What is Perseverance? I suspect every Rotarian understands this word at its core, because it means sticking with things. It means being hardworking and finishing what is started, despite barriers and obstacles that arise. While the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Rotary clubs around the world continue to persevere in challenges like child health and safety, education, and peace and conflict resolution. In that spirit, I’d like to challenge each and every member of our club to continue persevering in the work we do collectively to help people here in Northern Thailand achieve stability, good health, peace and happiness.
The Chiang Mai International Rotary Club celebrated its 8th birthday on February 21. From my perspective, the past twelve months certainly were another incredible year. Even though we had to operate in the absence of many dedicated club members because of COVID restrictions, we came back strong and achieved exemplary results. I want to express my sincere appreciation to all of our members both near and far, who selflessly helped us grow, evolve, and thrive in our efforts to support the Chiang Mai community. Our heartfelt thanks to our donors, project partners, and friends for their continuous support. We couldn’t have done it without you!
On February 15, District 3360 Governor Jirayuth Hirunyawat and Rotary Ann Kritikarn Hirunyawat visited CMIRC. They attended the CMIRC Board meeting first. The Board of the Chiang Mai International Rotary Club reported on our achievements in Rotary Year 2021-2022. Following the Board meeting, we treated the power couple to a delicious finger food buffet catered by Pern’s Foods. The evening continued with CMIRC’s regular meeting where DG Jirayuth spoke about the work District 3360 continues to do in supporting Rotary’s Seven Areas of Focus.
A highlight of the evening was DG Jirayuth inducting Khun Phijitra Schorr (above, far right) as an Honorary Member into the Chiang Mai International Rotary Club. Rotarian Phijitra Schorr has been organizing and supporting our School Vision Screening Project (since inception), fundraising events, and so much more. This Honorary Membership is given to recognize true leaders in our community and was long overdue.
Every year, Charter President Roger Lindley selects one to two club members who embody the Rotary ideal of “Service Above Self” for the Paul Harris Fellow Award. The Paul Harris Fellow (named after Rotary Founder Paul Harris) is one of Rotary’s highest awards. The recognition acknowledges individuals who have made tangible and significant service contributions to their Rotary Club and community. This year, two individuals who champion some of the noblest projects of CMIRC that lift the spirits of sick children earned the recognition. On behalf of the Chiang Mai International Rotary Club, I would like to congratulate Nick Dale and Bill Pierce for joining the group of Paul Harris Fellows! As you may know, Secretary Nick is at the forefront of the Teddy Trekkers Initiative, and Bill Pierce is the Project Champion for the Burma Children Medical Fund’s B.K. Kee Patient House. It was a special honour to be recognized by the District Governor, and this took a lot of work from Roger to keep this secret for so long since the DG’s visit was delayed several times because of COVID.
Upon concluding the night, the Chiang Mai International Rotary Club gifted DG Jirayuth a Teddy Trekker wearing a T-shirt with our club’s logo. B.K. House patients decorated the gift bag. We wanted to give the District Governor a true token of what the Chiang Mai International Rotary Club focuses on - child safety, health, and education in Northern Thailand.
In other news, Rotarian Bill and Nicha Trempus continued to work on the CMIRC “Free Food For The Poor” Initiative. (Part of February's donation is pictured, above.)
Club Secretary and Project Champion, Nick Dale, kept working on our “Teddy Trekkers” Initiative and has successfully gotten more teddies into the arms of their new owners.
Patients at the Burma Children Medical Fund’s B.K. Kee Patient House celebrated Chinese New Year.
What’s more, CMIRC has made some progress with the School Vision Screening Project too.
The Children’s Winter Clothing Appeal Project has wrapped up this year’s program. We distributed donations to 17 remote, hard-to-access locations in eight Northern provinces. In addition, the Burma Children Medical Fund delivered warm clothes on our behalf to newly displaced refugees in Mae Sot, Tak.
Charter President Roger Lindley, Treasurer Nancy Lindley, Sergeant-at-Arms Bill Pierce, and Rotarian Bill Trempus continued their work on the CMIRC foundation. It’s coming!
At present, the COVID-19 vaccination rate in Thailand is over 70.8%, which puts us well above the world average at 55.4% and higher than the United States at 64.9%. We are following the COVID-19 guidelines by the Chiang Mai government and continuously evaluating the situation to see whether CMIRC should hold its meetings in person or on ZOOM in March.