Dear District 6630 fellow Rotarians and Friends:
I hope you were able to celebrate the recent holidays, including Passover and Easter, in the best fashion available in this new Coronavirus era. These holidays have given all of us a chance to reflect on the blessings we retain, and perhaps more importantly, to reflect upon the blessings we hope to provide others.
This era presents challenges, but it also presents opportunities. For instance, an impressive number of clubs, clusters, and committees all over the world are meeting virtually on a regular basis. The platforms used (Zoom, GoToMeeting, Google Meets, etc.) are varied, as are meetings themselves—some being simple phone calls, and even an email meeting. In this time of physical isolation we can do much to support each other through these (virtual) contacts and I encourage all of you to do so with particular attention to your fellow Rotarians, friends, and neighbors who are most vulnerable.
The list of challenges that are being turned into opportunities is lengthy. Some districts and clubs planned events using a Netflix Party to help stay in touch. At least one club raised money to buy lunches for local grocery store workers, local school workers, and emergency medical staff. As John Hannes pointed out, this is a great way to thank others for their hard work and support local businesses.
At least one district found an E-Club President and I.T. professional who have offered to get smaller clubs online and comfortable with available resources. This is something our District is working on very hard (thanks to Cheryl Warren, David Jones, and many others).
In many districts, smaller clubs are starting to hold joint meetings, alternating the responsibilities of programs and running the meeting each week. Perhaps we can take advantage of this as well.
The Rotary Foundation is no exception. As the COVID-19 pandemic has spread hardship around the world, Rotary members in rising to the challenge have been innovative in helping care for those affected and showing that even at a distance there are ways to help.
I have received reports that in Italy, one of the most heavily affected countries, clubs in District 2080 are raising funds to purchase ventilators and protective gear for over-extended hospitals. In addition, when the outbreak was as its worst in China, the same District’s clubs raised more than $21,000 for protective masks to prevent the spread of the disease there.
Reports have also come in that Rotary clubs in Sri Lanka installed thermometers in airport restroom facilities and produced posters to raise awareness of the Coronavirus for schools across the country.
The Rotary Club of Metro Bethesda, Maryland, is contacting neighbors who live alone and are quarantined. Volunteers are asked to contact at least five of these people each week to ask how they are and if they need anything. Members are also leaving flowers on their doorsteps.
In our own district, Peter Tuttle of the Chesterland club, together with his club members, came up with the Every Rotarian Every Week program. By now I hope all of you have heard of it. The idea is to make sure that every Rotarian in your club is contacted at least once a week by a fellow club member. The methods of doing this are varied.
Your District Foundation Committee is also active. As all of you should know by now, Foundation Club Chair Jim Lechko recently reached out to all club leaders pointing out the availability of Disaster Response Grants (The Rotary Foundation is making available to each District a single DRG in the amount of $25,000). District 6630’s intent is to purchase as many N95 masks, face shields, gowns, nitro gloves, sanitizer, or other Personal Protective Equipment as the $25,000 can buy. Hopefully your club is taking part.
Jim and his team (Matt Liebson, Rick Pollak, and the entire committee) also point out that COVID-19 District Grants 2020-2021 are also available. That is, clubs can request District Grant funds to support local activities like purchasing thermometers, protective medical gear, or other items to donate to medical professionals or first responders who need them. As a one-time exception, the Rotary Foundation will allow expenses related to COVID-19 which were incurred since March 15, 2020 to be reimbursed through 2020-2021 District Grants. In other words, once a grant is approved, clubs can spend this project money even though the project will be treated (and funded) in the upcoming Rotary Year. (For details on all of this, contact Jim Lechko, District Foundation Chair Coordinator, Matt Liebson Grant Committee Chair, and Rick Pollak)
Last but not least, DGE Pat Myers and the LEADS Committee are in the process of working with the District’s Assistant Governors to provide the necessary preparation to Presidents-Elect they otherwise would have lost through the cancellation of All Ohio PETS and the District Leadership Assembly. The work done in creating the curriculum, preparing the AGs, and conducting multiple cluster meetings is an impressive example of what we can achieve to overcome a challenge.
In closing, my best wishes to all of you, your family, and friends, as we move through these uncharted waters. Please stay safe, continue to work with Rotary at all levels, and there are great things we can achieve.
Yours in Rotary Service,
John Reyes
Rotary District 6630 Governor 2019-2020

Tel: 330.258.6469