SOUTH HAVEN ROTARY SPOKES       VOL.LXX NO.31  February 23, 2021

President Thompson welcomed everyone, and we opened with the “Pledge of Allegiance", followed by Art Ayers’ invocation. Of special mention, were prayers of care, concern love, comfort, and strength, offered for Ann and Jerry Gruber, and for Mike and Mary Ann Livovich, as they navigate through very trying times.

GUESTS: John Nanni, polio survivor


President Thompson thanked those who worked at last Thursday’s supper at the Congregational Church. The next Rotary-sponsored Thursday Night Supper will be March 18th.  Contact Dan if you’re available to volunteer.

President Thompson complimented the club for its accomplishments over the past three weeks, which included serving at the Thursday Night Supper, and our Board approving both the completed Global Grant for our Kenya Project, and the Telemedicine Initiative proposed by Richard Swanson. Special mention was given to Dr. Marty Graber, Art Ayers, and Richard Swanson, in appreciation for their efforts regarding the project/initiative.

Bill Roberts is soliciting our Program Chairs for the months of March and April, making sure that our meeting dates are fully scheduled. 

Mary Sue Lyon, a recent addition to the We Care, Inc. Board of Directors, spoke on behalf of their Board, to thank our club for our generous support. This year has certainly provided incredible challenges; one of those being an extraordinary increase in demand. Without our support, such challenges may not have been met.

Mary Sue also announced that the 2021 Island Sit, benefitting We Care, would be held this Saturday, February 27th, from 8:30am-2:30pm.

HAPPY BUCKS- Tom Ruesink

Tom provided an update on a friend to many, Ron Goodrich, who is Bob Copping’s neighbor and was very active in Habitat for Humanity and SHOUT. Ron is having a rough time with COVID-19, and Tom wanted to make us aware and keep him in our prayers.

Art Ayers’ daughter, Talie, will celebrate her 36th birthday tomorrow.

Bob Brickman announced that today, February 23rd, is the 115th anniversary of Rotary International.

Tom Renner’s son, Daniel, who is employed with the East Lansing Fire Department, has a birthday on Saturday.Richard Swanson’s wife, Marilyn, has a birthday on Saturday, and Richard has his birthday on Monday.

Gerry Portman’s wife, Julie, celebrated a birthday last Friday, and his oldest daughter turned 52 last Saturday.

Larry Wittkop led us in a “rousing” Ludington-style Happy Birthday”, but something was definitely “lost in translation”.

PROGRAM: John Nanni, polio survivor

   Program Chair- Don Hodgman

Don provided an extensive introduction of John Nanni, which included the following:He is a polio survivor and advocates for handicap access.He was diagnosed with paralytic polio and paralyzed from the neck down at the age of 10 months, for a period of 6 months (1953).Doctors told his parents that the virus was entering his brain stem, and he probably only had three days to live.He was paralyzed just six months after the polio vaccine became available.Due to severe Post-Polio Syndrome, which he began to experience at the age of 40, he uses a wheelchair for much of his daily activity.He is a member of the MOT Rotary Club (Middletown, DE).He is the MOT Rotary Club Website Coordinator.He is a Rotary District 7630 PolioPlus Committee Member.He serves as a Rotary club guest speaker on polio throughout the Northeast.He is an advocate for polio eradication and rehabilitation.He and his wife, Christine, are professional singers who have a cabaret show, “Rhapsody in 2”, which consists primarily of Broadway showtunes and songs from The Great American Songbook.

John’s presentation would focus on Polio/COVID-19, Post-PolioSyndrome, and PolioPlus.


Polio- one of the most feared infectious diseases in the 20th century, while COVID-19 has been one of the most feared in the 21st century.

Hieroglyphics provide evidence of polio in Ancient Egypt @1500 B.C.

Yesterday’s iron lungs are today’s ventilators.

There actually was remote learning, in the Chicago Public Schools, via radio in 1937, during a polio outbreak.

Whereas polio attacked the young, COVID-19 especially attacks the elderly.

Both are contagious, and both often exhibit no symptoms.

Quarantines are common for both.

Symptoms of Post-Polio Syndrome

Overwhelming fatigue

Muscle weakness

Muscle and joint pain

Sleep disorders

Heightened sensitivity to anesthesia, cold, and pain

Difficulty swallowing and breathing

Short-term memory problems


Rotary, the WHO, UNICEF, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, launched the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in 1988.

In 2007, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation joined Rotary in its commitment to ending polio.

Since 2013, the Gates Foundation has matched every dollar that Rotary commits to polio eradication 2 to 1, up to $35 million per year.

Rotary, with matching funds from the Gates Foundation, has contributed more than $1.6 billion to end polio.

Since we started the fight against polio, we’ve reduced the number of polio cases by 99.9% and reached more than 2.5 billion children with the vaccine.

When speaking of PolioPlus, we know we are eradicating polio, but do we realize how many other benefits the program brings? The “plus” is something else that is provided as part of the polio eradication campaign. It might be a hand-operated tricycle or access to water. It might be additional medical treatment, bed netting, or soap.

Did you know that a Snickers bar costs more than the polio vaccine?

In 2014, Susanne Rea, Polio Chair of Rotary District 9550, in Queensland, Australia, founded World’s Greatest Meal, a program in which Rotarians host meals and ask for donations. It can be anything from 2 people having lunch to elaborate gourmet dinners. The program has raised over $7 million to eradicate polio.

There is still work to do!

John entertained several questions following his presentation, and President Thompson thanked John for a fabulous presentation. I don’t believe I heard anything about a gift on behalf of our club, but I’m sure that will be forthcoming.

Next Week’s Program: “Gone Boarding” with speaker Mark Meyers

Program Chair: Tom Rummel

We adjourned with the Four-Way Test.

Respectfully submitted,

Art Ayers, Seasonal Editarian