To the editor:

Not long ago, I wondered if the stimulus money most Americans were getting might be used in a way to help others in Ripon.

Although many people have been severely impacted by the current COVID-19 pandemic, many others have recovered, or were not impacted as seriously.

I put my question to the Ripon Rotary Club. I have been a member of the club since 2012 and I know how giving everyone is. A response came back, informing us that two international students at Ripon College really needed some help. I immediately contacted Kat Griffith of Ripon, who has been helping the community get through the COVID emergency. She and her husband had already begun to help the students, but she welcomed any help Ripon Rotary could provide.

The students were stuck on the Ripon College campus because of COVID restrictions that did not allow them to go home for the winter break. They had extremely serious dental emergencies, but they had no way to pay for the significant dental work they both needed. There were several root canals, wisdom teeth extractions, extractions of other teeth, as well as cavity fillings needed for both students.

The cost for all the work would be well into the thousands of dollars. I passed along this urgent request to the others in the Ripon Rotary Club. The response was immediate and amazing!

One of the first members to respond to the request for help was Dr. Kurt Walejko, a member of the Ripon Rotary Club and a dentist at Silver Creek Dentistry.

Kurt wanted to help. A consultation was scheduled and Kurt met with at least one of the students. Kurt and Silver Creek stepped up in a big way. They agreed to donate most of the cost of their work, including materials. This generosity made a huge difference in the amount of money that would be needed to help the Ripon College students!

In addition to the donation from Silver Creek, the members of the Ripon Rotary Club, including one former member, started sending checks. I was so moved by everyone who wanted to help these students! I have to say I was not really surprised by the response. The members of the Ripon Rotary Club have always responded when there is a need. This was just another example of their generosity.

As co-president of the Ripon Rotary Club this year, I want to thank all our members who stepped up to help the Ripon College students. I also want to thank Silver Creek Dentistry. Without their help, we may not have been able to raise all the money needed to pay for the students’ dental treatment.

We are so lucky to live in Ripon. This is truly a special place.

As you receive stimulus money, in the past or in the future, if you are not as severely impacted by the pandemic as others might be, consider a donation of those funds to help those others.

Many people have been significantly and negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and are still trying to make it from one day to the next.

Rotary’s motto is “Service above Self.” I hope everyone can take up that motto and put others’ needs above our own. Let’s face 2021 together and make it a great year for everyone in Ripon!

— Liz Nevitt, Pickett

Ripon Rotary Club


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