The meeting was called to order by the illustrious Prez. Ricky V. The pledge was led promptly by yours truly, and the thought for the day was so long that Harry needed a nap and Rick V had to introduce visiting Rotarians and guests.
It was indeed the right day for long-winded talks as our speaker had to cancel and the club had plenty of time to induct a new member and take the appropriate time to honor Doug McPherson with a life time membership.
Rick Ernst, as always, did a bang-up job of inducting another new member to our clan. Doug Dannevik shared with us a few of his details; he coached women's volleyball at San Diego State and led them to 6 NCAA championships. He is currently a golf pro and in charge of "First Tee" for Contra Costa. Great job by Scott Singly and his team for bringing in our 7th member! Rick Ernst does the club proud with his commitment to making this a special day for our new members.
Prez. Ricky V. then became his usual tax man, fining/recognizing :
Birthdays: Dick Rosenbery , who also was tagged for lack of attendance (tough prez we have), Dick promptly passed his birthday fine to Richard Timmons, mostly because he was sitting close to Dick and it was probably the only member's name he could think of in that short time frame.
Wedding Anniversaries: Rick Ernst's better half has tolerated him for over 20 years. Peter Wilson had the honor of celebrating his 36th wedding anniversary on April 10.
Club Anniversaries: Tony Akins and Naja Boyd were fined for being in the club, I mean…celebrating their club anniversary. Prez Ricky V. told Jerry Varcak to pay Naja's fine as Jerry Varcak (our club secretary) is behind in keeping the roster and special dates current. Poor Naja was neglected and wondered why her club anniversary was not recognized at the appropriate time. Note to Naja: keep your head down and you don't get fined!!
Chris Basman felt a need to apologize for Pete Baldacci's wearing a Notre Dame hat during our serious-and-full-of-decorum lunch meeting. Evidently Chris's wife bought it for Pete.
Then a long-time friend (former?) of Rick Ernst had forgotten to set his phone to pleasure mode and the ring cost Rick a fine.
It must have been fate as the club chose today to honor Doug McPherson, and today the speaker had to cancel. The extra time allowed a long line of members and friends to share stories and tell Doug how much his service has meant to our club and to our community. Doug was a pilot and he flew many members to Camp Royal and back for so many years, always at no charge. He also was on 24-hour call to fly body parts (for transplants) to wherever and whenever needed. Talk about a life saver, and again at no charge.
Tom Wentling and Doug have been friends for 40 years, and Tom reminded us that Doug was one of the founders of our Endowment, a truly wonderful gift given to this club by this group of men. Doug actively supported the fundraiser for many years. Dan Helix, Susan Cohen Grossman, Memory Woodard, Al Kappadahl, Harry Bowers and Pete Baldacci had wonderful words for Doug as well. Carolyn Anderson sent a letter,( watch for a fine for being in Hawaii) thanking Doug for being her sponsor and for his work for the club. Rick V. then presented Doug with a poster signed by the club and a plaque recognizing Doug's contributions for supporting his community, "all at no charge"
There is no meeting next Friday May 3 as our fundraiser is Saturday May 4th. If you need details you have been missing in action for a long time! Another special day is the Mayor's Cup golf tournament next Friday. We get to pay homage to our own Dan Helix (he's the Mayor for those of you who don't read a newspaper) and raise money for our own Roto Care project. Note that our brand spanking new van/clinic will be there for all to see as well.
Memory reminded us that the interact club is having a picnic social next Friday May 3, from 3:45 – 6 pm. Arbolado Park (go Oak Grove to Arbolado Drive to Arbolado Ct, Walnut Creek). Free to Rotarians. Stop by when you can. Nici Bundschuh (our exchange student) performed in "Guys and Dolls" a YVHS. Alex is finalizing details for the trip to Zocoalco, Mexico. Gary Collins is about to partake in his bike ride "Tour for the Cure" for Diabetes. You still have time to contribute to your Paul Harris and get matching points from the club! Tina thought it was her job to take the place of the speaker and reminded us of all of the details for the May 4th fundraiser, something about having to tell Rotarians 100 times to get it to sink in, and then she went out of her way to shame two of the most wonderful Rotarians in the club; Michael Barrington for not telling his better half about the May 4 fundraiser, and her lovely husband, just because she could.
