2002-2003, Larry Gray


Theme: Sow the Seeds of Love

This was the year intended to be the final push to eradicate polio. Rotary Club of Salem played an important part, raising $31,000 for polio eradication, exceeding our goal by $6,000, thanks to Past President Terry McDonald’s committee. Our international service did not end there. We raised nearly $15,000 for the Rotary International Foundation, exceeding our goal by $5,000. We revived our international Youth Exchange program by sending two students, Kellen and Bria Obendorf, on Rotary’s new summer short – term exchange and agreeing to host a student from Japan.

Our community service effort was fueled by the prior year’s successful auction. We provided $10,000 for SKY- Ball and $26,500 for POWER after-school activities for middle school students. Our major project for next year will be Northwest Medical Teams dental van visits, health fairs and immunization clinics at low-income schools. To fund that project we raised nearly $45,000 through a new method – a raffle. Our Salem Rotary Foundation made $3,800 in grants to five local children’s programs.

For the first time, our new Rotarians from the year formed the Service Day Committee and organized an all-Club hands-on project to spruce up the Southeast Neighborhood Community Center. Another hands-on project involved built a pond and removed non-native vegetation at the Audubon Sanctuary. Our Literacy Committee launched a program to provide books to kids in homeless shelter and received a $3,000 grant from Starbucks to help pay for it. We arranged to send a record seven young people to RYLA camp. At Christmas, members gave several hundred Tree of Joy gifts and $6,579 to the Salvation Army kettle during our December meeting at the Elsinore. The Vocational Service Award went to Mike McLaran, and we gave awards to two teachers for their vocational service.

Our Fellowship Committee arranged a tour of covered bridges, a social before the Oregon Symphony concert, and a TGIF social. Our club has one of the finest newsletters in all of Rotary, and Tim Nissen this year added photographs to make it even better.