D.G. DOUG BAKER at WVRC on October 7th
KEVIN KOMATSU arrived just in time to lead the Pledge. President Elect ED JACKSON gave the Invocation: “Thank you for allowing Westwood Village Rotary Club to share what is important to us and others. In a time when the challenges are greater in improving our lives, our community and our world. It’s wonderful to have a District Governor with vision, wit and determination as he leads us to be bigger, better and bolder as we improve our universe. May we all live long and prosper.” Well done, ED Thanks. The song was jointly led by LENNY and RICK, with lyrics written by RICK Rotarians Clap Their Hands!
We had the Brass with us today- DG Doug Baker from Downey, plus his two honchos, Jerry Brown and Joe Vasquez from Bellflower. We also had a Visiting Rotarian, Stan Steinmark, from Hawaii. Guests included KATHIE GAULD with PP ED, VACHAREE FELL with GORDON, plus PAULINE HARRIS and PAT BUMPAS from the Honorary Side. Brian Whitney came with PP CHRIS BRADFORD for his 3rd visit, and Athena Jackson was also with us. TERRY de SOUSA made her rounds, and what culprit without a pin did she flush out but Joe Vasquez, Aide to DG Baker so we collected five bucks in cash! And while I’m not sure just what his crime was, RICK BROUS was nicked for twenty big ones.
I reported on GEORGE COX’S improvement PP DON NELSON saw him yesterday, and he is now at Arbor View, 1338 20th Street in Santa Monica 90404, (310) 255-2800. He would like to have you visit or send cards (apparently their phone system doesn’t work too well). Please do be in touch.
We have a new contact for AVA PEPLOW it is her granddaughter, Jennifer Wheeler, 2658 Country Club Drive in Glendora, CA 91741, (626)922-6738. The address I gave before is still correct, Ava Peplow, 5457 Woodman Ave, Sherman Oaks, 91401, (818) 994-3289 and she will apparently be there for awhile, so do check in with her, please.
While this will come out too late for new suspects to sign up, I’m pleased to announce that we will have six Rotaractors plus ED JACKSON, JOHN O’KEEFE and YOE who will be Reading To Kids this Saturday, the 9th. This is always the second Saturday, from 9 to 12, and we have room for more to join us think about it for later, if you will.
The Auxiliary will meet next Tuesday, the 12th starting at 11:30... NEVIN SENKAN will report on our joint project with the Rotary Club in Turkey, which is sure to be interesting. It’s at the home of DONNA HEIDT, and the cost is $5.00 for lunch.
We were reminded of the upcoming Paul Harris Celebration, which will be at the House of Blues on Nov. 7th. Tickets are $75.00, check made out to Rotary District 5280, and then there is the Raffle, for which you have 11 tickets costing $100.00. PP STEVE DAY urged us to get those ticket stubs in. MARK ROGO spoke about the up-coming Golf Tournament at Hillcrest CC on Monday, Nov 22nd. Cost is $150 plus the caddie fee, and it starts at 10 am you can arrive before that for breakfast, or practice (though I’m sure no one needs that). Please call his office at (310) 777-6213 to sign up.
SALLY BRANT lamented the fact that we are no longer offering WVRC Sweatshirts, which she claims gets lots of comments when she wears hers. One correction here, if I may. I’ve got a BUNCH of sweatshirts in storage, but they are almost all small size. Lemme know if you want me to bring some to a meeting, please.
GORDON had a story, which he claimed was first told by PP DON NELSON four years ago!
Don learned that his bookkeeper had stolen twelve million dollars from him. The bookkeeper was deaf, and this was considered very important in his hiring, since he would be unable to testify in any subsequent court hearings. The Godfather included his attorney in the confrontation with the bookkeeper, since his attorney knew sign language. The first question was, “Where is the twelve million bucks hidden?”. This was conveyed in sign language to the bookkeeper. His reply, also translated from sign language by the attorney, “I don’t know what you’re talking about”. The Godfather then pulled out a 9mm pistol, placed the barrel against the temple of the bookkeeper, and asked the same question again, followed by the statement that he would kill him if he didn’t get an answer. He signed back to the attorney, “OK, you win. It’s buried behind the shack in my cousin’s backyard in Queens.” The Godfather asked, “What did he say?” The attorney replied, “He says you don’t have the courage to pull the trigger”.
We now come to the Program, which is different from other DG Visits, since first our Chairs gave a brief outline of their program, and then DG Baker made his comments.