Our projects in Burkina Faso are meeting a real community need. I recently experienced firsthand the extreme poverty and physical hardships under which they live their daily lives. We are working on the edge of the Sahara desert, the Sahel area of north western Burkina and our base is in Ouahigouya. The actual villages where we are drilling water wells and supporting schools are anywhere from 80-120 kms into the ‘bush’ where there are no roads.
No roads!! In the village
It was well over 100 degrees in the shade every day I was there. In the village of Ouatigue I was amazed by a huge reception that had been prepared for me. We drilled a water well last year and it is now fully operational. The villagers came from miles around to meet me and after many speeches of gratitude, gave me a pot filled with peanuts….the main crop grown in this arid and parched land. They also informed me that they had just had a crop failure and famine in the area! I was shocked and felt very humbled with their gift. The teacher told me that each village had contributed a few handfuls of peanuts. The people are just so grateful that they now have a local source of clean water.
Gift of peanuts The new well
In this area the women and girls have to walk three or four kilometers, sometimes twice a day, to go in search of water. There is no means of water conservation during the rainy season (July – September) and little surface water remains as the heat is so intense it evaporates quickly. Local shallow wells are dug that have to serve many villages. There is no water for personal use; it is only used for cooking.
I travelled to a place called Bouna in a 4x4 literally ‘making’ our own road where drilling was to take place in the early morning. We arrived at noon but the rig was stuck somewhere in the bush! It was coming from Ouagadougou, the capital city almost 300 kms away. After searching for it for about an hour, we found it. It took another two hours to get it moving again.
It was evening when it arrived in the village we had selected for the well, a couple of thousand villagers and school kids were all waiting for the magic. As soon as the drilling started all of the women formed a huge circle and started dancing, clapping and singing in anticipation. Their lives would be forever changed with a water well. They would have to find other things to do rather than walking hours every day for water. This is something I discussed with the school teachers, so perhaps now the women could have adult education classes and learn to read and write.
Everybody was waiting during the 9 hours we sere drilling
At 3:30 AM we struck water. It was an amazing moment. I was tired, had not eaten since breakfast the previous day and drunk only one liter of bottled water. I was near dehydration point, very tired and really just wanted to get back to the place where I was staying which was 80 kms away, for a shower and bed. It was not to be. The chiefs all assembled and each one had to make a speech and they presented me with a scrawny hen as a gift. I just had to forget my discomfort and be humbled by the simple but genuine gratitude of these poor people. The word water takes on a completely new meaning in these circumstances.
The villagers gift Local school
Nineteen villages have requested help with a water well but we simply do not have the funds. We are planning to drill four and help with the construction of two schools. All of the buildings are made of mud block and something more permanent is needed.
Our projects are truly significant and are changing the lives of thousands of people forever. I will be going back to Burkina in February and taking with me Steve Lack our DG Elect, and also Tim Meeks from the Walnut Creek Diablo club. Steve has adopted Burkina as the place for his international projects and Tim just wants to fund raise for these great projects.
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As of 30 November, Rotarians have raised about $155.3 million for Rotary's US$200 Million Challenge. These contributions will help Rotary raise $200 million to match $355 million in challenge grants received from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The resulting $555 million will directly support immunization campaigns in developing countries, where polio continues to infect and paralyze children, robbing them of their futures and compounding the hardships faced by their families.
As long as polio threatens even one child anywhere in the world, children everywhere remain at risk. The stakes are that high.
The Rotary's two related mottos are: "Service Above Self" and "He Profits Most Who Serves Best".
The pervasive theme of Rotary is "Service Above Self". Participation in civic activities, youth services and public service organizations is encouraged and heavily supported by the Club. There are also plenty of opportunities to participate in Club Service as well - a great deal goes on behind the scenes to make Friday meetings happen. Outside of the meetings, Concord Rotary undertakes a wide variety of service activities in vocational, community and international promotion of good will and understanding. Our programs include: aid to seniors and the handicapped, youth services, scholarship and education, career awareness programs, drug abuse prevention, dental sealant programs, wheelchair distribution and polio prevention world wide, youth exchange grants and scholarship programs, and attention to health, hunger and humanities on a global scale.
