Rotary makes big difference

Tom KingFarragut, Feature

The Rotary Club of Farragut and the Rotary International theme for this Rotary year – “Making a Difference!” – is a perfect match. And we are making a big difference! Rotary’s motto of “Service Above Self!” makes reference to both community service and international service.

At our last meeting in March, club president Chris Camp presented $1,000 to our speaker of the day, Jeff Eastman. Jeff is the first-ever CEO of Remote Area Medical, which is based locally at 2200 Stock Creek Blvd. in Rockford. But RAM and its founder, the legendary Stan Brock, are known throughout the world.

“It was his vision and his passion for mankind that started Remote Area Medical 32 years ago,” Eastman said. “We’re about to put on our 900th clinic and there are no charges or fees for those needing help with dental, vision or medical problems who come to the clinics.”

RAM always has clinics here at the Jacobs Building at Chilhowee Park and a typical clinic weekend, Eastman explained, includes the Friday night setup, with 100 dental chairs in place and a vision clinic and lab on site to make glasses. The doors open at 6 a.m. on a Saturday for all-day service and a half-day on Sunday. The clinics on average serve 800 people and offer around $400,000 in care costs.

RAM has clinics in 11 different states this year, has had teams in Puerto Rico for the hurricane relief efforts there and had clinics in five locations around the island. In 2017 alone, RAM treated 42,072 patients and animals to provide over $1,550,650 in care, utilized over 17,126 volunteers to provide the care, free of charge to the patients. Its annual budget is $3.4 million and it receives no government funding of any kind.

RAM matches Rotary’s approach – working locally in our community and internationally as well. That’s why Eastman and RAM truly appreciated the club’s $1,000 donation. “It means a lot to us to have your support,” he said. “Rotary is an amazing organization.”

If you would like to help RAM, here’s an opportunity for you” 6-9 p.m. Friday, April 27, the 4th annual Southern Tequila and Taco Festival will be held in the parking lot at the old Gander Mountain location in Turkey Creek. The event this year will donate all of its proceeds to Remote Area Medical.

You also can visit and donate on the RAM website or by calling 865-579-1530.

Farragut Rotary was chartered in 1980 and today the club has 90 members who work hard on both community and international projects. RAM is but one organization the club supports in our community.

Here is a sample of what we do and who we support with our money and our time:

  • Knoxville’s Free Flu Shot Saturday held each fall began in our club and we staff the site each year at Farragut High School
  • For many years we have sponsored both inbound and outbound Rotary Youth Exchange students.
  • We are Partners in Education with Ridgedale School, which serves both alternative middle school students and students in grades K-12 with developmental disabilities.
  • Remote Area Medical (RAM)
  • HonorAir Knoxville
  • Mission of Hope
  • Smoky Mountain Service Dogs
  • One Unforgettable Night
  • The Michael Dunn Center
  • Susannah’s House
  • Community Coalition Against Human Trafficking
  • Heart2Heart in Mexico
  • Children’s Miracle Network/East Tennessee Children’s Hospital/Costco
  • Knoxville Challenger Pro Tennis Tournament

This fall we’ll be back at Free Flu Shot Saturday and on Saturday, April 21, members of our club will be doing a stream cleanup project on Little Turkey Creek behind Costco that runs to Parkside Drive. Also, some of our members recently spent a Saturday painting lockers in six rooms at Ridgedale School and also worked at World Rotary Day at Sarah Moore Greene Magnet Academy.

It’s called “Making a Difference!”

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