ROTARY’S ROSE PARADE FLOAT, at WVRC on September 24th
ED JACKSON led the Pledge. PEGGY BLOOMFIELD provided the Invocation, by Rev. William Sloan Coffin:
May God give you grace never to sell yourself short;
Grace to risk something big for something good;
Grace to remember that it is expedient for us to be generous to our poor at home and the poor around the world;
Grace to remember that the world now is too dangerous for anything but truth,
And too small for anything but love.
So, may God take out minds and think through them;
May God take out lips and speak through them;
May God take out hearts and set them on fire…Amen.
Well Done, PEGGY thanks.
RICK BROUS bravely stood in for LENNY, since the veiled threat of whatever intro will greet the Conductor remains unknown until the event itself transpires (that means nobody knows what comes next…) Anyway, we did “I love to go to Rotary” which was helped by the song sheets.
We had at least four Visiting Rotarians. There were TWO PDG’s, Charlie Barr from Upland and Gene Hernandez from Chico, both of whom were involved with the coming Speech. Janet Befol is a dentist, from Beverly Hills, and Paul Azlan is in dentistry also, from Rancho Park. PP DON NELSON had three guests, his wife ROZ, Vickey Nelson and Jens Fey from Adelaide, Australia. Plus STEVE PETTISE brought his Special Guest, David Shenassa, for a second visit. And Ambassadorial Scholar Misaka Nabshada was again introduced by PP MIKE NEWMAN. The Head Table was introduced. NEVIN SENKAN, PP PETER MORE, and MARSHA HUNT gathered on one side, with PDG Charlie Barr and MARCIA BROUS on the other side. There apparently was no credible answer to what these assorted folk had in common, so Prexy ED saved himself a bottle of wine. However, he did clamp down on PP STEVE SCHERER with a ten buck fine, for making too much damn noise!
The Paul Harris Dinner is next Saturday, October 3rd at Carson Community Center. There is still time to get your check and raffle ticket stubs in to PP STEVE DAY, and we are hoping a few more members will sign up for the event itself.
I called attention to the upcoming TURKISH DELIGHT dinner party at the home of NEVIN SENKAN on October 25th. While this is sure to be a nice affair, it will be highlighted by NEVIN’S possible appearance as a Belly Dancer stay tuned! Seriously, this will benefit hearing-impaired children in Turkey, and the cost is deductible it’s a great combo.
LOREN RUTTENBERG reminded us that she was collecting used cell phones as a fundraiser for her local Elementary School she can accept them at any meeting, so do turn them in, please
MARCIA BROUSE introduced our Speaker, PDG Charlie Barr. He is from a long-time family tradition of Rotarians his grandfather first belonged in 1925. He claims that he has been a banker, travel agent, and bartender, and his classification is Saloon Keeper. She asked several questions How many of us had seen the Rose Parade, on TV or in person? Then, Who had visited the floats during their construction? At this point, TOM BARRON offered $5.00 for every person who had seen the Parade in person before 1941, when he did? Turns out there were eight who claimed they had (no proof offered) so TOM owes WVRC forty bucks! And MARCIA concluded by reminding us that people who live in NJ, as she did, often wondered what that strange bright sun was all about. Personally, I’ve contended for years that showing the Rose Parade on TV is a mistake, since it shows people who live elsewhere that there is a credible alternative to living in the snow and we don’t need no more moving here!
PDG Barr began by pointing out that he had belonged to Rotary for 38 years. As a lead up to becoming a District Governor, you are appointed to the Rose Parade Committee, and he found it to be lots of fun. He will Chair the Rose Parade Committee for Rotary next year, and he is looking forward to that challenge. R.I. really likes the exposure given to Rotary during the Parade, but they are sticky about sponsoring it, so all costs are raised apart from R.I. His Committee always needs volunteers, in addition to funds, so we are welcome to get involved.
Charlie didn’t have any luck in getting Bill Gates and his wife to come down and ride on the float this January 1st, but they are well aware of how vital the role of Rotary in spurring the coming eradication of polio has been. However, he had a six-minute video, which he then showed. It points out that the value of exposing Rotary to a worldwide audience of 300 million people, plus another 40 million here in the U.S. is considerable. We were reminded by Paul Harris, that it is important to reach large numbers of people about Rotary, and you cannot reach them privately. Thus, the Rose Parade is an ideal way to get our message out, as we have done for the past thirty years with the Parade. Each of the last several R.I. Presidents spoke in behalf of the project, and all were effective.
The 121st Rose Parade will take place on January 1st, 2010. It begins at 0800 local time, and is broadcast live over several networks, plus other language broadcasts worldwide. The Parade theme is “A cut above the rest” and the Rotary float theme is “Service above the rest”.
Historically, it is the highest-rated non-sporting event every year! Last year, over 1100 volunteers helped decorate the Float, which is under construction right now. Starting in December, decorating begins, and then on December 26th and thereafter, the fresh flowers are attached. You can sign up at WWW.rotaryfloat.org. Traditionally, Rotarians, Retractors, Interact members and friends have helped to put the float together.
In addition to the overall theme, the float speaks of our Polio efforts and I like to remind everyone that when we started this campaign in the 80’s, 300,000 people were contracting polio each year. Today there are less than 1,000 cases worldwide, and of course they are the toughest to control, because of local witch-doctor opposition they claim that the vaccine will render children impotent, etc.
Q&A If R.I. doesn’t fund any of the Parade costs, why do we need their approval? Because Rotary is a registered name/product. Who does the planning and purchasing of supplies? That’s all done by the Float Building company, which is a year-round operation. Starting on December 1st, there is one shift of workers, and on the 26th, they go to two shifts daily.PDG ANDY ANDERSON reminded us that he first took his grandchildren to see the float and they now have children themselves it’s worth a visit. What are your costs? The float itself costs $80,000 and incidental costs are about $35,000. Are donations to this project deductible? Yes. PP MIKE NEWMAN reminded us that perhaps 15 or 20 years ago we chartered a bus to attend the Parade. If you would like to do it again, let him know - he can help. When do the roses go on the Float and how do they keep them fresh? Every rose is in a little plastic container with water inside, and the top is sealed al live flowers are handled this same way.
Charlie Barr and Gene Hernandez, we thank you for an interesting and informative report.
Prexy ED and Words of Wisdom:
A sense of humor can help you overlook the unattractive, tolerate the unpleasant, cope with the unexpected, and smile through the unbearable.