Back in the Saddle at Bel Air - WVRC on January 30th

Yes, we resumed our regular schedule.  PDG ANDY ANDERSON started us off with the Pledge, followed by LENNY FRIEDMAN and GREGG ELLIOTT with the song - You're a Grand Old Flag.  Outside of a minor too-low-key problem, it went well.   CLARK McQUAY provided the Invocation, first suggesting we be seated.  Since CLARK is a well-known (and husband-resented) gardner, the theme was what to plant in your garden.  First you need five rows of peas, then three rows of squash, five rows of lettuce, and to complete the perfect garden, several rows of turnips - ending up with Turning up for Rotary.   Well Done CLARK.  Alas, even though he is multi-talented and extremely competent, PP DAVE WHITEHEAD could not come up with the name of even one Visiting Rotarian. Whoops, after an audience outcry, then appeared our former member, Lee Walker, now a member of Manhattan Beach Rotary - good to see you again, LEE.  STEW GILMAN once again had his Special Guest, Steve Lore, a local contractor.  KACY ROZELLE also had a Special Guest, Todd Johnson, General Manager of Lawry's and currently a member of Atwater Rotary.  PP JOHN SINGLETON was welcomed back after his hospital siege.  HENRIETTA LIAN provided notice of the passing of Rennie Levin, mother of Nina Jackson - it would be nice to be in touch with ED and Nina, OK?

PDG BILL GOODWYN came forward to put in perspective last week's visit of Rotary International President Bhichai Rattakul.  Bhichai will visit about 120 Rotary Clubs this year - this out of a worldwide total of 31,120 - so it was indeed a coup by Prexy TED to bring him to WVRC.  We had over 200 at dinner last Thursday at the Riviera, including representatives of at least fifteen other clubs, plus several Past District Governors and one past Rotary International Director, Sam Greene.  One of the features of his speech that evening was our need to complete the funding to eradicate Polio worldwide - we are still fifty million dollars short of the Rotary total goal of five hundred million dollars. (And note that Bill Gates will double whatever Rotary provides in this last push to complete our pledge). Then on Friday, Bhichai visited Aiden's Place, and was present to observe the Parkinson's Exercise Program (PLLUS) at the Westside Family YMCA.  Carol and JIM COLLINS hosted President Bhichai at a small group dinner at Lawry's that evening, for which we all thank you, Carol and JIM.  Saturday morning we delivered Bhichai to the Incoming Governor's Training Session in Orange County - he's a busy guy, and certainly an inspiration to all of us as an example of Service Above Self.

DIGITAL DAVE WHITEHEAD, ably assisted by PETER MORETECH, then presented an AV recap of President Bhichai's visit with us.  First there were a number of individual photos taken at the Thursday dinner, then of his visit to Aiden's Place and PLLUS, and capped by footage taken during his talk Thursday evening at the Riviera.  This ended with his quoting the poem, And God Said No - a moving summary of what life - and Rotary - is all about.  "Any act of service, without love, is simply artificial.  And so I urge you, my fellow Rotarians, to continue to "Sow the Seeds of Love".  On that subject, there were a number of us who were involved with this visit - but the prime movers, as usual, were PETER MORE, PP DAVE WHITEHEAD and PP JIM DOWNIE - all of us are in your debt for a truly memorable evening.

I was up next, and before I introduced YOSH, I made a quick pitch for the upcoming Sweetheart Brunch on Saturday the 8th February.  We had placed a number of Valentine napkins on the tables, inside which Marian TSENG provided a most attractive recap of the details of the party.  It starts at 11 a.m., at Typhoon Restaurant on the tarmac at Santa Monica Airport, and over fifty members and spouses are signed up already.  WWII costumes are in order, plus any memorabilia from that era - KEN LEVER will take your reservation, so please give him a call - it will be a lovely event. 

