- Published on Wednesday, 06 August 2014 01:05
- Written by Marlene Cowan - Special to the Town Crier
The Rotary Club of Los Altos recently honored Los Altos Hills resident Rich Casey as Rotarian of the Year.
Outgoing Rotary President Jack Kelly selected Casey, president of the Los Altos Rotary AIDS Project, from among the club’s 171 members for making the greatest contribution to the club over the past year. As Rotarian of the Year, the club’s highest honor, Casey received the Guy Shoup Clock Award.
“Nobody else in Rotary International has done anything like this,” Kelly said of Casey’s achievements during the June 27 annual club dinner. “Rich has succeeded in getting the largest AIDS grant in the history of Rotary International.”
Casey has long been interested in developing nations. After earning a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Stanford University, he served in the Peace Corps in Ethiopia. He devoted his career to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.
As head of the Rotary AIDS Project, he oversaw the Rotary Foundation grant application, wrote and negotiated contracts, fundraised and traveled throughout California and Nevada making speeches to generate support for the project’s grant proposal.
Under Casey’s leadership, the club in April secured a $192,500 grant for Child AIDS Prevention expansion in Liberia, Africa. The grant is the third and largest AIDS prevention grant received by the Los Altos Rotary AIDS Project – and the largest AIDS grant offered by the Rotary Foundation. Dushan “Dude” Angius, former principal of Los Altos High School, founded the Rotary AIDS Project in 1989.
In partnership with Save the Children, the new grant will support prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS. Its first objective is to reduce the number of new HIV infections in Liberian children by 95 percent over a two-year period in the 23 health-care clinics being rebuilt, restaffed and refurbished by Save the Children.
The Rotary AIDS Project will also use the grant to increase access to Child AIDS Prevention services; strengthen training of clinic staff, community health volunteers and midwives; spread awareness among women; and sensitize communities to the need for pregnant women to use Child AIDS Prevention services and deliver their babies at community health clinics.
“Two and a half years ago, when I was selected as president-elect nominee, I began attending many meetings of our club’s various committees,” Kelly said. “Even then, the vision and planning of the Rotary AIDS Project stood out above all the rest. I was so proud and happy to present the prestigious … award to Rich Casey, our Rotarian of the Year.”