Oklahoma official ‘inspires, entertains’ MH Rotary Club members

Photo: (left to right) Assistant Governor Stewart Brunner, District Governor Jay Craig and Mountain Home Rotary Club President-elect Wes Wood. Photo: Courtesy Brenda Nelson, MH Rotary PR chair

The Rotary Club of Mountain Home was honored to host 2020-2021 District Governor (DG) Jay Craig from the Rotary Club of Bristow, Oklahoma, at its Oct. 22 meeting. Craig is a long-time dedicated Rotarian who both inspired and entertained the local members. “DG Jay” served in the Marine Corps for 20 years, played in Las Vegas clubs as a musician and magician, then got his Doctor of Chiropractic degree.

Craig, who serves the largest geographic district in the continental United States, discussed his visits and service to the 80 clubs in parts of Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri. Craig encouraged Rotarians in their giving to The Rotary Foundation (TRF), whose motto is “Doing Good in the World.” He told them TRF is ranked as one of the Top 5 charities in the world by Charity Navigator.

He also explained how donations to TRF have helped rid the planet of polio, through the “Polio Plus” program. Speaking just days before “World Polio Day” (Oct. 24), Craig paid tribute to the job Rotarians have done through their 35,000 clubs and 1.24 million global members to eradicate the deadly disease. In 1985 when the effort started, polio hadn’t been a problem in the United States since the 1950s, but it was still a killer and crippler of children worldwide. At that time, there were 1,000 new cases every day in the world. But, as of today, Rotary has eradicated 99.9% of cases globally, with only 126 total cases on the planet this year – in Afghanistan and Pakistan. So, as DG Jay told local members, “We’re this close” to eradicating polio;

Besides his address to the club, the district governor inducted Mark Hollingsworth as a new member, who was sponsored by Stewart Brunner.

Craig presented a Governor’s Award to the MH club, which was accepted by President-elect Wes Wood, in the absence of President Renae Schocke. DG Jay gave a “Paul Harris Fellow Plus One” pin to past president Kriss Yunker. He thanked all the members who have given to TRF to become Paul Harris Fellows – and showed his gratitude to the many major donors from the club. DG Craig paid tribute to Larry Nelson for his nearly 50 years of serving the community and district through the MH Rotary Club.

There were several guests, including Tracy Hatfield, Amber Henry and Stephanie Walker. Wood reminded the members about the board of directors election on Dec. 11 and suggested candidates get in touch with any board member to get their names on the ballot.

Wood also said the annual Rotary Pancake Day is set for Saturday from 7-11 at Mountain Home High School, but this year it will be either carry-out or curbside service only due to COVID-19 guidelines. Tickets are available from any Rotarian or at the door on Saturday.

Proceeds from the club’s only fundraiser allows members to do their many programs and projects throughout the year – local college scholarships; classes on leadership and the dangers of methamphetamine in area schools; dictionaries to 400 grade school students in three counties; working with the Baxter Concert Series in Mountain Home this past summer; as well as other local activities.

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