At Long Last … A Resumption of our In-Person Club Meetings!

After more than a year and with every member of the Club having received their COVID-19 vaccination shot(s), we are planning the resumption of our weekly in-person meetings at the Garden of Eatin' Restaurant at 964 Woodbourne Road in Levittown on Wednesday, May 12th at the regular time of 8:00 AM


All appropriate CDC and Pennsylvania recommended COVID protocols will continued to be observed, as will any related requirements of the Garden of Eatin', as we hopefully begin to return to the interpersonal comdarerie which has been a hallmark of our club since its 2006 formation.

This past year has been a challenge for everyone, the pandemic's shutdowns and other restirctions limiting our ability to provide the levels of financial, in-kind and volunteer aid for many of the causes and programs our members have supported over the years.

Still, Zoom (which 14 months ago none of us had ever heard of) has enabled our members to continue to meet on a weekly basis … while our virtual walk generated significant donations for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and A Woman's Place … with other creative initiatives enabling us to provide ongoing support for veteran-related programs and food and other necessities for some of the families of the students who attend the William Dick School.

For anyone interested in helping worthy causes, organizations and individuals in need, while working along side some amazing and dedicated neighbors, our meetings are alawys open and welcoming!

"The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well."

Ralph Waldo Emerson





Fair Districts PA Presentation by Bill Gross

Bill Gross, a representative from and advocate for Fair Districts PA joins us this morning.

Fair Districts PA is a nonpartisan, statewide coalition of organizations and individuals working to create a process for redistricting that is transparent, impartial, and fair.  The organization was founded in January 2016 by representatives from the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania, Common Cause Pennsylvania, Committee of Seventy, Pennsylvania Council of Churches, and others concerned about accountable government.

Today, Fair Districts PA is officially a project of the League of Women Voters or Pennsylvania, a nonpartisan political organization which encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.  It receives no funding from political action committees (PACs) or political parties, and is funded and endorsed by a wide range of local and statewide organizations and individuals across the Commonwealth.



Their dedicated membership is comprised or Pennsylvanians from all walks of life, united by the conviction that free and fair elections are the foundation of our democracy. They believe Pennsylvania needs to reform its redistricting rules to promote competitive elections and partisan fairness—so that our government truly is of, by, and for the people.

To accomplish these goals, Fair Districts PA holds informational events, drive outreach to lawmakers and the media, and help the public take action. Our current focus is to replace the current partisan redistricting process with a transparent and accountable process before the release of the 2020 U.S. Census.

Fair Districts PA is part of the League of Women Voters of the United State People Powered Fair Maps campaign, a national redistricting program of the League of Women Voters focused on creating fair political maps nationwide.

Fair Districts PA has grown quickly from a handful of volunteers to a network of local groups, regional support teams, active working groups and almost 100 trained speakers reaching audiences large and small in every corner of the state. FDPA volunteers come from across the state and bring a wealth of experience, expertise, and varying political perspectives.

Fair districts must:

  • Adhere to all Constitution and Voting Rights Act requirements.
  • Make all districts as equal in population as possible within an established minimal range of deviation.
  • Respect city and county subdivisions, natural geographic features, and communities of interest.
  • Encourage geographical compactness.
  • Not be drawn for the purpose of favoring or discriminating against a political party or candidate.

Redistricting reform should:

  • Assign the redistricting power to an independent commission, of which neither the commissioners, nor members of their immediate families, may be government or political party officials.
  • Ensure the transparency of the process and meaningful opportunities for public participation.
  • Establish strict timelines for redistricting after each U.S. Census.
  • Address other causes of redistricting unfairness.

A core part of his presentation revolved around his Power Point presentaiton.  This informative document can be viewed on Dropbox at:

The ultimate goal of Fair Districts PA is to ensure districts allow the voters to choose their elected officials rather than letting politicians in Harrisburg “slice and dice” the census numbers allowing them to choose their voters.   This will require a more transparent process, public engagement, and clear, measurable map-drawing standards.

The Legislative and Congressional Redistricting Act (LACRA) has all three.

What will LACRA give us?

