David Richards Memorial Polio Plus Campaign

Reynolda Rotary Celebrates Purple Pinkie Day!

Purple Pinkie Day 2017

October 20, 2017

Remarks by J. Warren Steen

Chairman, David Richards Memorial Polio Campaign


There is wonderful news to report. In order to appreciate where we are today, it is helpful to see where we started. In the early 1980’s, nearly 1,000 children were infected each day … for a total of 350,000 cases … in 125 different nations.

Rotary became involved in 1985. To launch the Polio Plus Campaign, a few children were selected and Dr. Albert Sabin personally administered his breakthrough Sabin vaccine. Progress was made, but polio still existed in the “PAIN countries” (Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, and Nigeria).

A Rotarian from India heard this report, and was embarrassed that his country was on the list. Fortunately, he knew the Prime Minister of India.  Past District Governor Charles Allen from Randolph County participated in National Immunization Day in India. He reported that 74 million children received the vaccine in one day! That’s a lot of purple pinkies!

Results from our club’s David Richards Memorial Polio Campaign:

  • Total gifts: 57
  • Amount: $7,424
  • Match from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
  • 37,000 children will receive the vaccine
  • Thank you to each member of this club.

Today: only two endemic countries (Pakistan and Afghanistan) and 11 new cases this year.

In philanthropy, we build wells knowing we may never drink the water. We plant acorns, knowing we may not be around to see the towering oak trees. And we provide the polio vaccine to children around the world, knowing we will probably never see their faces. But one day, thanks to the men and women of Rotary, the world will be free of this dreaded disease.

As the slogan says, “We’re This Close.” Yes, we are very close to eradicating polio from the face of the earth. Fellow Rotarians, let’s finish the job.



Victory Announcement


Final Results: David Richards Memorial Polio Plus Campaign

First, it is important to express appreciation to:

Warren Steen, chairman

Greg Brewer

Edyce Elworth

Darryl Head

Sang Purohit

Larry Robbs

Paul Sinal

Second, special thanks to our executive secretary, Lynn Ebert.

Third, thanks to all who contributed their time and financial gifts.

We have received charitable gifts from:

Former members: 8

Current members: 48

Hanesbrands, Inc.: 1   $1,000 pledge commitment in memory of David Richards

Total gifts:            57

Amount: $8,274.55

This amount will be matched by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on a 2 to 1 basis. When you add their matching grant, the total impact of our club is $24,823.65.


Shown at the kick-off event for our David Richards Memorial Polio Campaign are (from left) Darryl Head, polio survivor Peter Laroche, and Warren Steen