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Rotary to organize help for Haiti

August 30, 2012
By Melissa Toothman Staff Writer ( , The Inter-Mountain

Buckhannon Rotary members heard this week about how Rotary clubs raised money to help rebuild schools in Sri Lanka following the tsunami that struck on Dec. 26, 2004.

Marty Kelley, international chair of the Buckhannon Rotary, presented a slideshow of those Rotary efforts during Tuesday's meeting in Buckhannon, and she said times like that make her proud to be a Rotarian.

According to information collected by Rotarian Rich Clemens from the Rotary International website, the tsunami destroyed 187 coastal schools, and 62 Rotary clubs in Sri Lanka responded by raising $12 million toward rebuilding 25 coastal schools. The tsunami claimed nearly 230,000 lives in 11 countries, according to the information he collected.

Article Photos

The Inter-Mountain photo by Melissa Toothman
Marty Kelley, international chair, presents a video this week in Buckhannon about the 2004 tsunami, its aftermath and the efforts of Rotary clubs to help rebuild schools in Sri Lanka after the disaster. She also introduced the possibility of the Buckhannon Rotary teaming up with other clubs to assist in Haiti after Tropical Storm Isaac.

The video showed construction of some of the schools Rotary clubs helped to rebuild and told the story of a young girl who was able to graduate from one of the schools as a result.

"It's nice to live in West Virginia, because we don't have very many natural disasters or wars or things like that ... but the rest of the world can really suffer," Kelley said.

She said Tropical Storm Isaac swept through Haiti this week, leaving it "quite a mess." She has three projects related to helping after the storm in Haiti, which she plans to work on in the next few months. She said she'd like to get a team together that will actually go to Haiti and perform volunteer work.

"I'll have to partner with other clubs to do that," Kelley said.

She said being the international chair is one of her favorite parts about Rotary.

"It means that we are a part of a much, much bigger group. ... I'm very happy and very proud to be a part of that," she said. "The international aspect of Rotary is just a real, real joy."



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