DECEMBER BEGINS at WVRC – the 4th, already

Pres. PETER escaped from the almost-month-long confines of Jury Duty – his case was decided in time for him to make it to our meeting today. First up was the Pledge, led by LENNY FRIEDMAN. And, since he was already up there, LENNY led us in America, with JACK HARRIS at the keyboard. BRUCE ROLF came forward with the Invocation, which was a poem written by Angie Monnens, entitled The Christmas Dove. This dove represents Peace and Goodwill to all, and reminds us to live in Love and Harmony, in honor of Jesus’ birth. We ask the child to fill our hearts with everlasting love, as exemplified by the White Dove. Good thoughts, BRUCE.

SANDY SANDERSON introduced our Visiting Rotarians – Joe MULRYAN, husband of LENORE – Joe belongs to LA 5 and his category there is International Business Consultant, plus, former member, known to so many of us, BOB YOUNKER. As I was standing at the small table where late-comers pick up their meal tickets, who should appear but PP RON WANGLIN! I planned to introduce him as a Visiting Rotarian, but RUDY ALVAREZ beat me to the draw. It should be noted that Pres. PETER had a fine – or two – in mind, but in the crush of FOUR speakers, let it be noted that ‘your time will come, RON’. Seriously, it was great to have you with us – do it again, OK? SUSAN ALLEN brought along a former Ambassadorial Scholar, Yoshio Umazawa, who is still at UCLA and studying for her PhD.

Upcoming events, in a VERY crowded December, include the following:

The 9th – Rotary Auxiliary Luncheon, MARGIE DOWNIE

Dec. 11th, Shopping Spree – MIKE YOUSEM

Dec 12th, Braille Holiday Luncheon, HOWIE HENKES

And on the 18th, Spouse Day – our Holiday Program - save that date!

Birthdays were celebrated, with those present asked to come forward.  CHRIS BRADFORD leads us off, on Dec 2nd, in Los Angeles. PP RALPH WOODWORTH was next, choosing the 4th in Milwaukee. PP DAVE WHITEHEAD preferred Glendale, on the 6th. Next, THREE who chose the 14th – NORA AQUINO in the Philippines, RICK LIVERMORE in Crown, PA, and ANN SAMSON up in Tacoma.  But PP HOMER NEWMAN rescued us, bringing us back to Brawley, CA on the 18th.  BILL PIERCE – and it was great to see him with us again – actually arrived on Christmas day, followed by PP TEN IHNEN coming along in St. Louis on the 27th. RALPH BEASOM – one of twins, remember – picked Seattle on the 29th, with PP JIM COLLINS closing out the month on the 30th, in Huntington Park.

Continuing the review of Past President’s years, PP CHRIS GAYNOR came forward, willing to admit that his year was (gasp) almost the greatest – that being 1993-94! His presidency really started nine years before that, when he joined WVRC... Chris served the requisite six years on the Board, and really learned how Westwood Rotary worked, under the expert tutelage of DOUG DESCH and JOHN SINGLETON. He and Rose attended the International Convention in Melbourne, Australia, and were shown the worldwide reach of many Rotary programs. He met an incoming District Governor from the Philippines, which led to a project in cooperation with a Club in Manila – digging wells to supply potable water was badly needed... CHRIS showed a copy of the Windmill of that time (and I was facing away from the podium, so couldn’t see it) but I did hear several comments about ‘the good old days’ which I will ignore, at least for now…

CHRIS’S, theme was Share Rotary with a friend, and his helpers included STEVE SCHERER, RON LYSTER, RALPH WOODWORTH, LENNY FRIEDMAN, STEVE DAY, DENNIS CORNWELL, and MIKE REINHARDT. CHRIS provided a weekly column in the Windmill, which allowed him to emphasize concerns and share facts during the entire year. His comment that he tried to change the image of the stuffy CPA was greeted with mixed signals – and he had to admit, he was still working on it. He made a pitch for the Progressive Dinner, in which the various Rotary Scholars are bussed between several homes, culminating in the appearance of Santa at the home of MARGE and JIM DOWNIE. Yes, this still goes on – and it is a highlight, even though Santa is now sometimes played by YOE. Table Talk provided a member with the chance to tell his table mates what he did – and it was a lively interval. We did some Christmas Caroling, hosted by the BEASOM’S, and our Wine Tasting provided $11,000 for PP YOSH SETOGUCHI’S Child Prosthetics Clinic. Yes, it WAS a good year, and we thank CHRIS for sharing it with us.

LENORE MULRYAN introduced our Speakers. She first introduced her Committee, who helped select the Scholars- CHRIS BRADFORD, SUSAN ALLEN, RUDY ALVAREZ, KEVIN KOMATSU, CHARLES MAGNUSON, and ANN SAMSON – and she will be adding Diana Ross, a scholar in 1999-00, who brings her wide experience for the benefit of the whole committee.

Ryan Ingrassia spent his year as an Ambassadorial Scholar studying language and lifestyles in Uganda, living among those who were his subjects. He has now been chosen to lead a group of twelve students who will visit Singapore, a small town in India, Dar es Salaam, and the Sychelles – this after being briefed extensively in preparation for their in-person contacts. He is studying Japanese, four days a week His group will be stopping in LA for three nights before their cruise, and he needs help with accommodations, since all must stay at the same hotel. Please give him a ring if you have any suggestions.

Reiko Okabe is an Ambassadorial Scholar here at UCLA, and she now speaks 2.5 languages – yes, that’s right, 2 ½! These include English, Japanese, and German (which is apparently the ½) and this is coordinated through the Dept of Linguistics. Her hometown is Hawamatsu, which isn’t easy to pronounce

The featured speaker was Erin Rattazi, a 2002 Graduate of UCLA who will be leaving for Capetown, South Africa in a month. On an earlier visit, she was in a township NEVER included in tours – but she saw – and photographed – some appalling conditions. One shack sleeps SIXTEEN families. There is no running water, no electricity, and the residents spend an average of a dollar a year on health care! Life expectancy is 40 years, and HIV is widely prevalent, particularly among women. She believes one person can make a difference, and that the US can be a beacon of support. She thanked us warmly for all our help with her plans.

Q&A GEORGE COX – What will be the content of your courses? Democratic Transition is the focus; and how to rebuild their society. ELLIOTT TURNER – What about your own safety? Her parents are concerned, but she believes she will not be the first Ambassadorial Scholar to die in South Africa. MAX LICHTENBURGER asked about the land appropriation going on, and was reminded that is in Zimbabwe, not South Africa. And you have to be impressed with the vision and energy all these students are demonstrating – it’s a pleasure to know that Rotary can attract these great kids.

LATE NEWS – We will be providing a ballot for the election of Officers for the 2003-04 year – please get it right back, if you will. Thanks. YOE, Ernie Wolfe.