Rotarian Reflection – Betsy Meisenheimer

In the late ‘80s, we spent a couple of weeks touring Portugal. We did a circular route starting in Lisbon and driving north as far as Porto along the Atlantic coast and then south along the mountains separating Spain and Portugal.

We stopped in a small town in the mountains and saw there was a Rotary meeting that evening. We decided to attend and had a lovely time sharing dinner with the local Rotarians. Language was a bit of an issue, but between our Spanish and their English/Spanish, we managed.

However, the high point of the meeting was the presentation. At the time, Portugal and Spain were applying for admission to the EU and had to update many of their social services to meet the EU standards, especially health care. That evening, the local health care providers made a presentation to the Rotary club detailing how the current health infrastructure could be reconfigured to meet the EU requirements and what investment was required to do so. The Q & A following the presentation was intense and prolonged. The health care team clearly wanted the Rotarians to understand the process and gain their support. The Rotarians were equally clearly interested and wanted to be involved in these important changes for their community. It was a wonderful demonstration of Rotarian involvement in improving their communities.

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