Underway With New Prexy Mike WVRC on July 13th
Prexy MIKE tried to begin by ringing the famed WVRC Bell but some dastardly plotter has removed what I think is called the clapper, and the resulting sound was not very much of an attention-getter. But he persisted, and finally began by reminiscing about being invited to his first Rotary Meeting by PPs JOHN SINGLETON and BOB LUSK. This was five years ago, and he still feels he is getting his bearings. He couldn’t resist asking the Club, “What were you THINKING?” Trust me, MIKE, you’ll do just fine! Senior PP JIM COLLINS stole forward to announce, and then present, new Prexy MIKE with the traditional Rotary briefcase. I'm sure he will need it.
We started with the Pledge, led by PP RON LYSTER. Next up was LENNY, who, despite being locked out of the piano, gamely led the singing which started without him, the tune being America, I think. At this point, that well-known stickler for etiquette, PP ERIC, leaped to his feet to provide a monologue about the ACLU and alleged censoring of some of his remarks last week in the Windmill. For the record, ERIC, YOE wasn’t the Editor last week, but that person’s identity will remain forever locked in the innermost depths of my sub-conscious (or is it the conscious?). At this point, the “Alvin” sound came on from time to time as Prexy MIKE was trying to speak thus ending the harassment accorded upon occasion to new Presidents! Anyway, I had THREE Special Guests with me, and one can only wonder at what their collective reaction to this tirade by PP ERIC was. However, I’m sure their innate kindness and compassion allowed the incident to pass without permanent damage to the previously spotless reputation of WVRC. ART HENRY provided a straightforward Invocation, asking that our leaders be granted help, courage, not being timid, and helping them to choose, in accordance with our motto of Service Above Self.
New Secretary PEGGY BLOOMFIELD announced the forthcoming District Breakfast. It will be this Tuesday, July 18th, at the Crown Plaza Hotel. The speaker will be Dan Isaacs, COO of the LA Unified School District. Self-parking is free, and we have a table for ten, with 2 or 3 open spaces. Please call or email Peggy right away if you wish to attend cost is 25 bucks. Those at the Head Table were noted ED GAULD, International Service, JANICE KOYAMA, President of our Auxiliary, SHANE WAARBROEK, Community Service, and ANN SAMSON, Youth Service. Guests were introduced CHRIS BRADFORD brought Danny Farmer, who many of us remember as having played a lot of football for UCLA and with the pros. Chris is now working in the insurance and disability field in Beverly Hills.
MIKE YOUSEM introduced Curt Smith, son of Jack Smith, the late columnist for the LA Times who spoke to our Club several times. I had three Special Guests. David Hawkins is a neighbor in Century Hill, and plays a lot of golf this was his second visit. John Woodall is the new Senior Minister at Westwood United Methodist Church, and was a member of the Pasadena Sunrise Rotary Club. I made sure everyone knew I was speaking for the Methodist Mafia, of course. My third guest was Barry Marlin, another neighbor from Century Hill, who handles International Taxation, and has been circularized. MARK ROGO introduced his Special Guest, Kathryn Ballsun, a neighbor. She is an attorney and serves with MARK on the Westwood Library Board. This is her 2nd visit with us.
Prexy MIKE reminded us to save the date of Sunday, August 20th that will be our combined Picnic and Fun Party, at the gardens and home of ELOISE SISKEL. Steve Johnson of the Manhattan Beach Club came forward to fill us in on the forthcoming USCC Rotaract International Convention, which starts here in LA on Wednesday the19th of July. Those initials stand for United States, Caribbean and Canada, and they have registrations from as far away as Denmark, Italy, Australia and of course the Caribbean plus all over the U.S. Over 150 have signed up, and WVRC was a major financial sponsor of this event. This coming Thursday, Friday and Saturday mornings will be Plenary Sessions at the Ackerman Center at UCLA, open to all and as a Sponsor, our WVRC members are especially welcome. The signature event will be a networking dinner at Trastevere Ristorante Italiano, at Hollywood & Highland on Saturday evening, July 22nd starting at 7 pm. Cost is $60, RSVP at WWW.USSCC2006.org/mingle, or call Valerie Sindal, (310) 985-8255.
