Program Chair:
  Peggy Bloomfield
June 12, 2008   

June 21 & 26
Pres. Chris'

Next Week...
June 19
Billie Greer
Director of Governor Schwarzenegger's
Los Angeles Office

Upcoming Meetings...
June 26
Pres. Chris' Swan Song

Other Events...
Saturday, June 21, 6pm
The Seaside Demotion of Christopher T. Bradford
Click here for more information.

This Week...
Incoming Prexy SEAN McMILLAN started us off with the Pledge.  And even though I returned the words to “Sing A Song” to him, LENNY  switched and led us in You’re a Grand Old Flag. Next up was PP STEVE DAY with the Invocation:  (and I list these words under some duress, lest anyone think they describe anyone known to anyone…)

“I am growing older.  Keep me from the fatal habit of thinking I must say something on every subject…Keep my mind free from endless details…Seal my lips on my aches and pains…Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be mistaken…Give me the ability to see good things in unexpected places and talents in unexpected people. And give me grace, O Lord, to tell them so!”

Good Job, STEVE.

We had a number of visitors.  Significant Others included DEBBIE SCHERER, SALLY NEWMAN, MARGIE DOWNIE, SUNNY FRIEDMAN (though LENNY claimed that she had been attending for a year and a half, and thus didn’t need introducing) and SHIRLEY MORE. Mary Polillo, who works with the 300 cadets at the Army-Navy Academy in Carlsbad, came with CURT SMITH.  DEBBIE HEAP escaped from four games of golf in the last five days to be with us.

ANN SAMSON had two guests, Darya Allen-Atar, who is with Morgan Stanley in Financial Management, and Deirdra Martinez, who works with ANN and is a Visiting Rotarian from Brentwood.  The Principal at Emerson Middle School, Katherine Gonnella, brought Michelle Kim, who was one of FOUR students at Emerson who tied for the highest GPA! ALY SHOJI introduced Ian Jipp, who is with the UCLA Hospital System in Development, and he led our tour to the new Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center after our meeting today.

ANN SAMSON asked for those who were going to the R.I. International Convention to raise their hands.  She then reminded us that, for the twelfth year, we will be manning our WVRC booth for PLLUS, our Parkinson’s Program, and help is needed to cover the time during the Convention, please.

PP STEVE DAY and I came forward to honor the personnel of Fire Station #37, which as you probably know, is located at 1090 Veteran, just north of Wilshire.  We first asked the crew that was present to stand – there were about a dozen of them, at several different tables. We then gave all of them a standing ovation.

Battalion Chief Graham Everett next spoke about Gary Jenkins, Firefighter of the Year.  Gary has been with the LAFD for 28 years, the last 13 at Fire Station #37, and he is the chief assistant to Battalion Chief Everett.  We presented Gary with a Plaque, naming him as Firefighter of the Year, and dated today, 12 June 2008. PP STEVE DAY then awarded him a Paul Harris Fellowship, outlining what that meant. Fireman Jenkins spoke movingly of how this award was for all those at Fire Station #37.  It was an important demonstration of our support for these, our local Firefighters, and continues our long-time association with Fire Station #37.

President CHRIS briefly introduced our Speaker, Ron Katz. Ron is a member of the Board of Advisors of the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, and has been a major supporter of UCLA Healthcare for a number of years.  He has had a long and very successful career as an inventor, holding over 80 patents for various aspects of telephone interface systems.  Ron now devotes all his time to charitable activity. His subject was Operation Mend, and we first saw an excellent video which gave an overview of what the medical staff at UCLA is undertaking.  The program was established to treat U.S. Military personnel who were wounded during service in Iraq and Afghanistan.  This is in collaboration with Brooke Army Medical Center, which is the Army’s leading burn and rehabilitation center, located in San Antonio.

After visiting Brooke, Ron and his wife, Madelyn, donated funds to establish a 42-unit Fisher House at the Brooke facility.  This led them to propose a sharing of efforts to bring the very best in Rehab and Reconstructive Surgery to these veterans.  They brought Dr. Gerald Levey, Vice Chancellor of Medical Services, Amir Rubin, COO of UCLA Medical Center, and Dr. Timothy Miller, Department Head of Surgery to Brooke to see for themselves.  The general consensus was that it was “their duty” to do something. It was felt that this cooperation would combine the best the Army had to offer with the best the country had to offer.

