Rotary Club of Chicago marks 105 years
Top: The Wrigley Building illuminated with an End Polio Now message. Rotary Images/Alyce Henson
Bottom: Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley congratulated Rotarians for their achievement and thanked them for their ongoing commitment to literacy, promoting peace, improving health, and eradicating polio. Rotary Images/Monika Lozinska-Lee
As members of the Rotary Club of Chicago celebrated Rotary's 105th anniversary at a downtown hotel on 23 February, the city's historic Wrigley Building was illuminated in the background with an urgent message: End Polio Now.
The Wrigley Building joined several other iconic landmarks worldwide, each lit with an anniversary message or the three words representing Rotary's commitment to rid the world of the crippling childhood disease.
Joining Chicago Rotarians at the lighting ceremony were Illinois Governor Pat Quinn; the Reverend Jesse Jackson, president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition; Dr. Ciro de Quadros, executive vice president of the Sabin Vaccine Institute; James Galloway, U.S. assistant surgeon general; and RI General Secretary Ed Futa.
Before the lighting, Rotarians handed out End Polio Now postcards at the Wrigley Building.
"This is a very significant event," says Angelo Loumbas, president of the Chicago club. "Rotary's end polio campaign is the initiative I want my club to sponsor as much as they can this year. The fact that we were able to promote End Polio Now and at the same time celebrate Rotary's 105th anniversary really turned out to be a big advantage for us."
Joined by Rotarians from districts 6440 and 6450, the Chicago club, the first Rotary club, commemorated its own 105th anniversary. At the celebration, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley congratulated Rotarians for their achievement and thanked them for their ongoing commitment to literacy, promoting peace, improving health, and eradicating polio.
"I'm very grateful for Rotary's commitment to service, not only here in America but all over the world," said Daley. "In the spirit of volunteerism, Rotary carries the torch. Each and every one of you stands alone in leading the way to eradicate polio."
"I'm honored to participate in the End Polio Now campaign in Chicago, where Rotary was founded 105 years ago," said Illinois Governor Pat Quinn. "The eradication of one of the world's most terrible diseases is finally within reach due to Rotary International's extraordinary efforts."
The club awarded de Quadros its Chesley Perry Award for Distinguished Humanitarian Service for global polio eradication. He led a team responsible for developing a surveillance and response strategy to eliminate polio from the Americas.
The landmark displays coincide with a mass mailing of End Polio Now postcards to heads of state in more than 40 countries, encouraging governments to continue or increase their commitment to polio eradication.
In addition to the Wrigley Building, other landmarks illuminated during the week of 23 February include the Pyramid of Khafre in Egypt; the Taipei Arena in Taiwan; the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain; the Old Port Captain's Office on the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, South Africa; the Obelisk of Buenos Aires, Argentina; and the Royal Palace at Caserta in Italy.
"By lighting these historic landmarks with Rotary’s pledge to end polio, Rotary is saying to the world that we will fight this disease to the end," said Rotary Foundation Trustee Chair Glenn E. Estess Sr. “People around the world will see these words and join Rotary and its partners in the historic effort to eradicate polio from the face of the earth.”