The Legislative Congressional Redistricting Act has been introduced as House Bill 22 and Senate Bill 222. If passed, LACRA will require the following fair rules for redistricting.

Greater Transparency and More Public Engagement

  • A user-friendly website for free public access to data, maps and all redistricting information
  • Multiple statewide public hearings before and after redistricting plans are approved
  • Meetings that are all subject to the Open Meetings Law and hearings that must

    • be live streamed
    • held at convenient times for the public
    • accommodate for multiple languages
  • The ability to submit a redistricting plan or part of a plan which the committee must review (this applies to every Pennsylvanian)
  • A written report of decisions, rationale and process

Clear and Measurable Redistricting Criteria

  • Mandates compact and contiguous federal and state districts
  • Adds enforceable limits on splitting counties beyond what is required by population and bans dividing voting precincts
  • Protects racial and language minorities against discrimination in the mapping process
  • Outlaws district plans designed to protect incumbents or discriminate against political parties
  • Promotes:

    • Keeping communities of interest intact
    • Responding to voter preferences as measured by widely accepted tests
    • Conforming districts to natural boundaries like rivers, mountains, etc.

Several members remarked that Bill's was one of the most interesting and informative speakers we hosted in a long while.



John Fetterman, Pennsylvania’s Lieutenant Governor Spoke to the Cllub

John Fetterman, the Commonwealth's current Lieutenant Governor, describes himself as "A different kind of Democrat"

He is frank to admit that he doesn’t look like a typical politician,

and more importantly, he doesn’t act like one.  He supported legalizing marijuana before it was popular, officiated a same-sex marriage before it was legal, champions sensible gun control and pushed for single payer healthcare long before it was mainstream.

While John has tosed his hat in the ring for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate seat beving vacated by Pat Toomey, the emphasis of his presentation this morning focused on his hopes that Pennsylvania will join surrounding states and legalize Marijuana for recrational use. However, to understand his crusade a brief overviw of his background is insightful.

A Pennsylvania native, John was born to teenage parents just starting out on their own. At the time, his father worked nights to put himself through college. John grew up in York, PA, and followed in his father’s footsteps to Albright College, where he played offensive tackle for the Lions.

At 23, John joined up with Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and his life has never been the same.

John threw himself into the program, mentoring his ‘little’ – an 8-year-old boy who had recently lost his father to AIDS and whose mother was also battling the disease. Before she passed away, John promised that he would continue to look out for her son and make sure that he graduated college. Fifteen years later, John and his ‘little’ had both held up their ends of the bargain, with his little’s graduation from Washington and Jefferson College in Washington, PA.

But John wanted to do more. He joined AmeriCorps and served in Pittsburgh’s historic Hill District, where he helped set up the first computer labs in the neighborhood and taught GED classes to young mothers and fathers.

He went on to earn a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

John returned to Pennsylvania to start a GED program in the town of Braddock, one of the poorest and most challenged communities in the commonwealth.

In 2005, encouraged by his students, John ran for mayor. He managed to win the crowded primary by a single vote. In his 13 years as mayor, John worked to rebuild the once-booming steel town back from collapse, creating jobs, getting youth engaged, and bringing creative urban policy solutions to Braddock. The town now has a community center, urban gardens, and a free store run by John’s wife, Gisele.

Together, John and Gisele have fought for causes they believe in, from immigration reform to LGBTQ+ rights. When Pennsylvania lawmakers continued to push outdated discriminatory policies banning marriage equality, John stood up and officiated one of the first same-sex marriages in the commonwealth. And when they wanted to build a four-lane interstate highway through Braddock, a town that’s more than 80% Black and already suffered historically high asthma rates, John was the only elected official in Western Pennsylvania who opposed it on the grounds that it was environmental racism. 

In 2016, John decided to run for U.S. Senate to confront the inequality crisis at the highest level of government. Although he lost the Democratic primary, John confounded expectations, earning 20 percent of the vote as a relatively unknown candidate in a four-way race.

Two years later, in 2018, John ran to be Pennsylvania’s Lieutenant Governor, and this time dominated across the commonwealth, winning a five-way Democratic primary and a commanding victory in the general election.

As Lieutenant Governor, John has transformed the position into a bully pulpit for criminal justice reform.

