By Cynthia Goodman, Member of the Rotary Club of La Jolla, California, USA
Elaine Case and Bill Wiktor. Two names many of you are not going to want to forget. Both have been presidents of their respective Rotary Clubs in Rochester, Minnesota in the United States and continue to be active in Rotary. After our connection through the International Travel and Hosting Fellowship (ITHF), the couple’s unique and very special mission left a lasting impression on me.
It all began when I reached out to Elaine and Bill this past February after learning I would be having rare and complicated heart surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. Since we didn’t know anyone in Rochester, we connected through the fellowship for suggestions on nearby restaurants, hotels, driving options and how to spend time between pre-operative procedures.
As it turned out, Bill and Elaine were not only willing to help but they also invited my daughter and me to stay with them for the entire two weeks we were scheduled to be in town. Since that seemed way too long, we decided that my daughter would stay with them while I was in the hospital, as this would not only provide her a place to stay, but a measure of support when it was needed most. I’d join them for the last couple of days before our flight back to San Diego, California.
We visited Elaine and Bill’s home the day before the scheduled surgery. They told us they had decided to become the “go to” family for other Rotarians who needed to come to the Mayo Clinic for diagnosis and/or treatment. As I had already experienced issues from a procedure done earlier that day, we sat the two of them down to discuss whether or not they really wanted to make such a big commitment. They assured us that they did.
The day I was released from the hospital, another more serious problem occurred that sent me back to the hospital in the middle of the night. Once released, we asked again if they really wanted to host people who could experience a whole range of complications. Again, they assured us that they had decided to make this their mission.
We have met a lot of wonderful people during our years in Rotary. This amazing couple demonstrates the best of the spirit of the organization, and we can’t wait to host them on our home turf. We are now honored to call them our friends.