Throughout the world, as you enter most towns, you see a gold and blue wheel announcing where the local Rotary Club meets.
Rotary is a 106-year-old organization devoted to world peace and improvement of the human condition with more than 1.25 million members in more than 200 countries. It has worked to eliminate polio; there were fewer than a dozen new cases last year. Rotarians are now tackling clean water problems as well as life-threatening diseases throughout the world.
Marin County can be justly proud that more than a few of these now world-accepted, recognized programs were created and instituted here.
Rotary International probably has the fewest number of paid employees of any charitable organization in the world, with the lowest possible overhead: a lesson to other “do good” nonprofits.
In Marin, the more than dozen Rotary Clubs have created and instituted more than one worldwide program including the repair of clef plates and split lips, and they have spear-headed the inexpensive manufacture of wheeled chairs in poverty-stricken nations.
Our own Dr. Peter Bretan, a former professor of urology at UC San Francisco and now a professor at Touro University Medical School in Vallejo, created a project through the Rotary Club of Novato, that all Marin residents can be justly proud. He brings Rotarians — all on their own nickel — to the Philippines, where he has taught local surgeons how to do kidney transplants. These doctors are now saving many lives in their own countries.
As with all good, unselfish things, huge dividends can now be shared by all Marin residents.
Now through Dr. Bretan’s leadership, his latest creation, LifePlant Disaster Preparedness, his efforts are establishing in Marin County an organization which trains physician volunteers in the importance of volunteerism, as well as disaster preparedness for the tragedy that is bound to happen when the Earth decides it is going to move and move it shall.
Dr. Bretan, also president of the Marin Medical Society, introduced to the California Medical Association a resolution at its October meeting using the Novato Rotary Club’s sponsored outlined plan that Dr. Bretan created. LifePlant should serve as a template for all of California.
We are truly blessed to have many, many fine physicians here, as well as an abundance of truly concerned neighbor-citizens, but when we turn the lights off tonight, we can rest a bit easier knowing that Rotarians and just plain folk like Dr. Bretan, are applying their talents for the safety and comfort of us all.