Rotarians give $5,000 for world water project

Rockford Rotarian Jim Bodenner spearheaded a world water relief effort that has gone global. On Tuesday, September 9, the cause was aided by a significant donation from visiting Rotarians.

Guests to Rockford, Dr. Reinhart Köhler and Charlie Hillecke of German’s Wolfsburg-Gifhorn Rotary club, amazed Rockford Rotary with a $5,000 check for the world water efforts.

The visit was part of a bi-annual event since 1993. This year German Rotarians came to Rockford. In two years Rockford Rotarians will visit the German club. The check was presented during one of the many outings the Rotarians shared while visiting.

“We want to help poor people around the world,” said Köhler of the generous donation.

Bodenner has been promoting world-wide use of a biosand filter, acknowledged by the World Health Organization as the best of several methods to treat water in poor countries to make it safe for human consumption.

The Rockford Rotary club adopted the project as one of their many efforts to improve the lives of people around the world.

“They are very generous in world-wide donating for the health of people everywhere,” said Rockford Rotary President Dave Spencer. “Safe water is so important for quality of life.”

Bodenner is working with the Pentagon to have American soldiers take the filters with them on aircraft carriers and other ships. They will then be able to distribute them to ports of call, doing humanitarian work along with their regular duties.

At a hoedown at Herman’s Boy Coffee Ranch on Tuesday, the German Rotarians enjoyed a wonderful meal and fellowship after presenting the check. They also sponsor a nursing home in the Dominican Republic and donated $5,000 for the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

“Rockford and Wolfsburg-Gifhorn Rotary have been working hand-in-hand for many years to promote international aid and understanding,” Spencer said.

The Wolfsburg-Gifhorn Rotary is located in the birthplace of the Volkswagon. Their group is 54 members strong, very close in size to the Rockford club. According to Köhler, each member was asked to give what they could for the donation.

“If the world had more friends like the Wolfsburg-Gifhorn Rotary, the world would be a better place,” Spencer said. “Our Rockford group is awed by the generosity and compassion of our brother German Rotarians.”

In addition to the hoedown, the group went to a Rockford High School football game, tours and sightseeing.

Rockford Rotary is a service group that meets every Tuesday at noon at the Community Cabin, 220 Monroe in downtown Rockford. The group welcomes visitors of fellow business professionals and weekly enjoys lunch, guest speakers and a commitment to local and international projects.

Rotary raises money for projects with an annual fruit and nut sale and chicken barbeque sales during Harvest Festival. For more information about Rotary, stop by Tuesdays to enjoy a free lunch and conversation.

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