Twenty five years ago, more than 50 business leaders stood from their seats at a luncheon to place their hands over their hearts to recite the Pledge of Allegiance to convene the first meeting of the newly formed Rotary Club of Pleasanton North.
They gathered in an upstairs banquet room of a hotel on Hopyard Road. They had no idea at the time what a profound difference their new club would make in the lives of so many people in decades to come.
To commemorate the club's founding and community service since 1987, the Pleasanton City Council issued a proclamation in August thanking the club for its generous charity work, naming the week of Sept. 24 through Sept. 30 "Pleasanton North Rotary Week."
"It's wonderful to be recognized for all of the great work of our club members," said Tina Case, club president. "I'm proud to be associated with these men and women who give so much of their time to make the world a better place." The council's proclamation highlights many of the club's philanthropic achievements, noting that club members have raised "nearly $1 million for worthy causes both at home and afar" and assisted organizations such as Open Heart Kitchen, veterans at East Bay Stand Down, and senior citizens through an annual Sweetheart Valentine's Dinner at Pleasanton Gardens.
"One of our greatest accomplishments is the delivery of wheelchairs into Latin America," said Case. Working with the Wheelchair Foundation, club
"Josh has cerebral palsy," said Case, "but being in a wheelchair doesn't deter him from traveling with his father to deliver wheelchairs to others." Josh and his father have journeyed to Chile, Argentina, Peru and many other countries to personally meet disabled veterans, seniors, children and others who in most cases cannot afford and do not have access to wheelchairs. "People receiving the chairs are often in tears of appreciation," said Case. "The experience of delivering these wheelchairs is life-changing." Another devoted humanitarian in the club is Bill Wheeler, owner of Black Tie Transportation. Wheeler has traveled around the world on a motorcycle in support of Rotary efforts, and on behalf of the club he adopted El Oasis Orphanage in the middle of the Baja desert.
Similarly, club member Susan Dupree has coordinated fundraising, grant writing and negotiations for corporate partners to introduce modern patient monitoring and neonatal ICU equipment to the General Hospital of Jalalabad, Afghanistan.
Of course, many other club members have been essential to the success of the club. Readers have an opportunity to meet them by attending the upcoming "Starry Night Gala" on Sept. 29 in Casa Real at Ruby Hill Winery in Pleasanton.
"This charity event will help us continue to fund important projects," said Case. "We invite everyone in our communities to come celebrate our 25 years." For details, visit www.astarrynight.org.
Contact Jim Ott at firstname.lastname@example.org.