Rotary International president visits Naperville

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More than 100 people came out to Mesón Sabika Thursday afternoon to meet Rotary International President Gordon McInally.

The organization’s president for 2023 and 2024 came to Naperville all the way from the Lothian region in Scotland, where he is a member of the Rotary Club of South Queensferry.

His visit was a momentous occasion for Naperville’s four local Rotary groups: Rotary Club of Naperville, Naperville Sunrise Rotary, Rotary Club of Naperville After Dark, and the Rotary Club of Naperville Downtown.

“There are 46,000 Rotary clubs and Rotaract clubs all around the world,” said McInally. “A number of them were present here today in Naperville, and I wanted to come out, and I wanted to meet them. I wanted to hear about what they were doing. Most importantly, I wanted to say thank you for what they’re doing, because they’re doing some great work.”

McInally’s history with Rotary

McInally has been a Rotary member since 1984. He’s served as president and vice president of Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland, and served Rotary International as a director and chair of different committees.

“We give our talents, we give our efforts and we go out and we do things,” said McInally. “We don’t just throw money at projects, we actually go out and get our hands dirty.”

Rotary aims to eradicate polio

During his speech, McInally spoke about Rotary’s efforts to eradicate polio throughout the world.

Over 30 years ago, Rotary International voiced the goal of eliminating the disease. With the help of organizations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the CDC, and world governments, McInally was proud to detail the progress made.

“(In) the whole of 2023, we have seen seven cases of polio,” said McInally. “Not a thousand a day, seven in the entire seven-and-a-half months of 2023. We are on the threshold of eliminating that disease.”

The Scottish Rotary president said he loved to see Naperville Rotary groups aligned with the mission of his home branch across the pond.

“There’s not a huge difference!” said McInally. “We talk with a slightly different accent, but we’re doing the same things. We’re identifying what the challenges are in our local community and trying to meet them. We do some very similar projects in Scotland to the projects I’m hearing about here. That is the magic of Rotary, we have a global network.”

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