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Rotary aids Crutches 4 Africa
RUMFORD- The local Rumford Rotary club devotes much of their time to raising funds for several community projects. Not only do they serve their surrounding communities, but their service goes well-beyond national borders.
Examples of their local contributions are the Green Church food pantry, River Valley Healthy Communities Coalition summer camp scholarships, weatherization of local homes and the local literacy project, as well as many others.
On the national and international levels, they have donated to help build a Guatemalan playground, assisted victims of Hurricane Katrina and the September 11 attacks in New York City, as well as their most current project, Crutches 4 Africa.
Crutches 4 Africa is an organization that collects mobility devices (crutches, canes, walkers and
wheelchairs) for people in Africa. David Talbot, a Rotarian from Colorado and polio survivor started and runs the organization.
Rich Allen of Franklin Savings Bank is the president of Rotary and noted, “Crutches 4 Africa is a district sponsored international project that caught my eye when I was at President Elect Training. I have had this on my radar to kick off, but due to all of the changes that I have been putting the club through, I needed to wait.”
“Timing was right when the district chair, Dennis Robillarde offered to come speak to the club about this project. I was able to recruit Bill Gates and Brenda Gammon to co-chair the committee and Joe Sirois made a call to the free store and between the free store and what he had at the Hope Association, we were able to kick off the project with an astounding initial donation.”
“I think this project is a very worthwhile humanitarian effort to provide mobility devices for the less privileged. I think it compliments our efforts to eradicate polio from the world. On one hand we are advancing the goal of eliminating this dreadful disease while at the same time providing some dignity and mobility for those already afflicted.”
The Rotary recently received a second donation from a Farmington resident to get their club off and running with collections.
Eddie Naples of Region 9 truck driving donated his time to go pick up the mobility devices with the help of rotarians Catherine Johnson of the Hope Association, Bill Gates of Professional Vehicle Corp., Brenda Gammon of Region 9 and newest member Dan Frazel of Big Daddy's Buff n Wax.
Local collection sites for anyone wishing to donate their unused mobility devices are the Victorian Villa in Canton, Wal-Mart, Rumford Group Homes, Rumford Hospital, Riverside Realty, and Northern Oxford Regional Solid Waste facility.
“It doesn't matter if you have parts or the whole device,” noted Gates. “We will take whatever you have and fix up other items with those parts. We'll even take old, unused wheel chairs.”
For further information on the worldwide project, visit www.crutches4africa.org.