Rotary International COVID-19 Pandemic Response

Dear Rotarians,

In every corner of the world, it seems that not a single person or community is unaffected by COVID-19. You may be wondering how to stay focused on our work eradicating polio when we are dealing with a pandemic caused by a virus for which there is not yet a vaccine — a situation similar to what the world faced with the poliovirus not so long ago.

The COVID-19 pandemic response requires worldwide solidarity and an urgent global effort. The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), with thousands of polio workers and an extensive laboratory and surveillance network, has a moral imperative to ensure that these resources are used to support countries in their preparedness and response.

We can be proud that in the ever-connected world of global health, the polio infrastructure that Rotarians have helped build is already being used to address — and stop the spread of — the new coronavirus, in addition to serving countless other health needs. In Nigeria, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, where polio personnel and assets have a significant presence, workers from all GPEI partners are engaged in surveillance, health worker training, contact tracing, and more. In 13 countries, polio volunteers have been deployed to address COVID-19 preparations and response.

We recognize that the COVID-19 emergency means that some aspects of the polio eradication program will be affected. While addressing the new challenges of today, the most important thing that Rotary members can do to continue the fight to end polio is to sustain our commitment. We are aiming to reach our fundraising goal of $50 million this year so we can work to safely reach all children with the polio vaccine. In the midst of a global pandemic, we understand that attention to polio eradication will be diverted, and this makes it all the more vital for Rotarians to remain strongly committed to fighting polio and not let our progress be eroded.

It is imperative that we remain committed to our work eradicating polio. Learn more about how our work fighting polio is supporting the COVID-19 response and consider making a contribution to PolioPlus.

Kindest regards,

Mark Daniel Maloney
2019-2020 President, Rotary International
Gary C.K. Huang
2019-2020 Chair, The Rotary Foundation

Polio Eradication Update

Polio Eradication Update
For The Week Ending 03/28/20

Rotary’s World-wide 2019-20 Rotary Year Polio Fundraising Goal is $150 Million – Including the Gates Foundation $2 to $1 Match

 Our Goal is Global Polio Eradication!

          PolioPlus: Zero Is The Magic Number!

 Advocate, Donate & Educate to END POLIO NOW & FOREVER!
               19,000,000 Children Saved from the Paralysis of Polio Since 1988                                                                                      

Total paralysis cases

Year-to-date 2020













175 33 22 37

– in endemic countries:


175 33 22


– in post-endemic countries:

0 0 0 0


Wild Polio 2020 cases reported this week:
Pakistan 2, Afghanistan 0, Nigeria 0


2020 Wild Polio Case Breakdown by Country (Numbers in ( ) are 2019 Totals) Endemic Countries – 33 Pakistan (2019-146), 2 Afghanistan (2019-29), 0 Nigeria (2019-0)


Terry Ziegler, Rotary Region 26 Endowment/Major Gifts Adviser

Celebrate Scholastic Art Awards – A Message from Chair Todd Bacon

by Scholastic Art Awards Chair Todd Bacon

It felt like someone had knocked down our sand castles and kicked the sand in our faces.  The Awards Ceremonies for the Scholastic Art Awards were all set for Saturday, March 10th, at the History Colorado Center, and the day before, History Colorado made the painful but necessary decision to close the museum.  Just two weeks earlier, ten volunteers had spent three days curating and installing the exhibition, which was to be on display until March 28th. Suddenly, in an instant, all the work by the students, their teachers, and the Scholastics volunteers was locked away inside the museum.  

Having recently retired, I was able to participate in Scholastics even more than I had in the past.  Like any endeavor of this sort, the more involved one is, the more one understands and appreciates all the effort that goes into it.  I was invited to participate as a judge in photography. The judging was held over a three-day period at the UCD Visual Arts Department offices in LoDo.  In all, there were 42 volunteer judges and proctors enlisted in this critical and rewarding process.  

On the day that I was a judge, all the judges in the different media met in a hallway.  As we introduced ourselves (see photo #1 below), I was struck by the high level of qualifications and the commitment of the people gathered there.  Most were retired with 25 or more years of teaching experience at the high-school or college level. For example, Robert Dorsey, who had been scheduled to speak at our annual Rotary luncheon, is a fine-art photographer, a retired art teacher, and the former chair of the Fine Arts Department in the Mapleton School District, which has 18 schools in North Denver.  

