Today the Club held its annual Outstanding Citizen Award luncheon. It did not come as a surprise to many members and some no doubt felt it long overdue that we recognized fellow Rotarian Dr. Thomas “Tom” Fame as our 2016 Citizen of the Year for his humanitarian service in a remote mountain area of Haiti. Over the last twenty years Dr. Fame has provide updates on his Haiti Project. As a result, we have learned of the methods he has used to bring about sustainable economic development to the region around Cabestor, Haiti.
Several Club members have lent a hand during the various stages of the project. Potable water distribution, vocational training to devlop cottage industry and agriculture, training teachers and the building of schools to educate children, training midwifes to care for new born in a newly built regional clinic. This all done in a manner which invited input from and has retained the active participation of the Haitian people, which bodes well for the ongoing improvement in their quality of life.
Excerpt from May 8th Roanoke Times article by Carmen Forman. …” The doctor first traveled to the impoverished country on a medical mission trip 20 years ago. While there, he saw the mountainous region around Cabestor, Haiti, needed much more than medical help.
With the help of his Salem-based Catholic church and local Haitians, Fame built three schools that now serve about 1,000 students, and coordinated projects to produce clean water and cook school lunches in a remote part of the island nation. The doctor speaks nearly fluent Creole so he can converse with the native residents when he visits the area on his twice-yearly trips.
Fame has immense drive, passion and love and he connects with these Haitians in a rare, wonderful way, Rotarian and friend Jim Laub said. About four years ago, Laub traveled to the country to see the progress in and around Cabestor.
“He has changed a whole community,” Laub said. “And he’s changed it for generations.”
The local Rotary club will honor Fame at its regular lunch meeting for members at the Salem Civic Center. The club has named an outstanding citizen each year since 1957.”
Tom’s comments in receiving the award expressed his love of family and friends, of his deep spiritual faith and commitment to a Christian way of life. The good doctor’s humility and humor shone through out.
For your convenience below are links to selected posts…
Raising a village – Tom Fame guides Haitians
May 18, 2012 By Meg Hibbert
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Event photos courtesy of Robert Dementi.