ELLIOTT TURNER started off. We are planning a Valentines party, and we are still seeking a new location instead of Lawry’s. We also have a Hump Day celebration, where we ‘tell the truth’ about our President. We have a Holiday Program, with music and caroling. Our family picnic features a BBQ, and grandchildren are specially invited. This year we will have a Golf Tournament with Manhattan Beach in November. Of course, we provide a fond farewell to our President at his Demotion party.
Next, MARK ROGO outlined the coming Golf Tournament, which is noted above.
DWIGHT HEIKILLA reported on the New Generations Committee. We have a very active Rotaract group. Our High School Interact Club at University High is coming along well. They have a new candidate for a second Interact Club at a local high school. Their focus will be the anti-dropout program at Unihi, in which our Rotarctors can be most helpful.
Community Service was next. JOHN HEIDT is the Chair, and here are some of our activities. We support PACT, Police and Community Together, and several of our members drive for Meals on Wheels of WLA. We have several members on the Board of the Westwood Library. Earth Angels is a joint project with the Santa Monica Rotary Club we pickup and return patients to the airport at Santa Monica. This is our first year of support for the Ocean Park Community Center (OPCC) and we have prepared and served meals to one of their units.
STEVE PETTISE chairs Vocational Service. Our regular meeting on October 21st will be entirely devoted to this subject. We are working with University High School on the continuing problem of dropouts. We had a booth at the recent UniHi Showcase, and collected names of some people who may be able to help. We will have speakers who will discuss what they do, including some non-college trades.
International Service is chaired by ALY SHOJI. Coming up in February is a major International Service Project/trip. We will go to Dominican Republic for a meeting, and to see what we have accomplished there. Certainly our project in Guatemala where we teach people to catch rainwater off their roofs is significant. It tides them over the annual dry spell. We actively support and recruit Ambassadorial Scholars and our candidates are often selected by the District.
District Governor Doug Baker came forward to respond and while I’ve seen a number of these, going back to the early 60’s, I must admit his was very impressive. He began by reviewing what his aide told him right at the beginning of his visits please don’t make me sit through the same speech every time! A question what was the most popular show on TV when it went off the air? Friends. And what was the 2nd most popular the Andy Griffith Show. It came on just fifty years ago, and was based on the simple life of a simple community. Whatever needed to be done, they just did the same principle on which Rotary was founded in 1905.
However, we have now moved away from that concept. In the U.S., too many clubs meet, eat, and write a check that’s all. They have taken the needs of the community and sub-contracted them out to be done by others. If we are the largest, what is the second largest service club? The Lions and while they aren’t that strong in America, they are strong over the rest of the world. They claim to be the largest, because they have more clubs than we do, but we have more members. In a few more years, we won’t be able to make that claim. And that isn’t OK with me I want us to continue to be number one!
What is the common denominator among the clubs that are growing? They are all DOING SOMETHING. And they are being seen, in their communities, doing that. Every club in District 5280 that has lowered the age of their members and is active in community affairs is growing. They are inviting people who are not Rotarians to help them. So what happens? People show up, they have fun and they join! They want to be part of what you have to offer.
What was the primary purpose of Rotary? To quote Paul Harris, “Rotary was formed to practice the fine art of jocularity”. You have a CPA for President good luck with that! Much laughter here, and GORDON made like he was going to give Doug the gong. His dad was a CPA, and it was three years before he realized he was dead! More laughter. Doug took accounting before he left for another school and someone, of course, commented, “Too tough for you, eh?” Again, laughter and YOE has to remind you all, that inducing laughter gets your message across better than any other technique. Don’t show too much respect for one another. Second reason for Rotary doing business with one another. The business of Rotary is business.
DG Baker then related a story about TV, and a child being born. What, then, is the purpose of a child being born? It’s to replace YOU. We spend all kinds of money to train our replacements.
Among teenagers, what is the number one cause of death? Suicide! And what is the number two cause? Homicide! Thus, our children kill themselves, or they kill others. He related a controlled experiment, in which a group of teens were placed in a large, completely darkened room. They were separated from each other enough that voices could not be recognized. A young woman spoke up, “I’ve nothing to live for. I made a decision, that tomorrow I would hang myself, at home”. Another young man spoke up. “In the last day and a half, I’ve discovered that the kids I feared, could become my friends. And if you allow yourself, you could find someone to love.” What changed their views on life? You send someone to RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Assembly). As Rotarians, we can change the course of someone’s life... We should be proud to be Rotarians, Get out on the street. Do something in THIS community. Thank you very much.
Wow, this guy is something and he has a message for all of us.