August 23, 2001


Let me begin with an excuse - no, not that I should have told you a joke before talking about Polio Plus, but rather that my recorder was dead upon arrival. Thus all I had to depend upon was my own handwritten scribblings, and sometimes I can't read them.

That being said, here goes: STEW GILMAN started us off with the Pledge. A new team of musicians then appeared, with sometimes-present GREGG ELLIOTT at the piano, and PP STEVE DAY leading the Song - God Bless America. Since he was already up front, STEVE asked that everyone bring their raffle tickets back by next meeting, please. JIM BECHTEL'S invocation was a thoughtful remembrance of his mother's death just a year ago, and a reminder of those we have lost, and being thankful for those who are still with us. RO SHAW gave us another Tai Chi lesson, but only using our right hand - think how far behind our left will be before catching up!

We had four jokesters -three now, and one, later, and all were good. PP JIM SUMNER had a golf (surprise) story. JACK HARRIS spoke about a wife's advice to Go Fly a Kite, and PP DOUG DESCH'S yarn ended with What the Hell. If there were any Visiting Rotarians, they failed to identify themselves, so DENNIS CORNWELL moved on to Guests of Rotarians. SHERRIE DEWANE was with Patsy Bar Utt, who is also with Wells Fargo PETER MORE introduced Eva Brodehl, a Rotaract Pre-Med student from the University of Heidelberg. She was at UCLA a couple of years ago, and also has studied at Harvard. Janice Koyama, wife of Pres. GEORGE, came in at this point, and he had the good sense to introduce her right away! KEN KILPO was with Cathy Miller, an attorney, and while on his feet, reminded us of the upcoming Westside LA Wellness Fair, running from l0 a.m. until 3 on Sept 15th.

PP STEVE ADLER was presented with a well-deserved Presidential Citation for his steadfast efforts, commitment and participation in furthering Rotary ideals. LENNY FRIEDMAN reminded us that items for the Paul Harris raffle are still needed, and mentioned that DAN PRICE has offered three antique movie posters - for which he would like some support, as far as sharing the cost. Pres. GEORGE reiterated the importance of the upcoming Club Assembly the evening of Sept 13th, urging new members, in particular, to attend. Contact PP DOUG DESCH or TED IHNEN. There will be a Literacy Breakfast at Lawry's, 8 a.m. on the 28th (Tuesday) of this month. NEAL ZASLAVSKY spoke about the upcoming AIDS Marathon, and asked for our support. There will be a pre-event ticket drawing for the Paul Harris Celebration, for all tickets sent in by 8/31 - prizes include r/t for two to Paris, a 7 day cruise to Alaska or the Caribbean, and a week for two to Miami - so, DON'T FORGET to turn in your stubs to PP STEVE at the next meeting, OK? A quick reminder about Opal Desch's memorial - 2 p.m. on September 16th, at Westwood Methodist. And finally, mark your calendars for the Club Picnic - at the Siskels, September 23rd, starting at l p.m.

YOE was pleased to update our Rotary status on Polio Plus. In the 50's, before the worldwide campaign started, 600,000 people were contracting polio every year. Of these, 5 to 10% die of the disease! The World Health Organization started the immunization campaign in 1974, and by 1987 those contracting polio were reduced to 350K annually. The first Rotary grant, to the Philippines, was in 1979, and we now have pledged a total of $500 million to completely eradicate polio by 2005 - this includes the $246 million we raised from 1985 to 1988. Rotary leadership feels that individual Rotarians have contributed their fair share - but they need our help in networking.

Some background, if I may: The Americas, Western Pacific Region and the European Region will all be polio-free by the end of this year. But over 30 countries still have new polio cases, in spite of a 95% reduction since 1988. In 2000, there were 3161 new cases, and so far in 2001, only 78. This program WORKS! Two examples - last year in India, on National Immunization Day, 152 MILLION children were vaccinated on that day alone. And even in war-torn areas, the combatants will allow polio volunteers to administer the vaccine, so its acceptance is widespread. A single dose costs 9 cents.

Here is how YOU can help. Those Rotarians who will be calling on wealthy individuals, corporations and foundations need contacts - networking, really. Are you on a Board, or do you know someone in these categories? PP HOWIE HENKES, who so successfully directed our own campaign when we raised $120K and I are the two local contacts. Please call us with leads - ANN ELKIN has already given me a lead - we thank you, ANN. This is important, and HOWIE and I urge you to think about contacts you may have, please.

GREGG ELLIOTT next told a duck story - see paragraph three above - and then, before he introduced our speaker. Prez. GEORGE awarded GREGG 100 Dea Dollars, to thank him for his efforts. GEORGE did caution him, however, that he shouldn't use the money to tip the parking lot attendants…Mark Burson is Executive Director of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation. This is a nonprofit Foundation that sustains the Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, which is located in Simi Valley - a number of us expressed interest in having a regular meeting, and tour, there - GEORGE, how about that for a future plan? Mr. Burson's background includes 13 years with Burson-Marsteller's LA office, management at Bozell & Jacobs, and the Energy Systems Group. He has both a BA and Masters from USC.

A video was shown, in which President Reagan was seen speaking quite frequently - and it reinforces his informal title of The Great Communicator. "Tear down that Wall, Mr. Gorbachev" is one quote that is particularly memorable. On the 40th anniversary of the Normandy landing, he spoke in France before one of the groups who landed. 225 men started, and after two days, only 90 were still able to carry a rifle! "We are still Jefferson's children" and "I'm not here for my generation, but for yours" were other quotes I was able to record.

Reagan predicted that most of the visitors to his Library and Museum would be non-academics, and he was right. His very close and mutually supportive relationship with wife Nancy was highlighted, including her moving tribute to him at the 1992 Republican National Convention. Again, "Freedom is only one generation away from extinction " and "We will finish our task - how can we do less?" are certainly memorable phrases.

Mr. Burson told us of two recent books about Reagan - "Reagan, In His Own Hand" which is a compilation of his speeches while with GE as a spokesman, and a beautiful photo album, "Ronald Reagan, an American Hero" He presented a copy of this to WVRC - and NEAL ZASLAVSKY immediately suggested he would make the first bid, should we decide to sell it. Pres. GEORGE quickly stepped in, saying that would be for a later time. Methinks the price will go up at a real auction!

Q&A - ED JACKSON - when were the hostages released. Reagan felt strongly that this should occur while Carter was still in office, but delays caused it to happen just as Reagan was being inaugurated. RALPH BEASON - what is happening with his old Air Force One airplane. Negotiations are underway to display it locally. YOE mentioned having just read "Ronald Reagan - How an Ordinary Man Became an Extraordinary Leader" by Dinesh D'Souza, and Mr. Burson agreed that it pointed out what made him great. PP HOWIE HENKES reminded us all that Reagan spoke to WVRC while still Governor of California - and he pointed out that that was the straw that forced us to move to the Bel Air Hotel! Thanks - and we do want to visit your Library and Museum.

YOE, Ernie Wolfe