By Bonnie Adams, Managing Editor
Northborough – For the past 20 years, Patricia (Pat) and Francis (Skip) Doyle have been a formidable team as members of the Rotary Club of Northborough. Skip has served as the club’s president for three terms and both he and Pat have been district trustees and assistant governors. Both have been named Paul Harris Fellows (the Rotary’s highest honor) multiple times.
This year, the Doyles are taking on another challenge as Pat serves as the District 7910 governor, overseeing 51 local Central Mass. clubs for the 2016-2017 term. Although she is the one who has been officially named, as always, Skip will be serving right by her side as a co-leader, she said.
Shortly before their term started this past summer, the Doyles traveled to South Korea for the annual Rotary International conference which was held at the KINTEK convention center in Seoul. Over 50,000 Rotary club members from over 150 countries attended the event.
During their time in South Korea, the Doyles attended sessions and exhibits which highlighted initiatives that clubs around the world are working on such as clean water,
literacy and stopping hunger.
They were also invited to attend a gathering at the Seoul home of a South Korean Rotarian, where they enjoyed performances and karaoke by local musicians. And during their down time, they were able to explore Seoul, including some of the many temples ringing the city.
Once back home, to start their term off, the couple endeavored to visit all 51 clubs in the district by the end of November to discuss their past successes and future goals.
Rotarians support causes both local and international. One of their largest challenges has been to work to eliminate polio throughout the world. According to its website (www.rotary.org/myrotary/en/take-action/end-polio), Rotary, along with its partners, has reduced polio cases by 99.9 percent worldwide since 1979.Thanks to their efforts, more than 2.5 billion children have been immunized against polio in 122 countries.
The organization has been fortunate, Skip said, to have the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which pledged in 2013 to donate $2 for every dollar donated, up to $35 million per year, through 2018.
“We are so, so close,” Pat said, of eradicating the disease.
Locally, the Rotary Club of Northborough has been involved in numerous service projects, the Doyles noted, such as an annual pancake breakfast that has raised thousands of dollars for local high school seniors, donating food and crockpots to the Northborough Food Pantry, purchasing and nurturing disease-resistant American Elm trees that were then donated to the town, purchasing a defibrillator for the Northborough Senior Center, and hosting picnics for local seniors.
The Doyles also oversee the Applefest Street Fair, featuring over 100 local businesses, nonprofits, artisans and crafters, which has been one of the signature events in the town’s annual celebration each fall.
They are also still actively involved in the Rotary’s Eastern States Student Exchange (ESSEX) and Rotary Youth Leadership Youth Award (RYLA) programs.
In the ESSEX program, approximately 200 foreign high school students come to the United States for either a year of study or for a summer while nearly that many go abroad.
RYLA recognizes 11th-grade students who have shown past and present leadership and service activities.
Over the next year, she and Skip will strive to help clarify the mission of Rotary and encourage others to join them.
“There is a perception versus reality about Rotary,” she said. “Many think it’s just a group of business people meeting. There are many of those but members come from many different worlds.
“The reality is that Rotary is a group of people working hard to change the world, one step at a time.”