Meeting Clipboard: 2/11/21

MEMBERS ATTENDING (19): Dick Drumm, Bill Dowd, Debbie Rodriguez, Dean Calamaras, Doris Calamaras, Ray Hannan, Pat Bailey, Roberto Martinez, Jim Leyhane, Tony Morris, Phil Kellerman, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown, Carol Orvis, Becky Raymond, Murray Forth, Kevin Leyhane, Charlie Foote, Andy Leyhane.

GUESTS (2): Gift of Life International CEO Rob Raylman, Assistant District Governor C.G. Frinke.

MEETING NOTES: President Dick Drumm welcome members and our guests, Gift of Life International CEO Rob Raylman, Assistant District Governor C.G. Frinke of the Albany club. … Members were reminded to register for the Rotary Leadership Institute (RLI) virtual workshop before the February 20 deadline (click here for details) and the February 22 multi-district “Young People Speak” panel discussion (click here for details). …

Guest Speaker: Rob Raylman, who has held the GOL post since February 2008, graduated from Hobart College in 1984 with a degree in political science. Directly out of college, he went to work for then-U.S. Senator Alphonse D’Amato (R-NY) from 1984 to 1986. He worked for Browning Ferris Industries (BFI) in Albany from January 1987 until 1999, where he was a vice president, and from 1999 to 2007 managed his own political consulting business. As CEO of Gift of Life International, Rob has focused on the creation of sustainable pediatric cardiac surgery programs in developing countries. Presently he is working to develop programs in Bolivia, Panama, the Philippines, Romania, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic.

Rob provided a thumbnail of GOL’s activities since its inception in 1975 by the Manhasset, Long Island, Rotary Club. Over the years, it has provided cardiac and other lifesaving medical treatment for 38,000 children from 80 countries, thanks in large part to the efforts of 80 GOL chapters, including one in our own District 7190.

He noted that a congenital heart defect occurs in one of every 100 live births worldwide, and more than half of those require surgical intervention. Over the years, GOL has emphasized training missions to many countries in an effort to expand the knowledge base for surgical techniques and medical aftercare. That provides a much more cost effective way of handling far more cases than relying as heavily on bringing children to the U.S. for surgeries.

Rob answered a variety of questions from attendees, and he and eight members signed back in after the ZOOM meeting cutoff for an “extended session” of discussion.

NEXT MEETING: 7 p.m. Thursday, February 18, via ZOOM. Check the website calendar for the link to access the meeting.

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