With reporting from the Rotary History Committee in 1994

In a town where so many people travel the world, it’s no surprise that Boulder Rotary has accomplished so many international projects.

Our World Community Service Committee began in the Rotary year of 1976-77, starting “with care, to avoid mistakes, and with relatively small contributions,” supporting an eye camp and hospital respirators in India, furnishing an orphanage in Nepal, and helping to repair an earthquake-damaged school in Chile.

During the 1980s the projects were “more ambitious and demanded more commitment from club members,” such as sending used medical and dental equipment to the Mexico City hospitals after an earthquake.

The 1990s included the start of the Mante medical mission, a joint project of Boulder Community Health, First Presbyterian Church, and Boulder Rotary, treating 6,000 patients a week for two weeks each year for 20 years in the isolated and impoverished community. Also:

  • Norris Hermsmeyer helped start the first Rotary Club in Tajikistan, as well as Sister City projects there in Dushanbe.
  • Pete Steinhauer, who served in Vietnam, began the Friendship Bridge project, returning many times with medical equipment and training, and bringing Vietnamese doctors here for training.
  • Dick and Jean Bedell have spent many years volunteering in India, working on polio immunization, senior care, hospice care, and arm and leg prostheses.

Other recent projects led by our Rotarians:

  • Jon and Lenna Kottke have improved water and sanitation in Nicaragua.
  • Darryl Brown helped to feed orphaned children in Kenya and keep them in school.
  • Marika Meertens and the New Generations Rotary Club helped start Visionaria, now a successful nonprofit, to teach leadership skills to young Andean women.

There are many, many others. Boulder Rotary’s Service Above Self changes lives locally and globally, and that is one of the reasons we love it.