ATHENA JACKSON at WVRC on 17 February
Yes, ED JACKSON was the MC but no relation to ATHENA. MARCIA BROUS led the Pledge, plus the Four Way Test excellent, as usual.
The Invocation was given by ALY SHOJI, and she had some wonderful comments first. Here it is:
Good afternoon, I’m very happy to have been asked to give the invocation today because I wanted to personally give thanks to our friendly Westwood Village Rotary Club. Many here have been members for longer than I have been alive so you know your good deeds, but as a relatively newer member I wanted to express my appreciation for what some of you call “small gestures” here at home, specifically to me.
Last month I was slated to host the monthly Rotary Board meeting and Nevin Senkan generously offered to host at her house for me. Neither one of us knew I was going to spend that day in the urgent care with my kid and I remember feeling really blessed that Nev had my back. Last month my car died so I have been without a car and Elliot Turner was kind enough to drive me home last night after this month’s Board meeting and he keeps saying it’s not big deal, but it was. If he hadn’t, my husband would have had to wake our two small kids up, pack them in the car at 9:30p.m. and come get me. It really meant a lot to me. Then I think about John Heidt working like a dog as the community service chair and the wheel chair this club is looking to give away and how meaningful THAT will be to someone. Or the money Steve Pettisse just had sent to build a school in the Himalayas I can only imagine the impact these “small gestures” will have. So with thanks, I offer today’s Invocation courtesy of Chat Campbell from the Redondo Beach Rotary Club:
I give thanks for the opportunity to be a Rotarian
Rotarians dig wells from which we will never drink
We vaccinate children we will never meet
We restore eyesight for those we will never see
We build housing we will never live in
We educate children we will never know
We plant trees we will never sit under
We feed hungry people regardless of race or politics
We know real happiness, which as Albert Schweitzer once said,
Can only be found by helping others.
For this opportunity, we give thanks...
For what you do abroad and right here taking care of your own! Thank you.
There was some special time for LENNY FRIEDMAN, since he feels he can no longer lead our songs. ED JACKSON provided a minor quiz, based on Nora Starry Elementary School. And who do you suppose was featured Yes, our LENNY, with a photo in the 1950’s which is still displayed at Nora Starry today! To top it all off, RICK BROUS provided song sheets with wonderful thoughts about getting older, to the tune of These Are My Favorite Things note that LENNY is 93, and sure doesn’t look the part. We sang Happy Birthday for him, and he responded with some lovely remarks.
We had several guests, including some Visiting Rotarians. Terry and Eve Alana came all the way from Turkey, and of course they were seated with NEVIN. Kent Buskin and his wife, Ruth are from Naples, Florida. He is a Past District Governor, and she is a Past President of their club. Another Special Guest, from LA Five, was Deana Davidson, who is thinking about coming aboard, now that she is headquartered on the Westside. She contends that her Classification is Dog Walking, and that’s OK with me! She was introduced by PP MIKE NEWMAN. PEGGY was with her helper, and SUNNY was of course with LENNY.
There were two sad announcements. AL BELANCA has died, and will certainly be missed. Services are pending. MARSHA HUNT was in a terrible four car accident. Her sister was driving, and took the impact and had the most injuries but the hit drove them into another car so they were really knocked around. MARSHA’S sister has a broken collarbone and leg, plus ribs, while MARSHA has broken ribs and a very sore shoulder. PP DON NELSON provided an excellent recap of the whole accident, which is on the internet do give MARSHA a ring, as she certainly is temporarily handicapped.
JOHN HEIDT provided some welcome, good news. The tentative plan to literally SELL the parking spaces now owned by the County has been withdrawn, and thus what we have, at least, is still protected. PP STEVE DAY came forward to remind us that the Japanese Student Exchange is once again scheduled. The kids children, and grandchildren are ALL eligible will leave on June 27th and return on July 23rd. The Japanese students will fly back with them, and be here for most of the month. This is a really wonderful program, as all of us who have participated will gladly tell you. My daughter went over forty years ago, and still talks about it. PP STEVE is our contact person and the deadline is March 15th DON’T MISS THIS!
PP CHRIS BRADFORD reminded us that he needs help in interviewing possible Ambassadorial Scholars. These wonderful scholarships, which are worth more, literally, than a Fulbright and which WVRC has been fortunate in selecting many successful scholars, are now available. So by all means, give CHRIS a ring if you can help with the interviews.
PP STEVE DAY changed hats to speak about the R.I. Foundation. You will remember that our Board voted at an earlier Board Meeting that WVRC should become a 100% Paul Harris Fellows club. PP STEVE DAY reminded us of this, and he outlined how this could be achieved. There are three sources to attain membership: Because of our large Endowment from VIRGINIA GANDY, 1/3rd of the total cost of $1,000 comes from her, while WVRC has Recognition Points that cover another third, leaving only a final third to be paid by the member. STEVE no surprise here can tell you what it would cost, of course. At our Board meeting last evening, DWIGHT HEIKKILA, ALY SHOJI, and JOHN HEIDT stepped forward to ‘pay up’, so all Board Members are now PH Fellows. Today at the meeting, seven members became multiple PH Fellows and were awarded their recognition pins. They include RALPH BEASOM, MARK BLOCK, SEAN MCMILLAN, PP PETER MORE, PP DON NELSON, DON PARK and ELLIOTT TURNER. They were nicely applauded.
Last week, I failed to note AVA PEPLOW’S new phone number, for which oversight I apologize. The new, permanent number is (435) 901-0462. She would love to hear from you
ATHENA JACKSON gave her Craft Talk and while we were having lunch, a full-length Color Mural of her in one of her fashion designs was unfurled. And for those of us who were members when she belonged earlier, we may recall that she was with Merrill Lynch at the time, and provided a sales pitch about equity investing. This time was quite different, and my only problem was her rapid-fire delivery, which makes transcribing difficult.
She was born in Mississippi, and was her Father’s favorite and she took advantage of that whenever she could, of course. The family moved to California, and she has been here ever since. In high school she was elected to several positions, but I couldn’t make out the details.
She married, and had two children, a boy and a girl. Her son is now in his last year and a half at Fordham Law School, and her daughter is a graduate of George Washington University.
She discovered early on that she had a talent for color coordination, and this led to the fashion industry. One of her early designs went over really big and this was so profitable that money no longer was a problem. It enabled her to buy a couple of houses. She now finds that she has a lot of free time, and thus does some modeling. This also pays well, and since she is an admitted shopaholic, that’s a good combo. She particularly enjoys residuals, since they arrive often as a nice surprise. All during her talk, her joy in life kept showing through and you can see it by her whirlwind arrivals each time at Rotary. ATHENA, our challenge is to keep up with you or maybe to at least try to keep up. Welcome aboard!