Home' Rotary Down Under : November 2015 (International) Contents | 30 | ISSUE 578 NOVEMBER 2015
November is Rotary Foundation
Month, and it follows that this month’s
“unsung hero” is an outstanding
Rotary leader who has devoted the
past 10 years of his life using The
Rotary Foundation to change the lives
of thousands of people.
One of the most recognisable Rotary
names in the South West Pacific and
Philippines, Bruce Allen has served as
manager of The Rotary Foundation
(TRF) within the Rotary International
Regional Office since 2009.
He was governor of District 9680
in Rotary’s centenary year, 2004-05,
and followed with three outstanding
years as district TRF chairman.
Completion of his district “tour of
duty” coincided with the opportunity
to take on the role of managing Rotary
Foundation activity at RI’s Parramatta
office, working with regional head
For most senior administrators, the
demands of running regional TRF
matters would be more than enough
to occupy one’s mind and time. Not so
Life was always an adventure for
Bruce and wife, Dita, and their two
children, Marisa and Stuart, but
retirement in 1999 provided precious
family time with the grandchildren
and time to really appreciate the
“miracle of Rotary”.
Bruce’s first Rotary experience
happened with membership of the
Rotary Club of Blackwood, SA, in
1979. On transfer back to Sydney in
1986, he joined the Rotary Club of
Castle Hill and quickly rose through
the ranks to be president in 1991-92.
A variety of district duties and the
Bruce Allen is living proof of one person’s ability to enhance the
lives of thousands of people through Rotary membership.
A passion for Rotary
governorship in Rotary International’s
centenary year created many amazing
opportunities, but none more so than
the devastating tsunami that crippled
South-East Asia after Christmas 2004.
As chairman of the District Tsunami
Relief Committee, Bruce “tasted” the
real depth of Rotary service.
The District 9680 Tsunami Appeal
raised $385,000, and leaders went
looking for causes that provided
maximum value via TRF aid programs.
Bruce opted to work in Districts 3150
and 3230 at the southern end of India,
and 3220 (Sri Lanka).
Ten years on, Bruce and his fellow
leaders can look back with great
satisfaction at what has been achieved
and the tremendous impact on
The achievements speak for
• Numerous water wells have been
• Twenty-four low-cost housing units
erected in Zinkapalem, Andhra
Pradesh. All 93 houses in this village
have since been replaced with safe,
secure, low-cost houses.
• Supported the rebuilding of one
complete high school in Galle,
• A new ice-making plant built on
the island of Pulikat, Tamil Nadu.
The plant is still operating to full
capacity and has changed the lives
of the entire fishing community.
• Added an extra floor to an
orphanage in Batticaloa, Sri Lanka,
providing space for the care of
additional tsunami orphaned
• Regenerated paddy fields at
Zinkapalem. New pumps were
provided and canals and dams were
constructed to “harvest” fresh
water during the monsoon period.
Bruce was delighted to inherit the
position of district TRF chairman for
three years, following his year as
governor. This ongoing involvement
really fanned his passion for India and
He emphasises that the major
projects were all completed with the
support and involvement of local
citizens and Rotarians.
The major works are now all
complete, but there are still ongoing
projects that inspire his devotion to the
people and the area, including:
• Provision of milk cattle herds.
• School desks and equipment.
• Water filtration plants.
• Hospital resources and a variety of
aid aimed at maternal and child
Bruce’s life took a sad turn a few
“A variety of
district duties and
created many amazing
none more so than
tsunami that crippled
South-East Asia after
Words by Bob Aitken
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