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Hero Central: Rotary International Volunteer

3:27 PM, Aug 13, 2010   |    comments
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Joanne Pistorius
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Oldsmar, Florida -- Rotary is an organization of businesses and professional leaders that provide humanitarian service to communities around the world.

Joanne Pistorius is President of the Antique, Classic and Historic Fellowship of Rotarians and was a past president of Rotary-Hyde Park. She has been volunteering for various projects in the Bay area since she was a teenager.

"I have been given all these gifts and I think anybody that's been given all these gifts is on the track to help other people and if they don't take that track they need to," Pistorius said.

Her willingness to volunteer led her to join the Rotary Club in Tampa. In the 1990s, the club didn't have any women members and she became one of the first female members of Rotary in Tampa.

"The very first Rotary meeting I attended, one of the oldest members of that big club took me aside and said, 'You know, I was actually against them bringing women into Rotary.' And at that point, I didn't realize it was something that had been forced upon them," Pistorius said.

Joanne and her husband Brando support their local volunteer efforts by displaying antique cars at events hey recently had an "Olde car rally" to raise money for the Kids Wish Network.

"We just enjoy being active. We're hands on, we build wheel chair ramps, we do a lot of things for a lot of different charities. They don't have to be the major charities. We like the smaller, locally based charities," Pistorius said.

The couple recently completed a 4,000-mile trip to Montreal to attend a Rotary convention and during the trip, they were contacted by the Kids Wish Network, who wanted to them to fulfill the wish of a child in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

"We were able to fulfill the wish of a child in Hershey, Pennsylvania, who wanted to come down to Florida. So it's not just money, it's also networking and letting people know what can happen and actually fulfilling wishes."

Joanne's efforts on the part of Rotary have made her a hero in their eyes.

"Joanne is a hero in this community, because she cares about people and she's involved in children's activities like the Kids Wish Network and has been a great Rotarian for upwards 20 years now,"  said Ed Odom, who is the Tampa Bay district governor for Rotary.

Pistorius plans to continue her volunteer efforts throughout the Tampa Bay area. 

Melvin Beal, 10 News

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