February 26, 2013 · 1:47 PM

ROTARIANS AND MAYORS (Larry Jangula of Courtenay and Paul Ives of Comox) gather for the reading of a proclamation and the raising of the Rotary flag in front of Courtenay City Hall. / PHOTO SUBMITTED

On a blustery Friday morning, Comox Valley mayors and a number of Rotarians gathered in front of Courtenay City Hall to raise the Rotary flag.

With the raising of the flag, the mayors proclaimed Rotary’s anniversary, Feb. 23, 2013, Rotary Day in the Valley.

Rotary was started by Paul Harris on Feb. 23, 1905 in Chicago. By 1910, the first Rotary club was established in Canada in Winnipeg and in 1913, the Rotary clubs of Vancouver and Victoria received their charters.

The organization grew to its present size of more than 1.2 million Rotarians in more than 33,000 clubs located in 200 countries and geographic areas around the world.

Guided by the words of their motto: Service Above Self, Rotarians provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in business and professional life and promote world peace through good will and understanding.

In 1985, when more than 350,000 children were dying of polio annually, Rotary International embarked on a mission to eradicate polio from the world. The World Health Organization, UNICEF, the U.S. Centre for Disease Control, many national governments, foundations and individuals have joined the campaign.

Today, only three polio endemic countries exist — Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria and the world stands on the threshold becoming polio free as only a few hundred cases are reported annually. The four Rotary clubs in the Comox Valley — Courtenay, Comox, Strathcona Sunrise and Cumberland — are made up of men and women who work to improve their local and world communities.

Their efforts have always been supported by the generous citizens of the Comox Valley.

— Comox Valley Rotarians