In the early morning hours of September 29, 2020, a cargo ship carrying 800,000 face masks arrived at the Port of Boston. Over the course of the next 14 days, those masks will be delivered to first responders, healthcare providers, and frontline workers in cities, towns, and villages across New England. The story of this effort is one of service and leadership. It’s a story about answering the call, working together, and saving lives. It is the story, in short, of Rotary.
The ship-full of PPE is the culmination of a project launched by Rotary District 7980, East Hampton Rotarian Ted Rossi, and the Rossi Family Foundation that began during the first 3 months of the pandemic. At that time, 200,000 surgical masks were distributed throughout Connecticut by local Rotary Clubs. With the additional 800,000 masks, District 7980 is expanding the program to Rotary Clubs throughout New England in what’s being called Rotary's "Million Mask Challenge Tour.” On October 5, the Rotary Club of Hartford delivered 20,000 masks to Saint Francis Hospital and Trinity Health Of New England where they will be used by caregivers to provide safe and compassionate care for their patients.
This is a story of how Rotary responds to a crisis, rallies its resources, puts boots-on-the-ground, and brings communities together to spread goodwill and, most importantly, save lives.
Caption (l to r): Hartford Rotary members, Sue Joyse, President of the Hartford Rotary Club and Chief Development Officer, YMCA of Greater Hartford, and Matthew P. Hallisey, Managing Principal, Matthew Hallisey Government Affairs, LLC, deliver masks to Saint Francis Hospital and Christine L’Heureux, Regional Director of Supply Chain Operations, Trinity Health Of New England.