DGE Kirk Driskell once told me when I mentioned we were having to think out of the box, that in these unprecedented times, there “is no box”. That being said, the Rotary Club of Americus has found itself working on creative ways to engage our members, as well as, how to serve our community (which is just over 30 miles north of one of the major COVID-19 hot spots) while working within the CDC guidelines.
We had to step back and punt, so to speak, and work on a platform that would allow us to conduct meetings online and give potential program speakers to take control of the screen as needed. Moving to a WebEx platform, our initial online meeting was attended by a dozen or so, but participation has steadily climbed with each week.
We are so grateful to our club members who have adapted to this new normal. It is so encouraging to get online prior to the meeting for a time of catch up and fellowship. Additionally, we continually seek opportunities to serve our community in a restrictive environment.
We are fortunate to have members of our club who serve on the front lines of the pandemic. One being Brandi Lunneborg, CEO of Phoebe Sumter Medical Center. Brandi mentioned a need for activity books for patients of the hospital who were confined to their rooms. The hospital had put a restriction on visitors during the crisis so many patients were alone, could not have visitors and needed something to help pass the time until they could be discharged. The same was needed for residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities in our communities. So many of our elderly could not visit with family and the facilities were locked down out of an abundance of caution for the most vulnerable.
Prior to the “shelter in place” order, the Rotary Club of Americus purchased nearly 300 puzzle books and distributed them to Phoebe Sumter Medical Center, Magnolia Manor Nursing Home, Perfect Care Nursing Home, Innovative Senior Solutions and Sumter Retirement Village. Additionally, the club provided lunch to the members of the Air Evac Flight team responsible for assisting our hospital with critical care patient transportation.
While it hasn’t been “business as usual” for the Rotary Club of Americus, we have been amazed by the creativity of Rotarians and the ongoing commitment to be a light in the world and to serve above self. It’s an incredible time to be part of Rotary!