INTERNATIONAL MISSION: Ironton Rotary Club working on Belize project

Published 10:25 am Tuesday, June 29, 2010

On Wednesday, an Ironton Rotarian will head to Central America to assist in the construction of a new library.

Marsha Wikle will be going to Belize for one week to help paint a new community library that the Ironton Rotary Club helped fund.

Wikle is the International Service Committee Chair of the Rotary Club. She is also the assistant district ranger of the Ironton District of the Wayne National Forest.

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“I’m thrilled to have the chance,” said Wikle.

Construction on the 1,600 square-foot former concrete meat market began in April in the town of San Ignacio. San Ignacio is located about 80 miles from Belize City on the western side of Belize near the Guatemalan border.

“The project has been in motion for a while,” said Jeff Clark, president-elect of the Ironton Rotary Club. “It has been about a year and a half.”

This is the first international project that the Ironton Rotary Club has sent a representative to in many years. The club also got the project started and began to stimulate interest with other Rotary Clubs.

“This is well within the mission of rotary,” said Wikle.

Wikle said that Rotary clubs cannot build new structures. They can only rehabilitate old ones.

“This fall we expect completion,” Wikle said.

Other area Rotary clubs were invited to contribute to the library project. The Ashland, Greenup and Portsmouth clubs are contributing as well as clubs in California, Iowa, North Carolina and Canada. Wikle is the only Rotary member from the Tri-State that will be traveling to Belize.

Wikle has been involved in the Ironton Rotary Club since the winter of 2008. Before that she was active with the Athens Rotary Club.

“Rotary is a wonderful organization that makes these connections all over the world,” Wikle said.

Wikle said she will be involved in painting the interior of the library as well as attending Rotary meetings. She will also travel to the capital of Belize, Belmopan, for the installation of new Rotary officers.

Wikle also said she looks forward to settling into small town life.

“It is not too far from the size of Ironton,” said Wikle of San Ignacio.

Keeping with the Rotary motto, Service Above Self, Wikle is paying for the trip out of her own pocket. She will also take some books to stock the new library, such as Dr. Seuss classics and “The Little Engine That Could.”

“I think it’s great that she’s able to go and represent the club,” said Clark.