PREXY ED, NOW AT THE HELM, WVRC on July 2nd
We were called to order by Prexy ED, who reminded us that WVRC won 23 Awards at our recent District Conference, thereby entitling us to call ourselves the Award-Winning Rotary Club of Westwood Village! MARSHA HUNT led the Pledge. ART HENRY gave the Invocation. He provided a bit of local history, reminding us that where we now meet was first called Sunset before it became Westwood Village. It is the resting place for Veterans of both World Wars, and there, 80 years ago, WVRC was formed. We are grateful to God for our history, and for the prospect of another Golden Year of Service Above Self. Today we pray for your divine blessing for our new President ED, knowing that he ties together our past, present and future. We know that these are ultimately yours, Oh God, for yours is the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory Forever. A’MEN. LENNY came forward, having just been introduced as Eugene Ormandy; to lead us in You’re a Grand Old Flag.
There were no Visiting Rotarians, but SUNNY , of course, was with LENNY. CATHY was there in support of Prexy ED, and ROZ came with PP DON NELSON, who noted they have been married for SIXTY YEARS! We had two visitors from Bulgaria. Mrs Radka Stamenova is the Managing Director of Meridian 22, Ltd, which is in Sofia. She was with Christina Atamassova, who now lives in Los Angeles, and who not only wants to join us as a Rotarian, but has signed up with me for the Reach Out and Read program that we heard about from Debby Navarro recently. That in turn reminds me that our other reading program, Reading To Kids, will be meeting on the 2nd Saturday July 11th from 9 to 12, and our group of MARSHA HUNT, ED JACKSON, MARCIA BROUS. SCOTT FITCH and ARLENE PETTISE and I will be adding PDG ANDY ANDERSON and PAT. That gives us eight, and I’m actively seeking more how about joining us, please?
Prexy ED next provided some of his own inspirational thoughts: In the Pantheon of our Republic’s Founders, there were many outstanding individuals, and yet each of them, Franklin, Hamilton, Adams, Jefferson, and Madison acknowledged Washington to be his Superior, the only indispensable figure, the one and only His Excellency. Both physically and politically, Washington towered over his peers. There were two distinct creative moments in the American Founding, the winning of Independence and the invention of Nationhood. George Washington was the central figure in both creations.
Some coming events:
Tuesday July 14th is the District Breakfast, 0700 at the Westin LAX Hotel. The Speaker will be Michael Krause, VP for Marketing and Sales of the LA Convention and Visitors Bureau. We are holding ten places, and you can sign up with either Prexy ED or Secretary GORDON FELL.
Saturday August 8th is the Summer Fun Party, which will be held at PP PETER and SHIRLEY MORE’S home. More details on this will be forthcoming.
Looking farther ahead, Thursday October 22nd we will host Susanne Sundberg, our District Governor from the Rio Hondo Commerce Rotary Club during her annual visit.
Our Senior PP, JIM COLLINS was summoned forward, along with that has-been, SEAN McMILLAN. PP JIM smartly informed PP SEAN that neither his Badge nor Pin were valid, and then replaced them with new regalia honoring his new status. In that regard, I’m sure there is no on who would be mean enough to accuse our Executive Secretary (who shall go nameless) of complete dereliction of duty (that means he dropped the ball) in not having these necessities ready for presentation at their more appropriate, earlier moment!
After lunch, Prexy ED spoke about what lay ahead. He is honored and humbled to be President of Westwood Village Rotary Club, and with our help, the year will be a successful one. In a wistful historic moment, he noted that he was sponsored by former Member STU GILMAN, who was invited to attend but barred therefrom by his insistence upon wearing shorts and flip-flops.
Regarding the RI Convention, Prexy ED and Kathy first took a bus tour of Ireland undoubtedly in respect for the historic highlights presented so vigorously by his predecessor (that means whoever the hell came before him). Despite strenuous efforts, they were unable to locate any of SEAN’S ancestors.
The Convention itself seemed to be composed entirely of Past District Governors (which was my own reaction in 1967 when I attended as an incoming President). Birmingham itself is England’s second largest city, and was the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. The Opening Ceremonies were impressive, and one of the Speakers was Secretary General of the United Nations. RI President John Kenny, who belongs to the Rotary Club of Grangemouth, Scotland, provided his motto for the year “The Future of Rotary is in your hands”.
