Rotarians celebrate gratitude


Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune

Madera Rotary president Sandra Mendez, center left, Ryan McWherter, Madera County Food Bank executive director and Rotarian, center, and Sally Moreno, president of the Madera Sunrise Rotary, are joined by fellow Rotarians at the food bank as they present a thank you card and sign during Rotary’s Gratefulness week. Following the gathering, the group dispersed to distribute cards and signs of appreciation to 60 entities throughout the county.

Madera Rotary placed 60 placards all across Madera County to show their appreciation for people that have put themselves in harm’s way during the coronavirus pandemic.


Rotary is celebrating Gratefulness week from Nov. 16-22 as an expression to the community. The initiative was started by Rotary International Vice President/Rotary International Director Johrita Solari, who is in charge of Rotary Clubs west of Texas, including Alaska and Hawaii. She is in charge of 30 districts with more than 20,000 people.


“We placed placards at 60 different places, including the post office, Madera Rescue Mission, Madera County Food Bank, all Madera Unified School District schools, Holy Family Table, Madera County Sheriff, Madera Police and Madera Fire, to name those at the top of my head,” said Jim Pierce of the Madera Rotary Club and Immediate Past District Governor for 53 clubs in District 5220 (Central California).


“Our committee went through and said we are appreciative of these first responders,” he said. “We came up with all of these businesses, within our budget. We missed some, but we tried to thank as many people as we could who gave service during the pandemic.”


Pierce said that it was the club’s way of saying, “Thank You,” to the people that have kept the community going during the pandemic.


“Other clubs are doing their things to make sure the community knows the Rotarians appreciate those who are putting themselves in harm’s way,” Pierce said.


Madera Rotarians filed throughout Madera County to show their appreciation. Pierce was moved by the response he received.


“I could sell ice to eskimos today,” he said. “Everybody looked at it and were in awe. They were euphoric thanking us for thanking them. I wasn’t expecting that kind of reaction. They were so happy to know someone took the time to make a sign and meet them for all they did. From the postmaster to the school district personnel to the school principals, everybody was so appreciative that we were appreciative of them. It was so neat.”


Although Pierce wishes he and his club could do more, knowing he put a smile on people’s faces today was worth it.


“It’s a big deal, as well as it should be, for those helping us to stay safe,” he said.

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