The 1,002 entries in photography were divided in half to make the judging more manageable.  We worked in teams of two judges and a proctor, who helped us with the mechanics of the digital judging process and to answer any procedural questions.  We ended up giving out 118 awards, which shows the highly competitive nature of Scholastics.  

Once the students and teachers were notified of the winners, the art needed to be prepared for the exhibition and delivered to the History Colorado Center.  For the first time, I was able to participate in the installation process. In past years, I would go to the museum for our luncheon and see all the art on the walls of the atrium without giving much thought as to how it got there.   I never realized or appreciated how much work goes into displaying the artwork. 

The artwork was sorted by category, such as painting, drawing, fashion, sculpture, and photography.  Then, it was determined where each category would be installed in the museum. After that, the pieces were laid out on the floor in groupings, perhaps by color, theme, or style, to make some sense of how to hang the pieces in the “salon style” necessary to fit everything into the allotted spaces (see photos #2 and #3 for the photography curating prior to hanging).  Fortunately for me, I was working with volunteers who had been through this process many times before. All I had to do was grab my hammer, a nail, the right piece of art, and the right placard and then bang away at the direction of the more experienced people.

I made a visit to the museum just before it closed down to take some photos of the exhibition, when a group of students and teachers from Pinnacle Charter High School happened to come in (see photos #4-10). The four teachers and the students manifested great excitement in seeing their pieces hanging in the museum, and they took turns photographing each other in front of their work.  To me, this is what Scholastics is all about. Sadly, this public sense of community and pride in achievement among the students, their family members, and their teachers are what we missed this year with the cancellation of our events.  

Next year, hopefully with the financial assistance of the Denver Rotary Club Foundation, we’ll be able to help the students build their sand castles once again.

(Update: Colorado’s 79 Gold Key winners in photography went on to compete at the national level in New York City, where they ended up bringing home 5 Gold and 4 Silver Keys!)

To view the Best in Grade, American Vision, and Portfolio winners, please click here.

Club 31 Welcomes New Members


Kimsey Self
Founder & Owner
Progressive Health and Wellness

Date Joined:  12/17/2019
Rotary Sponsor:  Ben Allen & Evening Membership


Kimsey Self is the founder and owner of Progressive Health and Wellness.  Her passion for health began at an early age and has never waned. In addition to holding a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Fort Lewis College, Kimsey has completed the Master Nutrition Therapy program from the Nutrition Therapy Institute (NTI) and is currently pursuing her PhD in Natural Medicine from Quantum University of Integrative Medicine, a school specializing in degree programs in natural and integrative medicine based on the science of quantum physics.  She has also completed additional training in functional medicine, including Functional Blood Chemistry, Functional Brain Chemistry, and Integrative Psychology. and still regularly attends medical and business conferences.

Kimsey strongly believes that education is paramount to success. She has been a guest speaker on Denver’s 9NEWS, CBS Radio, the Michael Brown KHOW radio show, and many other podcasts and media outlets. All credentials aside, her clients describe her passion as “infectious”, her humor as “contagious”, and her methods as “effective.”  Kimsey is all about getting results while having a good time doing it.

In her spare time, Kimsey loves running with her dog, hiking, yoga, snowboarding, and spending time with friends and family.


Kate Richards
Membership Sales Manager
Downtown Denver Partnership

Date Joined:  2/18/2020
Rotary Sponsor:  Chad Tyler & Membership Team


Kate Richards has been managing the membership sales department at the Downtown Denver Partnership for three years.  Before this role, she was at the Parker Area Chamber of Commerce as their Membership Director.  Kate is a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa, having studied public relations, event planning and tourism.

Kate and her husband Nick have lived in Colorado for nine years this August.  She and her husband recently welcomed their first child, Benjamin, in July and they are celebrating their 9-year wedding anniversary next week.

In their free time (which is little these days), they enjoy snowshoeing and hiking (they have tackled fifteen 14ers so far!) and have been known to brew a few batches of beer for friends and family to enjoy.

Kate is excited to join Rotary 31 and is personally tied to the cause, her Aunt Sally was one of the last recorded cases of polio in the state of Iowa.  She has a deep respect for our work and is eager to get involved.

