It’s nearly 2,000 miles between Homewood and Jacmel, Haiti – a community on that island nation’s south coast – but contributions by the Homewood Rotary Club have helped bridge the distance.
Speaking at Wednesday’s Rotary meeting, Jacmel resident Jean Claude Pierre thanked club members while stressing the importance of perseverance. Pierre is a pastor who is working to improve conditions in Haiti.
The club has raised thousands of dollars to bring relief to the people of Jacmel. Homewood Rotary has also completed a water project to ensure that local residents have access to clean drinking water.
In addition, each year the club supports local students so they can attend school, have a school uniform and receive a nutritious meal.
Pierre said he’s very thankful to know a group of people who are so willing to help others.
Challenges in Haiti, one of the Western Hemisphere’s most impoverished countries, remain enormous, Pierre said. He said he’s seen children die from drinking bad water.
“When (Homewood Rotary members) provide good water and schooling, it’s making a huge difference in the country,” he said.
The Homewood Rotary Club is one of 33,334 clubs worldwide that are dedicated to community service, world peace and international understanding.
Pierre said anyone trying to make a difference in Haiti encounters many obstacles. He said he continues to persevere because it’s his “duty to serve.” He stressed that the club members should continue to persevere and never give up on what they’re doing for the world.
Homewood Rotary President Rich Thiernau explained it wasn’t difficult to get everyone on board with the plan to help people in Haiti.
“All I had to do was share the story,” he said. “I never asked for a dollar. I told the story and people wrote checks.”
According to Rotary International , the club has contributed more than $75,000 in gifts and contributions for various projects in the last three years. Theirnau explained even still, there is a great deal of work that has to be done.
The club is currently working on a project in Sierra Leone that new inductee, Masah Renwick, is excited to take part in. Rotary International has chosen Haiti and Sierra Leone as two countries where club members around the world can make a difference.
Renwick was inducted into Homewood Rotary following Pierre’s speech. She explained she is excited to begin different projects and help change the world.
“I feel inspired and humbled. After listening to the fellow speak about his work in Haiti, I really feel motivated to do some good work here as well as regionally and internationally,” she said.
Theirnau said he’s excited to see a new member join the club because it only takes one person to change the world.
Rotary’s motto is “service above self,” he said. “It’s a way to give back to the community and the world.”
Thiernau said anyone interested in joining Homewood Rotary can contact him at 708-798-5828.