The August 31, 2015 meeting of the Garrettsville-Hiram Rotary Club heard from a rock-star of the world of extreme rowers, Katie Spotz, who in a marathon 70-day adventure rowed across the Atlantic Ocean, from Africa to South America—alone! There were 30 ft. waves, there were freighters, there were scary encounters with unknown boats and individuals…but…there were also dolphins and fluorescent phytoplankton that glowed at night like glitter in the water. The nineteen ft., four hundred pound rowboat brought her—without a support crew—brought her, the youngest person to ever accomplish the feat, safely across the water to begin the real work of raising awareness of and raising funds for the group known as H20 For Life which focuses on supporting clean water organizations all over the world. Upon completion of the epic row, Katie connected with Mark Bowles, a professor of history at the American Military University to write a book about the experience. Self-empowerment is the general tenor of the book (The Extreme Athlete and the History Professor) and it fits right onto the Rotary motto, “Service Above Self”. Indeed, a number of Rotary clubs on both sides of the Atlantic contributed support for the endeavor to highlight the worldwide water crisis which not enough people are aware of. The Extreme Athlete—swimmer, biker, runner, ultra marathoner—and the History Professor are currently traveling about, speaking at schools and other venues all over the country to spread the water message and promote education as well as water projects wherever they are needed, such as one now underway in the Dominican Republic. Here in Northeast Ohio, where we abut part of the greatest supply of fresh water on the continent, we need to pay attention and realize what a treasure we have in our back yard. There are threats we must anticipate and deal with.
And the club received notice that, under the leadership of Delores McCumbers, Garrettsville-Hiram Rotary Club had been awarded the A.Z.Baker Award for service activities during the 2014-2015 club year.
Rotary Camp in Akron hosted thirteen exchange students for the coming year, including “Art” the local visitor from Thailand.
Thoughts are taking shape about financial support for both incoming and outgoing Rotary Student Exchange participants and partnering with Rite Aid for a flu clinic soon.