What is Rotarian?
A Rotarian is one who looks beyond self-interests to serve the community, country, and the entire world as evidenced by Rotary International's global polio immunization program. A Rotarian seeks the truth; lets fairness govern all activities; strives to build goodwill and better friendships; and attempts to develop mutually beneficial relationships in all endeavors. These individual goals evolved into what is now know throughout Rotary as the "4-Way Test" of all relationships.
What is Rotary Club?
Paul Harris, an attorney, organized the initial Rotary Club in Chicago. Its first meeting was held February 23, 1905. The name "Rotary" was selected because the club met in rotation at each member's place of business. The basic objectives of Rotary over the years have revolved around friendship, fellowship and service to others. Rotary International is now represented on six continents with worldwide membership well in excess of 1.2 million. Concord Rotary Club was chartered March 27, 1947; the current membership is approximately 80 men and women. Luncheon meetings are held each Friday from 12:15 to 1:30 p.m.
Objectives of Rotary
The Object of Rotary is to encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise and, in particular, to encourage and foster:
First. The development of acquaintance as an opportunity for service;
Second. High ethical standards in business and professions; the recognition of the worthiness of all useful occupations; and the dignifying by each Rotarian of his occupation as an opportunity to serve society;
Third. The application of the ideal of service by every Rotarian to his personal, business and community life;
Fourth. The advancement of international understanding, goodwill, and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideal of service.
The Ideal of Rotary
Rotary is an organization of business and professional persons united worldwide who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world.
How does one become a member of Concord Rotary Club?
Membership is by invitation and candidates are selected to represent a wide range of business and professions. The classification principle insures that the total membership is comprised of a cross section of the community, resulting in an interesting and stimulating group.
What is expected of a member?
Regular attendance, financial support and contributions of time and talents are expected of every Rotarian.
Rotary is built upon fellowship and friendship, which can only be developed through regular meeting attendance. A Rotarian is expected to regularly attend meetings. If it is not possible to attend a regular Friday meeting, members are expected to "make-up" at another Rotary Club. These make-ups provide a great way to meet and make new friends in over 27,000 Clubs in over 150 countries. The time and place of each meeting is listed on the Rotary International site "Where Clubs Meet." Regular attendance is considered so important by Rotary International, that special recognition is given annually to those members with perfect attendance. At the minimum members must attend 60% of the meetings during each six-month period, half of which must be attended at the home club. In addition, members may not miss more than three consecutive meetings and remain in good standing. Exemptions for good and sufficient cause require Board approval. While perfect attendances is not an end in itself, it is a measure of a member's commitment and involvement in the Club.
What is the cost of membership?
An initiation fee includes informative Rotary booklets, office plaques, label pin and a membership directory. Annual dues of $250 are assessed in July and can be paid 1/2 in July and 1/2 in January.
Club projects are also funded by "recognizing" members. "Recognition" can be as little as $5.00 for not wearing the Rotary lapel pin and up to $100 in recognition of perhaps a new automobile or exotic vacation. Voluntary contributions are frequently made by members who wish to commemorate a family event or similar important occasion. In all cases the Club diligently avoids placing any member in an embarassing financial situation.
Every year we have one major fund raising event for the Concord Rotary Endowment. While not mandatory, it is expected that everyone will buy at least one ticket and attempt to sell more.
On contribution and becoming a Paul Harris Fellow
In addition to paying for luncheon meetings and annual dues, Rotarians are expected to contribute to Rotary International. The Rotary International Foundation supports such worthwhile national and worldwide projects as disaster relief, humanitarian projects, educational scholarships, group study exchanges, and most notable the ongoing Polio plus program to eradicate this dread disease in every corner of the world. Such programs are supported in part by members who contribute $1,000 to become Paul Harris Fellows. Concord Rotary's goal is to attain and sustain 100% Paul Harris participation. Members may elect a one time gift of $1,000 or become a "Sustaining Member" with an initial contribution of $100 and periodic gifts thereafter until the $1,000 goal is reached.