Posted by Valrie Wafer, Director , Rotary International

Dear Rotarains, Rotaractors and the whole Rotary family in District 7070,

Every year we champion disease prevention and treatment during the month of December. This year I could not think of a more apt subject to keep in our thoughts as Christmas beckons along with the promise of vaccinations, a promise to protect mankind against the deadly pandemic of Covid-19. 

Rotarians are no strangers to vaccinations. Globally we are seen as champions of vaccination and inoculation. Rotary along with our close partners, the World Health Organization, the Gates foundation and GAVI the Vaccine Alliance. It goes without saying, without your contribution to the world of disease prevention, tens of thousands of endemic countries would still be dealing with mass death and illness as a result of Polio. In fact, if it weren’t for you and Rotarians around the world the number of endemic countries would certainly be more than two. .........

As we approach Christmas and the excitement of starting a new year we are clearly close to being able to return to normal. As well as seeing a light at the end of a very dark tunnel it also reminds us that we have responsibilities, to ourselves and to others. Christmas is a time for family, perhaps a time for faith and it is during these times of tradition that we must not let our guard down and allow this dreadful disease to continue to hurt and kill our loved ones. 

This Christmas and New Year’s Eve will not be like any other we have celebrated. We must remain steadfast and stay the course, the end is in sight, what we plan to do this year will determine how much we celebrate these traditions in the future. For many families there will already be an empty seat at the table on Christmas Day, let’s collectively work to ensure that next Christmas, we don’t add to those empty seats by our actions this year.

2020 has been the darkest year in a century but with the promise of a return to some form of normalcy in 2021 there is hope. Please enjoy your Christmas and New Years celebrations as best we can and keep “hope” in your hearts and minds as we exit this once in a lifetime crisis. 

A very merry Christmas and Happy new year from Mark and I. Our best wishes to you all for a wonderful holiday, the best it can be under these circumstances. Our best wishes to your family and loved ones and the promise of hope in the coming year. 

Stay safe and thank you all for being champions of disease prevention in our world. 

I invite you to read the following article written by DGN Juliet Altenburg, an emergency room nurse who in conversation with me expressed her concern for the safety of all Rotarians and our families and her solution with the support of D7390 DG John Anthony.

Keeping Rotarians Safe

We Rotarians LOVE to serve others!  Never has there been such evidence of this as during our global pandemic. Rotarians are distributing food, serving needy families, and reaching out to neighbors as the pandemic rages on.  All this service is happening as Rotarians themselves are being personally impacted by the pandemic.  Members of every age are contracting the virus and there is a collective grief we are all experiencing by the loss of health, Rotary routines, and personal connections.  

 So often though, as we serve others, we fail to consider service to one important group – ourselves!   With this concern in mind, District 7390 created a Safety Committee with its first goal of educating members on how to reduce the risk of contracting and transmitting COVID-19 during any in-person activities including club meetings, fundraisers, and service events. The committee was started with a call for volunteers to create written resources and messaging to clubs throughout the District. 

Within 2 weeks the committee was born with 12 passionate members bringing forth their vocational expertise in teaching, nursing, healthcare, food safety, childcare and public relations.  Within one month a publication was created and posted on the D7390 website dedicated to club safety during every facet of operations.  Considerations include not only an emphasis on mask wearing, socially distancing, hand washing and disinfecting but considerations with travel, youth activities, and food safety.  

Public Relations aspects now involve weekly postings in the district newsletter and on social media. Interested club members continue to reach out offering their expertise. 

D7390 welcomes all Rotary members and the public to access its resources at and reach out with ideas on how to expand our reach and impact.  One idea clubs might consider is creating a “safety officer” position within each club to focus on member safety.  For more information reach out to DGN Juliet Altenburg RN, MSN at


Yours In Rotary,


Valarie Wafer

RI Director

Rotary Club of Collingwood, South Georgian Bay