While Rotary International has been around for 114 years, the group began its fight against polio in 1979. Forty years later, Rassin says the group is still fighting battles, but the war is almost won.
“Every Thursday, I get the national polio report, and every Thursday I hate opening my email,” he said to the crowd of dozens of local Rotary members at the Braille Institute. “I know a lot of us are frustrated. There were 29 reported cases last year, up from the 22 reported the year before. But yesterday the polio report reported no new cases, and that’s two weeks in a row.”
“I believe we’ll see our last case of polio in 2019.”
While eradicating the disease that impacted hundreds of thousands of people in the 1980s was Rotary International’s main priority, Rassin was not one to forget all the other kinds of good its members do in the world. For instance, they train about 100 people a year in peace conflict and rebuilding 40 schools in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake.
“We stay for the long term,” Rassin said. “We stick to what we’re doing, we make sure it gets done, and we make sure it gets done well.”
For more information on joining a Rotary organization near you, visit rotary.org.