Terry Mathias
Terry Mathias, District Governor
Rotary provides potable water for health and safety
Adkins / Mathias
Rotary President Cyndee Adkins receives a theme banner from DG Terry Mathias; "Making a Difference"
'Making a difference'
New District Governor calls for Rotary to 'roll up sleeves, get hands dirty'

July 11, 2017

Terry Mathias challenged Putnam Rotarians today to "roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty."

Young professionals are not interested in joining a luncheon club, he said. "They want to join a cause. They want to see outcomes. They want to make a difference in the world."

Rotary International wants to encourage diversity, Mathias said. "For Rotary to be relevant into the next century, we have to change," he continued.

"We have to change the way we're doing things."

His own home club, Charleston Vandalia, now meets three times a month. "The fourth week, we either have a social event or we do a service project," he said.

"White Sulphur Springs has gone to two meetings a month. Lewisburg is in the process of going to two meetings a month. And those two meetings could be for planning an event one time, and doing that event the other time.

"Think about the problems facing Putnam County," he said. "Think outside the box. Look at a problem and, as a club, figure out a way to make a difference.

"Think of groups you can partner with -- maybe some other Rotary clubs; maybe some other organizations here in your community.

"If you do that, you won't have a membership problem. People will be coming to you because they want to be a part of it -- whether it's the drug problem, whether it's childhood hunger, whether it's literacy.

"Even though you're a small club, you can make a difference."

Rotary International adopts a guiding theme every year, and the word for 2017-18, displayed on a banner which Mathias presented to the Putnam club, is "Making a Difference."

"You have to live by the Four-Way Test and you have to serve your community," said Mathias. "But you have the flexibility based on your own club's composition and your community to figure out the best way to make it happen; the best way to 'Make a Difference.'

"One person, back in 1985, decided that we needed to rid the Philippines of polio. Thirty-two years later, we're almost there -- not only in the Philippines, but across the globe.

"We've added partners over the years. The CDC joined us; the World Health Organization. And the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation."

Since 2013, the Gates Foundation has matched every Rotary dollar for polio eradication by two-to-one. Rotary, with matching funds, has contributed more than $1.6 billion to end polio.

Gilpin / Mathias
DG Mathias presents outgoing president Dave Gilpin with a plaque of appreciation for service to the club.
George Six / Mathias
Past President David Gilpin presents Rotarian George Six an award as Putnam Rotarian of the Year.
"We're counting down to zero," Mathias said. "Right now, year-to-date, we've had six cases, all in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

"You say it's almost gone. But it's not. Somebody from Pakistan right now could fly to the United States and bring the polio virus here.

"There are over 200,000 kids in the United States today who are not vaccinated. We need to finish the job.

"Four hundred million children in sixty countries are being vaccinated every year.

"I plan to go to India in January to be a part of the National Immunization Day. Even though they've been polio free since 2014, we have to immunize the children because the live polio virus still exists.

"We're almost there. And one person started it."

District Governor Mathias also wants to extend the water-jug project to establish potable supplies in African countries.

He displayed photographs of a mother and child to his Putnam audience. "They're very thankful to those of you who gave to the water-jug project last year," he said. "Before she had that Rotary well in the center of her community, half of her day had been spent searching for clean water.

"So she took her containers. She had to walk miles to find a water source which may or may not have had clean water.

"While she walked those miles every day, she risked being raped. She risked being abducted and sold into slavery. She even risked being murdered.

"But, because you guys supported the water , this is one woman who's very happy. There were hours and hours that she once spent every day just getting water, which she can now devote to other things to support her family."

District Governor Mathias was introduced to Rotary originally through the Putnam club. "Your jeweler down the street [charter member Don Broyles] kept after me until I joined," he said.

At one time Mathias was due to step in as president of the local group. But then professional chance and circumstance caused him to move to South Charleston -- where he later served as president of the Vandalia club.


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