VISITING DG BILL F ERRERIA, at WVRC on December 3rd.
JOHN HEIDT led the Pledge. Vice President ED JACKSON gave the Invocation, which he examined in the context of our Rotary membership. Noting that we followed the creed of Service Above Self, strong fellowship, and development of acquaintenance as a basis for service, ED noted that as VP he contacts members regarding acting as Greeters, leading the Pledge, and providing the Invocation.He is struck by the fact that so many people consider these tasks as an opportunity for service. Perhaps if everyone in the world considered their tasks as opportunities, rather than burdens, we would experience the reward of service instead of the yoke of servitude. It is his prayer that all of us, to paraphrase the Book of Matthew, Chapter 25, become good and faithful servants, and that as we are faithful with the small things, we will take charge of the big things, and that we share the happiness of those we serve. Amen. And the audience chorused, Amen well done, ED.
Prexy ED then took over, further educating us in the storied career of LENNY FREIDMAN. Some of us, while aware of LENNY’S shortcomings (to coin a phrase) as a possible NBA starter, did not know of his (LENNY”S that is) career as an equestrian. (And, in my continuing educational efforts in producing this report, I asked for, but did not receive guidance in how you spell that word, so I had to resort to that forbidding source, the Dictionary!) Anyway, to almost nobody’s surprise, Prexy ED provided yet another demonstration hat, claiming it was the actual headpiece worn by LENNY on his last ride. This tailed off somewhat when we only sang American the Beautiful, but these sartorial (that means clothing-related) aspects of LENNY’S other life continue to amaze and intrigue us, as I’m sure you would all agree.
Our Visiting Rotarian was DG Bill Ferreria, who hails from whatever the district number is that surrounds R.I. in Evanston. More on him to follow, since he is also our Speaker! CHRIS brought Sharon, and of course Sunny was with LENNY. Kency Nittler, President of Rotaract, was with us, as was our Ambassadorial Scholar, Masaki Nakoda. He was introduced by PP DON NELSON. This led to the introduction of the Head Table, which, in support of our Speaker, was occupied by our two Past DGs, ANDY ANDERSON and BILL GOODWYN. They had nothing worth reporting to say, so we moved along to Birthdays.
ANN SAMSON led the parade, liking the 1st of December, in Tacoma. That brought up PP CHRIS BRADFORD, who knew a good deal when he saw one, and elected LA, on the 2nd. PP DAVE WHITEHEAD chose the 6th, in Glendale. MARGIE DOWNIE liked the16th, in Santa Monica. PP HOMER NEWMAN took us down to Brawley, on the 18th, while PP JIM COLLINS returned us locally to Huntington Park on the 20th. MARK ROGO stepped forward on the 22nd in LA, while ELOISE SISKEL elected Gosport (and we know you know that’s in Indiana) on the 23rd. PP TED IHNEN moved us to St. Louis on the 27th, and Dr. RALPH BEASOM ended December on the 29th, in Seattle. HAPPY BIRTHDAY to all, and to all a good year!
MIKE YOUSEM reminded his 25 hosts to be on time for the Christmas Shopping Spree, which takes place next Thursday, the 10th, starting at the Salvation Army Center on Sepulveda.
December 12th, Saturday, is the Reading To Kids, from 0900 to noon. Since the Rotaractors will be on Christmas break, it’s up to the rest of us, and as of now, I’m expecting ED JACKSON, MARCIA and RICK BROUS, PAT ANDERSON, MARSHA HUNT and SCOTT FITCH and YOE, of course. I’d sure like a few more members how about giving it a try, please?
And speaking of Literacy, District 5280 is sponsoring a tutoring program which will be from 3 to 4 pm Monday-Thursday. Orientation will be Sat the 12th and Denicia Jones has all the details (310) 489-2042. Please give her a ring.
The Auxiliary Holiday Luncheon will be this Tuesday, Dec 8th, at the home of the McQuays, and the contact is either President MARIE ROLF or MARGIE DOWNIE.
Our last meeting this month will be Thursday the 17th so we are dark the last two Thursdays. It is Spouses Day, so see you all there!