For additional information about new members, please log into our membership database at

Pride-A-Tarian: PolioPlus Chair Peg Johnston


At the Saturday, February 8th PolioPlus fundraiser, one of our esteemed colleagues, Peg Johnston, 27-year Club 31 Rotarian, was awarded a Paul Harris bust for her tireless work on Rotary’s 35-year campaign to eradicate polio from the planet. This is but one of Peg’s many awards for her varied forms of exemplary service to Rotary. This bust was originally awarded to Rotarians Grant and Marlene Wilkins in 1997 at an Arizona district conference for their legendary polio eradication work.  This award will be a traveling award that Marlene, the Rotary Club of Denver and our District 5450 have determined will periodically be granted to a Rotarian in the district who exemplifies the dedication to polio eradication that Grant and Marlene demonstrated for us to follow.  Congratulations Peg and thank you for your continued work to eradicate Polio! 


Read by Greg Podd, Past RI Vice President
Written by Seth Patterson, Past President, Rotary Club of Denver

I have the distinct honor this afternoon of presenting an award to a Rotarian in our District who, other than Grant and Marlene Wilkins, has probably done as much or more than any other to eradicate polio.  But first, a little preface about Grant and Marlene.

As you may recall, on May 19, 2018, the day that my District Conference opened, our dear friend and inspiring Rotary leader, Grant Wilkins passed.  Grant was a champion of eradicating polio from the very beginning, having contracted polio on a business trip as a young businessman with a wife and three young children at home.  Although Grant’s throat muscles became paralyzed, he was blessed and after months of therapy, he recovered his ability to eat solid food and speak and he lived a blessed life for the next 67 years.  Unfortunately, although his wife Diane only visited Grant after he was released from the polio isolation ward, she contracted polio and within 24 hours became paralyzed from the neck down.  Diane spent two and a half years in an iron lung in the hospital and another eleven years at home with a portable chest respirator, where she was an amazingly cheerful and very involved parent.

Several months later while calling on a Denver customer, Grant was truly blessed when Marlene Siems became a part of his life.  Grant noticed Marlene’s ever-present smile, asked her out and after several months, on Grant’s 39th birthday, they married and enjoyed over 50 wonderful years of marriage that included many personal and Rotary adventures around the world.

Grant and Marlene’s Rotary work, particularly their legendary work to eradicate polio is well-known, so I will not repeat it here, but rather get on with my purpose of addressing you this afternoon.

During one of PDG Abbas Rajabi’s last visits with Grant, he gave him a Paul Harris bust that he and Marlene had received in 1997 from an Arizona Rotary District for his District Conference keynote address about Rotary’s efforts to eradicate polio.  A Sedona Rotary Club produced the bronze casting for the Paul Harris bust often given to their Rotary keynote speakers.  Grant asked Abbas to use the bust to raise money for Polio Plus or honor a Rotarian for their extraordinary Polio Plus efforts.  After consulting with Marlene and the then leadership of Club 31, it was decided to award the bust, as a periodic traveling award, to a District 5450 Rotarian whose outstanding Polio Plus work is deserving of high recognition

The Rotarian who we will recognize today was a strong advocate along with Grant and Marlene in their constant efforts to eradicate polio from the planet and continues to be.  This 27-year Rotarian is highly accomplished in Rotary in many ways, including:

  • Supporting Rotary International (“RI”) and The Rotary Foundation (“TRF”) as a
    • Benefactor
    • Major Donor
    • Paul Harris Fellow and Society Member
    • White Hat Society Member
    • Recipient of the RI Service Award for a Polio-Free World
    • Recipient of TRF District Service Award for “outstanding service in promoting TRF and its goal of world understanding and peace”
  • In our District and this member’s Club and Club Foundation, offering further support as a:
    • Member of the Bequest Society
    • Club Foundation Gold Fellow
    • Club Rotarian of the Year
    • District Polio Chair from 2011 to 2015
    • Past Club Board Director (twice), past Chair of TRF Committee and others
    • Service on various Club committees, particularly Programs, Peach Sale, Membership and as the continuing Chair of the Club’s Polio Committee to name just a few
  • Lastly, and this fact will surely give away this member’s identity, this Rotarian Co-Chaired, with her son and the current President of the Rotary Club of Denver, a 91st birthday party for Grant with well over 100 people from our Rotary family on World Polio Day in 2017, which also raised over $175,000 for Polio Plus.

Yes, Peg Johnston, a 27-year member of the Rotary Club of Denver, is recognized today for her tireless work to eradicate polio.  Peg, please come up to accept this award.  As you walk up, it is my sincere hope that the importance of this award begins to fade soon, as we approach the final days of polio on our planet.

Club 31 Welcomes New Members!

