Past District Governor Leigh Hudson should be recognized for creating two innovative fund raising programs that are creating awareness and enthusiasm within District 7710 Rotarians as well as beyond our district to continue the global fight to eradicate the polio virus.
The first began with an idea in 2012 to create a print to sell and donate all proceeds to Polio Plus. His inspiration was a limited edition Thomas Kinkade framed print of “The Rotary Meeting” that was printed in The Rotarian Magazine in 1990. He was confident a painting in this style would be a welcome addition to many Rotary offices or in Rotarian’s homes. He had also discovered this Kinkade print was no longer available.
Leigh commissioned a local painter, Vincent Wood, to capture the essence of a Rotary club enjoying that special moment of friendship just before the weekly meeting begins in a 3’x4′ original oil painting. The painting depicts 2013-14 RIP Ron Burton and 2012-13 RIP Sakuji Tanaka leading a group of Rotarians as they prepare to hear Bill and Melinda Gates deliver a special program on “End Polio Now.”
From the original painting, Leigh has manufactured 22″x28″ framed prints that he has been selling for $199 (like Kinkade did in The Rotarian in 1990) and donating all proceeds to Polio Plus. Since March 2014, he has sold over 219 prints regionally raising over $64,485 for Polio Plus. Leigh works tirelessly to promote the eradication of polio at club, district, and zone events, raising awareness and funds for Polio Eradication.
The second unique approach that Leigh has used to build enthusiasm and fundraising momentum for polio eradication is to create a Polio Plus Society in District 7710. When he became the District Polio Plus Chairman in July 2016, he again looked for an innovative approach to bring enthusiasm and commitment to attract additional gifts that would be needed to finish the job by 2018. To become a member, you must donate a minimum of $100 per year until polio is eradicated worldwide. Since its inception ten months ago, District 7710 has 72 members of the Polio Plus Society. We expect it to continue growing in membership and provide a sustainable source of funding until this terrible disease no longer plagues children in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and most recently in Nigeria.
Leigh Hudson has a passion to eradicate polio that has fueled his inspired approaches to raise awareness and funds. His exemplary commitment and successful results make him a deserving recipient for the Regional International Service Award for a Polio-Free World.