PP STEVE SCHERER called DANA WOOD forward to be inducted. His Sponsor is PP DON NELSON. PP STEVE reminded us all that we support the ideal of Service above Self, and that DANA in particular fits that mold. Rotary is supported by our presence, our gifts, and our service, and DANA should expect a fine ride aboard. After PP DON attached the Rotary pin, DANA was given a standing ovation as a new member.
In his new, non-actuarial joke role, Prexy ED provided the following. Three sons left home, and all prospered. They then planned the gifts they would give their elderly mother. The first said, “I built a big house for our mother.” The second said, “I sent her a Mercedes with a driver”. The third smiled and said, I’ve got you both beat. You remember how Mom enjoyed reading the Bible? And you know she can’t see very well anymore. I sent her a remarkable parrot that can recite the entire Bible! It took Elders in the church twelve years to teach him, and he’s one of a kind. Mama just has to name the chapter and verse, and the parrot recites it”.
Soon thereafter, Mom sent out her letters of thanks. “Milton” she wrote one son, “the house you built is so huge, I live in only one room, but I have to clean the whole house”. “Gerald” she wrote to another, “I am too old to travel any more. My eyesight isn’t what it used to be. I stay most of the time at home, so I rarely use the Mercedes. And the driver is so rude”. “Dearest Donald”, she wrote to her third son, “you have the good sense to know what your mother likes. The chicken was delicious”.
Program Chair STEVE PETTISE introduced our Speaker, DG Bill Ferreira. Steve noted that one of the real pleasures of Rotary is making up when you travel, and since his mother lives nearby, STEVE often visits the Walgrove Club, which is near Evanston. That’s how he met our Speaker, and he immediately told him he had to speak of WVRC! Bill Ferreria grew up in Bombay, became an AFS Scholar, and moved to Dallas as a high school senior. Returned to India for his Bachelors, and was accepted to SMU for their MBA Program as a Scholarship student. Both he and his wife have made many contributions to both the community and to Rotary, and STEVE expects them to continue.
DG Bill began his visit by exchanging flags with Prexy ED. He noted that his club is in Walgrove, Illinois, which is a community of only 4,000. Our theme for this year is “The future of Rotary is in your hands”. Last night, he had dinner with Prexy ED and STEVE PETTISE, and learned about our Club’s many activities. He noted that we sponsor a children’s gift program, Rotaract and Interact, some Literacy activity, and these demonstrate that we are doing some good work. He suggested we give ourselves a big hand, which we did. Relating how he was invited to speak by STEVE, he didn’t pay much attention to the date, but STEVE had him scheduled for today! By the way, his District has 72 clubs and he has covered 71 so far!
Bill told about his family he and his wife have been married for 31 years, and have three children. His oldest son is an attorney in Chicago, and his second son is studying for his MBA at Vanderbilt. His daughter, who lives in Las Vegas and works for Fox News, is about to produce their first grandchild, which he is looking forward to, of course. His wife is president of the local Women’s Club, and is publishing a booklet about the Rotary Polio campaign.
When he first came to the U.S., he was invited to speak at various service clubs, Rotary, Kiwanis, and Lions. He always looked forward to attending one particular club and it was Rotary, because of their excellent meals! After he returned to the U.S., and got his MBA, he took a job in Dallas. A few years later he was transferred to Greenwich, Conn, then to New York, and now, Chicago. While there, he was having a conference with his banker, who suddenly announced that he had to leave, right away. Bill asked what was the hurry, and his banker said, I have to leave because we are in the process of forming a brand new Rotary Club. The next day the banker called Bill, and asked him if he would be interested in being a Charter Member of this new Club. Bill thought it over, talked to his wife, and she urged him to join.
So, why is he telling us this story? Because it demonstrates that he had known about Rotary for many years, but nobody had ever asked him to join! He strongly believes that there are a great many people out there who want to give back, and Rotary offers this opportunity. They are looking for something to help the community, but they don’t know where to go. He then asked how many of us knew someone who should be asked, and quite a few hands went up including mine. Bill gave an example of Xerox. If you asked most people if they have heard of Xerox, they would say yes but if you asked these same people about Rotary, many would say they had not. And yet, Rotary is a brand name that is 104 years old, while Xerox is only 40 years old.
