AUGUST BEGINS at WVRC - the 7th, that is

Once again, Pres. PETER provided a bit of history. On this very same day, the 7th, but in 1782, George Washington created the "Order of the Purple Heart", in honor of those injured in battle. Skipping ahead a mere130 years, Theodore Roosevelt was nominated for President by the Progressive Party (in 1912, that is). And ninety years later, in 2002, we had our own President THEODORE at WVRC. PETER, this is great stuff - my only worry is we might have to recall some of these dates at a later time, subject to fining…
So, a word to the wise - stay tuned!

JIM BECHTEL was scheduled to lead the Pledge, but couldn't be present, so Pres., PETER called on Senior PP JIM COLLINS, who did the honors. LENNY FRIEDMAN and JACK ("What am I, chopped liver?") HARRIS took us through I Bin Workin on the Railroad - all four verses, yet. It was before this that LENNY, once again, appealed piteously to the assembled group for someone who can sight read music, and then provide it on the piano. It was at this point that JACK, somewhat piteously himself, asked "What am I, chopped liver?" JACK, what LENNY was trying to do was to get some ADDITIONAL pianists, not in any way depreciating what you - and PP JIM DOWNIE, who wasn't there today, plus GREGG ELLIOTT - bring us with your music. We need more bodies here - so, some of you should give a call to our tight little group, please. Executive Treasurer DON NELSON gave the Invocation, or at least a sort of religious story, first allowing us to be seated, but with the admonition, "But don't chew!"
Seems this native was enjoying the scenery in Alaska, when he heard a noise behind him, and saw a giant Kodiak bear starting to run towards him. Our hiker took off, but stumbled, and the bear stood over him, ready to strike. "Help me, God", he yelled - and everything stopped. A thunderous voice intoned, "Do you expect me to save you, after all these years of your bad-mouthing me?" Our native allowed as how that really didn't seem fair - but how about making the bear a Christian? At his point, the world began to turn again, and the bear knelt beside our friend, saying, "Lord, thank you for this food which we are about to enjoy"…

DICK ROBINSON introduced the Visiting Rotarians. They included Dr. Michael Graves, a Urologist and Past President from Plainville, TX - who is also a fellow flyer (and motorcycler) in the Rotary Fellowships. His plane was shown in our recent Convention report - flown from Texas to Queensland, and back. We had two ladies from Century City, Gloria Herrera, current President, and Marcy Braiker, incoming President. And from far away, Matthias Uhrig, who does Consulting, and belongs to the Frankfurt -Dreieich RC. There were several visitors, led off by Maggie Dare, an associate of MICHAEL GINTZ at City National. Shirley MORE was present, and YOE introduced our two military guests, Capt Shawn Buck, the new CO of the UCLA ROTC unit, and Lt David Schulz, recipient of the saber we award annually to the outstanding cadet of the unit. I also introduced by 'dog-walking friend', Dr. Harold Goodman. Secretary-Treasurer KEVIN KOMATSU had a Special Guest, Gordon Fell, an independent CPA. who also attended last week.

Sad to report, ELLIOTT TURNER, my stand-in as YOE, was again called on the carpet due to some open questions about his reporting of the meeting of two weeks ago. Not having been present myself, the details here seem to escape me, but there was some discussion about how the Visa Card promotion should have been reported. The figure of $100 was introduced, and then Pres. PETER asked what ELLIOTT should be fined for his transgressions. The almost unanimous crowd recommendation seemed to center on the Century figure, plus one digit - that being a thousand clams! However, asserting his Presidential prerogative, Pres. PETER settled on twenty five bucks, based on some sort of what appeared to be somewhat shady accounting. So be it - Rank has its privileges!
LEE DUNAYER attended the Air show at Oshkosh, and made the mistake of borrowing Pres. PETER'S oxygen bottle to take along. There was some dispute over whether LEE actually USED the bottle, but it cost him a hundred big ones, anyway. That's an expensive loan fee, LEE.

The best month of the year for birthdays is obviously August (and let it not be said that this judgment is in any way clouded by the fact that YOE falls in that time frame). Anyway, KACY ROZELLE led off on the 1st, from Basking Ridge, NJ, followed by RALPH SMITH on the 4th in Brockton, MA.BRUCE ROLF came forward on the 8th, in McPherson, KS, while YOE and JACK HARRIS choose the 11th and 13th, both being smart enough to also choose Los Angeles as the place. DAN PRICE thought that was such a good idea that he also settled on LA, the date being the 16th. Resident Angel VIRGINIA GANDY came along on the 24th, in Piedmont, Missouri, while the 25th appealed to both LENORE MULRYAN (in Lompoc) and MARK BLOCK in far-away Passaic, NJ. Songs were sung, and gifts were distributed - and NOW, true to my earlier pledge to give the whole thing away, I can tell you that the present BD gift is a very nice, blue Swiss army knife, labeled as coming from WVRC. Makes getting older more fun - and, leaning on my privileged Editor status, I now present a most deep and difficult riddle, which you can answer in person next Thursday at noon.
Since I've entered the last quarter of my life, how old does that make me now?

