Dear Rotarians, dearest Friends,
Good evening to All and welcome to our 4th Regular Meeting for RY 2018-2019.
It has been an exciting fortnight for our Club. Last Thursday August 16 PP JT Tionko and I flew to Kalibo to join RC Metro Kalibo for their Turnover ceremony and, perhaps most importantly, to be welcomed as their Sister Club. The whole day was graced by the presence of DG Lindon “Don” See Diet from District 3850, a remarkable man of humility, wisdom and fun.
RC Kalibo is our first Sister Club from the Visayas and our friendship with them starts on a strong platform: our official collaboration on Project W.A.L.K., a project to donate prosthetic legs to young girls and boys across the Philippines and, with them, improve their quality of life, their self-confidence, their ability to keep dreaming about the future.
Now in its tenth year of operation, Project W.A.L.K. is the brainchild of PP Eduardo “Ed” Escaño from RC Forbes Park, also our Sister Club, and PP Melrose “Megs” Lunn from RC Kalibo. While helping a flooding-stricken community in Aklan, PP Ed met Arnel Ropero, a boy who was born without legs and whose silent struggle and courage inspired him to help his cause. Arnel was flown to Manila to the Philippine General Hospital, assessed by their prosthetic labs and fitted with prosthetic limbs.
From Arnel to the present, Project W.A.L.K. has changed the lives of more than 20 young people across the Philippines, including that of Ricky Molo, an extraordinary man, artist and Past President of RC Metro Kalibo, and Edwin Villanueva, a Paralympic swimmer who will compete at the Asian Para Games in Jakarta this coming October.
Project W.A.L.K. has so far being entirely funded by RC Forbes Park and RC Metro Kalibo with the collaboration of institutions such as PAL Foundation. Much can be still done to extend the scale and reach of the project and change the life or even more young Filipinos.
A big thank is extended to PP JT Tionko, whose encounter with PP Megs at the RC Forbes Park Turnover ceremony sparked interest in the project and gained our Club a new small army of fantastic, motivated and laid-back friends from the upper tip of the Visayas!
In other news, our Governor’s Visit has been postponed to Tuesday October 2 evening, from Monday October 1. PP Megs and PP Ricky from Kalibo have pledged their participation and it is our strong desire to be joined by PP Ed from Forbes Park: having Representatives from all Clubs involved in Project W.A.L.K. will give DG Bing Garcia the strongest possible signal on the importance and potential of this project and may lead to funding initiatives taken at the District (3860) level.
If you will forgive me the metaphor, this project already has legs. With our participation, I do look forward to see it fly!
Yours in Rotary,
Giovanni “Vanni” Torelli
President, RY 2018-19