Weeks after taking office, John embarked on a listening tour of all 67 counties, something no sitting Lt. Governor has ever done, to engage with Pennsylvanians about legalizing marijuana. In three months, the historic tour saw over 10,000 people turn out in person and tens of thousands more engage online. Following John’s final report and recommendations, the Governor announced his support for legalization for the first time. 

As the chair of Pennsylvania’s Board of Pardons, John has led the fight to give second chances to non-violent longtime inmates and free those who have been wrongfully convicted. 

He has taken numerous steps to overhaul the clemency process in Pennsylvania, including eliminating all fees associated with applying for a pardon, making the pardons application more user-friendly, and working to move the application process online.  Under John’s tenure, the Board has recommended more applicants for commutation than under any lieutenant governor in decades. 

While John does not use marijuana nor would he want his children to become users, he views the legalization of "weed" as a logical outcome of the Commonwealth's and nation's failed "war on drugs".  Harkening back to the days of prohibition, the 18th Amendment was disliked by a vast majority of Americans and its primary legacy was the rise of organized crime which cornered the illegal liquor market during the 1920s.

He also sees legalization as a potential financial boon for the state which could generate several billion dollars which presently are being earned by the drug cartels to help fund many underserved programs, infrastructure projects and other initiatives.  In addition, it would eliminate the policing costs of enforcing existing marijuana laws and the costs of judicial and incarcerating s many as 20,000 violators annually.

John also points out that several, very conservative states, including Arizona and Montana, as well as New Jersey and soon to join the list of states legalizing marijuana New York. e argues forcefully that not enacting legalization will only serve to let the cartels continue to profit along with neighboring states where Pennsylvanians will be able to shop for their weed.

Between 65% -70% for the people with whom John has met and discussed the topic across Pennsylvania agree with his position. 

When questioned about whether the Commonwealth should be relying on so-called sin taxes levied on gambling, liquor, and marijuana, John stated that while he personally doesn't use such substances, also including tobacco, he understands that other people make other choices.  So long as those choices are not a threat to the public, there is no reason to prohibit their sale and use.

Another question dealt with the possibility of people driving automobiles while under the influence.  While he recognizes it could become a problem, John asked that should we ban cell phones which cause many accidents because irresponsible drivers are texting or otherwise using them while driving.  Do we return to prohibition and ban alcohol sales because due to the highway tragedies created by impaired driving?  Should cigarettes be taken off the market because of the numbers of deaths directly or indirectly attributed to their use.  Personal behavior can not always be constrained by laws … as prohibition, the war on drugs or even prostitution have proven out.

Lt. Governor Fetterman also expressed his revulsion at the January 6th assault on the U.S. Capitol and labeled it an attack on the most fundamental tenant of democracy.

Other issues about which John has become an advocate are:

  • The minimum wage should be a living wage of at least $15 an hour. All work has dignity, and all paychecks must too.T
  • Health care is a fundamental human right – just like housing, food, and education. 
  • Climate change is an existential threat. We need to transition to clean energy as quickly as possible, and we can create millions of good union jobs in the process. 
  • Sensible gun control legislation – believing that there is not need or excuse for military grade weapons and ammunition to be available to the general public … while emphatically not advocating taking guns used for hunting, target shooting or home protection away from the general public, with exceptions for those with mental illness or violent crimes on their record.
  • Weed should be legal, nationwide, not just in Pennsylvania — for jobs, justice, veterans, farmers, and revenue. It’s time to end the failed war on drugs. 
  • Immigration is what makes America, America. We need a compassionate response to immigration reform that actually treats immigrants like human beings. 
  • Black Lives Matter. John served as mayor of a city that’s more than 80% Black, and has championed the idea that Black lives matter since long before it became a hashtag. 
  • The union way of life is sacred. It’s what built this nation, and it must be protected.  
  • A woman’s right to an abortion is non-negotiable. Women should have control over their own bodies and their own lives. Period.
  • LGBTQIA+ communities deserve equal protections under the law. John has always stood for equality, and was one of the first elected officials in PA to officiate a same-sex wedding – when it was still illegal. 
  • Get corporate money out of politics. John refuses contributions from corporate PACs, and he signed the “No Fossil Fuel Money” Pledge.

