Written by Christine Grodecki, Engagement Associate, Regional Coordinators Programs
Peter Bundgaard hails from Denmark, from the Lake District of Jutland which he insists is the most beautiful area in Denmark. We sat down over a morning coffee and I got to know him a little better:
So Peter, what inspired you to join Rotary?
I was invited to my first club meeting while I was a young dentist and starting my own practice. Shortly after attending a meeting, I was invited to join the club and I have been a member ever since. I have been a Rotarian for 48 years.
Wow, that’s a long time. What made you stay?
I was very inspired by projects that Rotarians do around the world. One of the first projects I worked on was in the Philippines. I served as a volunteer dentist in Vietnamese refugee camps. That was when I truly understood what it was to help others. Since then, I have served others through my vocation in places like Brazil and Montego Bay, Jamaica.
It seems like you use your vocation to do service all over the world.
I used to be an orthodontist but I am retired. My hobby is to grow Christmas trees.
Can you tell me more about growing Christmas tree? I’ve always been curious about how many trees you have to plant each year.
Well, you have to plant around 5,000-10,000 seedlings per year. The trees take between eight to ten years to grow to the proper Christmas tree size. Of course not all of these seedlings will become Christmas trees; some may grow crooked or become too tall.
That’s very interesting. Now, back to Rotary and away from Christmas. What was your favorite service project?
Polio eradication is very close to my heart. I participated in two national immunization days, in India and Niger. It was very interesting for me to see how effective the vaccination days were and how well the campaigns were managed.
We do a very unique Polio fundraiser in my region. We buy a car and decorate it with the End Polio Now logo and colors. During the months of June and July, club members drive it around the nearby towns. We sell raffle tickets and the proceeds are donated to PolioPlus. At the end the month, we draw a name and the raffle winner gets the car. It’s a really effective way to not only raise funds for polio eradication but also to show the community what Rotary is doing.
Once the word is out in the community that Rotary does good in the world, how do you encourage potential members to join Rotary?
When I first meet new people, I tell them what Rotary is doing. I focus on projects going on in my club and describe how club members work together to accomplish projects that would be impossible on their own.
If you could meet anyone around the world, who would it be and why?
I would really like the opportunity to meet Bill Gates and thank him for all the good work he does around the world. I especially want to thank him for helping Rotary.
As RC/RPIC Institute moderator, you have been very busy planning the meeting. What are you most excited about for this year’s Institute?
I am very excited about the four groups having the opportunity to be together in one place. I think this will create strong regional groups that know each other and can work together effectively. The coordinator and adviser groups are really important because they are a great help and resource for district governors, especially if they are used at district and regional meetings and events.
These are prime examples of putting talents and experiences to good use. This is the beacon of what Rotary is great at and we must tell the Rotary Story in this way to attract new members and enthuse existing.
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I’ve met Peter Bundgaard in Evanston a couple of times during the last 3 years and was impressed with his dedication to Polio eradication and support to this noble cause of Rotary. From growing teeth to growing Christmas trees to growing enthusiasm for End Polio Now. what a noble mission.
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