ST. CLOUD -- The St. Cloud area Rotary Clubs have been involved in some very high profile local projects in recent years. Most of you are aware of the efforts they've put into upgrading the Lake George area, and helping to establish the COP House in south St. Cloud and the Pathways 4 Youth program.

However, you may not know their service works also extends well beyond St. Cloud to the Dominican Republic. The Rotary Club of St. Cloud and the Granite Rotary Club have been working in that country for eight years now.

We've kind of developed a little bit of a specialty, we like to work on water projects, helping to bring clean water to communities that don't have it.

Brian Hart says he has personally gone on three of the eight mission trips. He says the work they work they've been doing down there is eye-opening.

To experience situations where things that we take for granted every day just aren't happening.  We take for granted we can turn on a tap to get clean water or flip on a switch to get electricity.  Neither of those two things is happening in the communities we're working in.

The most recent trip in November was to El Corozo to help secure a suspension bridge for a water pipe, mixing cement, and some trench-digging.

Hart says international service is an important component of the overall Rotary mission.

To date, our local Rotary clubs have raised nearly $95,000 to help 22 communities in the Dominican Republic.

Linda Allen has been on two of the trips. She says you can help them raise money for their projects next month.

Part of the Granite Rotary's Rose Sale efforts goes toward the projects like our international projects, so March 22nd through the 23rd we'll have our upcoming rose sale.  We encourage people to buy their Rotary Roses.  The St. Cloud Rotary also has funds they put towards this.

Allen says the District and International Rotaries also give them matching funds.

Their projects are very much like the Habitat model where a lot of the work being done is by the locals and the Rotarians just come in to help out.

The local Rotary Clubs got connected with the Dominican Republic through a Peace Corp volunteer from Clear Lake.

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