July 23, 2001


            Joint Meeting, WVRC and Beverly Hills, 23 July

I was feeling bereft of support, since I didn't have my security blanket of an agenda/program as supplied at WVRC.  But in the gallant tradition of writers everywhere, I soldiered on.  What this touching beginning means is that you won't find out much from these notes, but please note that my heart is true, anyway - which of course you already knew… Relying on the always knowledgeable PP DOUG DESCH, I learned that the B.H. President is Randy Magnin, and he started us off by asking for the Invocation.  It was brief, ending with the request that since this year's goal for Rotary is a Net Gain, we should ask for a net gain not only in membership, but also in living and in love.  Our own Pres. GEORGE was
called upon to lead the Pledge, and he did splendidly.  Beverly Hills
apparently has no song - at least, there wasn't one today - so the next order of business was the introduction of a number of Past District Governors who were present,  including our own BILL GOODWYN and ANDY ANDERSON.

Rotarian guests were introduced, and the first two I will mention are the
same two who were with us at Westwood last week - Rick AmRheim from
Valparaiso, IN, and Dr Larry Sall, from Richardson, TX.  A past President of the Tel Aviv/Jaffa Club exchanged flags, and noted that the club was
originally formed in 1932 in Cairo, being composed of l/3rd Arabs, l/3rd 
British, and l/3rd Jews.  In this regard, YOE has a historic flag, from the Rotary Club of Jerusalem, Jordan - which of course no longer exists.( I know you need this information)  Next up was a reminder of how broadly based Rotary International is - we have 1.2 million members, of whom 103K are women, and the ladies preside at 2,000 of our 30 thousand clubs.  There are 530 Districts in 163 countries and 40 geographic areas.  Rotaract was started in 1962, has about 179K members, and now is established in 107 countries.  We were reminded that these impressive numbers help us in continuing to make a difference in our world today.  Truly, we have a lot to be proud of - and spreading the word about Rotary should be a priority for all of us.

Pres. GEORGE was introduced, and he in turn introduced his wife, Janice. 
GEORGE gave a brief summary of the many activities of Westwood Village - and overheard at my table, afterward, for instance, was the comment, "Those guys are really busy - they may be the best club in the District".  GEORGE is a funny man, and he had a couple of one-liners that went over well, among them that he was told he had three seconds to make his presentation, but since it took him one second to shake hands with District Governor - and B.H. member - Len Wasserstein, he was still owed two seconds!  He next pointed out that WVRC has about fifty different programs, and he proposed to describe them ALL. However, he only spoke of a few, first noting that our founding meeting in 1929 was at the Women's Club in WLA - which of course had to be a precursor to the admittance of women into Rotary many years later! 

In Literacy, we have the Read by Nine program, plus reading to youngsters in the Pediatric Ward at UCLA hospital. He got in a plug for one of MY
favorites, Polio Corrective Surgery in India (which costs $139, to enable a life-long cripple to WALK again) and is of course sponsored by our late
member HOWARD PHILLIPS and his wife, Sally.  Did you know we currently have $38,000 in available funds, just waiting to be disbursed?  Our Parkinson's Exercise Program, known as PLUSS, has been explained in a video and shown at the last three Conventions in Singapore, Buenos Aires and San Antonio.  Suiting the message to the moment, GEORGE gave a copy to Floyd Olsen, our speaker of the day.  Last, our Rotaract Club at UCLA was started four years ago (by GEORGE, of course) and was the first in our District.  Truly, when you hear these activities enumerated, it does sound like the comment from my own table, mentioned earlier, is deserved.  Let's give ourselves a hand!

District Governor Len Wasserstein inducted two new members, Linda Brissum and Willie Bryan.  He then introduced their Speaker of the Day, Floyd Olson. 

Floyd is a member of the Rotary Club of Gig Harbor, Washington, has a long and distinguished Rotary history, and is currently a Director of Rotary International.  He graduated from the University of Minnesota with a joint major in Animal Husbandry and Economics, and in 1955 married his wife, Sandra.  They have four children and seven grandchildren.

"As long as there is a need, Rotary will respond" was Floyd's opening
statement, and he proceeded to outline the two major challenges facing Rotary at this time.  First, we have a need to grow, having had a decline in membership the last three years.  The good news is that the most recent year shows an increase of 25K to 40K members, but that is not enough to make up for the recent losses.  So we are emphasizing growth, particularly in the next two years.

Second, we want to complete our goal of eliminating Polio in the WORLD. 
Started by Rotary in 1988, we have now been joined in this effort by the
World Health Organization and the United Nations.  In 1988, there were
350,000 polio cases worldwide - and there are now LESS than 3,000!  The last case in North America was in 1991, in the Western Pacific 1997, and in Europe and Turkey, 1998.  The remaining areas to be vaccinated MUST be covered, since even ONE remaining case can continue to spread the contagion.  To be declared clear, there can be no new cases for three years, and thus our goal is to eliminate this terrible disease by 2005.

Floyd showed a video featuring Mia Farrow, who had polio when she was nine years old.  The symptoms are sometimes difficult to recognize - but even armies in the affected areas of Africa are willing to back off and allow the vaccination teams to do their job.  The cost to reach our goal of total elimination of polio worldwide is one billion dollars, with $450 million still needed.  A bit of history here, if I may:  WVRC took on this project when it first started in 1988, under the leadership of HOWIE HENKES, with a stated goal of raising $100,000.  A number of us pledged $1,000  - some, more - and we raised $120,000!  Now, speaking quite seriously, it is time for those of you who have come aboard since then
to join in this effort, please. You will be getting a call, OK?

Floyd Olson, thank you for your most important message. And thanks to Beverly Hills Rotary for sharing your message with us. The good news is that no volunteering or service is needed - just money.  Let's finish the job, OK?

                                YOE, Ernie Wolfe