Westwood Rotary on April 3rd -

MARK BLOCK started us off with the Pledge - and during these times, it really is a special statement, with special meanings for us all.  JACK HARRIS and LENNY FRIEDMAN led us through America.  PP RALPH WOODWORTH provided the Invocation, listing the most important things in life - and they aren't THINGS.
They do include helping others, hope, integrity, faith, love, peace of mind, and our greatest natural resource, our youth.  A good recitation, RALPH.

RALPH BEASOM introduced two Visiting Rotarians.  Paul Netzel, from LA 5, is a Past District Governor, and former member Dave Long now calls Manhattan Beach Rotary his home club.  Paul told me when he checked in that he was within just a few seconds of not maintaining his perfect attendance (LA 5 meets on Friday),  and Dave was there to accompany PP RON LYSTER on one of their Motorcycling Rotarian voyages to Sedona. This voyage will cost each of them fifty bucks, although the technicality of Dave no longer being a WVRC member may hinder collecting from him.  Stay tined. SHARON RHODES WICKETT announced the sad news of the passing of Sunny JIM SUMNER.  WVRC won't be the same without striving to match JIM'S claim of his year being "the greatest year in the history of Westwood Village Rotary", but SHARON put it all in perspective by concluding with one of JIM'S staples, a golf joke - and a good one, to boot.  Among those seated at the Head Table was LEE DUNAYER - seems he just bought a Cessna 182, which obviously sets him up for a fine.  Prexy TED allowed as how he might have reduced the fine, when LEE'S Cessna was compared to BILL MICHAELS
Gulfstream - but since he didn't keep it at Zamparini Field (see below) and used Whiteman Airport instead, the hundred clams will still apply.

The District Conference is coming up - May 1st through the 4th at Pechanga Resort, in Temecula.  There is still time to sign up, and we will have our own hospitality suite, which is another good reason to BE THERE!  Call KEN LEVER for details, please.
Prexy TED announced that we had met the deadline for supporting the Polio Eradication program, sending a check for $10,000 to R.I.  We hope - and expect - to raise another $15,000 for a total contribution of $25K toward this most worthwhile project.  It is something that each of us, as Rotarians, can take great pride in supporting - we led the world in this endeavor, and we should spread the word about how important the final results will be. 

PDG ANDY ANDERSON introduced our Police Officer of the Year, Senior Lead Officer Phillip Enbody.  Accompanying him were Captain Richard Wemmer, the Commanding Officer of the WLA Division, and Sgt. Jeff Hollis, who is in charge of Lead Officers at WLA.  Officer Enbody has been with LAPD for 17 years, and has successfully implemented long term solutions for several challenging issues.   He is a frequent Trainer of other officers, and has experience with crowd control, particularly during the recent Democratic National Convention and the 53rd Annual Emmy Awards.
His wife, Virginia, was also present.  They have two children, Chaz and Brandon.  This is one of three such community awards WVRC provides each year, the other two being to the Firefighter of the Year and the Volunteer of the Year.  These last two will be presented at our meeting on April 17th.

MICHAEL GINTZ, one of the Co-Chairs for Programs this quarter, introduced our Speaker, Louis Zamparini - an SC alumnus known to many of us for his track records while in college.  Louis made the Olympic Team in 1936, but had to go in the 5,000 meters, which wasn't his best event - that being the mile.  However, he ran such a fast last lap that he was taken to meet and shake hands with Adolph Hitler!  His more enduring claim to fame is his War record in WWII, where he served as a bombardier, but ended up spending 2 l/2 years as a POW.   On reflection, he claimed this stint prepared him for fifty years of married life…

He flew in B24's, the heaviest bomber we had during most of the War.   His aircraft was involved in numerous low-level bombing runs, which subjected them to heavy anti-aircraft fire.  On one mission to bomb Midway, Louis's B24 returned to base with 600 bullet and shrapnel holes, plus 5 cannon holes! Their crew of nine had one   killed and seven wounded.  Their final mission was in the Green Hornet, an aircraft that couldn't carry bombs, and as they flew over Palmyra, their # 1 and 2 engines went out - so they ditched, of course.  There were three survivors in the crew of eleven, and these three then drifted for 47 days in the South Pacific.  By the time they reached the Marshall Islands, one of the three had died, and Louis and his fellow survivor each weighed about 65 lbs. 

They were incarcerated on Kwajalein (sp?), which was known as Execution Island.  One of his captors was Jimmy Sasaki - who had attended USC with Louis!  Their execution was scheduled in two days, but somehow he was sent to Yokahama instead.  In prison camps in Japan, where he met lots of British and Australian captives, his major tormentor
was "The Bird".  Despite being transferred a couple of times to other camps, he always seemed to be reunited with The Bird, who was the meanest guard he ever encountered. 

Finally, the War ended, and he ended up on Okinawa, where he soon gained 35 lbs.  He had trouble readjusting to civilian life, and alcohol became almost a necessity.  Then his wife attended a Billy Graham meeting, and she convinced him to attend, also. This changed his life - he quit drinking and became a frequent speaker to various groups. His emphasis was in pointing out that he survived as a POW because he was an athlete. 

A brief Q&A - JACK HARRIS - What did you do for food on the raft?  We caught a couple of cormorants, but they were awful - used them for bait, and they could eat raw fish.  PP MIKE NEWMAN - What about water on the raft?  The worst time we had was seven days without, but we prayed, and it finally rained a bit.  ELLIOTT TURNER - Did you ever regret not killing Hitler when you met him?  No, I was young then!
Louis Zamparini, thanks for sharing your life with us - it was fascinating.

And now - I'm going to ask Jan Cipolla, who prints the Windmill, to add the tape written by ELLIOTT TURNER on the Corazon Project in Mexico (since I don't think I can convert it on my own).                                                 YOE, Ernie Wolfe