As past president and a past chair of international services for the Rotary Club of Norfolk Sunrise in Simcoe, ON, John Wallace’s enthusiastic support of Operation Eyesight knows no bounds. Not only is he a donor, he’s a supporter, a fundraiser and a cheerleader for the organization, which he calls, “an amazing and unique Canadian charity doing fantastic, fantastic work!”
“Our service club supports other international charities too, but I think your organization provides the best bang for the buck,” he says. “Restoring sight is a miracle – so profound and so simple.”
Since its inception 17 years ago, the Norfolk Sunrise Club has generously supported a number of Operation Eyesight initiatives, including slum projects in India, and water projects in Kenya and Zambia. However, John was actually involved with Operation Eyesight long before that as a member of the Rotary Club of Simcoe, which also supports the organization.
“My involvement with Operation Eyesight began with a life-changing experience,” he says, explaining that in 1985, the organization’s founder, Art Jenkyns, escorted a contingent of Rotarians from across Canada to India. John was chosen to represent Ontario/Quebec clubs on the trip.
“I saw the incredible impact Operation Eyesight had on people’s lives – not just eye surgeries, but nutrition programs, education, well baby clinics, Vitamin A distribution, and so on. I came back committed to the cause.”
In 1997, John travelled to India again, this time as a group leader for an international Rotary exchange; and again, was impressed by a number of Operation Eyesight projects. He went once more in 2010, when he toured the organization’s slum projects.
“I was profoundly impacted,” he says simply. “The impact of Operation Eyesight’s work – it’s a human emotion you feel and respond to and share with others.”
John relates an anecdote to illustrate the local Rotary groups’ commitment to Operation Eyesight. “In 1989, when I was at the Simcoe Club, we donated $10,000 for a mobile eye unit in Kenya. About 10 years later, after I went to Norfolk Club, Simcoe sent me photos forwarded by a Brantford nurse who was volunteering in Kenya. Her pictures showed the unit, which was still out in the rural areas. We were so pleased to know that the impact goes on; that the unit hadn’t broken down or been sold, and our money hadn’t been lost to corruption or anything. It reinforced the fact that donating to Operation Eyesight is a good investment!”
You can read profiles of other generous donors in our Report to Donors.