Rotary of Craig serves in and outside the community
At its most visible, the Rotary Club of Craig decorates the city with American flags down Victory Way for nine holidays per year.
The club contributes to Craig and places all over the world in many other ways, dedicating its time to service in whatever way possible.
That outreach through Rotary International, which has clubs all over the world, was what made Rotary a special group to Craig member Randy Looper.
“The thing that makes it different from any other organization is that we have the ability to do projects in any country without dealing with governments,” Looper said. “A lot of clubs in town do great stuff like the stuff we do in town. But what makes rotary special to me is that international aspect.”
Most recently, Rotary of Craig got involved with a school improvement project in Turkey. The club donated $1,000 to the project, which was in turn matched by other Rotary groups, creating an $85,000 sum for the school.
“A little club of 18-20 people in Craig could never complete a $200,000 project,” said Rotary member Len Browning. “But through other clubs with Rotary, we can be involved and help with a project.”
Both Browning and Looper added that the ability to be involved beyond simply giving money is especially rewarding. During the school project Looper was able to communicate and collaborate via video chatting with fellow Rotarians on site, making it a more personal experience.
“It can be any type of project,” he said. “We’ve done well projects, we’ve done fever-related projects and polio projects.”
Eradicating polio has been a major undertaking for Rotary. At the most recent count, the disease had been eliminated from hundreds of countries around the world to just three.
Locally Rotary of Craig has focused its efforts on literacy among youth. It sponsors Book Buddies, Passport to Reading and gives dictionaries to third graders.
“It’s an area that needs tremendous help,” Looper said. “With budget cuts that are still happening. It’s fun to go into that classroom and meet them too. I’ve had kids see me on the street a couple years after being there and reading with them and they remember me.”
The Craig group is small but dedicated, getting contributions from all its membership on nearly everything it does in serving the community, the nation and the world.
“We win awards within our district because we have often the highest percentage of attendance and highest percentage of giving to national foundation,” Browning said. “You get into a larger club and it gets into 80-20 rule, where 80 percent of the work is done by 20 percent of the people. Our club gets it from everybody.”
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