The cost of one soldier’s Operation Mend is almost $500,000, which includes their traveling multiple times for sometimes several years of treatment, and this is covered by private donations.  Several Plastic Surgeons at UCLA specialize in head and facial reconstruction, and we saw some early examples of the progress they are making with several patients that are now being treated. There may be as many as 300 soldiers who have suffered severe burns or blast damage, so their rehabilitation is a major concern.

Ron told of visiting an early recipient of treatment by Operation Mend.  He had had surgery that day, and when Ron saw him, Ron Said “You have a nose”.  “Yes, I do, and it’s big.”  He then added, “But you ought to see the other guy!”  He gave other instances of what facial reconstruction can mean to a family – really touching examples of how important such surgery is to everyone concerned.  There are very few people in the world who can do this reconstruction – and at UCLA we have two of them, Dr. Miller and Dr.Crisera.  Their surgery can literally change people’s lives.

Q&A.  How long has this program been going?  Since September of 2007.  Do you have a waiting list for these treatments?  Not a waiting list, since the Army does not transfer a patient easily. But our success makes it easier for them to ‘let go’ of one of their patients.

We will only get the very worst of them, and these are ones the Army cannot do anything further with.  What is the psychological aspect of these injuries?  Unfortunately, all of them have severe traumatic brain injuries.  You cannot have several facial injuries without harming the brain.  And there are drug dependency issues – if you had 35 surgeries, it isn’t a surprise to find a drug dependency problem, for instance. All the UCLA patients have recuperative abilities, however.  What we are trying to do is to find ways to interact with the bureaucracy.  And we have support at the highest levels of government – Secretary Gates, for example, is a strong supporter.  He mentioned Dr. Ron Busutil, who is the leading liver transplant surgeon in the world – if someone at Brooke needs a liver transplant, he should come here.  How are the doctors compensated?  The first patient we had was done with no doctor fees.  They are paid at less than their normal rate.  They have to be compensated – some of these military patients can take 40 to 50% of their time    What can we do to help?  Of course, you can contribute money – but you can also talk about what we are doing – we should be very proud of this effort, and spreading the word within our community is certainly helpful.

Ron Katz, we thank you for introducing us to Operation Mend.

—YOE, Ernie Wolfe

P.S.  A number of us were privileged to tour the about-to-open Ronald Reagan UCLA Health Center, which took place immediately following our meeting today at the Faculty Center.  Our guide was Ian Jipp, and he was assisted by our own member, ALY SHOJI.

Early on, we met Amir Rubin, who is the COO of the UCLA hospital system, and he was involved from the very beginning with Operation Mend, as noted above.  When we saw him we were in Maddie’s Room - the surgery waiting room for the Center, and named after the wife of Ron Katz.  Both he and Ian were extremely proud of the new Medical Center, which will open on June 29th.  This transferring of patients from the present facility to the new Center has been planned for the last TEN years, and has cost over fifty million dollars.  To say it is a difficult logistic problem is putting it mildly.  That day, they will transfer three patients every MINUTE to the new Center.

The Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center has been designed by I.M. Pei.  It will accommodate about 425 patients, all in private rooms. Each room is designed to allow family and friends to stay overnight – there are no special visiting hours. About 35 Emergency Rooms are available.  There are only four entrances to the complex, for security and traffic flow reasons.  The staff wants this to be the Community Hospital for the Westside, and the amazing technology and accommodations make that practical.


Christopher Bradford

President Elect
Sean McMillan

Vice President
Ed Gauld

Mark Block

Exec. Treasurer
Don Nelson

Shane Waarbroek

Executive Secretary
Ernie Wolfe

Past President
Michael Gintz

Community Service Chair
Mark Rogo

International Service Chair
Elliott Turner

Membership Chair
Steve Scherer

Vocational Service Chair
Sherry Dewane

Youth Service Chair
Ann Samson



Wilfrid J. Wilkinson

    David Moyers
Palos Verdes Sunset Rotary

Monday, Beverly Hills, BH Hotel, 9641 Sunset
Tuesday, WLA/Brentwood, Chez Mimi, 246 26th St, Santa Monica
Wednesday, Century City, Hyatt Regency Century City, in the Breeze Cafe
    Culver City, Wyndham Hotel, 6333 Bristol Parkway, CC, or
    Wilshire, The Ebell, 743 S. Lucerne Blvd, LA
Friday, Santa Monica, Riviera Country Club, 1250 Capri Dr, Pacific Palisades