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Local with ties to Turkey starts fundraiser through the Morro Bay Rotary Club

Turkey Earthquake
Posted at 6:28 PM, Feb 14, 2023

Tuesday marks nine days since a 7.8 magnitude earthquake devastated the country of Turkey. Communities from around the world have responded and sent support.

On the Central Coast, a local rotary club is hoping to make a difference by raising money to send to those in need.

The president of Morro Bay Rotary, John Solu, was born in Turkey and moved to the United States when he was 12. So when the earthquake occurred halfway around the world, it hit home.

Many of his friends and family members still live in Turkey. When the earthquake hit, his first thought was of his family’s safety.

"The worst part is that one of my cousins was nowhere to be found for three days. His brothers went to his apartment building and his building was completely collapsed. They thought they lost him," Solu said.

After three days of dread, trying to reach him any way they could, finally at 2 a.m. Solu’s phone rang. It was his cousin.

"I said, 'your whole family is out looking for you, what are you doing?' He said, 'I’m out helping. Didn’t you hear about the earthquake?'" Solu recalled.

Finally having confirmation that all of his family survived the disaster, he transitioned into action mode, working with the Morro Bay Rotary Club to start a fundraiser and sending donations directly to the Turkish Rotary Club.

"I think it's important that when we see something happen that we try to provide some sort of relief, whether it be a small amount financially or a warm thought in your heart," said Jude Long, Morro Bay Rotary Publicity Chair.

The fundraiser's total has already hit $3,000 since its start this past Saturday. With more already committing to donate, they believe that number could rise to nearly $35,000.

To donate, you can go to morrobayrotary.org