Because of things like this - Rotary is a group that works together to get things done for the needy in our community and around the world.
This is the tally for what we sent to the GoAbroad Foundation to save 5 kids from growing up in the garbage dump. I was really moved by his presentation, another one of those so proud to be a Rotarian moments!
Tracy L. O'Brien
"Dear Tracy and Milford Rotary officers and members,
On Sunday, August 28, 2011, our state was hit hard by Tropical Storm Irene. High winds took down trees that were decades old and and telephone poles leaving many in the dark for weeks. Ocean tides surged through our beautiful coastline communities, flooding streets and houses and even swallowing up beautiful beach front homes. Torrential rains overfilled creeks, streams and rivers throughout the state, leaving the water no where to go but over their banks and into the surrounding areas. Irene came in with such power and strength and left behind a brutal path of destruction leaving so many wondering how they'd survive. And yet there were neighborhoods that survived without any loss at all, like mine.
As I sat glued to the news on the television and online for the days that followed, I watched in horror as pictures and video taken by reporters and civilians began to pour onto the screens. Cox Communications brought all 5 of their stations together for constant post storm updates and locations to find water, food, fuel and shelter. There were pleas from so many for help. And as the days went by, although emergency personnel, The Red Cross, The National Guard and FEMA were immediately dispatched to the most affected areas, I seldom heard someone who hadn't been affected stand up and ask "How can I help?"
On August 31, I didn't ask. I just did.
I organized a donation drive that I named the Everything's Free Drive and concentrated on the Fairfield and New Haven counties coastline, where so much damage was done. I took into consideration the fact that these people had just lost so much and they would very soon be facing some of the most difficult struggles they have ever been faced with. With their finances now stretched, there was absolutely no way some of them could afford to purchase new items to replaced those that had been lost. I called upon friends, family, group members, radio listeners and even local news viewers for their support and donations of all kinds. I utilized Facebook, Twitter, Freecycle and MySpace to the best of my ability to spread the word about the needs of the flood victims. I approached Beachside Market with my mission and they granted me the use of their back parking lot for a distribution center. I reached out to local storage companies and was blessed to have 2 lockers donated to hold the incoming donated items and a 26' truck to transport everything from Derby to Milford. Donations poured in from all over the state from generous caring people that I had never met before. Community members signed up to volunteer at the drive. My husband, Darrick, would assist me with furniture donation pick ups. I was out every day from 8am to 8pm driving to different towns and cities filling my car with food, water, bedding, towels, clothes, shoes, electronics...anything people could imagine losing in a flood. Everything was falling into place.
That is, until last Tuesday. I received a call from the owner of Beachside Market. The property owner was leery about allowing the drive to happen in the parking lot because of the liability in the event of an accident or injury. Everything froze. I panicked. How would I be able to continue this drive? I needed liability insurance but just couldn't afford the additional $700 bill. So at exactly 10:47am, I reached out to local corporations, smaller companies and churches asking for their support and the possibility of taking the drive under their wing so we would be able to have the insurance we needed to continue.'
Within minutes of my finger clicking the send button, my prayers were answered. I received a response from Tracy O'Brien, offering to donate some items to the drive. Soon after, I received a call from a man named Chris, saying that he was going to help, asked me about the owner of Beachside Market and then said something I couldn't make out because the connection was so bad. Then he said he would be in touch.
And at 6:27pm, I received the most important email in my life from Chris Cody, the man who called. It read: "Missy, On behalf of Milford Rotary I attach a certificate of insurance naming Melba Realty LLC as an additional insured."
Thanks to the overwhelming support, dedication and generosity of the Milford Rotary officers and members, our Everything's Free Drive was held on Saturday, September 10, 2011 at Beachside Market. We were able to assist over 50 families affected by the flooding. Although it took the cooperation and donations from the residents of the surrounding communities, the donation drive would not have been the success it was if it were not for all of you. Special thanks to Tracy, Chris and Rich (who not only helped with donations from local businesses, but volunteered his time at the drive). You are my heroes and my inspiration to continue to help those in need. I greatly appreciate everything you have done.
If there is anything that I can help YOU with, please do not hesitate to contact me. As you were there for me, I will be there for you.
Even a small effort makes a huge difference. Special thanks to Chris Cody for the Insurance assistance & Rich Persico for the extra mile you went for these folks, and all who donated. I am always so proud to know that we can make a difference in the lives of others. President Tracy O'Brien
I wanted to give something back to the community. I wanted to get involved in an organization with no overhead, so that fundraising efforts go straight to the heart of where it is needed. I wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself, that is spread throughout the world. It is a feeling of family, friendship and commitment to a common goal. I can go anywhere in the world and know that I have a friend to call, a place to stay, someone to lean on. Being a Milford Rotarian is a feeling of accomplishment, to work with people that are the best in the community and to help those in need in the community.
“Rotary promotes fellowship on a local basis and strives to improve goodwill, health, and living conditions throughout the world.
“Personally, Rotary’s Youth Exchange program has made a substantial impact on my family. During high school, one of my daughters spent a summer with a Rotary host family in France and we reciprocated by hosting a French student the following two summers. These friendships and experiences have proved invaluable and continue to this day. This type of Rotary program helps to define a shrinking world and the participants acquire an appreciation of different cultures, customs and countries.
Rotary is truly a people-to-people worldwide organization. Other programs such as Rotary Scholarships (which provide for students from any country to study anywhere in the world), Group Study Exchange, and eradicating world polio with Rotary’s Polio Plus are only a portion of the many, many programs sponsored by Rotary. Rotary is truly the only organization that can cross borders in any country and establish programs that individual countries cannot accomplish.”
DeForest W. (Frosty) Smith, CCIM, SIOR
George J. Smith & Son Realtors
"First and foremost, Rotary is a lot of fun. I've gotten to know and become close to a terrific group of people from the community. All of us working together are able to accomplish worthwhile projects both in our local community and, through Rotary International, around the world. It's a wonderful feeling to do some good in the world, and have fun while doing it."
President & CEO
The Milford Bank