EXIT Realty Regional and Broker/Owner, Elias Thomas, has reason to celebrate. As of last week, India is officially declared polio-free! This means that in the past three years, not one single new case of polio has been diagnosed in all of India.
Beginning in January 2001, when serving as Rotary District Governor for Rotary Clubs in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, Thomas traveled to India for the first time to participate in the National Immunization Day (NID) against polio. Having been exposed to polio first at the age of four years when a classmate was stricken with the disease, and then again at the age of six when the woman who cared for him and his three older sisters also was stricken and lived out the remainder of her life confined to an “iron lung”, Thomas had always wanted to “do something to help others avoid the ravages of polio”.
Since that first trip to India, Rotary volunteers from around the world joined hundreds of thousands of local volunteers throughout India. Thomas has returned to India each year to lead teams of Rotarians both to continue the eradication effort and to assist with service work projects to benefit local villages in remote areas of India.
“Being a part of the EXIT Realty ‘family’, it just seems natural to reach out to others who are less fortunate and to make a positive difference in the lives of others. I still remember the first child to whom I administered the oral polio vaccine on that sunny Sunday morning, where children and parents carrying children lined up in a school yard in the oldest section of Delhi. I realized right then and there that this is exactly where I was supposed to be and I am so grateful to have played a small role in this effort,” Thomas said.
Since that first year, Thomas has himself immunized literally thousands of children against polio, and will continue to return to India for the next several years “just to make sure the virus does not creep back into India.”
Having been the Broker/Owner of EXIT Key Real Estate, with his wife, Jane, for the past forty-three years, and the Regional Owner of EXIT Realty of Upper New England, Thomas states, “I love the real estate business, and particularly love the EXIT Formula of residual income, because it allows me the opportunity to ‘feed my passion’ of helping others, whether in my own neighborhood or on the other side of the world. I am most grateful to friends and family but also to all those who have been a part of this monumental undertaking on the part of Rotary International – to eradicate polio from the face of the earth! We are 99.8% there!”