The Starkville Rotary Club received high praise from its district leader when he paid a visit to its meeting Monday.

Rotary District 6820 Governor Mark Fields spoke to the club, discussing several Rotary initiatives both within the district and within the broader Rotary International scope. District 6820 includes Rotary Clubs in the central part of Mississippi, ranging from Laurel to the Golden Triangle.

One of the main points of Fields’ talk was Rotary International’s ongoing effort to eradicate polio. He asked members of the Starkville club to hold their hand in a U shape, and say that Rotary was “this close” to eradicating polio.

“We’re not going to be done until we get rid of polio completely for three years,” Fields said. “For those of you who don’t know, polio only exists in the human body. No one contracting that, it’s gone forever. Until then, it can spread like wildfire, especially with the number of people who don’t inoculate their children these days.”

He said the number of polio cases had ncreased from approximately 35 to approximately 90 from last year to this year. He said all cases were located in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

“We’ve got boots on the ground doing things,” Fields said. “We know where the hot spots are, we know what needs to be done. It’s just going to take some moneyand time to get it done.”

He encouraged the club to set a program for World Polio Day, coming up on Oct. 24. He also lauded the club for its past financial support in the fight against polio and for other Rotary causes.

“For a club this size, your giving is incredible,” Fields said. “I know it gets lost in the times being in a club this size, but the activity that you have, I congratulate you.”

He focused on this year’s Rotary International theme “Rotary connects the world," set by RotaryInternational President Mark Daniel Maloney.  Maloney has also laid out four objectives, including increasing impact, increasing reach, increasing engagement and adapting to current needs.

Additionally, he discussed District-wide initiatives including the annual raffle with a grand prize of $40,000 or a vehicle, the new Mississippi Rotary license plates and enhanced membership engagement. He also thanked members of the club who have been involved with district-level leadership positions both currently and in the past.

“Thank you for your continued service,” Fields said. “A lot of people think they can go out to pasture once they’re done with their leadership, so thank you for being involved in what you do.”

Fields is a member of the Rotary Club of Jackson, and has been a Rotarian since 1990. He holds business degrees from the University of Tennessee and Vanderbilt University, and is retired from a career in investments and real estate.

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