One way we can ‘advertise’ Rotary is by wearing our Rotary pin which, I confess, I don’t do except for Thursdays. Bill told of standing in the customs line recently when returning from an overseas trip. It was a long line, and one of the customs officials was walking along the line, when he spotted Bill, wearing his pin. He took him aside, and walked him through! Wear your pin you never know what good it may do.
Earlier this year, he attended the graduation ceremony for the Lake Forest Graduate School of Management. The Speaker was the CEO of a major corporation, and he spoke about what they might want to do, about how to look for a job, and then he came to the issue about success.
He told them not to measure success about how much money they might make, or their job title, but to measure success by how much time you spend with your family, and time in your community. Bill had never heard this type of advice before, so he approached the Speaker, and asked him, “What are your plans?” The CEO said he was retiring in two years, and trying to give back. Bill then asked if he had heard about Rotary? He gave the man his Rotary card, and asked him to call. They did talk, and Bill ended up taking him to one of the local Rotary Clubs. The point of all this being, people WANT to give back, and Rotary can offer this opportunity.
Why am I a Rotarian? To make a difference he believes there is nothing more important than to make a difference in the life of one human being and that’s what Rotarians do, doing good in this world. At his recent training session about how to be a District Governor in San Diego, one of the speakers was Bill Gates. Bill has never heard a more inspirational speech. His wife was with him, and that is why she is publishing a District Cookbook to raise money for Polio Plus. It costs $10, $5 of which goes to Polio and they are projecting a $25K profit. During one of the sessions, an incoming DG from Germany said that his club never had a problem with retentions. When asked why this was, he replied that every member of the Club considered it to be an honor to belong, and thus they never leave. His question today to us was, How many of you consider it an honor to be a Rotarian?
R.I. President Kenny has suggested several activities on which we should focus literacy, hunger, clean-water projects, other service projects but there is one project he has made # one Polio Eradication. We have the Bill and Melinda Gates contribution of $250 million, and Rotary has pledged $200 million. Polio still exists in Pakistan, Afghanistan, India and Nigeria, and we must keep the momentum going, remembering that it is a very contagious disease.
Bill provided another personal experience. After speaking at a Rotary Club, before he became DG, he was invited outside to help with a food bank distribution then going on. There was a very long line waiting for food, and he was instructed to give one bag to each adult in the line. As the line moved along, a woman came up, accompanied by her son, who was maybe four years old. She had her hand outstretched, and Bill recognized that she was in pain. There were tears in her eyes, and she was trembling. He gave her a bag of food, and asked her to move along she didn’t move. He looked at her son he had his hand outstretched, too, but Bill remembered his instructions, only one bag per adult. So he asked her, “Would you please move along, so I can help the others?” She still didn’t move, and he looked at her son again. His hand was still outstretched, so Bill gave him a bag, also. His mother smiled, and Bill again asked her to move along, so he could help the others. She said, “Thank you”, and they then moved ahead. You have to know that there are people out there who don’t have enough to eat. But he also knows that in times like these, Rotarians step forward, and he thanked us for that.
“Dana, you have joined the # one Club in the world, with 1.2 million members, and 22,000 clubs worldwide in 200 countries. Enjoy it, and visit other clubs”. Bill believes very strongly in Rotary, and he also agrees that the future of Rotary is in our hands. This led to a brief Q&A. What is your occupation? I’m in the information business; I publish information in the logistics field, and health care. What is the time frame for the Bill and Melinda Gates gift? Rotary is to raise $200 million, and as of now we are at $105. The program is to be concluded by 2012.
We have already spent over $800 million dollars, and we are now in the eighth inning. Part of the problem is that some of those receiving the drops move, and thus the series is not fully completed. We won’t give up. I rose to give a bit of historical perspective. When this program started in the 1980’s HOWARD HENKES chaired our campaign, and we each pledged $1000, so WVRC gave a check to R.I. for $120,000. And Bill then pointed out that in his district alone, they had 92 new members in the first three months that’s impressive. He reminded us that Now’s the time seize the moment. And YOE thinks we can all agree, and we all thank you, Bill Ferreria, for an excellent presentation.
Words of wisdom:
We are not here merely to make a living. We are here to enrich the world.