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Rotarians Donate $100,000 for Healing Garden

Feb. 24, 2004 – When a community and a cause come together wonderful things can happen.
That's what happened Thursday when the Rotary Club of St. Thomas handed over a $100,000 check to Rodney Miller, Roy L Schneider Hospital chief executive officer. The check is for a healing garden at the hospital's soon to be finished Charlotte Kimelman Cancer Institute.
Miller accepted the check with something like a mile-wide grin. "When the hospital and the community work together, miracles can happen," he told Rotarians at their weekly luncheon.
The $100,000 had significance for Rotary members, as well. Rotary worldwide is celebrating its 100th anniversary this month. The donation represents this Rotary Club's centennial project. Rotary was established on St. Thomas in 1957.
Posing before an enormous black and white symbolic check, Miller promised the group, "You will have a world-class garden."
Miller said, "It is truly a healing garden where family members can talk with one another in privacy and peace." Miller said soft music would be piped in as well. The Institute is scheduled for completion this summer.
Architectural drawings from Stanley, Beaman and Sears show a rambling, aesthetically pleasing area filled with flowering plants, a reflecting pool, shaded walkways, covered areas and benches where patients and visitors can spend time together.
The check was presented to Miller by Don Chandler, club president, and Jim Tunick., past president. Talking later, Miller congratulated Tunick on his fund-raising efforts. "I am so pleased that Rotary decided to make the healing garden its centennial project," he said. " It is a major part of the institute, and a major part of the healing process."
On the wall behind the speaker's podium was a large poster charting the growth of the donations, with a kind of thermometer marking off dollar amounts. In the center of the poster a vine grows, and sprouting from the vine are red flowers, each representing an individual donation. The vine is weighted down with those flowers.
Tunick said the effort started about two and a half years ago, so it would cover three taxable years in which to make donations. "It seemed an unattainable amount at first," he said, "but people have been generous." Would it be fair to say Tunick shepherded the project through? Tunick smiled, "Well," he said, "lets say I had lots of good sheep with me."
The community has been solidly behind the institute with fund-raising telethons, an annual cancer relay race and, most recently, a video by Elliot MacIver Davis, also a Rotarian, which he is distributing in a unique fund-raising effort. (See "Cancer Institute Would Give Victims Gift of Time").

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