Posted by Paul Casey
President Beth Knox called Seattle Rotary Club #4 to order at 12:30 pm Wednesday, August 24, 2022.  The meeting was held via Zoom.  President Beth first acknowledged all indigenous people who were the original settlers.  She reminded Rotarians that Seattle Rotary is the 4th oldest Rotary Club in the world and the largest in our region.
President Beth introduced Rabbi Daniel Weiner with the Inspiration of the Day.  Rabbi Weiner said awareness is the key to understanding other people and their circumstances: awareness to taking care of people less fortunate; awareness to responding to needs unmet; and awareness to seek out those who need the most help.  May it be so.
President Beth asked Mary Goldie to introduce visiting Rotarians and guests. 
President Beth introduced Doug Seto.  Doug focused his comments on the committee structure and said a major goal of the committee structure is to engage, excite, and energize strong relationships. He challenged Rotarians to “step up,” which is President Beth’s challenge to Seattle Rotarians for this year.  
There are nine service committees:
  • Arts
  • Business Mentors
  • Community Service
  • Education
  • International Service
  • Peace Builders
  • Boys & Girls Club
  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Rotaract
Contact Doug Seto to find out more about the above committees and how you may be of service.  
Ken Grant introduced Kerri Murray, the featured speaker.  Kerri is President of ShelterBox, a global disaster relief charity. She has been working in disaster relief since 2009.  Her missions have carried her to the front lines of disaster zones. ShelterBox is part of Rotary International.  She is a member of the Montecito Rotary Club.  She is Board President of “Girls Rock” in Santa Barbara, which empowers young girls through music education. Kerri has a daughter Sofia, who appeared on American Idol in 2020.  
Kerri Murray Highlights:
  • ShelterBox is essentially a response team that helps facilitate rescues
  • ShelterBox has supported 2.5 million people with emergency shelters
  • Shelter is the first priority for ShelterBox
  • ShelterBox has its roots in Rotary Clubs and are still partners
  • The organization coordinates their efforts with the UN and the Red Cross
Some major deployments since 2000:
  • Indian Ocean Tsunami
  • Haiti in 2010 and last year
  • War torn Syria that has resulted in 550,000 displaced people. 
  • Ethiopia, Cameroon, Niger and other African countries have been served by ShelterBox
After Ukraine was invaded by the Russians, ShelterBox immediately deployed supplies to the conflict zones.
Kerri was in the first response team. Unprecedented displacement has resulted in six million displaced and six million refugees.  The goal is to have as many people shelter in place as possible in the short term.
Major criteria for helping countries in crisis: Focus on the poorest countries in the world and the ones ShelterBox can have the biggest impact in.
How can you help?
  • Volunteer
  • Ambassadors
  • Rotary Club Champions
  • Donations
Ken Grant fielded questions from Rotarians via Zoom.
Q:  How many are displaced as a result of disasters and how many because of conflicts?
A:  70% by conflict. 30% by disasters.
Q:  What are in the green boxes?
A:  Eight items including water, bassinet, personal affects, tent, and shop tools.
Q:  How is climate change affecting ShelterBox?
A:  Africa is experiencing a 50-year drought. The results have been devastating.
Q:  Funding sources?
A:  Private support, foundations, Rotary and individuals. Many sources.
Q: How do you prioritize?
A:  Overall, humanitarian needs. Human development index that will get aid to the families who need it.
Another criteria is to go to places where other organizations are not going.
Q: Supply chain challenges?
A: There have been plenty of supply chain challenges. The pandemic really slowed things down.  
Q:  How can Rotary Club members help?
A: Talk about ShelterBox on social media sites. Shelter Box cost: $1,000 delivered. Shelter kits $100.  
Q: Has ShelterBox been denied entry into a country or conflict zone?
A:  Not directly but there have had obstacles. If we don’t have confidence that we will be positively received, we won’t go.  Example: Yemen.
Q: 1 in 30 make it through the training?
A:  Need people with availability and a particular set of skills. The training is rigorous, and you have to be able to leave on a moment’s notice.
Q: Collaboration?
A: Yes. Habitat for Humanity and Red Cross plus many others.
Finally, Shelter Box was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.
Ken Grant thanked Kerri for her presentation and announced a donation to  Harvest Against Hunger that  will be made in her name.
Ken also thanked the Gold Sponsors that include Liz Powell and Bob Alexander,    
Rotary will not meet on August 31.  There will be Rotary programs on each Wednesday throughout September.
Visit the Seattle Rotary Club #4 web site for upcoming programs.
Mary Goldie spoke about two upcoming events including Fedva’s Ethnic Dinner on Sept. 15 and a networking event on Tuesday Sept. 20.  For details visit the club’s website.
President Beth closed out the meeting and introduced the breakout sessions following the meeting.  
President Beth spoke about former Seahawk Shaquille Griffin. When Shaquille was 4 years old, his left hand was amputated. He went on to become the first player with one hand drafted by the NFL. He was eventually waved by the Seahawks. His biggest worry was that people would feel sorry for him.  That is not what he wanted. He said he didn’t want sympathy. He signed with the Miami Dolphins and other NFL teams before retiring. He was invited to join the NFL Legends Community and was asked to share his story to students in high school and college. His story is about not giving up. He said he is going to build something, so he could do what his dad told him: “Leave the world a better place than when you found it.”
Congratulations and a big thank you to Caroline Bobanick for her wonderful years of service to the Seattle Rotary #4.  The meeting adjourned 1:31 p.m.   
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