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Couple honored for generous gift to the Foundation

Ervin J. "John" and Barbara E. Pierucki were honored at RI World Headquarters, Evanston, Illinois, USA, on 4 April for contributions totaling more than US$288,000 to The Rotary Foundation. At a well-attended ceremony in the Foundation's Hall of Honor on the 17th floor, the Pieruckis unveiled a portrait of themselves that was later added to the photographs of other Major Donors.

RI President-elect Bhichai Rattakul hailed the couple as a perfect example of Rotarians whose generosity makes the humanitarian work of RI and its Foundation possible. "In the work of PolioPlus alone, one single dollar means a lot to the world's children" said Rattakul. "Your contribution shows you care so much about children." "Each of us has a responsibility to look out for those who are less fortunate than we are," said a gracious Pierucki when his turn came to make a few remarks. "It is for that reason I like to make a contribution which means a lot to those whom I've never met and will probably never see. But I also like to think of this as the rent I am paying for living on earth."

Expressing similar sentiments, the retired investment advisor recently wrote, "The skill and effectiveness of the Rotary Foundation in directing and executing all of its humanitarian and educational programs compelled me to become a Major Donor. It is an honor and a privilege to be a part of Rotary's noble efforts." Currently a member of the Rotary Club of Albuquerque del Norte, New Mexico, USA, Pierucki became a Rotarian in 1974. He is a past president of the Rotary Club of Rio Rancho, his first club, also in New Mexico, and has served his district in several leadership positions.

Pierucki and his first wife, Louise, who died of cancer in 1980, had four children, Christina, Angelina, Paul, and Eric. On 16 January 1982, he married Barbara, whose first husband also died of cancer, and the two have traveled extensively. Several of those trips have been to Rotary's annual conventions. John has attended practically every RI Convention since 1975 in Montreal, where he met future RI President Frank Devlyn, and the couple has attended every RI Convention together since 1982.

The Pieruckis are also involved with the Albuquerque Museum, the Anthropological Society, the Faith Lutheran Church, the Navy League, the Red Cross, and the Sister Cities of Albuquerque. A former commissioned officer in the navy, the 78-year-old philanthropist is the director for the New Mexico Vietnam Veterans Leadership Program in Albuquerque.