When local Rotary Clubs heard hospitals needed equipment to help front-line workers combat the pandemic, they were quick to help. But it took some thinking.
“When we heard about the need, we had already allocated about 70% of our funds to other programs,” said Gay Ratcliff-Seamens, president of The Rotary Club of The Villages Evening. “But we knew this was an awesome opportunity and we didn’t have to think twice. Knowing this equipment could be purchased and donated ... was a game changer for us.”
Ratcliff-Seamens’ club and The Rotary Club of The Villages were among 10 groups under the Central Florida Rotary Clubs umbrella that recently donated a combined $36,896 of their District funds to present a Global Grant to AdventHealth Orlando for sanitation equipment.
The effort follows a May donation from Rotary District 6980, which includes all three Rotary Clubs of The Villages that presented UF Health The Villages Hospital Auxiliary Foundation a check for $5,000 to benefit the Pandemic Preparedness Fund. That fund set aside money to help the local hospital purchase equipment and provide training in the case of future pandemics.
This month’s region-wide donation helped to purchase five portable Cleanis Countertop Ultraviolet sanitizer machines.
When the Rotary District asked if clubs wanted to donate funds, it was in April when COVID-19 numbers were extremely high, said Ratcliff-Seamens, of the Village of Belle Aire.
“We were hearing all kinds of horror stories,” she said. “Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is expensive and masks were such a precious commodity, that it was nice to be able to find a way to help provide equipment to help sanitize and keep costs down.”
The UV machines will help hospital staff sanitize equipment that cannot be wiped down with a disinfectant wipe, including N95 masks, at a faster rate.
“Nothing gave me greater joy than when I got a call saying Rotary wanted to help purchase equipment,” said Ruth Bowling, development officer at AdventHealth. “We are so grateful because this donation helped to purchase equipment that will not only help us now with the current pandemic, but will also help us in the future with any other unexpected needs.”
Mike Vernor, Rotary district governor, said he was thankful to be a part of something this large and to know it made such a difference.
“On behalf of over 1,700 Rotary members, thank you AdventHealth for the work you continue doing and help you provide our local hospitals,” he said. “We are always pleased to be able to work with the community, especially when they are working hard to protect us.”
Leigh Ann Kelly, director of infection prevention at AdventHealth Orlando, said she was thankful for everyone who donated because the equipment would keep many people safe.
“Being in the middle of things on the front lines, it really changes your perspective,” she said. “We are so thankful for the Rotarians and their donations as it is going to help so many.
“The UV light boxes have been spread out all over our campuses including Orlando and Daytona areas, and because it is portable, when this pandemic is over, it will continue to be something we can use in and outside of
Staff writer Andrea Davis can be reached at 352-753-1119, ext. 5374, or firstname.lastname@example.org.