John and Gisele have chosen not to settle in the Lt. Governor’s Mansion, instead opening up the pool in the official residence to children who typically wouldn’t have access to one. They live with their three children Karl, 11, Gracie, 9, and August, 6, in a restored car dealership in Braddock with the family dog, Levi.

While  many politicians love to sound tough on the stump their actions are all too often driven by what wil lhelp them get re-elected.  Refreshingly, John Fetterman not only "talks the talk" he also "walks the walk".

March and April Maple Point Middle School Students of the Month

The Club recently honored two Maple Point Middle School 8th graderrs as its March and April Students-of-the-Month.  Along with a Certificate of Recognition, each student was presented with a $100 cash award.

As has been the case for the past year, these presentaiton were made privately at the students' homes instead of at one of our Club's monthly dinner meetings where our honored students and their families can be more publcly feted and recognized.

Julissa Pinilla – April Student-of-the-Month

Julissa with her proud mom, Jovanna Flores

Julissa shared the following about herself during the presentation

“My name is Julissa Pinilla and I am an eighth grader at Maple Point Middle School.  Throughout my time as a MP student, I have prided myself on maintaining honor roll each year and as a result have become part of the National Honor Society. 

I also take pride in being active in a wide range of school and out-of-school activities and enjoy reading very much.  I am on my school’s student council committee, have taken part in school plays and helped welcome new students through dances and interactive activities.  I have dedicated myself to a soccer team and had hoped to join my schools track team although Covid complications interfered.

I am also a social person.  Pre- Covid-19, I had volunteered and picked up some social skills at a local daycare.  I would like to spend some time volunteering at different places, such as the Bucks County Community Library.

One day, I hope to be admitted into an elite college like Yale, or ambitiously, Harvard, that will allow me to grow my voice on a debate team.”  


Caroline Rogers – March Student-of-the-Month

Caroline and her mom were thrilled at the presentation made by the Student Chair, Lou Hatfield.

Caroline and her family have enjoyed living in Langhorne for over twenty-four years.  When asked about her years at Maple Point, Caroline felt that what she found most valuable was the way the faculty and staff provided a welcoming environment and a supportive community. “The staff encourages us to focus on building strong relationships and teamwork, critical life skills.”

Caroline plans on a career in Recreational Therapy. She first became interested in this field by observing her mother, who is a nurse. To further explore her intended field of study, she will be taking a course in child development at Neshaminy High School next year. Caroline noted she “looks forward to helping people recover from challenges and live completely fulfilling lives. I have a deep passion for this field”.

A lifelong sports fan, Caroline has playing soccer since she was four. She played on Maple Point Middle School’s 7th grade basketball team. In addition, Caroline has already demonstrated her leadership skills by co-managing the young men's seventh grade team. As she put it, leading these teams “gave me an opportunity to push myself beyond just playing the sport. I really enjoy helping my peers improve their skills.” Caroline will also be volunteering her time to teach preschool children about the sport this Spring. 

Caroline has many diverse interests, ranging from her academic studies to managing sports teams to spending time with friends, loved ones, and her animals. She thrives on caring for others and helping them acquire the life skills they need.




Bob Morris Honored as Paul Harris Fellow

Club president Bob Morris became the second member of the Rotary Club of Shady Brook to be recognized as a Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow in the past three months. 

In order to qualify as a Paul Harris Fellow, a Rotarian is recognized when they have donated $1,000 or more at one time or over a period of years to the Rotary Foundation, Polio Plus, or other approved Foundation grants.

Bob grew up in Philadelphia, and is a U.S. Air Force veteran.  He had a distinguished, twenty-six-year career with the Philadelphia Police Department serving as a Police Officer, Sergeant, Lieutenant, Captain, Staff Inspector and retiring as a Police Inspector.  In a second career Bob was Chief of Police for Philadelphia’s United States Mint Police Force, retiring in 2004.