We were reminded of the Club Assembly, set for two weeks from now in the evening of the 21st at Riviera Country Club. This is the single best educational event of the year - everyone present will learn things about what we are planning under Pres. PETER. Note that you are billed for one attendance, ready or not - so get with the program, and send those reservations in to DON NELSON right away, please. SLOSS VIAU came forward to update us on our support for the Salvation Army Transitional Housing Project - this will be our third year, and the residents are counting on our help. Clean out your closets, and bring clothing, bedding, toys, whatever on Thursday the 28th of August and September 4th, the first Thursday of that month.

I was pleased to escort our two UCLA ROTC men to the podium. Major Shawn Buck is their new CO, and he outlined what the training in ROTC is all about. Currently, they have ninety students enrolled, and many of them will graduate and receive commissions in the U.S. Army as 2nd Lieutenants. Their training at UCLA is really focused during their junior and senior years, with hands-on experience being provided - and promoted - at every opportunity. Lieutenant David Schulz was the recipient this year of the outstanding cadet award, and we provided a sword inscribed to David Schulz, Cadet of the Year 2003, from WVRC. I finally located the engraving - oddly enough, it was on the BLADE (where else would you put such an inscription?) and Lt. Schulz was a cadet when I presented it at their awards ceremony in June. He is now raring to go into further training, and will likely be accepted into Ranger School, and then stationed in Italy upon completion. It is rewarding to see the quality of the young men and women who are participants in these training programs - they will do us all proud in their chosen profession. After the meeting, PP STEVE SCHERER was visiting with Major Buck, and it turns out that PP STEVE was the recipient of the sword in his ROTC graduating class at Arizona State. He then served a couple of years as a Finance Officer, and certainly agreed that this award is something all the cadets strive for.

MICHAEL GINTZ introduced Dr. Ronald Busuttil. You may recall his earlier visit - almost ten years ago - and we were reminded that Dr. Bussuttil graduated from Loyola in New Orleans, then received both his MD and PhD from Tulane. His residency was at UCLA in 1978 - and he's been here ever since! He is the Chief of Liver and Pancreatic Transplant Surgery at UCLA, and has performed more liver transplants than any other physician. He is considered to be the best liver transplant surgeon in the world. and the UCLA Liver Transplant program is the largest in the world. I should confess that I know Dr. Busuttil personally, which may color this report - but he's a hellava surgeon!

A major milestone in organ transplantation occurred in June of 1984, when the NIH "concluded that liver transplantation is a therapeutic modality for end stage liver disease that deserves broader application". This opened the door to an extensive increase in liver transplantation, plus allowing acceptance of the many other surgical transplants then just starting. Dr. Busuttil was trained by Dr. Tom Starzell, and then performed his first two transplants on pigs, since their anatomy and tolerance of surgery is almost identical to that of humans. Polly was shown, and she lived five years, finally dying of obesity, of all things.

The surgical team that provides these transplants is very large - sometimes as many as one hundred physicians and support personnel are involved in one case. A study of 2600 patients showed that 70% survived for five years, and after ten years, 62% still survived - so the surgery DOES give many a new lease on life. Starting in 1984 with about 25 surgeries, the number increased rapidly, and by the early 90's more than 200 were performed at UCLA each year. During this period, physicians trained by Dr. Busuttil now head up similar programs at 38 hospitals, and he has trained over one hundred foreign surgeons.

A serious and increasing problem is the shortage of donors. Of those on the waiting list, one in five will die before a suitable match can be found. We were urged to sign up as donors, and personally, I was glad to learn that my age did not make my organs unusable.
They would be used by older patients, and there is great need at this level. At the same time, since livers have such power of regeneration, UCLA has pioneered a technique of splitting livers, providing the larger half to adults and the small part to children, thus literally doubling their life-saving ability. Another technique is called living transplantation, in which the donor gives us part of his or her liver which can then be used as a complete replacement part. Hepatitis C, which is a relatively recent discovery, is now recognized as the most common cause of liver failure. Much of this was beautifully presented on the screen, and we thank PP DAVE WHITEHEAD for running the 'projector'.

Q&A - PP MIKE NEWMAN, How do donor organs work? They must be implanted within twelve hours! Matthias Uhrig (our guest from Germany), How does pancreatic surgery compare to liver? It has a good record but is not as successful as liver. UCLA does 200 livers a year, and about 40 pancreatic. LEE DUNAYER - Can you donate within your family? Yes. LILLIAN KLIEWER, How are they chosen to receive a transplant? A national service provides rating point - and note that Hepatitis C (noted above) is suspected in the case of four million patients in the U.S.
This could mean perhaps ONE MILLION liver transplants will be needed soon. Someone asked it political pull ever helped. Never - and the case of Mickey Mantle was noted - he was next in line, and unfortunately, it didn't work for him - but he DID NOT receive any preferential placement. TONY MARRONE - Are there problems with the living donor giver? Yes, since these donors are people having an operation who have no need of surgery. About 20% of them have one or another side results, but they are almost never serious or long lasting. LENNY FRIEDMAN, Why not take half of every liver, to spread available transplants? Of the 5000 surgeries performed, this could increase them by perhaps 1000, but this is not nearly that simple to achieve. A final question - what does this cost? All insurance carriers now provide coverage, and it usually comes down to about $100K at this time. Dr. Busuttil, again, thanks for being with us.

YOE, Ernie Wolfe