Rotary International President Visits St. Croix

The four Rotary Clubs on St. Croix welcomed Rotary International President Barry Rassin on a visit to celebrate the clubs’ anniversaries.

Rassin’s visit was the first to the islad for a sitting president of the humanitarian service organization. He has visited the territory in the past, and he has made many friendships, said Nina York, public relations officer of the Mid-Isle Rotary Club. Rassin was Rotary District 7020 governor on his previous visit to the island.

Rotary Club of St. Croix marks its 60th anniversary this year, Rotary Club of St. Croix West 50, Rotary Club of St. Croix Mid-Isle is 30, and St. Croix Harborside celebrates 22 years.

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“Our island has 80 members of the 1.2 million Rotarian families all over the world and we are proud,” York said. “Rassin is from Nassau in the Bahamas, part of the same District 7020 as we. He and his wife Esther traveled here with the new governor, Dr. Patrick Adizua, and his wife Lesline, both from Mandeville, Jamaica.”

On Monday, Rassin spoke at the Rotary West Club about the Rotary Youth Clubs, which boast 700,000 high school and university students and young professionals in many parts of the world.

“As Rotarians, we do good things for people,” he said. “Afghanistan and Pakistan are the only two countries left with incidences of polio. Rotary has been vigilant for over 30 years, and we have immunized over 250 million children, which cost over $4 billion.”

Rassin said Rotarian humanitarian and peace projects and activities are worldwide.

“We also work with projects that bring fresh, clean portable water to communities to help disease prevention,” he said.

“I came to St. Croix because I wanted to thank all the Rotarians for the great work they do right here in their home, making it a better place. With all the horrors of the hurricanes, with all of the needs you still have, Rotary is resilient, Rotary is persistent. You folks here are doing a great job to work with the government, to help communities go in the right direction so we can get back to where we need to be,” said Rassin.

“Rotary thinks the impossible dream is possible,” Rassin continued. “I can see some of those right here in Frederiksted – the community gardens coming to light where individuals can grow their own and grow enough to become entrepreneurs. We are doing some things here that are unique.”

In response to a guest at the gathering who asked where he had visited while on St. Croix, Rassin said, “We visited the Juan F. Luis Hospital where Rotary had provided a major donation of defibrillators. Being a hospital administrator, I have a special place in my heart when I visit hospitals, seeing the care being given to patients.”

Rassin, Adizua and their wives visited a playground and viewed plantings of public park areas and other Rotary signature projects.

Another guest asked how Rotary on St. Croix differed from Rotary in other parts

“The needs in each local community might be different, but the way we help is the same. What we do is transparent. We’re accountable for each dollar we raise,” he said.

Rotary Clubs planned the president and governor’s three-day visit as an encouragement and evaluation of the progress of recovery since the island was hit by hurricanes Irma and Maria.

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