Throughout most of his career, Rotary has played a huge role in his life, first joining the Rotary Club of Northeast Philadelphia club in 1981.  He later became the club’s Speaker Chair, then club President in 1984-85 and followed that period as its Membership Chair.  After moving to the Villas at Shady Brook in Langhorne, Bob was the driving force behind the founding of the Rotary Club of Shady Brook and sand served two terms or its first President from 2006-2008.  In 2011 Bob was tapped as a District 7450 Assistant District Governor.  Things came full circle in 2020, when Bob became the club’s President for the second time while continuing to actively participate in the club’s many programs and activities.

The mission of The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International is to enable Rotarians to advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through the improvement of health, the support of education, and the alleviation of poverty; preventing disease, providing clean water, supporting education, growing local economies, saving mothers and children and promoting peace.  For as little as 60 cents, a child can be protected from polio, $50 can provide clean water to help fight waterborne illness and $500 can launch an antibullying campaign and create a safe environment for children.  Some of the Foundation’s monies are used as grants for local Rotary clubs.  In the case of the Rotary Club of Shady Brook, its grant monies have been used to help it continue its 12-year support of Philadelphia’s William Dick School.

Through its Polio Plus initiative, Rotary, as a founding partner of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, has played a major role in reducing worldwide polio cases by 99.9 percent since its first project to vaccinate children in the Philippines in 1979.  Rotary members have contributed more than $2.1 billion and countless volunteer hours to protect nearly 3 billion children in 122 countries from this paralyzing disease.  Rotary’s advocacy efforts have played a role in decisions by governments to contribute more than $10 billion to the effort.  Today, polio remains endemic only in Afghanistan and Pakistan.  But it’s crucial to continue working to keep other countries polio-free.  If all eradication efforts stopped today, within 10 years, polio could paralyze as many as 200,000 children each year.

Upon notification of his Paul Harris recognition, Bob was quoted, “I am proud to have joined so many Rotarians who have been recognized as Paul Harris Fellows, each of whose lives reflect Rotary’s motto of “Service Above Self”, through their contributions to Rotary’s local, domestic and international programs.”        

Congratulations, Bob

Local Rotarians Are Recipients to Rotary District 7450 Annual 2020 Governor’s Awards

The Rotary District 7450 has recognized four of Langhorne-based Rotary Club of Shady Brook’s Rotarians for their ongoing commitments to their club and Rotary’s motto of “Service Above Self” with its 2020 Governor’s Awards.

Irv Perlstein was honored for his tireless fundraising work, including collecting thousands of dollars outside local supermarkets to provide Thanksgiving and Christmas/Hanukah holidays meals for needy veterans and their families. Even the COVID pandemic did not slow him down, using his unique brand of salesmanship he remotely raised over $3,000.00 for the veterans and an equal amount for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  He also plays a vital role with the Club’s initiative to provide meals to residents of Astra Zeneca’s Hope Lodge and can be found participating in every one of the clubs many service and other programs to help others.

Alan Agree was the catalyst for the club’s involvement with Philadelphia’s inner-city William Dick School; located in a mostly minority neighborhood with 95% extreme poverty.  Through his efforts some $12,000 in grant monies have been obtained, other monies raised to help purchase badly needed supplies, more than $25,000 in in-kind donations, including computers, gym equipment and books for the library, and scheduling visits by club members who help students with reading and other skills.  Alan is an excellent fund raiser and works at flea markets to raise funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and chairs the club’s participating in annual Light the Night walk and coordinates the club’s Hope Lodge program.

 Bruce Klugman, is our Rotary Foundation Chair.  Bruce continually reaches or surpasses our fundraising goal for the Foundation each and every year.  The Rotary Foundation has been a leader in the worldwide initiative to rid the world of polio, which has been successful in all but three countries.  Through Bruce’s efforts, some of the Foundation’s monies are used to provide grant monies to local clubs, with nearly $12,000 having come back to the club for its programs in support of the William Dick School.

Dick Newbert, does it all. He is the club’s speaker chair and delivers with excellent and varied speakers for the club’s meetings.  He serves at its public relations director keeps the club’s and its achievements in the news, designed and manages the club’s website and coordinated a Virtual Walk fundraiser to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and A Woman’s Place domestic shelter in Doylestown during last summer’s pandemic shutdown.  He also works on many veterans causes, is one of our leading fundraisers and prepares promotional materials and flyers for the club’s charity efforts and participates in every one of the club’s many service projects.

