MARCH ENDS (at the Luxe) - the 31st, for WVRC
Rotaractor Angela Lee led the Pledge, followed by LENNY FRIEDMAN taking us through an a cappella rendition of America the Beautiful. Our Visiting Rotarian was David Sanchez, from Beverly Hills he is an International Financial Advisor. The other members of Rotaract who were present were President Tori Hettinger, and VP Candice Daneshvar. Efrem Harkham, the owner of the Luxe Hotels, was with us as a guest.
Senor RUDY had a number of slides of the new Westwood Branch Library, which he and Terry Tegnazian narrated. Cheryl Collins, the Head Librarian, spoke briefly, and they will keep us advised as the official opening approaches. The empty lot next door to the Library would make an excellent permanent addition to the new Library, and a group is being formed to raise the money three million dollars is the goal!
PP STEVE SCHERER announced our annual Rotary Golf Tournament, which will be held on Monday, May 9th, at the Los Angeles Country Club. It will be a shotgun start, and you can sign up with STEVE, or DONN CONNOR.
LENORE MULRYAN spoke about the Ambassadorial Program.
The Magic Castle Brunch and Show is on Sunday, April 10th ED GAULD or PDG ANDY ANDERSON will take your thirty bucks there are already about forty signed up.
At this point Senor RUDY invited his three guests (all family members) to come forward Amira, Anica, and Toshi, and he then presented them with his trademark light blue Rotary tee shirts. This was in recognition for their support of his term as WVRC President which RUDY described as allowing him to relive his childhood!
As you know, the District Conference is at the Doral Princess Hotel in Palm Springs, from the 28th of April until May lst. One of our Ambassadorial Scholars, Rose McGuire, will be attending. She has rides back and forth, but needs someone to act as her sponsor which translates into introducing her around at the various events. Her sponsor is SUSAN ALLEN, who will be out of town during the Conference. Could you call me if you are going to be there, please? It’s important, and easy to do, OK?
And apropos of nothing else, I am seeking a school or other organization that needs a computer. This one is about five years old, but in good shape, and it’s free! I thought I remembered that we had a program in place to give computers to schools but I cannot recall who was involved. Could someone rescue me on this, please?
David Sanchez from Beverly Hills introduced our Speaker. First, however, David spent some time outlining some of the struggles which members of Beverly Hills Rotary have had in their career development. The thread he found in all cases illustrated what a land of opportunity America is.
This led him to his own origins, near San Antonio and as you know, that’s where Senor RUDY hails from as does our Speaker, Anthony Chapa, Special Agent in Charge of the Secret Service, Los Angeles Field Office. David Sanchez told of the very small town in which he grew up divided completely by the railroad tracks. There was a poll tax of $3, 00 which went up to $10, 00, and complete segregation between the 40% Latinos, 55% Anglos, and 5% blacks who lived there. For those of us who grew up in the majority, such a situation is hard to even imagine. Tony Chapa met and overcame those same obstacles. His entire career has been in the Secret Service, and he was assigned to the Los Angeles office in January 2004.
Tony began by telling the story about the Christian who was to be fed to the lions, and he ‘got off’ by scaring the lions as they were about to chew him up. He thanked us warmly for inviting him to speak.
The primary duty of the Secret Service is to protect the President, Vice President, and their families. They are also assigned to protect important foreign visitors, and counterfeiting comes under their umbrella. Today he will concentrate on describing the first six hours after it was announced that former President Ronald Reagan was to have a State Funeral the first since President Lyndon Johnson. Thus, no one in the Secret Service today had had any direct experience with State Funerals. This was designated as a National Security Event, and was known by its code name, Operation Serenade...
Tony reminded us of the attempts on the life of our Presidents. When two women tried to shoot Gerald Ford, agent Larry Boondorf shielded him with his body. When Ronald Reagan was wounded, the agent in the car decided to take him directly to the hospital and probably saved his life by that decision. And of course, when John Kennedy was shot, another agent covered Mrs. Kennedy and thus kept her from harm. Their instructions are to shield with their own bodies.
Planning the funeral of a President begins when he takes office! So the plan was in place, and well-rehearsed. At 0800 on June 5th, it was quickly apparent that more agents were needed the secrecy had been violated, somehow. By 1311 (Navy time) Operation Serenade was operational everyone was notified. Several agents who were overseas with President Bush even returned. By 1330, all local law enforcement agencies were activated.
Gates, Kingsley and Gates in Santa Monica was the theoretically secret mortuary to which his body was to be removed but it was mobbed by people, somehow. The roads were kept open Wilshire was impossible but with LAPD and SMPD closing all the intersections, they arrived and decided they would come in the alley. They finally got the hearse under cover, and the coffin was thus successfully moved.
The FBI had almost 100 agents on duty, and other agencies the Immigration Service, and the Coast Guard, for instance, contributed personnel. The coordination between these agencies was excellent
Q&A SEAN McMILLAN, Who is the lead agent? We were referred to the brochures on the table, and Homeland Security is designated. CATHY REZOS, Civil aviation has problems when the President or VP flies into local airspace can you loosen ‘em up? First priority after Air Force One is commercial aviation we try to interfere as little as possible there. Someone asked how the name Serenade was selected. It is done well in advance, no pattern, apparently. ED GAULD, Are there any threats we don’t hear about? Yes. SLOSS VIAU, Is the crew of Air Force One well-trained? They are amazing if they say they will land at 0837, that’s when they will land, period. RAY ZICKFELD reported that he had found a counterfeit bill 65 years ago and he got a $20 reward! DENNIS CORNWELL, Who decided to release Hinckley (who tried to kill Bush the elder)? Judges make these decisions.
Agent Chapa, thanks for informing us about how the Secret Service performs its important duties.
Candice gave the Toast - “To the men and women who protect our homes”.