Tom Thompson has over 35 years of management and leadership experience in the non-profit and public sector. A lifelong resident of Stark County, Tom holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Management from the University of Akron.
Tom worked for over 30 years in the job and family services system, beginning as a caseworker in 1978 and culminating his career as the  Deputy Director of the Human Services Division of Stark County Job and Family Services. In that capacity, he  oversaw 200 staff with an annual budget of $17 million. In between, Tom supervised a Quality Assurance Department, worked with Ohio welfare reform initiatives, and developed the first Medicaid County Compliance Department at the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
Tom is in his 8th year as Executive Director at JRC, formerly called JR Coleman. He believes in the mission of JRC, which is “to enrich lives through educating children, engaging seniors, and strengthening community”. He enjoys working with the JRC Board of Directors, their wonderful staff, and a caring community to provide the best possible experience for children, seniors and families served by JRC. His vision is to see all children be afforded the opportunity of quality early education, and for all seniors to have the best possible quality of life as they age.
Tom is married and has a daughter, a step daughter and two grandchildren. He serves on the Meyers Lake Village Council, has coached Holly Hills girls softball, is in the Stark County Fumbleball Hall of Fame as an umpire, and frustrates his life by playing golf.
FISH FRY (baked, beer batter, greek plaki)
On January 4, 2019, Past District Governor Mike Raulin attended the Canton Rotary meeting and presented Past President Amanda Tietze with the 2017-2018 Presidential Citation award. 
You may ask yourself how did our Club receive such a prestigious award? The answer...through a lot of hard work and dedication on the parts of PP Amanda Tietze and the Canton Rotarians themselves. 
In 2017-18, then Rotary International President, Ian H.S. Riseley, wanted to answer the question “What is Rotary?” with the theme Rotary: Making a Difference.  The Rotary Citation recognized clubs that completed activities that supported the priorities of the citation by completing certain activities. Clubs had the entire Rotary year to achieve the citation’s goals related to Rotary’s three strategic priorities: to support and strengthen clubs, focus and increase humanitarian service, and enhance Rotary’s public image and awareness. 
Past RI President Riseley said it best, "However each of us chooses to serve, we do it because we know our service makes a difference in the lives of others. Whether we are building a new playground or a new school, improving medical care or sanitation, training conflict mediators or midwives, we know that the work we do will change people’s lives — in ways large and small — for the better. Whatever motivation each of us had for joining Rotary, it is the satisfaction we find in Rotary that causes us to remain, the satisfaction of knowing that week by week, year by year, we are part of Rotary: Making a Difference."
Past President Amanda had the insight and motivation to "make a difference" and guided the Rotary Club of Canton to achieve all required goals related to this citation. Congratulations PP Amanda on a job well done!!
To view the requirements that were needed to receive the Presidential Citation for the 2017-2018 Rotary year, you may follow this  LINK .  
Dear Canton Rotarian,
We are less than a month away from the District Art Auction taking place on Friday, February 1st from 6:30 pm - 9:30 pm and I hope that many of you will attend!  It will take place at The SOAP Gallery in Youngstown which is a really cool space. Music will be by J.D. Eicher. There will be art to bid on and purchase, plenty of food, and a cash bar! Special guests include: Mary Beth Growney Selene, Rotary Foundation Trustee and Stephanie Urchick, Rotary International Director-Elect.  All for the reasonable ticket price of $35 per person ($60 per couple). It's very easy to purchase tickets - you can do so here:
I hope that some of you (or your businesses) will consider becoming a sponsor for the event or purchasing an ad for the program. Sponsorship opportunities can be found here:
You can pay for your sponsorship or program ad at the same time as purchasing your ticket. Please RSVP by January 25, 2019.
*Hotel rooms are available for $99 at the Hilton Doubletree Downtown Youngstown by calling (330) 333-8284. Must be done by January 18!!
Please help me to make this event a big success! 
Dear fellow Rotarians,
A Rotary convention is an unparalleled opportunity to find a world of inspiration in a single city. This year, Hamburg, Europe’s “Gateway to the World,” will be that single city — and your gateway to the world of Rotary. Begin your days with general sessions that inspire you, as well as a wealth of breakout sessions for every interest and every ambition. Then set out, with friends old and new, to explore this historic port city. You’ll find classic and modern architecture, delicious multicultural cuisine, and a maze of canals waiting to be wandered. I’m excited to have you join me in Hamburg, Germany, for our 110th Rotary International Convention, 1-5 June 2019, at the Hamburg Messe. Come for the inspiration, for the ideas, for the friendship and the fun — and Capture the Moment forever. 