Irv, Alan, Bruce and Dick would like to invite any people interested in giving back and helping to make their communities better places to work and live, to visit the Rotary Club of Shady Brook’s website, or plan to join us art one of our upcoming weekly meetings (check out our list of upcoming speakers) … virtually at th emoment via Zoom … but hopefully by late spring we we'll be meeting in-person again.

Eric and Donna Tobin Sharing their World Travels with Our Members

We were delighted to have Eric and Donna Tobin share some of their adventures traveling to more than fifty countries around the world.

Eric grew up in Massachusetts.  He graduated from Boston University and then attended graduate school at Arizona State and later graduated from Temple Law School in 1974.  After passing the bar, he took a position with the law firm of Eastburn and Gray PC in Doylestown and has been there ever since; where he specialized in real estate law, including zoning, large residential and Commercial developments. and transactional law.  

Today, he is semi-retired and only does pro bono work for charities and volunteer programs.  He is also no “official guide” for Doylestown, and with whom Irv and Wendy have taken a tour.

Donna graduated Simmons College and earned a Master’s Degree in English Education at Beaver College (now Arcadia University).  She taught middle school in Lower Moreland for five years and then began a twenty year career teaching English at Bucks County Community College.  Donna has also taught English at Delaware Valley College.  She also worked at Educational Testing Service in test development for many different programs for about 24 years.  

He and his wife started to travel odysseys in the US, taking trips when his youngest son was 5 years old.  In 1999, the began their international travels with a winter trip to Iceland. 

Among the many places they have visited, some on multiple occasions, are China, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia (Bali), South Africa, Bolivia, England, New Zealand, Australia, Norway, the Netherlands, India and Sri Lanka.

Eric and Donna have taken a few “tours” but generally have preferred to travel on their own.  Together, the do extensive planning before each of their trips.  One reason for their “solo” ventures is to have a better opportunity to meet people, partake of the foods and absorb the culture of each country they visit. 

Eric and Donn have often found themselves invited into people’s homes which they have been able to become even more immersed in the feel of the country.

They described some of the incredibly chaotic, impoverished and poverty-stricken areas in some places such as India.

I think each of us were envious of Eric and Donna for the incredible experiences they’ve been fortunate to enjoy … and appreciated their sharing some of them with us.

Welcome to Michelle Gramilovitz, Our New Assistant District Governor

We were delighted to welcome both Michelle Gramilovitz, former president of the Langhorne Rotary Club our new Assistant District Governor,

and her recently promoted predecessor, Chris Potter, to this morning’s meeting.

Michelle commented on how impresed she was at learning about our Club's many projects and initiatives,paying special attention to the WIlliam Dick School, veterans programs and our prior golf outings.

Much of the discussion then centered around the lack of cooperation on porjects between area clubs as well as the lack of Rotarians from one club participating in any of the activities of sister clubs … and how to possibly overcome this barrier. 

On a related matter, new member recruitment was also raised as a challenge our Club is facing, particularly diuring the COVID-19 pandemic and necessity to hold our meeting virtually via Zoom. Michelle suggested that we might contact teh Doylestown Club and inquire about their Rotaract club, from which potential new members might be recruited.

Alan asked about Grant training which Chris confirmed that this and other training would be available virtualy and on-line.

An exchange of views on the wisdom of holding a club-sponsored charity golf outing was discussed.

Our Club's Wiliam Dick School support is being proposed for a virtual presentaiton during an upcoming District Conference's House of Friendship session.

Michelle was congratulated on her new district role and the time she took visiting us today.



John McCoy of the Broomhall Rotary Club Talks on Rotoplast

We were pleased to welcome both John McCoy

and Seth Rosenberg from the Broomhall Rotary Club to our meeting this morning.

John provided us with an informative overview of Rotoplast (,

whose mission is to provide long time solutions by funding and coordinating surgical missions in developing countries; training and mentoring local physicians; launching public education projects; and advancing research.

