Posted by Kitt Brand

Gerry Darichuk

APRIL 2024  Rotary Club of Medicine Hat “Service Above Self”
You may remember the John Denver song:
What one man can do is dream
What one man can do is love
What one man can do is change the world
And make it young again
Here you see what one man can do
If one man can change the world, imagine what a number of Rotarians can do together. One such man is Gerry Darichuk, a Calgary Rotarian who rallies others together.
During Christmas, he delivered boxes of tourniquets to Ukraine and was invited by the doctor overseeing services at the front to see the needs there.  He lived with medical teams for five days.  Scrub your mind of a M*A*S*H operating room, mess, and tents.  His was a wear-and-sleep-in-your-clothes-for-a-week experience in whichever bombed-out building could be temporarily secured.  Crews knew that if a drone overflew the area, they would have to be gone in four hours and relocated somehow again close to the front lines.  Gerry learned what the needs at the front were and even as importantly, what was needed after emergency hospital care.  There was simply no system for rehabilitation. He met with Ukrainian Rotarians and conceived a plan: Create a rehabilitation wing for civilians and military injured- usually amputees – and get Rotarians and others to furnish it with supplies and equipment.
 
In February, Gerry spoke to the three Rotary clubs in Medicine Hat, which do international projects.  All three committed $2,000 US to seed an application for District and Global grants.  Part of the magic of Rotary is that a modest amount of money can be magnified.  In this case, the initial $6,000 from Medicine Hat clubs is anticipated to become $33,000.  Medicine Hat clubs have become the leaders in the Province for the Ukraine Medical Support Program.  More than nine other Rotary clubs have joined the project and the group, Ukrainians of Calgary.
But the project extends across the Atlantic.  Sweden has joined the effort, committed funds, and submitted its own District grant application.  One Rotary club in Ukraine is coordinating work, and one city is refurbishing a hospital wing for the rehabilitation area. It has committed to staffing, training, and maintaining the facilities. 
 
“What one man can do,” indeed.  And beyond that…What many Rotarians can do together: Change the world.
If you are interested in being part of the effort, contact Gerry Darichuk (403) 818-0735)
Donations for a tax receipt can go to The Rotary Club of Calgary North, Box 65250 North Hill, Calgary, AB  T2N 4T6 or e-transfer.