Barry Rassin, President 2018-19

31 March 2019: Last day for pre-registration discount!! Follow this LINK to register for this year's RI Convention in Hamburg, Germany!
Don't forget to book your hotel before they sell out!! Follow this LINK to view area hotels and rates.
During the meeting on Friday, January 4, 2019, President Michelle Mullaly welcomed the 52 members and 6 guests to the meeting. The President asked everyone with a January birthday to stand and be recognized.
Rotarian Tom Roepke (Ashland Rotary) graciously stepped in to provide the invocation.
Secretary Suzette Matthews welcomed the following guests to the meeting: Ryan Nicholson (speaker); Tom Roepke (Ashland Rotary); PDG Mike Raulin (Canfield Rotary); Richard Regula (Massillon Rotary); Wilbur Allen (guest of Steve Fettman); Taylor Molnar (daughter/guest of Jim Molnar).
Suzette then announced that January 4th was WORLD BRAILLE DAY, as noted on the Rotary January calendar! Louis Braille was born on January 4, 1809 in Coupvray, France. The son of a harness maker, Braille was blinded by an accident when he was three. Educated at the National Institute for Blind Youth in Paris, Braille developed a raised-dot code that enabled blind people to read and write. Braille is now used in 147 Countries worldwide. The Rotarian magazine recommends Rotarians mark this day as a good day to purchase Braille books for a worthy cause...such as our local Philomatheon Society for the Blind.
Congratulations went to Past District Governor Mike Raulin (Canfield) for having the winning 50/50 ticket, worth $65.00. Inspired by Secretary Suzette's suggestion during the Rotary Moment, PDG Mike generously donated his winnings to the Philomatheon Society for the Blind. *Rotarian Steve Fettman will deliver this contribution to the Philomatheon Society on behalf of PDG Mike.
The "Happy News" was then provided by the following:
  • Jim Molnar - in honor of his daughter, Taylor, for attending the Rotary meeting and kudos for her graduation from college;
  • Taylor Molnar - to celebrate family and graduating from college;
  • Mark Clendenin - in honor of the #3 ranked OSU football team and the success of their great coach, Urban Meyer;
  • Gary Sirak - in celebration of the Cleveland Browns and his birthday - a good time to be alive!
  • Lynn Hamilton - in recognition of his daughter-in-law naming her cat Helen (and her maiden name being Keller)....Helen Keller the cat!
Past District Governor Mike Raulin then took to the podium to present Past President Amanda Tietze with the Presidential Citation for the 2017-2018 Rotary year. Only those Rotary clubs and their Presidents that satisfy certain criteria are given this prestigious award. *See story above for more details.
President Michelle reminded the members that she had sent an email to every Canton Rotarian asking for each member to consider attending the Rotary Foundation Art Auction on February 1, 2019 at the SOAP Gallery in Youngstown. She is the Chairwoman for this event and would like to see it be a big success.  She would truly appreciate the support of her fellow Canton Rotarians.
For information on purchasing tickets, as well as sponsorship opportunities for the auction, please see the story above. 
January speaker chair Jim Molnar welcomed speaker, Ryan Nicholson, from Destiny Rescue. Destiny Rescue is an internationally-recognized Christian non-profit organization dedicated to rescuing children trapped in the sex trades. Their vision is to rescue the sexually exploited and enslaved, restore the abused, protect the vulnerable, empower the poor and be a voice for those who can’t speak up for themselves.
The president concluded the meeting with the following announcement:
  • next week's speaker will be Tom Thompson, Executive Director for JRC (fka JR Coleman);
The following received a makeup for volunteering during the Rotary Scout Christmas parties: PP Amanda Tietze, PP Scott Sandrock, Jim Molnar and PP Denny Fulmer.

Former RI president helps send hundreds of volunteers around the world to perform 67,000 surgeries, examine 250,000 patients

Rotary International

When Rajendra Saboo finished his term as president of Rotary International in 1992, he started thinking about how he could continue to help people. And by 1998, after serving as Rotary Foundation trustee chair, he knew he wanted to do something hands-on. 

“When I was Rotary president, my theme was Look Beyond Yourself,” says Saboo, a member of the Rotary Club of Chandigarh, India. “I was thinking about service beyond borders. So I thought, ‘Is there anything that India can give?’ I realized that medical science in India is fairly advanced, and there are doctors — Rotarian doctors — who could give something to Africa, where the medical needs are tremendous.”

Saboo talked to Nandlal Parekh, a fellow Rotarian and a physician who had worked in Uganda before being forced out by dictator Idi Amin. Parekh thought Uganda, even though it was still in the midst of a civil war, would be an excellent place for a medical mission. The trip that Saboo organized in 1998 was the start of 20 years of medical missions and over 67,000 surgeries.

