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Following is the press release related to a recent award Jeff Mason and I received from Rotary First Harvest.

November 12, 2010⎯Kirkland, WA business consultant John Martinka was honored with the 2010 Rotary First Harvest Mike Shanahan Service Award for outstanding efforts in the fight against hunger.

Rotary First Harvest is a 28-year-old Rotary District 5030 project that distributes 13,000,000 pounds of fresh produce annually to food banks and food distribution organizations, like Food Lifeline and Second Harvest.

Also honored was Jeff Mason, technology department head at Bellevue, Washington’s Newport High School. Mr. Martinka and Mr. Mason received this award for leading a joint Rotary and Newport project that installed almost 100 computers in Washington State food banks. These computers, with specialized software, allow the food banks to better monitor their food supplies and improve the flow of food to those in need.

Mr. Masons’ students (in the Cisco Systems Academy program) did much of the work on the computers. The students also installed some of the computers in food banks.
This is the continuation of seven years of joint projects between the Bellevue Breakfast Rotary Club and Newport as part of another Rotary District 5030 project, Computers for the World (C4W). C4W’s mission is to bring technology to those in need with the philosophy that the world starts in our local community.

Mr. Martinka and Mr. Mason are currently working on their seventh Rotary Matching Grant projects that by February 2011 will have installed over 1,500 computers in schools in Slovakia, Turkey and Antigua. These projects have taken over 80 students overseas to get on-the-job experience in setting up computer labs in schools, libraries, hospitals and community centers. By the completion of the 2011 projects they will also have distributed over 4,500 dictionaries to third grade students, supplied over $20,000 of school supplies to Antigua schools and provided industrial grade sewing machines to community centers that teach ladies in poverty how to sew and earn a living.

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