Game supports effort to fight polio worldwide

COVINGTON A team of local leaders will meet a team of basketball tricksters on the court of Covington High School at 7 p.m. Wednesday to raise money for the Covington Rotary Foundation.

It’s the Harlem Ambassadors vs. the Eradicators, named for the Rotary’s effort to wipe out the deadly illness polio.

Twenty-five years ago, there were over 350,000 cases of polio worldwide. Rotary Clubs in the United States began an effort called Polio Plus in 1985 to eradicate polio so that no child anywhere in the world would ever suffer from the disease.

Easily prevented with an oral vaccine, polio can cause paralysis within a matter of hours, often leads to death, and has no cure.

By 1991, the entire Western Hemisphere was declared polio free; thanks largely to the political, monetary, and on-the-ground efforts and partnerships of Rotarians worldwide, in 2012 there were only 214 cases of polio in the world.

Players on the Covington Rotary Eradicators team include State Rep. John Schroder, Assistant District Attorney Scott Gardner, Covington City Councilman Rick Smith and radio personality JJ Richardson. Each of the players is sponsored by a local company through a donation to the Covington Rotary Foundation.

The Covington Rotary Foundation gives more than $5,000 annually in scholarships, promotes leadership development and literacy in partnership with local initiatives, and funds the Covington Rotary Christmas program, Feeding the Needy. It also supports the efforts of the Covington Food Bank, Safe Harbor and Habitat for Humanity.

Tickets for the game are $5 in advance; $7 at the door. Players from St. Tammany public or private school basketball teams can wear school jerseys to the game and get 2-for-1 tickets at the gate.

Go to http://www.covrotary.org, the Bank of New Orleans on Tyler Street in Covington or the Lion’s Den Salon for Men in downtown Covington. Sponsorship levels can be found on the website.