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Open hearts

Elaine Case and Bill Wiktor
International Travel and Hosting Fellowship

Elaine Case was president-elect of the Rotary Club of Rochester Risers, Minnesota, and her husband, Bill Wiktor, held the same position in the Rotary Club of Rochester when the couple went to São Paulo for the Rotary International Convention in 2015. At the House of Friendship, they learned about the International Travel and Hosting Fellowship, which connects Rotarians who host other Rotarians visiting their area.

“We travel quite a bit,” says Wiktor, “and we thought, ‘Oh, this is going to be nice. We will open up our home to people coming to Rochester, and we can visit others around the world.’” 

Because Rochester is the home of the Mayo Clinic, Case and Wiktor thought they could be particularly helpful to any Rotarians who came to their city for treatment at the renowned medical center.

For a few years, the couple participated in the fellowship, connecting with fellow Rotarians on their own travels, but they didn’t hear from anyone looking for a place to stay in Rochester. Then in January 2018, they got an email from Cindy Goodman, a member of the Rotary Club of La Jolla, California, who was coming to Mayo for open heart surgery.

Case and Wiktor immediately offered their help and their home. “I asked, ‘Are you sure you want to do this? This could be more than you bargained for,’” Goodman says. “And they said, ‘No, we would like to make this our Rotary mission, to help families who come to Mayo for diagnosis or treatment or surgery.’” 

Goodman’s daughter, Whitney, stayed with the couple for a week while her mother was in the hospital. “They could not have been more hospitable and welcoming,” says Goodman. 

The couple visited Goodman in the hospital and did their best to make both mother and daughter feel at home. They stand ready to host Rotarians in similar situations.

“I just cannot say enough good things,” Goodman says. “They were like a second family.” 

– Frank Bures

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