The Plano Rotary Club, with the assistance of other district clubs, takes on the challenge of building a Children's Clinic to assist kids without insurance or any access to conventional medical care.  Starting with $10,000 in seed money, a dream, and a great deal of determination, the club was able to build a facility that continues to make a difference in the lives of children.
Ean Sullivan was kind enough to share the following story about how the Plano Rotary Club built the Children's Clinic.  It's a wonderful story about perseverance and  shows how Rotarians will do whatever is needed to assist their community.

Thad 

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In October of 1999, the Plano, Texas Rotary Club adopted the Plano Children’s Medical Clinic Building Fund as its primary recipient of the Club’s fund raising activities. The Club’s president, Lloyd “Skip” Jenkins, and its president-elect, Ean Sullivan, had long dreamt of adopting a high profile project that would benefit the community for generations to come. Not in their wildest dreams did they imagine that in a short 24 months they would be dedicating a beautiful 5,300 sq. ft. children’s medical clinic in the name of Rotary.

 

In 1991, a local pediatrician and a school nurse were volunteering their time to provide medical care to children without insurance and no access to conventional medical care. They were visiting local elementary schools on their own time, and soon realized that a broader approach was necessary to help this growing segment of our population in Collin County, Texas. After unsuccessfully approaching local and county government officials, Dr. Mitchell Brooks, a member of the Plano Rotary Club, became aware of their need through his wife’s volunteering activities. The Club allocated $10,000 in seed money, the 1st Baptist Church allowed the Clinic to use an old 1,000 sq. ft. house on their campus, and the Clinic was opened. Local doctors, nurses and volunteers donated their time two evenings a week to provide free medical care to the County’s needy. Surviving on small donations and the selflessness of its unpaid staff, the Clinic served a growing number of needy children, but lack of space was limiting the Clinic’s ability to help all the children who needed their care. Clinic volunteers dreamed of moving to larger facilities. Once again, Rotarians stepped in.

 

Skip and Ean had experienced and participated in the 1996 Puerto Vallerta school project initiated by then District 5810 Governor, Herb Hoxie. This project had a profound impact on both men. They had visited the original school during the 1995 district conference where Rotarians witnessed a 3-sided shed with a tin roof, cardboard siding and dirt floors which served as a school to over 300 local Mexican children. The school had no toilet facilities and no clean water. Skip and Ean were about to learn about the power and compassion of Rotarians. The following day, Ned Starzel of the Dallas Rotary Club, stood in front of the conference attendees and pledged the first $1,000 to build those children a new school. Within 24 hours, District 5810 Rotarians had raised $25,000. Herb and his conference committee returned to Dallas. In a short two years, district Rotarians in Dallas and Puerto Vallerta raised the remaining money necessary, and completed construction on a new 2-story, eight room school. In 1997, Skip and Ean returned to Mexico during District Governor Bill Frew’s conference. The site of the children’s faces as they stood in front of their new school touched both men. They returned to Plano with a new perspective on the possibilities for service.

 

As a result of that experience, Skip and Ean approached the Clinic Board of Directors in October of 1999 about participating in the raising of money to build a new Clinic. After approval from the Club’s Board and the membership, the Plano Rotary Club committed to raising $100,000 over the next five years. They only asked for one concession. If the Club met its commitment, they would be able to place a Rotary Wheel on the outside of the building to signify Rotary’s commitment to the community. Little did they know what lied ahead.

 

Two months later and just after Christmas 1999, the Clinic caught on fire. Thankfully, no one was hurt, but the building was condemned and the Clinic was without a home. Within days, the County provided temporary office space, and Rotarians spent a weekend moving all furniture, fixtures and equipment from the old building. Within a couple of weeks, the Clinic was operational, but the Clinic could not wait five years for a new building. Rotarians went to work.

 

Realizing that time was of the essence, Ean took on the responsibility of making the project a joint effort of the four Rotary Clubs in Plano. Their response…..”What can we do?” In addition, Ean’s exercise partner, contractor and Rotarian Jerry Huffman offered to build the building at cost. Architect and Rotarian Frank Pollacia offered to design the building at no cost. Soon other service Clubs, churches and individuals joined in by making donations. Recognizing the worthwhile nature of the project, the Richardson Central Rotary Club surprised us by making an unsolicited donation. In the end, Rotarians had raised $100,000 in cash and over $250,000 through donated services, construction materials and supplies. The clinic was completed and paid for in a short 24 months.

 

On Thursday, November 8th, 2001, the membership of the five local Rotary Clubs and District 5810 dignitaries held a joint meeting to dedicate the opening of the new Plano Children’s Medical Clinic. Over 240 Rotarians toured the new facility and unveiled the Rotary plaque displayed at the entrance of the Clinic. As Skip said in the dedication ceremony, “If anyone asks you what Rotary is all about, just take them by the Clinic; for it represents who we are and what we are all about.” Rotarians had come together in the spirit of cooperation to make a difference in the lives of children for generations to come.