Rotary District 6930 Governor Jim Underwood has been instrumental in furthering the adoption of the Josh the Otter Project throughout East Central Florida counties. Recognizing the value of the Merritt Island Breakfast Rotary Club’s initial Josh the Otter program, he quickly moved to adopt this on a District wide level, supporting participating clubs with a simplified matching grant, to allow them to purchase the materials for this project at a reduced cost to members, and directly leading to the distribution of over 5000 books. Then seizing the opportunities as they presented themselves, he was instrumental in gaining Josh the Otter project recognition at the Zone 34 Conference of Governors which included all Governors-Elect for the Southeastern United States; at the Presidents Elect Training Seminar (PETS) representing all incoming Club Presidents in the State of Florida; and finally, endorsing and supporting the Joshua Collingsworth Memorial Foundation to have one of only 134 booths at the Rotary International Convention’s House of Friendship in New Orleans…which included 30,000 Rotarians participating from around the world! He was awarded the 2011 Joshua Collingsworth Memorial Foundation’s Water Safety Awareness and Advocacy Award for his amazing efforts.
Jim Underwood is an absolute Hero for Water Safety. As a recently retired US Coast Guard Admiral, Jim has been dedicated to drowning prevention throughout his life. His leadership capabilities & pursuit to prevent drowning has led him to serve as a board member for both the National Drowning Prevention Alliance & the Joshua Collingsworth Memorial Foundation. The foundation is extremely grateful for his efforts to partner Rotary International and Josh the Otter. He was the first Rotary President to take on Josh the Otter Water Safety & Literacy Project for his home club, Merritt Island Breakfast Rotary in 2010. They distributed “Josh the Baby Otter” to 500 kindergarten students their first year. In 2011, Jim was instrumental in helping make the project a District-wide literacy project for District 6930. In just one year they went from distributing 500 books to over 7,000 to kindergarten students in East Central Florida where drowning is the #1 Cause of Unintentional Drowning for Children 1-5. Jim was awarded the first Joshua Collingsworth Memorial Foundation’s Water Safety Awareness and Advocacy Award. We appreciate his ongoing support for our foundation & couldn’t ask for a better friend!
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