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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Greg Jones: Making a difference locally and around the globe

Perhaps you’ve always thought about doing some volunteer work, but just never got around to it. Or, maybe you already participate in volunteer activities, but wonder if one person can really make a difference. The following story should provide plenty of inspiration and confirmation that YES, you CAN make a difference.

In February 2008, Greg Jones, a Tax Director in our Pasadena office and an Assistant Governor in the local Rotary District, spent two weeks in India with 50+ other Rotarians from around the world. While the trip involved a little sightseeing, the main focus was on something else entirely. “Our main purpose was to participate in India’s National Immunization Day for Polio,” Greg explains. In a joint effort with the World Health Organization, UNICEF and several other agencies, the Rotary Club is working to eradicate polio throughout the world.

On National Immunization Day, Greg and his group went to several small, rural villages southwest of Delhi. “We helped immunize small children by giving them two drops of an oral polio vaccine. We were the first non-Indians to visit most of these places,” he says. “I helped with about 275 immunizations. 1.2 million kids were immunized across India that day. Believe me it was a real experience.”

Since the international polio eradication efforts began 10 years ago, annual cases worldwide have dropped from 350,000 to 1,300.

After administering vaccines, Greg and his fellow Rotarians traveled to Chahalka, a village with a population of about 7,000 and no running water, no bathrooms of any kind and very little electricity. Greg says, “It is very much like a medieval village in most respects.” Here the volunteer group built a job training center and a day care center, and worked on some sanitation projects. He says, “We also did some work at a school in town. Only about 6% of the students are girls (but they seem to be the top students).”

Now back in Pasadena, Greg is helping to raise funds to build the first toilets in Chahalka, and may return in February 2009 to assist with that and participate in more immunizations. He has been traveling throughout the local area to give talks on the trip to build awareness of the Polio Eradication effort and to raise money for the Chahalka Project.

Greg believes and practices the Rotary motto of “Service Above Self.” As part of his Rotary Club duties, Greg oversees five clubs in the Pasadena area and participates in several other Rotary activities, including feeding the homeless at Pasadena's Union Station and adopting Field Elementary School. He traveled with people from the District to build five houses in Tecate, Mexico in May of this year. He’s the Vice Chairman of the Post Parade Committee for the Tournament of Roses, serves on the Board of Directors of the Rose Bowl and is on a few other community boards around town, including a support group for the Hastings Branch Library, which he created a few years ago.

To learn more about National Immunization Day, the Chahalka project and other Rotary activities, visit the Pasadena Club website, which Greg created and maintains.

If you'd like to a make a difference alongside of people like Greg Jones, here are some of the openings in our Tax Practice of Southern, CA:

Tax Director - Irvine, CA

Tax Manager - Irvine, CA

Tax Supervisor - Irvine, CA

R&D Director - Irvine or Pasadena, CA

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