Don's Almost Last Gasp at WVRC on June 29th
President DON apparently decided it was easier to “do it himself” and began by leading the Pledge. He then called on LENNY and JACK to lead us in America. But he returned hisself to do the Invocation. This was written by Michael Josephson of the Josephson Institute of Ethics.
“Ready or not, someday we will come to the end there will be no more sunrises…all the things you collected will pass to someone else. Your frustrations will finally disappear so how will the value of your days be measured? What will matter is not what you bought, but what you built, not your success but your significance, not what you learned but what you taught…choose a life that matters.”
Well done, DON.
District Governor Ingo Werk came forward to present WVRC with the highest award any club can receive from Rotary International, their Presidential Citation! This is in recognition of the achievements of WVRC during President DON’S term, noting Service Above Self during his year, 2005-2006. DON, this was well-earned, which was recognized by the standing ovation he received upon its presentation.
There were several guests. PP PETER MORE brought Shirley, and Anita attended with MAX LICHTENBERGER. I had two Special Guests. Barry Marlin has been with us before he is an attorney specializing in International Tax Law, and lives at Century Hill as a neighbor of mine. Davis Hawkins is also a new neighbor in Century Hill, and his main failing is that he is a golf nut but that probably won’t keep him from finding some kindred souls at WVRC. MADAME WU was accompanied by her friend, Miranda Wu.
Paul Harris Fellows
PP STEVE DAY came forward to present two new Paul Harris Fellows. These members have joined the many previous members who proudly bear the title of Paul Harris Fellows, given in recognition of their each donating $1,000 to the Rotary International Foundation. The new members are WARREM DODSON and GORDON FELL, and we welcomed them warmly. They were presented with the three symbols of membership, the Medallion, Paul Harris pin, and Certificate. President DON reminded us that becoming a Paul Harris Fellow yourself does not inhibit you from bestowing that same honor on your wife, children or other deserving friends.
Rotarian of the Year
Next up was PP RON LYSTER, who announced our Rotarian of the Year for 2005-06. This list begins with MILO BROOKS, going back to 1969-70, with almost forty honorees. This years winner joined WVRC in 1997, went through the Chairs and became President in 2003. He has attended every International Convention since joining WVRC, helping with the display of our booth explaining our Parkinson’s PLUUS program. He will be an Assistant District Governor next year, and is active in the Fellowship of Flying Rotarians his name is, surprise, PETER MORE! Well deserved and Congratulations, PETER!
And here, President DON chided PP RON, he had failed to list DON as a recipient of the Rotarians of the Year Award, thus earning a fifty-buck fine. This led PP STEVE DAY to spring up, saying he hadn’t been mentioned either so it’s now up to a hundred bucks. And then it was pointed out that PP RON had not mentioned his own name so his total fine was settled at a hundred and fifty big ones! It doesn’t pay to make these kinds of announcements, apparently.
The Story of the Week
The story concerned a young Scottish lad and lass who were sitting on the wall overlooking the lake. They were holding hands. Finally the lass said, “A penny for your thoughts, Angus”. “I think it’s about time that we kiss”, he replied and they did. Awhile later, the lass again offered a penny for his thoughts, and he replied that he thought they should cuddle. Shortly thereafter, the same “penny for your thoughts” was offered, and Angus asked if he could put his hand on her knee. She helped him do this, and shortly asked, “A penny for your thoughts”. Angus paused, and somewhat hesitantly offered, “Well, my thoughts are a bit more serious this time” The lass looked away with shyness and anticipation. Then Angus said, “Don’t you think it’s about time that you pay me the first three pence?.”
Here let me inject a couple of disconnected announcements.
I ran into past member DICK DAVIS just the other day, and I can report that he is doing OK. Do give him a call, certainly.
The latest report on completion of the construction on Santa Monica Blvd now suggests October, with landscaping to continue after that. Don’t hold your breath…
Also looking ahead, I will need Shifting Sands Editors for the four weeks of August, since Joy and I, along with DON and Roz, and BOB and Judy, are leaving town for Provence. The Windmill suspects I have in mind include ED GAULD, SUSAN ALLEN, TERRY WHITE and PP RON LYSTER so you will be answering your phone at some risk. Volunteers are also welcome, OK? And my thanks to DON PARK for doing the Windmill this past week I had a family emergency, and DON stepped up. I’m in your debt, DON.
President DON returned to the Podium for some summary thoughts. He began by talking about the just-completed Rotary International Convention, which DON and Roz, along with MIKE GINTZ, ANN SAMSON, Guin and PP RON LYSTER, Shirley and PP PETER MORE, Pat and PDG ANDY ANDERSON, and Sharon and CHRIS BRADFORD also attended. There were some 15,000 Rotarians from 130 countries, splitting their time between Copenhagen and Malmo, which is in Sweden. There were three sessions of the Opening Ceremonies, and DON and Roz caught the third program.