There were many opportunities for networking, and Prexy ED met one of his Fraternity Brothers, Brian Thiessen who is a PDG and belongs to the Alamo Rotary Club in northern California. He is also the World President of the Scouting Rotarians. They met a lady from Finland. Her name was Eija Hatalka-Peltonen, and she is the Incoming President of the Rotary Club of Teijala. Seated behind them on their bus tour were Uli and Trudy Gerth. He is a hydraulic engineer, and parks his plane on the runway outside his house! He and his wife both belong to the Brits Rotary Club, in South Africa. Later, ED and Cathy visited Coventry Cathedral, which was almost totally destroyed by bombing, and has been replaced by a new structure alongside. Its motto is Forgiveness and Reconciliation.
Our President has several major objectives during his term. He wants us to focus on Membership, and continue with implementation of our successful Service Projects. ED considers our support of the RI Foundation to be very important. He wants to develop leadership within WVRC and beyond the club level, and above all, have fun!
A couple of incoming Officers could not be present, so ED spoke for KEVIN KOMATSU, who chairs International Service. This past Tuesday, Ed has personally delivered to the LA Rotary Office our Grant Application of $26,000 for a joint project with Istanbul Rotary. This will supply equipment to a Rehab Center for Diagnosis and Treatment of low income, hearing-impaired children. The program is off to a running start, since NEVIN SENKAN comes from and visits Istanbul frequently. ED noted that MARSHA HUNT will be developing her project for education in Uganda. And at the Convention itself, ED met Walt Parish, who you may remember developed the WAPI program with the help of WVRC he has produced 30,000 WAPI devises up to now. JR DZUBAK also could not be with us today, but he is dedicated to emphasizing Rotaract and Interact, which was chartered this past May under the leadership of ANN SAMSON.
LEAH VRIESMAN was up first, talking about Community Service. She felt her first term with this Avenue of Service was about learning, and so she has taken it on again, feeling that she will be better able to accomplish things because of her previous experience. A project that started last year, in conjunction with the Santa Monica Club, is Earth Angels. These volunteers pick up and return medical patients to and from the Santa Monica Airport and UCLA and Sinai Medical Centers. Last year also, LEO TSENG started the Easter Basket distribution at Mattell Children’s Hospital at UCLA, and with the great help of our Auxiliary, that can be expanded. LEAH wants to have us focus our monetary support on activities in our community, and on those in which our members are already involved. She feels we could perhaps have better definition of our areas of responsibility. At this point I put in a plug for Reading to Kids, which is a real chance to get our hands dirty in some direct community action.
PP DON NELSON came forward to explain some adjustments in our billing. Our fines, which are used to pay for these support activities, have been set at $250 per year. This is the area where we earn tax deductions, and henceforth the amount will be $288. Dues, which have been $360 per year, will now become $288, which is a decrease. Our luncheon price has increased by $1.05, but we will continue to charge the present $25.00. We are also now switching to ClubRunner, a method of keeping track of membership, etc. If you haven’t checked it out, DON suggests you give him a call, since it will be an improvement, but may take some further implementation. GORDON FELL, our Secretary, will now be keeping track of attendance on ClubRunner. You need a user name and password to get aboard, and again, DON can help you with those. He reminded us that our own Westwood Village Rotary Foundation is the avenue for charitable distributions.
RON KLEPETAR started off by reminding us that it has been a fifteen year hiatus since he was last on the Board! His first suggestion was that, since he just got back from Bora Bora on Sunday, he would be willing to return at the Club’s expense if there were projects he should check out…There are, indeed, several projects which he wants to continue. The War is still going on, in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and our troops will be in Iraq for a long period yet. This cannot be a forgotten war. We now have worked out an arrangement with the VA and an organization in Van Nuys that sends gifts and gift packages we should support this both with money and help in wrapping packages, etc. We will continue our support of the various ROTC programs at UCLA. And the Reading To Kids program, which is now underway, will continue, plus RON would like us to initiate a Reading to Children at the UCLA Hospital. We should continue our support of local elementary schools by helping their computer programs.
Prexy ED then made the minor mistake of asking PP STEVE SCHERER if he wanted to say anything about Membership. Recognizing that time was indeed running out, PP STEVE graciously consented to waiting until next week PROVIDING he could present a song today!
MARCIA and RICK BROUS, plus STEVE, then came forward with a song, entitled The Rotary Keeps Rolling Along. Song slips were then quickly distributed. This was a familiar tune, even with some familiar words, and it did, indeed, keep the Spirit of Membership alive, so all concerned appeared to be satisfied. All of the above was of course roundly applauded.
Prexy ED then concluded the meeting with a quote from Paul Harris: Rotary has actually become part of the civic life of 160 nations. Rotary stands, though the tempest rage aboard Rotary still stands. Why and how? Because it is grounded not on fear, rivalry and suspicion, but on the eternal and indestructible rocks of friendliness, tolerance, and usefulness.
Well done, ED a great beginning!