District 6440 Rotarians Donna Gulley (Northbrook), Ross Spencer (Long Grove), Andy Kuby (Northbrook) and Reese Mates (Barrington Noon) have been recognized by President Barack Obama and ShelterBox USA with Presidential Volunteer Service Awards for the team's efforts during 2010 to provide shelter, warmth, and dignity for survivors of natural disasters worldwide.

In the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake, many watched on the television wishing they could make a difference. The Chicago team knew ShelterBox, an international disaster relief charity, would be on the scene delivering its iconic green box containing a family tent, water purification, a cook set, and stove along with other essentials.  Through the Chicago team’s efforts of raising awareness and fundraising for ShelterBox, the organization was able to provide more than 28,000 ShelterBoxes, which accounted for one-quarter of all of the tented shelter in Haiti.


Following the Haiti earthquake, Gulley, Spencer, Kuby and Mates all helped to raise more than $315,000 during the 2009-2010 fiscal year. Gulley also managed to procure the first Rotary District Matching grant for ShelterBox resulting in $123,000 in donations, or enough shelter for 123 families.


“In 2010, ShelterBox responded to 22 disasters in 17 countries providing more than 45,000 ShelterBoxes,” said Emily Sperling, interim executive director for ShelterBox USA.  “Because of the efforts of volunteers like Donna Gulley, Ross Spencer, Andy Kuby and Reese Mates we were able to provide emergency shelter to those in need around the world.”


The President’s Volunteer Service Award is a special recognition presented on behalf of President Obama. The award is part of a national recognition program created in 2003 through the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation for individuals of all ages who contribute a significant amount of time to volunteer activities.


Since 2000, ShelterBox has provided shelter, warmth and dignity following more than 140 disasters in more than 70 countries. ShelterBox instantly responds to earthquake, volcano, flood, hurricane, cyclone, tsunami or conflict by delivering boxes of aid. The organization provided shelter for 250,000 survivors of the Haitian earthquake and is currently delivering lifesaving aid in Brazil, Colombia, Sri Lanka and Indonesia. Information: http://shelterboxusa.org.