Meeting of 3/2/17: ‘Bangladesh Pediatric Cataract Surgery’

screen-shot-2016-10-16-at-7-10-54-pmMeeting at Quigley’s Restaurant
593 Columbia Turnpike
East Greenbush, NY
March 2, 2017


HAPPY BIRTHDAY — Today marked the 57th  birthday of our club, chartered on March 2, 1960. Hooray for us!

Members Attending (14): Debbie Rodriguez, Bill Dowd, Jim Leyhane, Becky Raymond, Phil Kellerman, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown, Ray Hannan, Carol Orvis, Carole Spencer, Dean Calamaras, Roberto Martinez, Dick Drumm, Stewart Wagner.

Guests (2): Steve Williams, Barbara O’Connor.

PROGRAM: “Bangladesh Pediatric Cataract Surgery”

Visiting Granville Rotarian Steve Williams

President Debbie Rodriguez introduced Steve Williams, a member of the Granville Rotary Club in Washington County.

Steve, a retired chemical engineer whose career took him to postings not only in the U.S., but the UK, Canada, and the Netherlands, is working on obtaining a Rotary Global Grant in support of the “Bangladesh Pediatric Cataract Surgery” project.

It is the third international project Steve has worked on since joining Rotary. Previously, he worked on a clean water project for Honduras, then an eye health project to benefit Bangladesh, the smallest and poorest country on the Indian subcontinent.

To obtain a Global Grant, there must be partnerships between one or more Rotary clubs in the country benefiting and one or more clubs elsewhere, and the nature of the project must be sustainable  (i.e., demonstrating an immediate impact, providing specialized training to help the beneficiary area continue the work, and some form of ongoing financial support).

Steve described the workings of the Islamia Eye Hospital in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, a country with large numbers of persons suffering from vision maladies that he last visited in 2011. The previous project, carried out in conjuncti0n with the Dhaka West Rotary Club and the Burnt Hills-Ballston Spa Rotary Club in 2010, supported an extensive screening program that resulted in 560 cataract operations being performed.

If the current effort is successful, the Global Grant will support the purchase of a state-of-the-art optical cataract instrument for the eye hospital to replace the current outmoded sonar imaging technology; cataract surgeries on at least 150 children, and the training of eye specialists in the new technology to be able to continue the program.

Steve said that although much of the $50,000 needed to obtain the grant has been raised,  an additional $6,500 still is needed and District clubs are being solicited for aid. The SRC Board of Directors will discuss the matter at its meeting following the regular dinner meeting on March 9.


party-cakeCOMMUNITY CELEBRATION — Our inaugural event honoring students and adults involved in community service in various segments of the community (education, Scouting, first responders, business, etc.) held at Moscatiello’s Italian Family Restaurant in North Greenbush this week drew more than 150 people. Thanks to numerous sponsorships purchased by club members and local businesses, we expect to clear in excess of $5,000 for the club  treasury to support our community service work. A special thank-you was endorsed by the meeting attendees  for club Vice President John Sawchuk for conceiving the event, with strong support from Murray Forth, Terry Brewer and Jim Leyhane. It is projected that we will hold a similar event next year, although perhaps at a larger venue because of demand for seating.

RONALD McDONALD COOKING — For the second consecutive year, we are planning to provide both a dinner and a breakfast for families staying at the Ronald McDonald House in Albany while a family member is receiving  treatment nearby at the Albany Medical Center Hospital. Bill Dowd again will coordinate a dinner effort beginning at 4 p.m. Wednesday, May 31. A breakfast date, again to be coordinated by Terry Brewer, is to be selected.

POLIO FILM — Roberto Martinez reported that shooting will begin next week on the polio educational video our club is preparing for a debut at the District Conference in May in Lake Placid. At the behest of Terry Brewer and Jim Butterworth, the video will be shot and edited by the CASDA production team at no cost to the club. It will be narrated by District Governor John Mucha.

screen-shot-2017-03-02-at-10-51-55-pmEASTER BASKETS — The club again is working with the Circles of Mercy family aid organization to provide Easter baskets for needy children ages 1 through 12. Bill Dowd, who is coordinating the effort, said he has received agreement from both Len Leonidas and John Sawchuck that, respectively, the Tiger Scouts and Columbia High School will participate in making our effort a robust one. Bill said he will email all SRC members with a preferred shopping list, since the baskets will contain more than candies — personal hygiene item, school supplies, etc. — and a schedule for donations and deliveries.

FOUNDATION T-SHIRT FUNDRAISER — Dawn Vavala, our purveyor of Rotary-embossed clothing and other items, reports that $5,100 was raised through the sale of  special “Rotary Serves Humanity” T-shirts for the Rotary Foundation, and that the SRC club was the District’s No. 1 purchaser of shirts, thanks to a core group of club members who purchased 46 shirts.

COCKTAIL PARTY — Please let host Terry Brewer know ASAP if you plan to attend “A Rotary Cocktail Party” at his residence from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday, March 25. Drinks and hors d’oeuvres will be served. Cost is $10, and guests are both welcome and encouraged to this event conceived to let longtime and newer Rotarians get to know each other better.

sangrita-friendsROTARY HOME COOKING — The Dowds will host “An Agave Experience” at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, April 8. It will include a guided tasting of upscale tequilas and mezcals not usually available in this country, accompanied by Mexican-inspired tapas. Reservations ($35) are limited to 12 guests on a first come-first served basis. Please contact Bill or April ASAP if interested in participating. Proceeds will go to the club treasury to support community service projects.

INDOOR GOLF EVENT — Registration for this Saturday’s indoor simulator golf tournament at Burden Lake Country Club organized by Murray Forth and Terry Brewer is nearly full. Anyone interested in last-minute reservations should check the club website for details.

FFFF INITIATIVE — Becky Raymond announced that the club  has received an invitation to attend a reception at the British Consulate in New York City honoring the Freedom From  Fistula Foundation (FFFF) on Monday, March 20. Our club’s efforts to obtain  funding for the Foundation was the reason for the invitation. While Becky, who with Debbie Rodriguez is spearheading our effort, cannot attend, she asked that anyone wishing to represent the club contact her ASAP.

screen-shot-2017-03-02-at-11-34-02-pmGIFT OF LIFE UPDATE — Jim Leyhane reported that CDPHP has pledged $10,000 toward the cost of a mid-April cardiac surgery procedure at Albany Medical Center Hospital for a child from Bolivia. The sponsoring Gift of Life will supply the other $10,000. That means GOL will have enabled such surgeries this year at AMCH, Columbia Presbyterian in New York City, at the Portland (ME) Medical Center, and in Boston.

NEXT MEETING — 6:15 p.m. Thursday, March 9, at Quigley’s. Jim Leyhane will speak on “A Flight Into History On a B-29.”

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