Posted by Fred Hatt
The visit of Rotarians to the RI Convention in Atlanta cronicled by Fred Hatt

Southern Hospitality, together with the bonds of Rotary Friendship in shared service, made Atlanta Georgia a city of peace on earth and goodwill toward all, even if only for Saturday June 10 to Wednesday June 14, 2017.  While the numbers of Rotarians in town varied, the number “over 32,000” was most used. 


President Allen and Sharlene Moyer along with Fred and Janice Hatt arrived on Saturday morning, and made our debut at the House of Friendship Saturday afternoon.  The House of Friendship consisted of 2 square city blocks under the roof of Building B at the Georgia World Congress.  Booths filled with information on: Rotary International; Public Health including Polio; Rotary District Projects like the Guatemala X-ray project, that puts x-ray equipment in remote towns with a clinic physician, sending the image to the City for review by a Radiologist; Private charitable entities like Chick-Fil-A, who gave a grant to Pure Water for the World, Rutland, Vermont for sand filter water projects around the world (Muhlenberg Rotary funded 4 filters in Honduras, through Pure Water, during 2006-2007); and Rotary Fellowships like the Wine Fellowship and Physicians’ Fellowship (that got the attention of Sharlene and Janice).


Sunday morning gave us the opportunity to worship at Ebenezer Baptist Church, the home church of Martin Luther King, Jr., and to tour the National Park facility dedicated to his legacy.  Sunday afternoon was the Opening Ceremony of flags and the Welcome address of RI President, John Germ.


Monday morning’s General Session was devoted to Polio and the fight to bring it to 0 (zero).  Bill Gates was a featured speaker.  In addition, representatives from organizations, foundations and countries around the world were in town for international planning at CDC of the next 3 years of attack, and came to the stage to pledge a combined $1.2 Billion over the next 3 years.  Monday afternoon, Janice and Fred, were lucky enough to get on the CDC Polio Tour.  After submitting to background checks weeks before the event, we were issued passes and taken by bus to the Center for Disease Control.  Once there we met with a scientist who has worked on Polio and with Rotary since the 1980’s.  We were also given the rare opportunity to enter the Emergency Response Center.  A command center of a multitude of specialists on computers, watching a changing master screen in front of the center, relating to various public health incidents being tracked.


Tuesday was a day of break-out sessions on topics from Club flexibility to service projects.  It also included the birthday party for the 100th Anniversary of the Rotary Foundation, with groups of Rotarians from around the world singing Happy Birthday in their native language. Wednesday had some last breakout sessions, before the Closing Ceremony came all too soon.  We were seated close to the front of the Hall, and got a close look at RI President Nominee, Sam Owori, of Uganda, and RI President Elect, Ian Riseley, of Australia.  Hold on, Ian Riseley has an aggressive platform and appears to have the energy to pull it off in the 2017-2018 Rotary Year (with some help from Terri Pfennig).