HISTORY OF THE DEVELOPMENT OF

THE "CLUBS OF D5080 ROTAPLAST MISSION"

1992 -The first Rotaplast mission to La Serena, Chile was sponsored by the Rotary Club of San Francisco; 1996 - Rotaplast International became a separate non-profit organization

1999 - Dr. Frank Walchak, a veteran of 7 medical missions with Northwest Medical Teams of Portland, began to serve Rotaplast and became a Rotarian. By 2009, he had served on 8 Rotaplast missions and  been Chief Surgeon on 5 of those missions. His wife Carolyn always served with him and  been Head Nurse on 8 missions in the last 10 years.

2001-2008 - there was limited financial support for Rotaplast from 2 clubs in the Spokane area, Spokane Aurora Northwest and Spokane South. Dr. Walchak wished that someone in D5080 would lead a campaign to fund a Rotaplast mission. He ensured that Rotaplast was on display at District Conferences in Cranbrook in 2001 and Spokane in 2005.

May 2003 - District Governor John Brewer included an article, "Rotaplast in Bolivia" in his Rotary District 5080 Governor's Bulletin.  This was written by Anna and Antoine Beurskens of Fernie, about their observations of a Rotaplast Mission to Cochabamba,Bolivia. Brewer stated "I would like very much for our District to support this activity more actively."

Summer 2004 - Sheila Hart read how Rotarians and Quilters have formed an alliance with "Wrap-A-Smile" in the April 2003 edition of Quilter's Newsletter Magazine. She wondered if D5080 could provide 100 quilts to celebrate Rotary's 100th anniversary.

Summer 2005 - Rotary's Centennial. Sheila and Bill Hart delivered 180 quilts, made by quilters and Rotarians primarily in British Columbia, to Michelle Lee in Colville, WA who funded transportation of the quilts to Rotaplast headquarters in San Francisco. With the support of quilters, they continued this joint effort in 2006 with 95 quilts; 2007 with113 quilts; 2008 with 264 quilts.

Spring 2006 - Sheila received pictures of D5080 quilts and the kids who received them in San Salvador; she linked a pictures to a 10 year old quilter in Kimberley; the circle was complete. This works!  Pictures were displayed at the District Conference in Kimberley; interest grew.

Spring 2007 - Dr. Frank Walchak & Carolyn Walchak, RN are awarded Rotaplast's Distinguished Service Award.

June 2007 - Michelle and Sheila met with Rotaplast Executive Director Julene Hunter at the Rotary International Convention in Salt Lake City. They obtained information about the logistics of funding a Rotaplast mission.  They proceeded to lobby the Rotary District 5080 Leadership Team to support such a mission.

March 2008 - Michelle Lee was dispatched as a Non-Medical Volunteer in Can Tho, Vietnam

April 2008 - District Governor Elect Al Davies of Cranbrook permitted Michelle and Sheila to provide an informational presentation about Rotaplast at District Assembly, the training venue for Rotary Club Executives. The 2008-09 Wrap-A-Smile campaign began.

June 2008 - Sheila and Michelle were officially granted Ambassador status by Rotaplast.

July 1, 2008 - Fund-raising began in earnest for the "Clubs of D5080 Rotaplast Mission". This involved Michelle, Sheila and Dr. Frank Walchak speaking to the clubs in the district and a number of non-Rotary related organizations and quilt guilds.

The call was made for applications for Non-Medical Volunteers.

August 2008 - Sheila Hart was dispatched as a Non-Medical Volunteer to La Oroya, Peru. Rotaplast decided that the "Clubs of D5080 Mission" will go to Banepa, Nepal in April 2009.

An application was made to The Rotary Foundation for a Matching Grant.

January 2009 - Fund raising continued & at January 31, US$6164.00 remains unrealized to reach the $100,000.00 goal.

Quilts by the hundreds arrived daily at the homes of the Ambassadors. They were catalogued and labeled with a "Clubs of D5080" label and a Wrap-A-Smile Label. Many quilts were sent by individual clubs and guilds directly to Rotaplast. Jack Djakovic of Fairview Esso in Nelson loaned Bill Hart a "U-Haul" trailer to transport at least 644 quilts to Rotaplast headquarters. A number of missions will be supplied with quilts.

Stuffed animals were donated by BC Liquor Store and the Canadian Legion in Castlegar, BC.

The Non-Medical Team, consisting of Rotarians from throughout D5080 was named by Rotaplast including, PDG John Brewer (Pullman), Ambassadors Michelle Lee (Colville) and Sheila Hart (Nelson Daybreak), Michael Conley (Spokane Aurora NW), Dirk Boswell (Colville), Yvonne Redeker (Invermere), Catherine Korolek (Grand Forks), Ron Jacobson (Post Falls).  Dr. Frank Walchak will serve on the Medical Team and Carolyn Walchak will serve as Head Nurse.

A successful, "Celebrate Rotaplast Quilt Show and Tea" was held in Nelson, BC.

March 2009 - Approval was granted by The Rotary Foundation for a Matching Grant. Fund raising continues and by March 10 just US$2072 remains to reach the mission target goal of $100,000.00

April 4-19, 2009 - The "Clubs of D5080 Rotaplast Mission" went to Banepa Nepal, stayed at Dhulikel Mountain Resort and worked at the Hospital and Rehabilitation Centre for Disabled Children at Banepa, Nepal. Severe challenges were created when Nepal Customs officials seized equipment and supplies and held them for a week until there was intervention from Rotarians, DHL Express in South East Asia and the American Embassy staff, to obtain assitance from the Nepal government to free the items. It was with great relief to all concerned that this mission was successful and $283,000.00 in medical services were provided to the children of Nepal. Most of the children travelled many hours over treacherous roads, from as far away as Kailali and Bardiya in western Nepal, Kathmandu and Sankhuwasabha and Sunsari in eastern Nepal. Five cleft surgeries  were completed. The balance of the 64 children had 82 procedures completed that involved long and challenging surgeries to repair previously untreated severe burns. For these children the Rotary theme statement of "Make Dreams Real for the Children of the World" had real meaning and the D5080 Rotaplast Mission team rose to the occassion. 
March 2012 - Despite a funding shortfall, the team sponsored by the clubs of D5080 successfully completed a mission to Cebu City, Philippines.
April 2012 - Newly appointed Rotaplast Ambassador, Lisa Teske of Columbia Centre was asked to see if the clubs of D5080 would be prepared to sponsor 1/2 of a mission to Karikal, India from August 26-September 9, 2012.
May 2012 - The appeal for the Karikal mission is launched. A DSG is obtained. The call is on for non-medical volunteers.