Rotaplast International, Inc. was founded in 1992 by Dr. Angelo Capozzi

and the then Rotary Club President Peter Lagarias

in collaboration with the Rotary Club of San Francisco to facilitate a surgical program in La Serena, Chile to treat children with the cleft lip and palate anomaly who would otherwise not receive surgical intervention. This initial historic mission took place in January of 1993.

As a project of the Rotary Club of San Francisco, and for the first three years of its existence, Rotaplast completed one surgical mission a year. The following two years, Rotaplast completed two missions a year. In 1996, Rotaplast became a separate non-profit corporation and has since consistently expanded its number of annual missions. In February 2015, Rotaplast sent its 200th mission and to date has served over 17,000 children. Twenty-six countries have hosted Rotaplast teams, including Vietnam, Colombia, Chile, Argentina, Mexico, Venezuela, Bolivia, Peru, Guatemala, Ecuador, El Salvador, Romania, China, Ethiopia, India, Nepal, Brazil, Bangladesh, Mali, Togo, Liberia, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Tanzania, Myanmar and the Philippines. Hundreds of medical and non-medical volunteers who give their valuable time, and generous organizations such as hospitals and medical equipment companies which give supplies, account for the consistent success and expansion of Rotaplast missions.

Rotaplast would not exist without funding provided by partners. Although a San Francisco-based organization, Rotaplast works nationally and internationally by partnering with Rotary Clubs, other organizations, and individuals across the United States, Canada and mission sites. It provides a vehicle for medical professionals and non-medical volunteers to actively engage in projects that build international friendships and promote goodwill and understanding among the peoples of the world.

Highlights & Accomplishments


Rotaplast becomes a separate non-profit corporation.


Rotaplast expands missions from 2 to 4 per year and hires an Executive Director.


Rotaplast operates on its 1000th child in Cumana, Venezuela.


Rotaplast expands its core program to include genetic research.


Rotaplast establishes a Prevention and Treatment Center in Mendoza, Argentina.


Rotaplast begins working in Asia.


Rotaplast facilitates its first mission to India.


Rotaplast completes its 80th Mission and reaches over 8,000 children by year’s end.


Rotaplast expands to Africa with an inaugural mission to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.


Rotaplast operates on its 10,000th child in Cumana, Venezuela.


Rotaplast visits Nepal and Brazil for the first time in its history.


Rotaplast travels to Egypt for its first mission in the Middle East.


Rotaplast completes its 150th Mission, in Dessie, Ethiopia.


Rotaplast travels to Chittagong, Bangladesh for the first time.


Rotaplast operates on its 15,000th child on its first Mission to Bamako, Mali.


Rotaplast travels to Monrovia, Liberia and New Delhi, India for the first time.


Rotaplast travels to Sylhet, Bangladesh for the first time.


Rotaplast travels to Arusha, Tanzania for the first time.


Rotaplast travels to Naypyidaw, Myanmar for the first time.


Rotaplast completes its 225th Mission, in Naypyidaw, Myanmar.


Rotaplast travels to Narnaul, India for the first time.


Rotaplast travels to Luxor, Egypt for the first time.

Although many of our members had heard a presentation by Paul Quintavalla, another Broomhall Rotarian and former District 7450 Governor, John, despite not being able to share his presentation on our Zoom screen, provided some additional information we’d not heard before and also related some of his reflections on the Rotaplast 2018 mission to Monrovia, Liberia, in which he participated.

Fred Edelman was able to put an even more human face on cleft palates and cleft lips of us when he related that he was born with such an affliction and required several surgeries at Columbia University Hospital during his early childhood and subsequent elocution lessons as CCNY at the age of just 7.

Since 1999, Rotaplast International has been the District’s official committee for providers of reconstructive surgery of cleft lip and cleft palate for children. Their goal is to fund and participate in medical missions to underdeveloped countries where children cannot be helped otherwise. The District 7450 Rotaplast Committee was founded by District Governor Daniel Bronson and has conducted nearly twenty missions to third world nations every year since then.

Its outreach serves over twenty-six nations in Asia, Africa, South and Central America and Eastern Europe. The medical missions are requested by Rotary clubs in nations where free medical help is not available from the government or private organizations. Rotarians are the primary funding organization of Rotaplast. The Rotaplast family is comprised of over 400 Rotarian volunteers, 20 board members and 6 paid staff. It is recognized by Charity Navigator as a 4-star Charity; it’s highest rating.