Jeff Mason

Partner/Associate Broker​​​​​​​
Benchmark Commercial, LLC​​​​​​​

Date Joined:  1/22/20
Rotary Sponsor:  Returning Member/Membership Team


Jeff brings more than 20 years in commercial furniture and over ten years as a real estate broker to his role as a Benchmark Commercial co-founder. Clients appreciate how this experience allows Jeff to quickly assess the space and layout needs of their businesses as well as his attention to detail and follow-up. Before Jeff’s five years at Rare Space, his previous experience includes work with Steelcase and OfficeScapes, where he was responsible for planning, ordering, delivery, installation, and overall project management and integration of the clients’ technology and business goals into each space through the use of furniture. Jeff has deep roots in the state of Colorado, beginning with his great-grandfather, who was a miner in Central City, Colo. True to that Wild West heritage, Jeff and his wife, Colleen, spend a portion of their free time on horseback. Jeff is a University of Colorado graduate with a degree in Finance, and he currently serves on the board of the CU Boulder Denver Area Alumni Association. Jeff is also an Eagle Scout and an avid outdoors-man, so not only are you in good hands working with Benchmark Commercial, the co-founders are likewise great to have around should you ever find yourself lost in the wild.

Mark Wipper

Director of Major Gifts
Regis University

Date Joined:  `1/22/20
Rotary Sponsor: Transferring Rotarian/Will Snider


Since joining Regis University in August, 2019, Mark’s enjoyed living in Lakewood with his wife Jane.  Together they have five children ranging in age from 43 to 26 and five grandchildren who range in age from 10 to four months.  Needless to say, they have quite a blended family who live near and now farther away.  After growing up in Cleveland, OH, Mark returned after receiving his BA in History from St. Lawrence University in way upstate New York.  For over 30 years, his career was spent in banking and investment management before joining Case Western Reserve University (where he received his MBA in 1990), as Director of Library Development.  Trading a big city for a really small town, Mark joined Ohio Northern University in Ada, OH (home of the Wilson Football Factory) as Director of Development for the Getty College of Arts and Sciences.

In addition, Mark has spent summers in Norther Michigan on a beautiful lake sailing, swimming and spending time with lifelong friends.  Having skied, hiked and camped for many years in Colorado, he is now enjoying being able to spend time in the mountains again.  Mark is looking forward to continuing his 30+ years as a Rotarian with the Rotary Club of Denver.

For additional information about new members, please log into our membership database at

Congratulations and Welcome aBoard!

On January 16, 2020, members of the Rotary Club of Denver elected four Rotarians to serve as Directors on the Club’s Board for a three-year term beginning July 1, 2020.  Directors whose terms expire June 30, 2020 are Ben Allen, Melissa Bowen, Susan Brushaber and Chad Tyler.


Colleen Cozad
Bradford Real Estate


Hassan Latif
Executive Director/Founder
Second Chance Center


Alison Oyler-Mitsch
Fresh Events & ReFresh Studios



Matt Isola
CEO & Founder
Generation Exchange


Our thanks to Brian Sweet, Louise Westfall, Harriet Downer, Rich Spong and Chuck Everill for serving on this year’s Board Nominating Committee.



Due to the resignation of former Club member and trustee Barb Ritchie, the board of trustees, at its October 9th meeting, appointed Sandy Purcell to fill this vacancy and was duly elected by members of the Denver Rotary Club Foundation at their January 16, 2020 meeting.


Sandy Purcell
Branch Manager
Raymond James Financial Services

Club 31 Welcomes New Members!


Rosie Gantos
Sola Salon Studios

Date Joined:  11/19/19
Rotary Sponsor:  Peg Johnston


Rosie Gantos was born in Quito, Ecuador in 1962. Her family immigrated to Columbus, Ohio in 1976. Her parents, Miguel and Elsa, achieved their American dream by opening their own small businesses in 1978 and having their four children graduate from university. Rosie and her husband, Joseph, met while studying at The Ohio State University in 1982. Rosie graduated from OSU with a BS in microbiology in 1985 and a BS in commercial interior architecture in 2010. Rosie and Joseph, also achieved their American dream by working, owning small businesses in Ohio, Colorado and New Mexico, and proudly cheering their kids on through college graduation, home ownership and marriage. Rosie is the proud mother of two wonderful and independent children, Gabrielle and David. Her many interests include travel, reading, sewing, ceramics and working out.

