QUITE A TAIL, at WVRC on October 20th - CLARK McQUAY, who we don’t see often enough up there, led the Pledge. He was followed by a partially new team LENNY had the baton, but new member RICK CULLEN was at the piano! We did America, and it was well done. CHRIS BRADFORD had the Invocation, and he began well by offering us the option of sitting down. He quoted Ronald Regan, speaking in Texas on October 24th of 1984. “Without God, there can be no virtue…without God, we are mired in the material…without God, there is a coarsening of society, and without God, democracy will not and cannot long endure. If we ever forget we are One Nation Under God, we will be a nation gone under.” He closed with, “May God keep you, and we all of us keep God”. Well-chosen words, CHRIS. (and YOE has since learned the correct presentation of the closing of a prayer Amen ).
We had some Visiting Rotarians Curt Smith from Century City, who is in Insurance, and Mari Peters, from El Segundo, who is the Community Relations Officer of First Coastal Bank. PP GEORGE DEA was with Janice, and he noted that she was the current President of our very active Rotary Auxiliary. CHRIS BRADFORD introduced his wife, Sharon. PDG ANDY ANDERSON was with Pat, and he reminded us that she was the Past President of the Rotary Auxiliary. PETER TOMARKEN introduced his wife, Kathleen. This led to PP JIM DOWNIE introducing the “past, past, past President of the Auxiliary”, his wife, Margie. MADAME WU brought a guest, Joe Brody. Kathleen TOMARKEN came to the podium to announce what was in the champagne glasses on our tables. These Pink Champagne Truffles are made by Charbonnel et Walker, a British company that is now 130 years old. Kathleen is their local sales rep. They are sold at Neiman Marcus, for instance. and they were mighty tasty!
Announcements - President Don had several announcements: Our District 5280 presented a check to the Rotary District #6840 Governor at the District Breakfast last Tuesday for $201,000 of which WVRC contributed $17,875! District 6840 covers Louisiana and part of Mississippi and we can all take pride in our help.
The Paul Harris Celebration aboard the Queen Mary is coming up on November 12th, and we are holding thirty dinner places. Please sign up if you wish to attend, and get your raffle ticket stubs back to PP STEVE DAY right away, OK?
WVRC will be sponsoring a KaffeKlatch (sp?) on Saturday, November 5th, from 10 to noon. Our own PEGGY BLOOMFIELD has offered her home for this event, and you are urged to sign up if you will be attending. The discussion will be on business ethics.
DON also has a flyer from a member of LA 5 regarding a Fishing Tournament. This will take place from June 20th to the 25th at Englefield Bay in British Columbia call DON.
Our Group Study Exchange team in 2006 will be focusing on Homeland Security. If you know anyone in that professional category who might be interested in participating, check with DON, again.
CANDICE DANESHVAR announced the first meeting of the UCLA Rotaract Club it will be today at 4 p.m. in Ackerman Union #201, and all are invited. (Update several members attended PP GEORGE DEA, President DON and Roz, PP PETER MORE, MIKE GINTZ, ANN SAMSON and YOE, and there were over forty students there!
CANDICE ran an up-tempo meeting, all her chairpersons were introduced, along with TORI HETTINGER, and they are off to an excellent start.
We will not be meeting at the Bel Air on December 8th they have a better offer, I guess so we will have a Joint Meeting with Santa Monica Rotary at Riviera, on Dec 9th.
We next held a brief Club Assembly to discuss and vote on the new, revised By-Laws for WVRC. Both President DON and CHRIS BRADFORD have put in some real work on these changes and we all received copies of them. The new By-Laws were approved unanimously!
President DON’S latest story
An Amish man and his son were in a mall since it was their first time, they were amazed by everything they saw. They saw two shiny silver walls that could move apart and then move back together. His son asked, “What is that?” and the father, never having seen an elevator before, replied, “I don’t know”. About this time, a fat old lady in a wheelchair rolled up, pressed the button, and when the elevator arrived, went in, with the doors closing behind her. The two spectators saw the indicator moving up, and then returning. When the doors opened, out stepped a beautiful 24-year old blonde. The man grabbed his son, saying, “Quick, go get your Mother”.
First Comment several at our table (among them a Past President and a Past District Governor, both of whom shall go unnamed) proceeded to explain this story to me, since I apparently have a reputation for not ‘getting it’. Putting aside my hurt feelings, it leads to Comment # Two - I get other unsolicited suggestions, and find some to be funny. Should I include them, from time to time? I depend on your replies, seriously, OK?
