They were not Rotarians, but their story is one of Vocational Service Above Self. During WW II nine botanists at the Vavilov Institute of Plant Industry in Leningrad perished from starvation while preserving tons of seeds and potato tubers in the Institute's seed bank.
 In the fall of 1941 Nazi forces began a a siege cutting off all supply routes to Leningrad and its suburbs that would last 880 days. Famine in the city killed tens of thousands of people who starved to death. As the seige wore on Vavilov Institute workers burned everything to heat their building. They established 24-hour vigils to guard the potato storage area.
Alexander Stchukin, a peanut specialist, died at his writing table and Georgi Kriyer, who was in charge of medicinal plants, also died. After Dmitri Ivanov, head of the rice collection, died workers found several thousand packs of rice in his collection that he had preserved while dying of starvation. The siege of Leningrad continued until January 1944. Through it all, the Vavilov collection was largely preserved.