The Rotary Club of the Eastern Seaboard celebrated two of its parent organization’s key anniversaries with a gala dinner at the Siam Bayshore hotel.
Rotary International Director Saowalak Rattanavich, District Governor Eknarong Kongpan, District Governor-elect Onanong Siripornmanat, and past governors Pratheep Malhotra and Premprecha Dibbayawan were welcomed to the Feb. 25 soiree by club President Rodney Charman.
Emcee Martin Brands said the party was not only to celebrated Rotary International’s 112th anniversary, but also the 100th anniversary of the Rotary Foundation. The foundation provides substantial grants which RCES has made good use of.
One side of the hotel’s Bali Hai Terrace showed the various programs run by RCES, including three recent big projects valued at more than 9 million baht.
Two were water filter systems that created safe drinking water for more than 30,000 adults and children. The third provided native-language education at the Human Help Network Thailand’s ASEAN Education Center for children of Burmese and Cambodian migrant workers in Pattaya.
The Netherlands enjoyed a good representation at the dinner with about 20 Dutch Rotarians, sponsors and guests attending. Another 11 arrived for the occasion from Japan.
Rtn Aad Scholtes and his wife Witha received loud applause for their cooperation with the Rotary Club of Pijnacker-Nootdorp in the Netherlands for more than 15 years. They and their club are pillars of an international network of “Friends for Life” that are united in “doing good in the world”, the motto of the Rotary Foundation.
After introducing all 76 guests at the party, PDG Peter Malhotra spoke on the history of Rotary International and the Rotary Foundation. He was followed by a toast to the Rotary by RID Saowalak Rattanavich and the cutting of an anniversary cake.
The evening was also a time to honor hard-working and generous Rotarians, including Susan and Geoff Robinson for their contribution to the Rotary’s polio fund.
Onanong said the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, initiated by the Rotary in 1988, facilitated free vaccinations of more than 2.5 billion children worldwide. That reduced the annual number of new polio cases from 350,000 in 125 countries to less than 40 in only three nations.
RID Saowalak and Rotary leaders presented the couple with the Paul Harris Fellowship and a large poster.
Brands next thanked two people who have been the heart & soul of countless RCES activities: past presidents Jan Abbink and Carl Dyson. He said they have been responsible for many club programs, rattling off a long list of achievements.
Among them were water filter engineering, Christmas bags, warm clothing for kids, family and school support programs, Friends of the Rotary Club Eastern Seaboard, and construction of school in Laos.
They too received the highest Paul Harris Fellowship with three rubies from RID Saowalak and Rotary leaders. Their wives received a present as well.
Sponsor Rinus Meulendijks from the Netherlands was honored next for his donation of a million baht for a water filter project completed in 2016. With additional contributions from the Rotary and its foundation, it became a 3.2-million-baht project that helped more than 15,000 people.
To symbolize his being a sponsor for four years, Rinus received a four-sapphire Paul Harris Fellowship.
The honors and awards concluded, the gathering sat down to the large buffet and free-flowing wine and beer.
The night concluded with a “thank you” to Jan and Renee de Vaan from the Netherlands for being sponsors for the past 15 years.
They’ve donated more than US$200,000 to worthy causes over the years and this enabled Rotary projects with a total value of US$700,000.
They did not want any fuss made about their philanthropy, but received a standing ovation and a major donor award from RID Saowalak and Rotary leaders.
Finally, Rodney Charman, president of the Rotary Club of Jomtien-Pattaya received a pair of original Dutch ‘klompen’ (wooden clogs) that he will wear later this year when the ASEAN Education Center is officially opened by the Dutch ambassador. He and 12 kids will also dress in traditional Dutch costumes.