Riccardo Boehm Accepts Citation for Meritorious Service from the Rotary Foundation
Updated: Nov 23, 2020
Since its founding more than 100 years ago, the Rotary Foundation has distributed more than $4 billion towards the alleviation of disease and poverty around the world. This year, retired Palm Beach resident Riccardo Boehm was honored with the Citation for Meritorious Service by the Rotary Foundation for his support of life-changing, sustainable projects in both the Dominican Republic and Guatemala.
Boehm, who also works with children as a Guardian ad Litem volunteer, closer to home in Palm Beach County, was surprised to receive this recognition. “I only hope that my association with Rotary will help to raise awareness of the enormously important work the Foundation is doing and funding,” he said.
Boehm, a member of the Board of the Palm Beach Rotary Club, said his early years, growing up in the Far East and South America taught him the importance of philanthropy and service to others. “His volunteer efforts embody the Rotarian principle of service above self,” said Sara Fattori, President of the Palm Beach Rotary Club. “Riccardo surely has a passion and desire to make this world a better place. He and his wife, Dr. Helen Boehm, have instilled those same values in their own children. Their son serves as a U.S. Diplomat.”
Batey Water Purification
LaRomana, Dominican Republic
Boehm has been visiting and volunteering in the Dominican Republic for many years. He has made numerous trips to support and install water purification systems in the La Romana area and has written grants to fund service projects benefiting Haitian migrant workers who harvest sugar cane in the region. Along with other Rotarians, Boehm brings water filters to extremely poor villages (Bateys) where cane cutters and their families live. Since children in the Bateys have had little access to clean drinking water, the Rotarians are embraced by the community for providing this critically important component of their lives.
Ak’ Tenamit, which means "New Village' in the Q'eqchi' language, is located in the middle of the rainforest of Eastern Guatemala. Since there are no roads on which one can travel to Ak’ Tenamit, Boehm along with other volunteers travel by boat to Livingston, the site this unique rural school training indigenous girls and boys for careers in sustainable tourism. Ak’ Tenamit bases all of its work in traditional Maya culture. This includes the training of invaluable work and life skills with rural-appropriate vocational education leading to paying jobs in hotels and restaurants and reinforcing the dignity and importance of education, training and work.
Boehm is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Guatemala Tomorrow Fund, an organization that provides assistance for Ak’Tenamit’s programs and advocates for opportunities for Maya youngsters which will enable them to enjoy a productive and safe future in their own homeland.