PP YOSH SETOGUCHI is a Rotarian who belongs in the same category as his mentor, Dr. MILO BROOKS, last identified as our Resident Saint.  YOSH grew up in East LA - and the entire family was uprooted and sent to Manzanar and later, Tule Lake, during WWII.  When the war ended, they returned, and settled in two rooms in WLA.  YOSH was elected Student Body President at Emerson Jr. High, and then at UniHi, was again elected President of the student body.  This earned him an honorary membership in WVRC - a tradition we should reestablish - and here he met Dr. MILO BROOKS.  MILO was in charge of the UCLA Child Amputee Prosthetics Dept, and soon after they met, MILO suggested that YOSH come to work for him when he finished Medical School.

YOSH completed his residency in Pediatrics, joined MILO, and replaced him when MILO retired.  He continued for sixteen years, meanwhile founding the UCLA Craniofacial Clinic.  When govt. funding dried up in 1993, YOSH moved to Shriner's Children's Hospital; downtown.  He continues to spend one day a week at UCLA - but it must be Wednesday, so he can seldom attend our meetings. YOSH and Toshie met at UCLA, and they had two daughters - Joanne passed away at age 16 from a congenital heart condition, and Sharon teaches English at Narbonne High School.  It is a real source of pride for me that as the fifth year President I was able to nominate YOSH as Incoming President of WVRC.  He was named as District Humanitarian of the Year 1996-97, and is another example to all of us of Service Above Self.

YOSH spoke briefly about his current activities, explaining that he was here today in behalf of the Facing Forward Foundation, which supports the UCLA Craniofacial Clinic.  This is a multi-disciplinary group of physicians, dentists, psychologists and other health professionals who come together to plan and treat the many children who are victims of facial disfigurement. As an indication of how widespread these unfortunate cases are, about 190,000 children are born each year with this serious condition.

YOSH then introduced Dr. James Bradley, the associate plastic surgeon for this team.  He trained at UCLA, moved away, and has returned to what he considers the best such program anywhere.  Dr. Bradley described YOSH as a Super Computer - he knows and can remember each of their current 750 patients!  The Clinic reviews about 300 new cases each year, and operates on about 150.  YOSH is Pediatric Coordinator, does the initial interview, and then coordinates the care for those selected.   The Director of the UCLA Craniofacial Clinic is Dr Henry Kawamoto Jr, M.D., D.D.S. and he was represented by his daughter, Michele.

Dr. Bradley then showed a series of slides, picturing a number of children, in a before-and-after surgical sequence.  I'll list them by name, simply to indicate the wide variety of
facial disfigurement which can be successfully treated. "Clay" was born with a large ridge in his forehead, which was compressing his brain.  His treatment, begun as a baby, allowed his brain to grow normally.  "Pablo" had a high forehead - again, treatable if started as a baby.  "Amy" had no cheekbones - now an adult, she teaches school.
"Gabrielle" began life with a non-symmetrical face, which was corrected after a number of surgeries.

In planning treatment for these children, the team understands that the skull grows fastest, then the face develops, and jaws are last to develop - this sequence is vital to successful results, of course.  "Timmy" - his face was not growing, but it could be moved forward.  His eyes were OK, but his upper jaw needed a second surgery.  This was all accomplished during his most rapid growth period.  "Luna" could not breathe, but her airway was corrected successfully.  "Ariel" had a dream - to play the trumpet in the USC Marching Band (and as a fan of that 'other' school, YOE has to admit that SC does have a good Marching Band).  After eleven surgeries, an anonymous donor provided a scholarship, and she realized her dream.  And here, Dr. Bradley confessed that he almost had a problem, since his undergraduate degree was at Notre Dame, and Ariel never indicated any interest in playing trumpet there…

Michel Kawamoto then told of Facing Forward Foundation's continuing need for funding.  Many of their patients are from low-income families, and thus their parents often cannot afford the numerous, costly procedures that lead to successful results.  She specifically thanked both PP CHRIS GAYNOR and PP RON LYSTER for their professional assistance in setting up Facing Forward Foundation.  After the meeting, PDG ANDY ANDERSON and Michele discussed the possibility of WVRC reviving our Wine Tasting party as a fund raiser - stay tuned, please.

YOE, Ernie Wolfe