Polio Plus

Les Anderson, who had polio at the age of 18, inspired the Elk River Rotary Club to contribute thousands of dollars to Rotary International’s Polio Plus campaign to eradicate polio in the world.

By telling his story to the local club and neighboring clubs, Anderson helped raise money for Polio Plus.

At one Rotary Club meeting, Anderson told about his bout with polio, a story which so inspired the club, it donated $1,500 to Polio Plus.

He wrote a book about his experiences with polio as a teen-age farm boy and donated most of the proceeds to Polio Plus.

This year the Elk River Rotary Club has contributed $1,000 to Polio Plus to help the Rotary District 5960 meet the pledge of matching $70,000. This is part of the Rotary International’s pledge to match a $100 million challenge from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Rotary International has spent $700 million to eliminate polio in 125 countries since 1985 when it partnered with the World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the United Nations Children’s Fund.

The four countries still having polio cases are India, Pakistan, Nigeria and Afghanistan.

Anderson, who died last year, was proud of his perfect attendance at Rotary meetings for 26 years, until he became ill. For years he was the leading seller of tickets for Rotary events.

His volunteer work in Rotary merited the Paul Harris Fellowship Award.

Adopt a River

Since 1994, Elk River Rotarians annually have been cleaning up a stretch of the Elk River.

Tom McNair chairs this Adopt A River program, a project of the Department of Natural Resources.

Over the years, Rotarians have collected 5,000 pounds of waster material from the shallow river and its banks in canoes and duck boats. They’ve pulled out tires, 55-gallon drums, spools, bikes, fishing rods, camp stools and toys

They pile the “stuff” on a lot behind Main Street from where the City Street and Park Department, under Phil Hals, dispose of the junk.

“We’ve had great cooperation from that department,” said McNair.

During year 2005, Rotarian's collected 4,000 pounds of junk.

McNair said some Rotary members who have kept the river clean for many years

include Jeff Gongoll, Bruce Tyler, Lynn Caswell, Deb Urista, Cathy McManus and Cathy Mehelich.

because “Doing things for others is as good a thing as you can do.”