Michelle Tanner-Baird—Micki Tanner, for short—takes being a Rotarian very seriously. She has been one for 22 years, first in Chicago, where Rotary started in 1905, then in Tennessee, and finally in Greene and Putnam Counties where she settled, made her home, and became a Reynolds real estate executive over 16 years ago.

One of Tanner’s favorite local initiatives is the Meals on Wheels effort. Embarking on a 60-mile journey, she delivers food to about 14 seniors who otherwise would not get hot meals. “This is a vital program which helps to ensure that no senior is left behind. We’re fighting hunger, isolation, and poverty and we want these seniors to know that they will not be forgotten,” Tanner stresses.

Tanner also goes global with her Rotarian efforts, particularly lauding the club’s tie-in with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in a global effort to eradicate polio through vaccinating millions of children in third-world countries. “Today only two countries—Afghanistan and Pakistan—still report cases of polio, and the number there has dwindled to 100 cases per year,” she says.

She recently participated in a Rotary mission to Tanzania in East Africa called Alliance for Smiles, a non-profit effort started in San Francisco in 2004 to provide free comprehensive treatment for cleft lip and palate anomalies in under-served areas of the world.

“We were on a two-week mission that included volunteers and two plastic surgeons from Colorado and Virginia who contributed their services free of charge. They were able to do four surgical procedures a day and the results were overwhelming. You could see these children transformed literally over night. Before they were shunned by their society; now they are happy and smiling and ready to enter life with renewed confidence and enthusiasm.”

The Alliance’s motto is: Changing Lives One Smile At A Time. “I can tell you, they changed ours, too,” she says.

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