James Roth in Columbia

James Henry Francis Roth
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James Roth in Columbia

1). Rotary Club of Medellin

A little over a year after the creation of the Rotary Clubs of Bogata and Barranquilla, a meeting was held in 1928 under the supervision and organisation of Mr James H. Roth who was the representative of Rotary International and had been sent for the express purpose of forming the early Rotary Clubs in Columbia.

Several meetings were held in Medellin before the inaugural meeting was held on 23 February 1928, to celebrate the granting of the Club’s Charter which was hand delivered by the President of Rotary International that year, Arthur H. Sapp who visited Medelling specifically for that purpose.

The club has been the home of many illustrious and eminent Columbians including Charles E. Restrepo President of Columbia; Guillermo Echavarria Misas, industrialist; Braulio Henao Mejia, medical practitioner and future governor of Antioquia; Fernando Martinez and Dario Gomez Arismendi, journalists; Samuel Syro Giraldo Londoño and Joaquin Ortiz, lawyers; Restrepo Antonio Alvarez and Antonio Cano, engineers; German Saldarriaga and Guillermo del Valle Greiffenstein, traders; Antonio and Julio Ernesto Gonzalez Ramirez Toro, doctors; and many more.

Rotary Club Medellin was allocated club number 7281 and at the time, there were only approximately 200,000 Rotarians in the world. Of course today, there are nearly 33,000 clubs.

For many years the club met at the “Union Club” of Medellin, from where it undertook an impressive list of community service works for which Rotary has an unparalleled reputation.

Some of the more notable of the club’s community service programs are –

* Participation in the Rotary International polio eradication program;

* The construction of 13 low-cost hostels for displaced and low-income families with matching grants from the Rotary Foundation;

* One of the club’s members, Diego Echavarria Masses donated a house which was used as a home for malnourished children and located in the municipality of Itaguí. Until 1998 the home was directly dependent on the club. In that year the Municipality needed to expand its main stadium and so the house was sold. The proceeds were used to acquire another house and the home was moved to San Cristobal near another refuge for the elderly. Our home for children is now independent of the club and is known throughout the area as “The Sweet Home Foundation”.

* RC Medellin was the first club in the Americas to send their contribution at the beginning of the eradication of polio campaign.

* The club has many Paul Harris Fellows and has sponsored many scholarships for young children to further their education.

* Since 1928, the club sponsored 36 other Rotary clubs in Columbia.

* Since Rotary International facilitated the membership of women, its members have included Helena Herrán Montoya, Government Department head; and Tamil Ragimov, Russian and physics professor at the University of Antioquia.

* The club belongs to District 4280, one of three Colombian Rotary Districts. It has 75 members of whom 11 are women.

 

Researched and posted by RGHF Senior Global Webmaster, Greg Barlow, Malaysia 16 August 2008

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