While DON is a tough act to follow, Prexy MIKE decided to tell a story, entitled Two Biologists and a Bear. The two biologists were tracking the bear, who suddenly crashed out of the forest cover and charged them. They scrambled up a nearby tree, and the bear continued after them. The first biologist quickly took off his hiking boots, pulled a pair of running shoes out of his pack, and hurriedly put them on. The second biologist asked, “What in the world are you doing?” “As the bear gets closer to us, we’ll jump down and make a run for it.” “Are you crazy you know we can’t outrun that bear”. The reply, “I don’t have to outrun the bear I only have to outrun you!” And continuing the echo, something to ponder: If a turtle loses its shell, is it homeless or naked?
ED GAULD, who is in his second year with International, outlined some of their program expectations. Before he began, however, in an obvious attempt to play to the gallery, ED pulled out a card, identified it as his ACLU Membership, and ripped it in half! Moving right along, he outlined the Japan Youth Exchange, which will be hosted by us on August 17th. There will be ten kids from Japan hopefully some of them will speak some English and he wants to take them to UCLA and to the Getty, or maybe the Fowler. He needs help with transportation and I would urge the newer members, in particular, to volunteer as drivers. It’s worthwhile meeting these youngsters. There is a Water Purification device, which costs only 25 cents (really) and we’ll hear more about it. Note that almost 80% of illness among developing countries is caused by unsafe water. Our Corazon home building project is in flux, since past Chair Kacy Rozelle is stepping down. A new Chairperson is needed, plus the border crossing with passports gets slower every year so we need to discuss this to see if it is the best use of our time and funds.
We will of course continue to support Ambassadorial Scholars, and ED needs some volunteers for his Committee to decide which items we should focus on.
ANN SAMSON is also in her second year as Youth Chair, having taken over mid-year when the former Chairperson moved away. The focus is on Rotaract, and they now have about 25 active members, plus a big recruiting program next fall. Rotoract can be a ‘farm club’ for later Rotary membership, and their members particularly enjoyed our Corazon project in Tecate, Mexico. They are working on an increased mentorship program, and were active as chaperons during the Christmas Shopping Spree. They participated in serving food during the Braille Institute luncheon in December ANN pointed out that these joint activities with our members helped them appreciate the many ‘good works’ that WVRC carries on. They are interested in Literacy as a project. Rotaract is seeking ways to introduce music to disadvantaged youth. She thanked CANDICE DANESHVAR for her hard work and evident results as President of Rotaract this year CANDICE will be attending Medical School at the University of Pittsburgh starting next month. LILLIAN KLIEWER questioned the use of the term ‘kids’ but ANN stuck to her script!
SHANE WAARBROEK, who just concluded a most successful term as Membership Chair, is now Community Service. SHANE wants to shift from our present, mainly check-writing, activities to something much more hands-on. He wants to get more members involved and participating in our Community Projects. Last year we made a fairly major donation to the new Westwood Library, providing large-type books. Several of our members, including DORIS OGILVEY, DON and ROZ NELSON, SHIRLEY MORE, and ERNIE WOLFE are active ‘deliverers’ with Meals on Wheels of WLA, and this list could be expanded. ED WRIGHT is a new candidate. We now give to the Salvation Army, PATH, the YMCA (and he got ANN’S attention when he ad-libbed, “we’ll have to see about that”) plus LA Run, the Junior Blind, the Light The Night program at UCLA (and again, an ad-lib,“I think most of us can walk for twenty minutes”). This is an excellent example of our helping those who are also participating as cancer survivors and some who are present patients. Finally, he wants us to get involved with the Make A Wish Foundation this can be a major financial commitment, of course. SHANE is eager to hear additional suggestions, and is looking forward to a busy and active Community Service year.