Rotary volunteers are encouraged to participate in a mission. The medical teams include up to 19 medical volunteers and 10 Rotarians. No prior experience is required. Rotaplast provides training for volunteers to become mission directors, quartermasters, medical records keepers, sterilizers, photojournalists, interpreters, and other roles needed to assist in all aspects of a mission.

During John’s Liberia mission there were between 20-24 participants; 10-15 medical professionals and 6-8 Rotarian volunteers.  He emphasized that while not medically trained, the Rotarians are fully integrated in the effort and often have an opportunity to be in operating theater during surgery and able to witness even the most delicate procedures.

These are not “vacation” trips.  Among the regular and time-consuming jobs Rotarian volunteers undertake are ferrying patients to and from the operating rooms, cleansing and sterilizing the equipment and other important jobs to help the doctors and nurses.

Normally, the first day or two of a mission is taken up with interviewing and scheduling appointments.  Local Rotary Clubs and other organizations will have “advertised” the dates Rotoplast missions and set up initial screening appointments..  While cleft palates and lips are the primary operations performed, in Liberia a number of patients with out-of-control keloids and even a girl’s hand on which her fingers were fused together we addressed.

Once surgery begins, they try to operate from around 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM.  However, in some countries, such as Liberia, where the power is only on for a limited number of hours each day, schedules need to be modified accordingly. 

At the St. Joseph’s Hospital where his mission was operating, the power didn’t start up until 8:00 and went off at 6:00 PA.  During one surgery which was taking much longer than anticipated, it wasn’t until 7:00 PM before it was finished, requiring negotiating with the man in charge of the power switch to keep the lights and other electricity on.

John was frank to admit that the conditions at that hospital were poor, at best and the people on the mission had to bring nearly all of the equipment that they would require.

Patients and their parents (most of the patients are children) often have to travel great distances.  And while the medical procedures and services are free the patients and parents need to pay their own transportation.  The Mayor, upon learning that while the city had advertised the surgeries would be without costs, was influential in a local fund-raising to offset some of these transportation costs.

Apparently, the hotel John and his fellow Rotarians were staying at, while 5-star in Liberia (it had hot water, although unpredictable, spotty internet, toilet paper and even air conditioning, was a challenging place to live.  Of its 7 stories only the bottom four were finished … those above had no roof or windows.

As it was Monsoon season, it rains daily, although not all day.  However, the environment was a breeding ground for mold which was pervasive everywhere.

Some 65% of the country’s population still live in local villages.

While English is the official language of the country, the dialect spoken is nearly unintelligible to Americans and local translators are often essential.

Monrovia apparently has 9 traffic lights … but only 7 were actually working when John was there. 

As soon as we get our Zoom Share Screen capability straightened out, John will be invited back to share his presentation and photos with us.

Bob thanked John and Seth for their time and most information presentation.

Kaitlin Jeuch – Our Maple Point Middle School 2021 February Student-of-the-Month

Lou Hatfield, Student-of-the-Month Chair presented Kaitlin Jeuch with the Club's Maple Point Middle School Student-of-the-Month Certificate of Recognition and a $100 scholarship award for February 2021.

Kaitlin Jeuch

Kaitlin thanked the Club; "I am honored to have received this Student of the Month Award from the Shady Brook Rotary Club. I’d like to tell you a little bit about myself. I like math and science. I find them interesting and I like how there is a right answer while also being open ended sometimes. My hobbies include art and looking into psychology; they both really interest me. I do art both traditionally and digitally. It gives me a nice escape into my own reality. I can control where everything is, even how deep the shadows can be. It’s amazing! I’m interested in psychology because I like the concept of the human brain and therapy. I like how diagnosing mental illnesses works and how it is so much more complex than people think. I like taking time to look into symptoms and behaviors and being able to pinpoint an abstract topic into a category and how that process helps people. I don’t have an exact college plan, but I do know I want to be a therapist or guidance counselor."

Kaitin with parents Joanne and Dan Jeuch