FLORENCE – Rotary District 7770 Gov. Robert G. “Bob” Gross is urging Rotarians to give of themselves to exemplify Rotary’s motto of “Service above Self.”
He spoke to the Florence Rotary Club on Monday at Victors. The theme for this year’s Rotary Clubs is “Imagine Rotary.”
“Imagine a world without polio. Imagine a world with clean water for everyone. Imagine a world free of disease. Imagine a world where every child learns to read. Imagine kindness, hope, love and peace. He said these are what the first female president of Rotary International Jennifer Jones wants Rotarians to imagine.
“Service is our core value, Gross said. Expand your horizons and get involved and you will help change the world.”
Among the areas Rotary project focus on are child healthcare, basic education and literacy, economic and community development and supporting the environment.
Rotary’s No. 1 activity is polio. Gross said Rotary’s main focus is the eradication of polio.
Most people think polio is someone else’ problem, Gross said.
At recent count there are 20 cases of wild polio in the world and about 200 cases of vaccine-related polio, he said.
One case of polio has been confirmed in the United States in New York, he said. It is a man in his 20s who just came back from Europe. It is in a community that doesn’t believe in vaccination. It is out there, he said.
“It is very important to get vaccinated,” Gross said.
Rotarians have contributed $2.6 billion to eradicate polio and have spent endless volunteer hours.
This has been a very successful program, he said.
“We have partnered with the World Health Organization, the National Institute of Health and the Gates Foundation, and the Gates will match all our donations 2-fo-1, Gross said. “Since 1985 we have vaccinated over three billion people.”
Another focus of Rotary is clean drinking water for all. Rotary helps pipe clean water to remote villages around the world.
Gross said 3.6 million people in the world die from waterborne illnesses. He said this is something the world is suffering from. Every 15 seconds a child dies from a waterborne illness.
Rotary disaster relief is helping many people impacted by natural disasters and conflicts.
Gross is asking each club in the district to contribute $1,000 toward the ShelterBox USA project.
ShelterBox USA is a charitable organization that provides emergency disaster relief to displaced families around the world due to natural disasters and conflicts.
The international organization was started in 2000 by a Rotary Club in England. Since then, it has become one of the largest Rotary Club projects in the world in countries across the globe. It has helped approximately 2 million people following more than 300 disasters. Containers are filled with items such as tents, cookware, solar lights, water purification units, mosquito nets, nylon rope, repair items, clothing, masks, tools and other items.
Gross is a member of the Sea Island Rotary Club in Beaufort. He has been a Rotarian for 27 years, and was the Sea Island Rotary Club president in 2006-2007. He has held many positions in District 7770 including assistant governor for Area 5 and District Grants chair from 2014-2020. He is a 10-Star Rotarian, Paul Harris Fellow, and a member of the Paul Harris Society. He has visited Rotary Clubs in 10 countries and has attended seven Rotary International Conventions.
Since becoming district governor in July, he has visited 43 Rotary Clubs in District 7770. He said it has been amazing so far. He said each of the clubs is different, but they all have projects they work on.
Gross was raised in Rock Hill, where he met his wife of 52 years. He is a graduate of the University of South Carolina with a major in chemical engineering. He has spent his working career in the water industry.
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