JANICE KOYAMA came forward to outline activities of our wonderful Auxiliary. Note that we are the only Club in District 5280 that has such a support group and it shows in the strong participation we have in our overall activities. She began by reminding us that the Auxiliary will be celebrating their SEVENTIETH anniversary the date is September 24th, and it will be a whiz-bang, for sure! They will be honoring members who have served with the Auxiliary for FIFTY years, and she particularly wanted to thank new PP DON NELSON and current Prexy MIKE GINTZ for their help and support in putting this event together. She noted that MARIAN TSENG is stepping down as Editor of their Bulletin after eleven years, and she will be missed. This means their main source of news to members will be in the Windmill so let’s all be sure our spouses share it at home, OK? JANICE reminded us that all Rotarians are welcome to their meetings, programs and activities. Their objective, as always, is to support the WVRC in every way (and they certainly continue to fulfill this intent all the time). She concluded with, “You can count on us!”.
PP MIKE NEWMAN here interjected an inquiry “With the Auxiliary taking up more space in the Windmill, does that mean that more of ERIC’S stuff will get cut out?” No visible reply appeared…Responding to another question from the floor, Prexy MIKE pointed out that, despite his absence today (he’s on vacation), ELLIOTT TURNER will be a fine Vocational Chair. MIKE again noted his two sponsors, PP JOHN SINGLETON and PP BOB LUSK (who is technically an Honorary Member now) and JOHN stood up to be recognized for his good work in bringing MIKE aboard. There is no truth to the rumor that BOB was hiding under the table, by the way. This brought up the subject of the SINGLETON’S recent cruise, a short 34 day sojourn (and I don’t know where they went). Anyway, after some discussion, Prexy MIKE made an Executive Decision that the proper fine for this little jaunt should be a hundred bucks a day, thus $3,400! This prompted a quick protest from PP JOHN, “Hey, this doesn’t mean you have to fine one person for the whole amount for the entire club!” However, no mercy was shown obviously cruising pays off.
As Prexy MIKE tried to explain his fear of public speaking, that ‘Alvin’ bug reappeared, but he continued, anyway. He noted the presence of Past District Governors and many Past Presidents, and felt that he was standing on all their shoulders in his new position as President. He also explained his own philosophy since he’s a morning person, he arrives every day at the office in a cheery mood, which lasts (he claims) until at least 3 pm. He told the story of Jerry, to illustrate the importance of a positive attitude. Jerry owned a small café, and one morning forgot to lock the back door. Two gunmen appeared, told him to open the safe, and when his shaking hands couldn’t do it fast enough, they shot him. When the paramedics arrived, Jerry told them he was going to make it, reminded the doctors who operated on him for 18 hours that he expected to survive, and did! As he said to MIKE, “I choose to live”. Attitude makes the difference. He intends to focus this year on three projects Clean water, Literacy, and the Family of Rotary. Remember that you are here today because someone asked you to attend a Rotary meeting note that our motto of Service Above Self is one we should all be striving for. He gave as examples those who volunteer to deliver food for Meals on Wheels, and those who volunteer to fly patients in and out for medical treatments. Giving the keys to the new owners of the house we built in Tecate made all the effort worthwhile, certainly.
We must reach out to Veterans, to get them off the streets, Always remember the Four Way Test, and continue to apply it in all your activities, both personal and business. He reminded us to complete the ‘Interest Finders’ which were on all our tables, so he can assign us to Committees of our choice. This is important, and can still be done, on line or even by a phone call to MIKE. He retold the story of the two crowds who watch Winter Olympic events Cross country skiers have just a few spectators, while Snowboarding fills the stadium, but both are worthwhile. There is a new emphasis in schools today to encourage students to participate in community service, and this should certainly be encouraged by all of us. He concluded by urging us all to be there to show up, lend a hand, enjoy our fellowship, and be justly proud of our long record of public service.
Well done, MIKE we’re with you!