‘Rotary Day’ promotes polio prevention

Rotary Club of Arlington President Linda Byrnes touts the Rotary Foundation’s PolioPlus program during the Feb. 19 City Council meeting. - Kirk Boxleitner
Rotary Club of Arlington President Linda Byrnes touts the Rotary Foundation’s PolioPlus program during the Feb. 19 City Council meeting.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

ARLINGTON — The city of Arlington proclaimed Feb. 23, 2013, as “Rotary Day” during the City Council’s Feb. 19 meeting, in recognition of its numerous community service projects within the state of Washington, across the nation and around the world, as Rotary Club of Arlington members touted an upcoming event to benefit one of the Rotary’s most notable causes.

“I’ve hosted exchange students through Rotary and I still get postcards from them, even though some of them attended the old Arlington High School,” said City Council member Marilyn Oertle, serving as mayor pro tem in Mayor Barbara Tolbert’s absence that evening. “Rotary also recently matched the Arlington Arts Council’s funds for the ‘Sound Garden’ in Legion Park.”

An average of 7,000 secondary-school students each year experience life in another country through Rotary’s Youth Exchange program, while an estimated 40,000 students from 130 countries have studied abroad since 1947 as Rotary Ambassadorial Scholars, and Rotary’s Group Study Exchange program has helped more than 67,000 young professionals explore their career fields in other countries.

While Rotary has also contributed nearly $1.2 billion and “countless volunteer hours to the protection” of more than two billion children in 122 countries, according to the proclamation read aloud by Arlington Assistant City Administrator Kristin Banfield, local Rotary members were looking to spotlight another of their programs that evening.

Rotary Club of Arlington President Linda Byrnes, herself a former City Council member, acknowledged the vital role that local governments play in making Rotary projects possible, and acknowledged that Rotary International had asked municipalities throughout America and Canada to proclaim the “Rotary Day” to draw attention to the Rotary Foundation’s PolioPlus program, launched in 1985. Since then, Rotary has spearheaded efforts with the World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and UNICEF to immunize the children of the world against polio, and polio cases have dropped by 99 percent since 1988.

“This January marked a first in the history of mankind,” Byrnes said. “It was the first month ever without a new case of polio. On Feb. 6, a 14-month-old child in Pakistan was diagnosed, but we are so close to wiping out polio forever. We’ve saved the lives of thousands of children already and we have to keep going until we’re done.”

To that end, Rotary Club of Arlington members Lee Harman and Ron Love are coordinating the return of the “Music in the ManCave” event to help support PolioPlus.

March 2 will mark the third “Music in the ManCave” event. The previous two such events raised more than $78,000 for Rotary’s PolioPlus program.

“Jazz in the ManCave” will run between 5:30-9:30 p.m. on March 2 in Harman’s hangar at the Arlington Municipal Airport, located at Suite C of 17415 51st Ave. NE in Arlington.

“Anyone who’s ever played poker in Lee’s hangar knows you could eat off the floor,” Love said as he distributed fliers for the event at the City Council meeting. “We’re asking people to bring food enough for themselves and others, and at the end of the evening if you could write a check for whatever you can afford that’d be great, whether it’s $10, $20 or $2 million. Last year alone we raised about $27,000.”

Further details can be found at the website, which features a flyer that everyone is welcome to print and share. “Music in the ManCave” is also on Facebook at


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