Baker Rotarian Ginger Vann was honored with Rotary International’s Service Above Self Award at the District 6200 annual convention in Lake Charles in the spring.
Out of the 1.2 million Rotarians around the world, up to 150 are awarded the honor annually, and only one from each Rotary district is presented with the prestigious honor.
Vann is a past president of the Baker Rotary Club, the outgoing assistant governor for District 6200 and the district’s membership chairwoman.
In October 2014, she was selected as a Rotary Woman of Action and honored with nine other women Rotarians at the White House.
Vann also earned the 2014-15 District 6200 Governor’s Cup by then-district governor Ezora Proctor. The award recognizes a District 6200 Rotarian for the outstanding contributions he or she makes to the world, nation and their community, as well as to their district and local Rotary club.
Recently, with the help of fellow Rotarian John “Jay” Olin Brown, Vann formed an Interact Club for youth ages 12 to 18 who want to connect with others in their community or school while carrying out service projects and learning about the world.
“I’ve worked long and hard to bring Interact to our city,” Vann said.
The pair, along with club sponsor Desiree Collins, helped establish the Interact Club of Greater Baton Rouge, which includes students from about 12 schools throughout the parish, including Madison Prep, McKinley, Northeast, Slaughter Community Charter, Southern Lab and Zachary High.
The group meets at 6 p.m. every Tuesday at the Baker Civic Club, even over the summer, and Vann, Brown and Collins attend the meetings to help the students with fundraising projects.
In February, Vann and Brown went to India with other Rotarians from District 6200 to be part of a mass immunization campaign known as a National Immunization Day.
The aim of mass campaigns is to interrupt circulation of the polio virus by immunizing every child younger than 5 with two doses of oral polio vaccine, regardless of previous immunization status, Vann said.
During the three-day India trip, 170 million to 172 million children were immunized, and to deliver the vaccine, it took 2.5 million vaccinators on 170,000 vaccination teams, which were deployed with 225 million doses of polio vaccine.
Vann said 709,000 vaccination booths were set up, as well as 209 million homes visited during the immunization effort.
“Cars, motorcycles, bicycles, mopeds, elephants and camels were utilized, whatever it took to get everyone where they needed to be,” Vann said.
At a Baker City Council meeting in May, Baker Mayor Harold Rideau named Vann an honorary mayor.
“It is a tremendous honor to receive Rotary International’s highest award. My fellow Rotarians in Baker and I are constantly striving to help all walks of life in our community and around the world,” said Vann. “We hold dearly and continually demonstrate Rotary’s motto of ‘Service Above Self’. I feel the award is for all of us.”