WARREN DODSON started us off by leading the Pledge. Next up were the combo of LENNY FRIEDMAN and RICK CULLEN, who got us off to the proper start for a New Year with Auld Lang Syne. PP BOB WESSLING provided a thoughtful and comprehensive Invocation. He reminded us of the many opportunities for service in our Rotary world, both as individuals and to WVRC as a Club. Remind us to use our energies and resources to help others and to improve the quality of life in our community and our world. Thank you for the fellowship we enjoy, and for the leadership of our officers and service chairs. In the six months still available in this Rotary year, give us the wisdom to implement ideas and programs that are meaningful to our members, family and friends. PP BOB, well done as expected
Following 41 seconds of silence for USC. Jim Moore from Seattle Rotary (they are #4, remember) was introduced as the first of our visiting Rotarians. From Thousand Oaks, Gary Church was with us. And of course, our Speaker, Leon Carroll was from San Pedro Rotary. Slosson Via III was visiting from Seattle, introduced by his Dad, of course. And BOB LUSK, our most frequent Honorary Member, was with us again. PP RUDY ALVAREZ introduced Yoshiko Umyawa, a former Ambassadorial Scholar. Last but not least, ROZ was there, probably to check out whatever might be done to DON on this Hump Day. Our newest member, ED WRIGHT, was introduced he just came aboard. DON reported that BRUCE HARRIS was still not ready for visitors, but he may be coming home this weekend.
Feb 4th is a special District Chinese New Year’s Celebration, downtown the tab is 45 bucks, and PP RUDY has the details. And further District 5280 news PDG Paul Netzel of LA Five has been nominated as a Director for Rotary International. SEAN McMILLAN came forward under mysterious circumstances, but he soon cleared up any questions by announcing that this was Hump Day! It’s all downhill from here but meanwhile, a bit of “DON Roasting” was to be expected. PETER TOMARKEN played the role of Ralph Edwards, since this was to be Your Life, President DON. First historical event was that famous record in the 70 yard high hurdles, in that distant time when DON was still in high school. Turns out that and even DON admits this they haven’t run the event since, but a record IS a record, of course. Next in line was his enrollment at UCLA and that’s where he met ROZ, in the enrollment line!
They were in math class together, and ROZ bravely came forward to recall that DON had a distinctive odor you might even say he smelled. This distinction had two causes first, he wore the same jeans to Chemistry class for quite awhile, plus earning some money by developing films for the campus photographer, Frank Manning and of course he was only sixteen, another distinction. At this point Host SEAN McMILLAN lovingly brought forward a bulging suitcase, filled, so he said, with WVRC members laundry - this to be laundered by next Wednesday as payback for the fact that DON always sent his own laundry home for his mother to do. The final chapter at UCLA concerns DON’S being listed in the UCLA records as having run for a hundred yards against College of the Pacific. This brought forth LEE DUNAYER, wearing the familiar colors of that school across town, who claimed they had conducted a recount, and DON didn’t quite make the full one hundred. But LEE did present DON with a plaque actually a Certificate of Correction - stating that DON did run for ALMOST a hundred yards.
DON’S prowess in golf was the next subject, which was recounted largely by PP STEVE SCHERER, seconded by several LACC members who agreed with every statement made. As PP STEVE gave out this litany, noting that DON was a Thrifty Golfer, Clean (except for his 25-year old shoes), Brave, and Reverent but also calling into doubt whether there was indeed a God, considering how few of his prayers before putting were ever answered. Finally, his Trustworthiness was noted, based on his knowing what everyone’s score was, and NEVER allowing a ‘gimme’. This particular chapter concluded with a poem, which was so touching that I couldn’t bring myself to record it.
However, we were reminded that DON enjoyed the game of Poker which caused me to leap to my feet, protesting that he always beat me, even making off with my kids allowances. Emboldened by the audience response to this revelation, I came forward to remind all that I got even. I planned all his travel for the next thirty years and made so much money that I could retire. However, I had to notify him that his tickets to the Beijing Olympics had been revoked, since he refused to attend the Moscow and Athens Olympics.
DON’S days with Deloitte and Touché were reviewed. Outside of his trying to land Charles Keating as a client, his record there was good enough for him to be elected to the Trial Board of the American Institute of CPA’s and he later served as President of the California CPA group. There was some concern over his activity without pay, yet to maintain and keep the books for the Westwood United Methodist Church and a local Rotary Club, which shall go unnamed. This brought forward PP STEVE DAY and GORDON FELL, who, after exhaustive review of any records that could be found, concluded that he probably hadn’t committed any unprofessional conduct. However, to be fair, they recommended a fine of fifty bucks, which they felt would reimburse them for the drinks they consumed during their investigation. This brought on a ragged chorus of “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow” and the Hump Day Inquisition mercifully ended.
At some point, President DON was allowed to present his weekly story. This concerned a blond who thought she would hire herself out as a Handywoman. As she began her inquiries, the man who came to the door said he needed to have the porch painted. She accepted the offer, and they agreed on a price of fifty bucks. Having been told that the paint was in the garage, she proceeded. About a half hour later, she was back at the front door, relating that the job was not only done, but she had enough paint left to provide a second coat. As her client looked around, there wasn’t any evidence of porch painting but upon inquiry, the blond reported that his Porche was actually a Lexus, and it now had two coats.
SEAN McMILLAN then introduced Leon Carroll, our Speaker. He and Leon met while they were visiting our San Salvador infrastructure project. Leon attended North Dakota State, playing football on two National Championship teams in Division II. He enlisted in the Marines, left as a major, and thus started his career in Military Justice. He joined NCIS (Navy Criminal Investigative Service) and was with them until just before 9/11. He reentered their operation right afterward, and has held various positions within the group over his career. Leon is a Past President of San Pedro Rotary.
After thanking SEAN for the introduction, Leon reminded us that it was unusual for a cop to be thanking a lawyer. He asked how many had ever heard of NCIS before the TV show, and when two hands went up, his comment was they had probably been investigated by his group. A short video was shown, but it was handicapped by irregular sound production it did, however, give an overview of what NCIS does. They are one of perhaps fifty organizations within the federal government having to do with law enforcement, and NCIS has gone thru a series of name changes. They consider themselves to be the FBI of the Navy.
Q&A PP STEVE SCHERER We haven’t had a terrorist attack in the US since 9/11 why is this? We don’t know if some have been foiled, but they usually take up to ten years to plan. One of the major differences between us and our terrorist enemies is they are much more patient than we are. We have improved on information sharing, and we are more focused than before on staying alert. Also, remember they are carrying out terrorism in other parts of the world. Do you recruit out of the military? Yes, about a third of our personnel are veterans, and less than half have prior intelligence experience.
One common question among possible recruits is, “Do I have to join the Navy?” When they find out they don’t have to join, they are more likely to be interested. I asked how many employees they have, and how many branch offices. They employ about 2500 people, somewhat over half being agents. They have 13 branch offices worldwide.
Do you think the Patriot Act and Wiretapping has contributed to the slowdown in terrorist acts? I don’t know. But there are many, many rules in effect which started after the abuses of the War in Vietnam. He noted that the Valerie Plame ‘outing’ was so serious because it may reveal many contacts she has.
Leon Carroll, thank you for telling us about a government agency most of us knew nothing about. Come back anytime.