Presque Isle Rotary Club unveils ‘End Polio’ sign

8 years ago

Presque Isle Rotary Club unveils ‘End Polio’ sign

Purple emblem reflects work to cure disease

PRESQUE ISLE — When it comes to eradicating polio worldwide, Rotarians take their work very seriously. As a visible, purple reminder of these efforts, the Presque Isle Rotary Club recently unveiled a new “End Polio Now” sign on Academy St. in Presque Isle.

Contributed photo

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Members of the Presque Isle Rotary Club unveil their new “End Polio Now” sign on lower Academy Street. From left are Joy Barresi Saucier, City Manager Martin Puckett with his daughter Sabine, Paul Howlett, Club President Frank Bemis, Jordyn Madore, Theresa Fowler, Gina Leblanc-Eggert, John Harvell, Tim Poitras, Leigh Smith, Derik Smith, Mary Lawrence, Floyd Rockholt, and Ginny Joles. Several crocuses planted near the sign also serve as a reminder of Rotary’s efforts to end polio.

The new five-foot-wide sign, located near the city bike path and Next Level Training, features the Rotary International “End Polio Now” logo and the message “Help Rotary free the world from polio”. The establishment of the sign was made possible with the help of the City of Presque Isle, which provided the location, and 27 Sign Place, which designed the sign.
Rotarians Rachel Rice and Joy Barresi Saucier have worked together since last fall to make the sign a reality. They got the idea after seeing a YouTube video of a similar sign surrounded by scores of purple crocuses — an installation that was created by a Rotary Club in Europe.
“We just thought it was a beautiful way to express the work we’re doing as a club at the local level and as an organization at the international level to rid the world of polio,” Barresi Saucier said. “We hope that when people see our purple sign, they’ll think of the efforts that happen in our community and around the globe to put an end to this debilitating disease.”
Purple is an important color associated with Rotary’s ending-polio efforts. When children get immunized from the disease their pinkies are colored with topical purple dye to prevent double dosages. Thus, a purple pinkie represents one polio immunization, or one life saved from polio. The Presque Isle club has hosted a Purple Pinkie Project for the past four years, asking people to give $1 to get their pinkie painted purple. The event raises awareness of Rotary International’s efforts and raises money toward the global campaign.
Through the combined efforts of Aroostook County Rotary Clubs, the Purple Pinkie Project has raised more than $8,000 since 2012.
Purple crocuses have also been an important campaign symbol. Rotarians around the world have planted millions of purple crocus bulbs to support the effort. As well, fabric crocus buttonholes have been sold across the globe to raise funds for the campaign.
To echo that symbolism, Presque Isle Rotarians from the Thursday Morning Club planted 100 purple crocus bulbs at the sign site last fall. When the sign was unveiled on April 28, the first purple crocus had bloomed. Club members are hopeful that, despite the unusual weather this spring, more crocuses will bloom this year.
“Projects related to polio awareness and eradication have been extremely close to our hearts as a club, so we’re very pleased to continue to share this message with our community in this special way,” Rice said. “We just wouldn’t have been able to make the impact we’ve made without the community’s help. We’re very thankful for this support over the years and we look forward to working together until we really do free the world from polio.”
The Presque Isle Rotary Club maintains a membership of approximately 100 individuals and is part of a worldwide organization of community volunteers. The Slogan of Rotary is “Service Above Self” and the club seeks to live up to this ideal to support a variety of causes for the betterment of the community.