Colonial Rotary Club finds way to keep service going

Dover High Interact adviser James Bailey, shown in the larger image on the screen, connects with Colonial Rotary Club members in an April 3 video conference. (Submitted photo/John Daliani)

DOVER – Alex Vaughan’s recent social media share was the familiar image of The Brady Bunch, but this one had a black square in the middle.

The caption: “Alice, turn your video on. No, it’s the button on the bottom. … Jan, you’re on mute. Unmute yourself.”

This is all part of the new world we’re in.

“Kinda like our first ever e-Rotary meeting,” joked Mr. Vaughan, president of Dover Colonial Rotary Club.

Colonial Rotary canceled its two final meetings in March due to the coronavirus concerns, but Mr. Vaughan decided to try a Zoom video conference for its April 3 meeting.

Mr. Vaughan said he was inspired by his wife Nancy who had been working on ways to connect with her students at Dover High in the new age of remote learning.

“It helped me understand how important it’s going to be in the near future for us to be able to connect and conduct business electronically,” he said.

Brendan Cook, president of the Interact Club that Colonial sponsors at Dover High, and James Bailey, the Interact adviser, were speakers. Mr. Cook presented a video and discussed the Interact Club’s year.

The online audience numbered 12, said Mr. Vaughan. There are about 27 members in the club.

Mr. Vaughan said the club canceled its meeting on Friday after learning about security concerns with Zoom.

He said they would continue working on a way to keep the meetings going until in-person meetings can resume. Also, he said they were exploring ways to connect with members who may be limited to just telephone call-ins.

“It’s not altogether a bad thing,” he said. “America has a way of coming back on the bright side of most any situation we run into.”

Mr. Vaughan mentioned the Rotary motto of “Service Above Self” and how it was important for members to remain productive.

As an example of how the clubs can have a big impact, he mentioned a district-wide effort to raise funds to purchase masks for local hospitals.

Colonial is one of 39 clubs, with a total of about 1,500 members, in Delaware and the Eastern Shore of Maryland in District 7630.

“That’s the kind of commitment that Rotary demonstrates consistently worldwide,” said Mr. Vaughan. “That’s one of the reasons why I want to stay engaged. Helping people is what we need to do.”

District governor Bill Ferguson, of Salisbury, said that clubs raised $16,000 in just a few days and have an order of 10,000 masks that should arrive next week.

“We raised more money than we needed for the 10,000, so we might be going back for a second order,” said Mr. Ferguson.

Multiple clubs had been putting together ideas to help others during the coronavirus crisis. It so happened that Bob Grill, a Rotarian from Easton, Maryland, reached out with a suggestion.

Mr. Grill runs a nonprofit charity called Disaster Aid USA and he had contacts that could help supply personal protection equipment. So, the Rotarians’ donations led to an order for CDC-approved respirator masks.

“There are still opportunities for you to serve your community,” said Mr. Ferguson. “You just need to go find them.”

Mr. Ferguson said he was on a call with 160 or more Rotary governors from Pennsylvania down to the Bahamas this past week and there were conversations about what local communities needed. One example was face shields.

“The Rotary way is you may not know how to do it, but someone within Rotary does,” Mr. Ferguson said. “You just have to ask the question to get you to the right person.”

Readers may remember a previous edition of “From the Editor” in which Mr. Vaughan discussed his experience as a polio survivor and the work Rotary does worldwide on polio eradication. Next year, he will be serving as an area governor.

Andrew West is executive editor of the Delaware State News.

Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

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