and Vice President Grover “Butch” Worcester (left) stand with District Governor Elect Suzanne Uhl-Melanson (center) at the recent PETS meeting held in St Georges, Quebec.  Eric and Butch attended several seminars to help prepare them for their up-coming Presidential terms.  Sessions covered wide-ranging topics including public relations, budgeting, Foundation, and Polio Plus, to name a few.  There was also time to socialize, and Eric and Butch had many opportunities to meet their respective counterparts from clubs throughout District 7790, including many from the Province of Quebec.  Discussion were lively, social interactions were jovial, and the food was quite excellent!  Eric and Butch returned home invigorated and eager to bring new ideas and energy to lead Rockland Rotary into the future.
Working Waterfront's Editor Tom Groening educated our club today on the plights and joys of Maine's waterfront culture & preservation.  With a 50,000 circulation from Portland to Eastport and existing since 1993,  the Working Waterfront chronicles stories and lifestyles from our state's waterfronts.  With over 3000 islands off our coast, Working Waterfront's parent organization, The Island Institute, works diligently to protect coastal interests & history.  Thanks, Tom, for a wonderful presentation that hits close to home for our club.
Wanda Gamage-Wyman, Substance Use Prevention Coordinator from the Pen Bay Y's Knox County Community Health Coalition, provided a most insightful presentation on marijuana edibles.  The YMCA has a Community Health Promotion department that focuses upon prevention, healthy eating, and safety.  Wanda's degree in child development and past work as a licensed social worker make her an ideal candidate to share the dangers of marijuana edibles and protecting our children & pets from accidental overdoses.  Thank you, Wanda -
Meg Rasmussen delighted our Rotary crew with a humorous look at her life, her passions, and her story.  We sensed a strong sense of humor & whimsy in Meg's storytelling as we learned of her lifelong love of all things landscape and outdoors.  As the Executive Director of the Georges River Land Trust and a family history of connection to Tenants Harbor, Meg brings innovation and knowledge to our Rotary circle.  Thanks, Meg, for sharing your world with us and for your service to community.
Doug and Ferolyn joined Rotarians from the Rotary Club of Currumbin-Coolangatta-Tweed, Inc, District 9640, in Queensland, Australia, at the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary on March 6, 2019.  The local Rotary Club had just made a contribution of $5000 US dollars to the sanctuary.  The bonds of international service impacting local community needs remain the same everywhere.  Thanks, Team Curtis, for walking the walk and demonstrating service.
As our fellow Rotarians Ferolyn & Doug Curtis spend a wonderful visit down under in Australia, both are making time to visit local Rotary Clubs and discuss our mutual, international Rotary mission and common values.  This photo shows Ferolyn & Doug in the middle, flanked by Gold Coast Rotary Club President John D'Anna on the right.  We love seeing our Rockland Rotary lobster all over this world!  Safe travels, Doug & Ferolyn!
More travel photos soon!
January 30, 2019, marked a wonderful day's classification talk from Ferolyn Curtis.  With a long background as a nurse and beloved, local fourth grade teacher, Ferolyn's story and commitment to our Rockland community is powerful.  Joined by her partner & husband, Doug, our future District Governor in 2020, Ferolyn's efforts in steering our international efforts are inspiring.  Thank you, Ferolyn!
We're so proud of our very own Doug Curtis, District 7790 Governor for 2021-2022.  He was joined this week by District Governor-Elect Suzanne Uhl-Melanson of Waterville for 2020 district conference planning.  Doug - you've made us very proud in Rockland!  Hats off to you and Ferolyn for your years of service above self and community involvement.  
Join our club as we host our local Rotary friends from Camden & Belfast for our annual Polio Plus Walk.  We'll meet at Rockland Public Landing and take a wonderful stroll through downtown Rockland.  Be sure & look for our very own Rockland Rotary members dressed in dinosaur costumes!  We begin at 1030a, and small donations to fight polio extinction are welcome!
On Saturday's spectacular fall day, October 6, 2018, we gathered in the bright sun in Thomaston and hosted our annual e waste day.  We had ten or so members working from 8a - 3p and we earned approximately $2200 to support our club's pledge to help build a new industrial kitchen in St Thomas, Virgin Islands, post hurricane disaster.  We laughed, we talked of Rotary public service to community members, and we helped our environment.  Hats off to Doug & Ferolyn Curtis for organizing!!!
Club Executives & Directors
President Elect
Rotary Foundation
Immediate Past President
Asst. Treasurer
Vice President
Vice President Elect