Matt Walsh

CEO & Founder
Green Stone

Date Joined:  11/19/19
Rotary Sponsor:  John Klug


Matt is the Founder and CEO of Green Stone, a Digital Experience Agency that strives to earn loyalty for their clients through the crafting of the most delightful, intelligent and effective products, experiences and journeys in the world. Six years in, the firm has already had the pleasure of delivering solutions for Twitter, American Express, Google, Logitech, Beats By Dre, and many other clients in Colorado and beyond.

Prior to Green Stone, Matt spent eight years founding, building and leading a team of 25 Experience Designers at Crispin Porter + Bogusky in Boulder as well as a couple of years in at R/GA on the Nike account where he helped craft a number of influential platforms including NikeID and Nike+.  Through that journey, his projects have won many marquee industry awards, but he gets far more excited about winning the hearts and minds of the people he designs for.

For additional information about new members, please log into our membership database at

Rotary Club of Denver Board of Directors Nominees

January 8, 2020

 The following members have been nominated to serve on the Rotary Club of Denver Board of Directors for a three-year term beginning July 1, 2020.

  • Colleen Cozad
  • Hassan Latif
  • Alison Oyler-Mitsch
  • Matt Isola

Their names will be presented for election at our Club’s Annual Meeting which has been rescheduled to next Thursday, January 16 and will take place during our regular Club meeting. Additional nominations for Directors may be made in writing and signed by six members and filed with the Executive Director prior to the Annual Meeting.

Directors whose terms expire June 30, 2020 Ben Allen, Melissa Bowen, Susan Brushaber and Chad Tyler.

Our thanks to Brian Sweet, Louise Westfall, Harriett Downer, Rich Spong and Chuck Everill for serving on this year’s Board Nominating Committee.

PolioPlus Update – December 2019

Another not pretty week:  two (2) in Afghanistan and seven (7) in Pakistan bringing this year’s total to 125 vs. 29 last year at this time.  Of this year’s total, 24 are in Afghanistan and 101 in Pakistan, illustrating the magnitude of the problem we have in the latter (almost assuredly attributable to the interruption in vaccination campaign occurring earlier in the year).

The cVDPV cases are also of concern, as we’ve seen sporadic outbreaks in various countries as detailed below.  Remember that these cases aren’t caused by the vaccine, but are caused when the weakened virus sheds from those who have been immunized (and in turn providing some inoculation to unvaccinated individuals) but circulates in a relatively unvaccinated community long enough that the virus mutates back to a virulent form which causes paralysis.

Why don’t we just use the monovalent inactivated vaccination which would prevent cVDPV cases (the type of injected vaccination we use in the United States)?  There are at least three good reasons:  (1) the weakened live virus used in the drops does provide some additional “halo” vaccination effect – as long as it doesn’t circulate long enough and mutate; (2) the distribution chain difficulties (maintaining cold storage long enough, volume of material being transported) isn’t robust enough to allow distribution of the injectable; and (3) cost and skill …. Almost anyone can squeeze a couple of drops of the weakened live virus vaccination; providing training sufficient to allow use of the injectable, along with the significant added cost of the vaccine, syringe, needles, sterile supplies and cleaning agents – is simply not possible.  There are other reasons, to be sure, but these are the primary ones.

The solution for now is to maintain immunization efforts even in those areas without endemic wild polio virus cases to assure that the community “herd immunity” is enough to prevent the circulation of the weakened live virus.  While the primary focus of our efforts are in Pakistan and Afghanistan to eliminate the endemic polio, we must remain vigilant elsewhere, too.  This is why we must continue to raise funds and awareness for the eradication of polio.

Pakistan still remains problematic for carrying out the government’s freshly-renewed mandate of vaccination campaigns:  it was reported yesterday that gunmen shot and killed two police officers escorting a polio vaccination team.  The campaign has been temporarily suspended in the Peshawar, Lower Dir district area.  While fortunately none of the vaccination team were injured, the loss of the policeman is tragic.

Please share with your clubs and districts the importance of continuing this fight until it is complete.  For those looking to make year end donations, this is a good topic to raise.

While it is easy to focus on the difficulties of Pakistan and Afghanistan and become discouraged, remember that we have successfully eliminated polio everywhere else in the world except for these two countries.  It was long thought that the African continent would never be polio free, and yet we know it has not been declared polio-free.  Our will, commitment and fortitude has led directly to that result.  And I’m confident that with your continued help, we’ll have the same result in due course in Pakistan and Afghanistan!

I wish you the best of the holiday season (including Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Las Posadas, Winter Solstice and of course Festivus for everyone else!).


Ken Howell
PDG District 5400 ’15-16, Zone 27 End Polio Now Coordinator