To accompany him on that first trip, Saboo assembled a team of surgeons with experience performing corrective surgery on patients with polio, as well as a team of ophthalmologists. Then, a few days before they were scheduled to depart, terrorists bombed the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, killing hundreds of people. A third attack, in the Ugandan capital of Kampala, was foiled.

“We were terrified,” he says. “The doctors were also saying, ‘Should we go? Will we be safe?’” 

Then Saboo’s wife, Usha, talked to a woman who had returned from volunteering to help people wounded in the war in the former Yugoslavia. Usha asked her if she had been afraid.

“You die only once,” the woman replied. “And it is the way you die that matters. I did not find any fear at the time, because I was serving humanity.”

“That answer hit Usha,” recalls Saboo. “She told me about it. Then we called a meeting where she recounted her conversation. The doctors and the volunteers said, ‘We are ready to go.’”

They arrived three days after the bombings. From Kampala, one team took a bus four hours east to Masaka, while another went north to Gulu to perform eye surgery. The local hospital hadn’t seen an ophthalmologist in seven years. Some of the old women danced after their eye surgery because they had never seen their grandchildren.

Saboo, who has no medical training himself, got squeamish when he saw blood. But the team needed all the volunteers to pitch in — by washing the dirty feet of children in preparation for surgery, loading patients on stretchers, helping to start the IV drips, and doing anything else that needed to be done.

“Madhav Borate, who was the leader of our medical mission, said, ‘Raja, change your clothes and come to the operating theater. You have to hold the patient’s wrist while we are operating and monitor the pulse,’ ” Saboo recalls. “I said, ‘Madhav, are you mad? I can’t even stand seeing someone receiving an injection. I can’t stand the sight of blood. I would faint.’ ”

Borate recalls that day too. “The operating rooms were lacking in monitoring equipment, including a device called a pulse oximeter,” he says. “So we decided to train three Rotarians to feel the pulse of the patients and inform the anesthetist if it became too fast or too slow. We started referring to the volunteers as our pulse meters.” 

“I saw blood,” says Saboo. “I saw everything, and nothing happened to me. That changed me totally.”

Immediately upon their return to India, the team members started planning their next trip, this time to Ethiopia, with additional specialists. The third year they went to Nigeria. In the 20 years since that first trip to Uganda, they’ve sent more than 500 volunteers to 43 countries, performed 67,000 surgeries, examined 250,000 patients, and received $2.4 million in grants from The Rotary Foundation and from districts in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and other countries. They’ve arranged for patients in Africa with complicated medical problems to be flown to India for treatment, and have conducted missions within India itself.

Last year, for the mission’s 20th anniversary, the team returned to Uganda. The country is wealthier and more peaceful now but still has many needs.

“The infrastructure and facilities at the hospital were much better, and the nursing staff was cooperative and helpful,” says Borate. “But there was still a severe shortage of supplies, instruments, and equipment even for routine operations.”

Nonetheless, with the help of Rotarians and doctors from Uganda, the team performed 1,100 surgeries, including 440 eye operations, 452 dental procedures, 25 reconstructive surgeries, and 84 general surgeries. 

“It is the greatest impact I have seen in my 22 years as a Rotarian,” says Emmanuel Katongole, past governor of District 9211 (Tanzania and Uganda). “To see so many people with such complex problems, queuing for days for operations, and to see the happiness on their faces. We’re still getting calls asking, ‘Where are the Indian doctors? Can they come back?’ ”

For 2019, Saboo has an even bigger goal. “Sam Owori, who was selected to be the 2018-19 RI president but who passed away in 2017, said to me, ‘Raja, during my year as president, I would like you to arrange a team of medical doctors to go to every district of Africa.’ I said, ‘I’ll try,’ ” he says.

“After Sam died, President Barry Rassin said to me, ‘Raja, let us see if we can fulfill the dream that Sam had.’ So now we are planning on that.”

— Frank Bures

• Read more stories from The Rotarian

picture 1: During a 2016 mission to Kigali, Rwanda, Saboo demonstrated that he had overcome his discomfort with blood to become an effective member of the medical team.

picture 2: In 2015, Rajendra Saboo and his wife, Usha, were inducted into the Arch Klumph Society.



Please mark your calendar for this upcoming event:
     -Health Screen & Wellness Fair - April 27, 2019
Jan 18, 2019
Invocator - Frank Fleischer
Jan 25, 2019
Invocator - Kim Kroh
View entire list
Russell Hampton
National Awards Services Inc.