Front Royal mayor Hollis Tharpe and county executive Douglas Stanley on Wednesday issued similar proclamations recognizing “World Polio Day” on October 24 at which Rotary members locally and worldwide were cited for their contributions to almost eradicating the dreaded disease.
Tharpe read the town proclamation at a special meeting of the Rotary Club of Front Royal, followed by County Administrator Doug Stanley, a member of the club, at the Royal Cinema on Main Street. County executive represented the Warren Country Board of Supervisors.
Rotary International announced earlier Wednesday that over the past half-century, at a cost of millions of dollars, polio among children of the world had been reduced by 99.9 percent in a program originated by Rotary and supported by the likes of UNICEF, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and others. The Rotary-led program treated 2.5 billion children with the oral vaccine in 122 countries thus preventing further outbreaks of polio.
To celebrate the accomplishment, local Rotarians met at the downtown theater to watch a documentary film titled “Dare to Dream: How Rotary Became the Heart and Soul of Polio Eradication” at the invitation of theater owner Rick Novak, immediate past president the
Front Royal club. Tharpe joined Stanley in reading the proclamation before the film which told the story of how a small group of visionary Rotary leaders, years ago, dared to set a breathtaking goal of eradicating polio for the children of the world.
“In doing so,” said Front Royal Rotary president Kym Crump, “they laid the groundwork for the single most successful public health coalition in (world) history.”
Following the 45-minute documentary, Rotarians and guests adjourned to the Front Royal Brewing Company for a special “Pilsners for Polio” event and dinner with donations from the restaurant going to the local polio fund.