Wednesday, May 6, 2009

May 6th Meeting

Our first meeting in May was very well-attended by club members, who enthusiastically welcomed, among its other guests, Dr. Pai-Chou Tu, incoming governor of RI District 3500, and past president of our sister club—Taoyuan West.

Meeting highlights


Toni Thomas talked about the E-Waste collection project that took place at ReMax Realty on Saturday, May 2. On very short notice our club raised $250 by collecting discarded electronic equipment. Another E-Waste collection day is in the planning stages.

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s Great Strides Walk day held on May 2 in Dana Point was reported to be a success by Ed Hardenburgh. Our club sponsors this worthy cause, and this year Ray Sanford took pictures, and Bret and Natalie Geddes walked in support of Ed’s grandson who has cystic fibrosis.

The Epilepsy Alliance of Orange County held it’s Freedom Walk, Unseize the Day on Saturday, May 2 at Heritage Park. Tom Mahoney’s son’s “Sean’s Stompers,” was a top fundraising team, having raised over $5,500.

Barry Brown presented a check from the Irvine Spectrum Rotary Foundation for $1,000 towards the cancer walk in honor of Victoria Topping.


Al Rosenstein reminded members to continue bringing clothes for Working Wardrobes.

Gillian Bradshaw asked members to save June 8 on their calendars for our outgoing president’s demotion party to be held at the home of Toni Fenton.

Rick Topping gave notice that on June 11, our club will have a fun-filled theater night to raise money for our club. We will enjoy the musical “Footloose” at the Village Musical Theater in Irvine.

Diane Baasch announced the upcoming Casino Night fundraiser to be held at the Village Crean on August 8. More information will soon follow.

Past-president presentation:

Dr. Bob Larsen was club president in 2004-2005 (Rotary’s Centennial Year), and his talk centered on these three specific goals:

Involve more people, and have fun in the service of others. Provide more resources for International Service projects.

Dr. Larsen talked about how as president he allocated one-third of our club’s budget to international projects. He also stressed, because of matching grants, international projects provide the “biggest bang for our bucks.” The trip to India he helped organize was a highlight of his experience as president, even if the actual trip took place soon after his term expired.

Boost contributions to the Rotary Foundation.

During his year in office, our club earned the distinction of becoming a 100% Paul Harris club.

Program – Luther Self (Uncle Luther)

Our speaker, Luther Self is a member of the Mission Viejo Rotary Club. He authored his life’s story in a book “Evolution of a Southern Boy” written and published by Jacquie Hanson, also a member of the Mission Viejo club.

In his presentation Luther provided highlights of his life taken from the book. He is a son of the South, and came from a family of slave owners. He went on to talk about his education in preparation for the ministry, but along the way changed his mind. Instead, Luther found his calling in children’s programming for television. He had his own show, “Uncle Luther,” from 1958 until 1961. The Uncle Luther show was dedicated to teaching children good values, and featured a Wishing Well. Children could write Uncle Luther about their wishes, and they would be read and put in the Wishing Well. Uncle Luther would then give an on-the-air affirmation that the wish might come true. This part of the program was so popular that even patients in a veteran’s hospital sent in their own wishes to Uncle Luther. He had a way of making all people, not only children, feel better.

Our speaker found catharsis in writing the book and telling his story of how he overcame racial prejudice. The turning point in his life, he said, occurred when he was newly married, and his wife wanted to hold a black baby she was admiring. Luther could not permit her to do so, and realized at that moment his deep-seated prejudice towards blacks had not been overcome. Following this incident, Luther said he looked himself in the mirror, and realized that he had to change. The premise of Luther’s book and today’s presentation follows his evolution towards freedom from the bondage of racial prejudice.