A novelty was that the speakers stood on a revolving stage, which rotated during their presentation, plus six large TV screens, which everyone could see. The Parade of Flags of all the participating countries was impressive, and similar to the Opening of an Olympics. And while no one else noticed this, the young ladies bearing the flags were worth seeing, apparently.
Our Parkinson’s Exercise Program, shown in our Convention Booth, was assembled by ANN SAMSON, MIKE GINTZ and CHRIS BRADFORD. Since we were located right next to RI’s Ribbon Booth, there was lots of passing foot traffic. On Monday the Speaker was Sister Ethel Normoyle, who heads Missionvale, a hospital and school located near Port Elizabeth in South Africa. She gave the Keynote address on Poverty Reduction, and related how the local Rotary Club had befriended her starting in 1999. She welcomes visitors at any time.
Another highlight was the Hospitality Home Entertainment, which is offered at International Rotary Conventions. Roz and Don, plus about fifty other Rotarians and spouses, were bussed to the Citadel (built 1543), in Landskrona, Sweden. They had a feast armed only with hunting knives and large wooden spoons and you can believe it was delicious. DON wonders what we can do like that for the International Convention which will be in LA in 2008 but I pointed out that this really wasn’t Home Entertainment, as such. On Tuesday the Plenary Speakers were from Rotaract, followed by Past RI President Frank Devlin speaking on Rotary Foundation support. Each Rotarian is asked to give $100 a year to the Foundation, and we do this at WVRC by participating in the raffle at the annual Paul Harris dinner.
The most fascinating event was hearing and voting upon an appeal by a local Rotary Club to overturn a decision by the RI Board of Directors. Only designated members could vote, depending upon the size of their club’s membership, and DON and MIKE were our guys. Originally, the RI Board elected Donald Osborn of Easton, Maryland as the R.I. President for 2007-08. Then there were proven allegations of improper electioneering by Past R.I. Director James Shamblin in favor of Mr. Osborn’s candidacy, so the R.I. Board voided the election of Osborn and elected Wilfred J. Wilkinson, of Trenton, Ontario, Canada as the new President.
At the hearing, both sides were entitled to present a written statement of their case. However, the appealing Club did not provide a statement. The meeting in question was in November 2005, and the appealing Club was from North Providence, Rhode Island, which was supported by another eighty clubs. A Yes vote would sustain the actions of the Board. At an earlier meeting in September 2005 the nominating Committee elected Osborn. When the charges of improper electioneering were brought, and proven, the Board voided that election and ordered a new election at the November 2005 meeting. This was the Board vote that was being challenged. In December of 2005, the Board met and elected Wilkinson.
In March of this year, Osborn’s Rotary Club filed a lawsuit against Rotary International, saying the election of Wilkinson was improper and thus reinstating Osborn. Rotary rules provide that actions such as this must be submitted and decided before coming to a vote at an International Convention. While not known at the time, a Judge in Chicago had already decided in favor of Rotary International. The delegates had not heard much about this case before the Convention, and past R.I. President Charles Keller presented the R.I. side. President DON voted to uphold the Board action, along with a majority of the voting delegates which announcement was greeted by a loud ‘WHAT?” by Who else- than PP ERIC LOBERG. The good news after this long tale of woe is that LOBERG wasn’t there himself to stir things up!
There was another appeal from a Rotary District in Argentina, in which a District Governor nominee had appeared at several clubs electioneering in his own behalf. While he was elected DG, the Board ruled that was improper, and elevated the second-place candidate to the vacancy. The delegates supported the Board again in this case. At the Plenary Session on Wednesday, Jeffrey Sacks, author of The End of Poverty predicted that our generation could see poverty eliminated by 2015. DON’S comment, “Good luck”.
DON then commented on WVRC, pointing out that our Program Chairs had done a great job of carrying out our charitable projects. He singled out our gift of $17,000 in support of Hurricane Katrina relief. Our gift of $10,000 for large print books helped the new Westwood Library get started. Our Parkinson’s Exercise Program continues to grow, both here and in other areas of the country. We admitted ten new and two honorary members this year, but lost four to death and six to other causes, so our net membership remains the same. His ‘headless head table’ experience has received mostly favorable reports, and we appear to be financially sound. (If we find otherwise, he announced, kind of soto voche, they’d find a way to fix it…) We have an experienced and capable cadre of officers who will continue to lead us, and that’s very important for the Club. He summed it up by saying, “We had the FINEST year in the history of WVRC”. This was followed by another standing ovation for DON, which was certainly well deserved.
Something to Ponder
It’s tough to soar like an eagle when you are surrounded by so many turkeys.
And while that’s a tough line to follow, two Postscripts, if I may: First, remember we AREN’T meeting next Thursday the 6th of July. Instead we will meet for DON’S Demotion on Saturday the 8th at Bel Air Country Club. This is a real opportunity to show up and support DON for all his good work and extra effort in our behalf. GORDON FELL can still take your reservation, so call him. Besides, it may be worth the price of admission just to see me in my white tux!