Members of Kirksville’s three Rotary clubs, along with honored guests, celebrated Rotary’s 115th Birthday on February 23.  The featured speaker was Carl Chinnery from Lee’s Summit, Missouri, who has had a very distinguished Rotary career, including serving as District Governor in 2002-2003 and receiving numerous Rotary International awards thereafter. Carl and his four brothers were all polio victims, and one brother succumbed to the disease. In a televised interview with KTVO, Carl said, “We need to eradicate this dread, awful, ugly, nasty, evil disease. It will be the second disease that has been eradicated worldwide after smallpox.
Rotary has been on this venture for the better part of 40 years, and we are very, very close to eradicating that disease.” Past District Governor Jerry Venters (who also had a mild case of the disease at age six) told us about a very sad letter written by Carl’s mother in 1999 about her family’s experience with polio in 1942. Current Rotary District Governor Mark Horner said the letter is available on the District’s website,, under “Foundation.”  
On a lighter note, Carl and his wife, Jean, presented the Kirksville Rotary Club's accomplishments in the playful form of a Dr. Seuss rhyme. At the conclusion of the event, Past District Governor Jeff Romine held a drawing for five Paul Harris Fellowships, given in recognition of a $1000 contribution to The Rotary Foundation,  donated for members contributing at least $100 to Polio Plus. The $9,700 donated as part this “Chinnery Challenge” will make it possible to achieve approximately $16,000 from all three Kirkville clubs by the end of the Rotary year in June, which is anticipated to be first in giving in the District. Past Rotary International President Ray Klinginsmith said that in the period since 2005, contributions to The Rotary Foundation have much more than doubled, and per capital contributions increased from $98.89 to $270.63. The Polio Plus Fund has received great support from Rotarians worldwide, as well as those in the Kirksville Clubs.