Speaker - PP RON LYSTER very briefly introduced our Speaker, Dave Barr. His topic was “The Three Levels of Faith”. This was based on his life, mainly after he left the Military. He grew up dreaming of all the places he would go, and of all the adventures he would have. His parents agreed that if he could produce a B average in his next semester of high school, they would sign to allow him to join the Marine Corps. He studied hard, and made the needed grades. His tour began on 30 June 1969, and he started at Camp Pendleton. His DI agreed that he had made the right choice he was tired of his mother and dad telling him what to do and smiled at what was ahead. Dave Barr became a gunner on a helicopter gunship, and spent a year in Vietnam. He loved what he was doing, supporting Marine or Army units in combat. When his tour was up, he returned to LA, got a good job in a refinery, and seemed to have everything a young man could want. That included a car, a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, an apartment of his own and he was absolutely miserable!
He knew this wasn’t what God had put him on this earth to do. Pleasure was fine, but it couldn’t be the main point in his life. So he saved his money, and in 1984, took a trip to Israel. He spent some time on a Kibbutz, learned the language, and became an illegal Israeli citizen. After volunteering for the draft, he was inducted, and ended up with the paratroopers they wanted to see how a Marine would measure up, they told him. Two years later, his tour of duty was up, and he returned to the U.S. But he didn’t feel he fit in, and in 1979 he moved on, first to Israel and then to Africa. He went to Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and soon became a member of the Rhodesia Defense Forces. A year and a half later, he moved on to South Africa, using his military visa. Once there, he had to join the army or leave and he didn’t want to leave. Again, he was a paratrooper, becoming a member of the Pathfinder Brigade. Their assignment is to mark out drop zones, and carry out deep penetration raids, creating havoc behind the lines. He was riding in an armored vehicle on August 29th, 1981, and he began to have a strong feeling that something was about to go wrong. Just then, the left rear wheel of their vehicle hit a TM57, Soviet anti-tank mine containing 32 lbs of TNT. This is designed to disable a 60-ton tank, so their smaller vehicle was totally destroyed. Dave fell back into the vehicle, which was engulfed by flames. He couldn’t move, and then a pair of hands appeared, and pulled him out of the inferno. As he lay there, he began to realize that God had just shifted the focus of his life, and was putting him on another path.
This brings him to the first level of faith Faith in Yourself, faith that you can do anything you put your mind to. It took eleven and a half hours to get him to the operating table, and soon to a hospital in Pretoria (the Capital) where he would reside for over nine months. He endured twenty operations some for skin grafts to his burned hands, some to remove shrapnel from his body and FOUR amputations! This left him with his right leg gone above the knee, and his left leg gone just below the knee. During this period, he often felt great pain, but the worst result was fear. What was he going to do with the rest of his life?
His physical therapy was a tremendous challenge, but he persevered, learning to walk again. When he got out of the hospital, he went back on active duty, training paratroopers. His unit was assigned to Angola, and he went along, manning a machine gun when they delivered supplies to the units in the field. He also disposed of ‘dud’ ordnance that is, unexploded bombs, mines, etc. In December of 1982 his enlistment expired, and he was released from his fourth army this, for the last time.
He returned home, was reunited with his Harley Davidson, and began to make a plan. He realized that good health and life itself is not a right, but a privilege. If he could show people, particularly in the 3rd world, that being handicapped was not being disabled that was a challenge he could take on. He had no money, but he knew this was what he must do. So the second level of faith is, Faith in your Visions, your Ideals, your Goals. These must be good not only for you, but for those around you.
After seven years, saving money when he could, he returned to South Africa. It was here he began his Round-The World motorcycle ride. His route was from the bottom of Africa, to the Mediterranean, eventually to the top of Europe, back to England, and then to Baltimore. North then to Prudholme Bay in the Arctic, to the bottom tip of South America, Tierra del Fuego. Back to Rio, flying to Hong Kong. Across Mainland China, through the Gobi Desert (there’s nothing out there). Through Siberia, to Moscow, then to the Bering Sea. He circumnavigated Australia, south east Asia, Vietnam. and back to Hong Kong. This was a journey of 83,000 miles. He pursued his two Guinness World Records so he could be an example to those who are handicapped. the records gave him legitimacy. This also led him to the third level of faith Faith in God, to lead you to those people who will help make your visions come true. I wish for all of you to have this Faith.
A brief Q&A LILLIAN KLIEWER, Did you have a reason for going to war? A good question, and really, what I was doing was fighting terrorists, or communism. I never made more than $600 a month, so I wasn’t a mercenary. I asked if Harley Davidson had sponsored him, and he pointed out that they never do anything in advance. So many people come to them with ideas, and they simply refuse. But they were helpful as his voyage progressed. Dave Barr, thank you for a fascinating and meaningful story.
President DON’S Challenge: Try to be a person as good as your dog thinks you are.