Joint Meeting, WVRC and Beverly Hills, 23 July
I was feeling bereft of support, since I didn't have my security
blanket of an agenda/program as supplied at WVRC. But in the
gallant tradition of writers everywhere, I soldiered on. What
this touching beginning means is that you won't find out much from
these notes, but please note that my heart is true, anyway - which
of course you already knew… Relying on the always knowledgeable PP
DOUG DESCH, I learned that the B.H. President is Randy Magnin, and
he started us off by asking for the Invocation. It was brief,
ending with the request that since this year's goal for Rotary is a
Net Gain, we should ask for a net gain not only in membership, but
also in living and in love. Our own Pres. GEORGE was
called upon to lead the Pledge, and he did splendidly. Beverly
apparently has no song - at least, there wasn't one today - so the
next order of business was the introduction of a number of Past
District Governors who were present, including our own BILL
GOODWYN and ANDY ANDERSON.
Rotarian guests were introduced, and the first two I will mention
same two who were with us at Westwood last week - Rick AmRheim from
Valparaiso, IN, and Dr Larry Sall, from Richardson, TX. A past
President of the Tel Aviv/Jaffa Club exchanged flags, and noted that
the club was
originally formed in 1932 in Cairo, being composed of l/3rd Arabs,
British, and l/3rd Jews. In this regard, YOE has a historic
flag, from the Rotary Club of Jerusalem, Jordan - which of course no
longer exists.( I know you need this information) Next up was
a reminder of how broadly based Rotary International is - we have
1.2 million members, of whom 103K are women, and the ladies preside
at 2,000 of our 30 thousand clubs. There are 530 Districts in
163 countries and 40 geographic areas. Rotaract was started in
1962, has about 179K members, and now is established in 107
countries. We were reminded that these impressive numbers help
us in continuing to make a difference in our world today.
Truly, we have a lot to be proud of - and spreading the word about
Rotary should be a priority for all of us.
Pres. GEORGE was introduced, and he in turn introduced his wife,
GEORGE gave a brief summary of the many activities of Westwood
Village - and overheard at my table, afterward, for instance, was
the comment, "Those guys are really busy - they may be the best
club in the District". GEORGE is a funny man, and he had
a couple of one-liners that went over well, among them that he was
told he had three seconds to make his presentation, but since it
took him one second to shake hands with District Governor - and B.H.
member - Len Wasserstein, he was still owed two seconds! He
next pointed out that WVRC has about fifty different programs, and
he proposed to describe them ALL. However, he only spoke of a few,
first noting that our founding meeting in 1929 was at the Women's
Club in WLA - which of course had to be a precursor to the
admittance of women into Rotary many years later!
In Literacy, we have the Read by Nine program, plus reading to
youngsters in the Pediatric Ward at UCLA hospital. He got in a plug
for one of MY
favorites, Polio Corrective Surgery in India (which costs $139, to
enable a life-long cripple to WALK again) and is of course sponsored
by our late
member HOWARD PHILLIPS and his wife, Sally. Did you know we
currently have $38,000 in available funds, just waiting to be
disbursed? Our Parkinson's Exercise Program, known as PLUSS,
has been explained in a video and shown at the last three
Conventions in Singapore, Buenos Aires and San Antonio.
Suiting the message to the moment, GEORGE gave a copy to Floyd
Olsen, our speaker of the day. Last, our Rotaract Club at UCLA
was started four years ago (by GEORGE, of course) and was the first
in our District. Truly, when you hear these activities
enumerated, it does sound like the comment from my own table,
mentioned earlier, is deserved. Let's give ourselves a hand!
District Governor Len Wasserstein inducted two new members, Linda
Brissum and Willie Bryan. He then introduced their Speaker of
the Day, Floyd Olson.
Floyd is a member of the Rotary Club of Gig Harbor,
Washington, has a long and distinguished Rotary history, and is
currently a Director of Rotary International. He graduated
from the University of Minnesota with a joint major in Animal
Husbandry and Economics, and in 1955 married his wife, Sandra.
They have four children and seven grandchildren.
"As long as there is a need, Rotary will respond" was
statement, and he proceeded to outline the two major challenges
facing Rotary at this time. First, we have a need to grow,
having had a decline in membership the last three years. The
good news is that the most recent year shows an increase of 25K to
40K members, but that is not enough to make up for the recent
losses. So we are emphasizing growth, particularly in the next
Second, we want to complete our goal of eliminating Polio in the
Started by Rotary in 1988, we have now been joined in this effort by
World Health Organization and the United Nations. In 1988,
350,000 polio cases worldwide - and there are now LESS than 3,000!
The last case in North America was in 1991, in the Western Pacific
1997, and in Europe and Turkey, 1998. The remaining areas to
be vaccinated MUST be covered, since even ONE remaining case can
continue to spread the contagion. To be declared clear, there
can be no new cases for three years, and thus our goal is to
eliminate this terrible disease by 2005.
Floyd showed a video featuring Mia Farrow, who had polio when she
was nine years old. The symptoms are sometimes difficult to
recognize - but even armies in the affected areas of Africa are
willing to back off and allow the vaccination teams to do their
job. The cost to reach our goal of total elimination of polio
worldwide is one billion dollars, with $450 million still needed.
A bit of history here, if I may: WVRC took on this project
when it first started in 1988, under the leadership of HOWIE HENKES,
with a stated goal of raising $100,000. A number of us pledged
$1,000 - some, more - and we raised $120,000! Now,
speaking quite seriously, it is time for those of you who have come
aboard since then
to join in this effort, please. You will be getting a call, OK?
Floyd Olson, thank you for your most important message. And thanks
to Beverly Hills Rotary for sharing your message with us. The good
news is that no volunteering or service is needed - just money.
Let's finish the job, OK?
YOE, Ernie Wolfe