I am a grandmother paddling alone over 2,500 miles from Maine to Guatemala. Along the way I will be:
- telling the story of the children who live in the Guatemala City garbage dump community
- honoring their entrepreneurial mothers
- talking about the success of the Safe Passage model school and
- raising funds for additional grades for the school.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Two More Awards for Kayak For Safe Passage Kids

Safe Passage children working hard!
I was so touched to be awarded "2015 Rotarian of the Year" by the Unity Area Rotary Club on Tuesday.  But even better was Gene Pfeiffer being awarded  "2015 Service Above Self" for his amazing role in finding me hosts every night as well as Rotary Clubs to speak to about Safe Passage.  Gene worked more than full time on the logistics to make the Kayak For Safe Passage Kids Expedition successful to raise awareness and funds for school for the children at Safe Passage.  And even more amazing, Gene is willing to do it all again for the next leg of the expedition!  
President Bill and Gene "Service Above Self"
Gene and I were both very surprised - and happy as you can see here!  We were just doing the best we could to help raise awareness and funds for the children at Safe Passage.  We were thinking about how persistent the parents and children are at Safe Passage, working hard as they can to learn to read and write and have a better future.

Here are Bill's words to Gene:
"As Deb inspired Rotarians and people with her epic journey, you undertook the monumental support task of logistics.  You reached out to fellow Rotarians over the entire Atlantic coastline of this wonderful nation that we call home, and somehow coordinated places for Deb to spend a night at, 
as well as make speeches at.  I don't think anyone here should underestimate the time and planning that you put into this endeavor... You also assisted a fellow Rotarian to attend meetings in winter weather, with no thought of being recognized for it.  Thank you for being a shining example of "Service Above Self"."
President Bill and Den, "Rotarian of the Year"
And his words to me:
"Once in a great while, a person performs a deed that goes so beyond extraordinary that it beggars description.  You care so deeply about the Safe Passage for Children program and its importance to so many needy children and families, that you undertook a journey to paddle a kayak from Maine to Guatemala, in the unpredictable waters off the Atlantic coast.  Instead of resting at each point in your journey, you passionately spoke to groups about Safe Passage, inspiring people that we share this wondrous world with to donate funds and to spread awareness of the program.  Only through serious injury and surgery, did you stop paddling - for now.  Yet, in the meantime, you still completed your journey by other modes of transportation, and aim to complete the paddling leg when you have sufficiently healed.   Local and national media outlets rightly took note, and you have done more than raise money for this wonderful cause- you have inspired countless people to "be better world citizens"."

Thank you to all the Rotarians in the Unity Club, and all along the coast for helping to make the expedition a success.  Many more people now know about Safe Passage.  And we more than reached our goal of raising the money to convert third and fourth grades from after school programs to all day school.  All of those students now have an even better opportunity to learn and have a bright future.

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