Posted by Frank Wooldridge
There’s only one thing better than a soothing hot cup of coffee on an early morn and that’s starting your day with that cup of coffee at our Breakfast Rotary meetings. As your Beacon writer I am so thrilled to be even a small part of such a spirited and giving group which, I feel, is emblematic of the heart and soul of the good things our community is about. We are constantly reminded daily of negative current events that are only distractions from the many good things our community does unselfishly. We, as an active Rotary Club are a big part of what brings that goodness. From your dedication as evidenced by the successful production of Wine, Place, and Show to Toys for Tots and prepping Thanksgiving baskets, your efforts are so appreciated by those we serve. This Thanksgiving take a moment to give yourself a “pat of the back”, and ask for continued blessings towards keeping your Breakfast Rotary energy, spirit and creativity on high so that we can continue providing what we are known for…Service Above Self. Thank you all and Happy Thanksgiving!
President Jeff Haynes opened our meeting by giving Michele McClure the floor to present her invocation. Michele emphasized Peace in her message which was most appropriate in this time and place. America’s Pledge of Allegiance was led by Jeff Bell and Carol Smith led us with vigor and song singing God Bless America. Carol spun right into announcing visiting Rotarians introducing her guest, Chuck Canada.
The “True” Ron Nelms, whatever that is supposed to mean, our past president, introduced his guest, Javier Reyes who works at the Kern County District Attorney’s Office. The ever present, Past President Cheryl Scott introduced her guest and husband Darren. Darren reportedly didn’t get enough of us at Wine, Place, and Show last Saturday so he wanted to hang out with us some more. See Breakfast Rotarians…people love you!
The trifecta of Stephanie Baker, Chelsea Ashcraft and Past President Mike O’Doherty worked the door as greeters this morning and they really did a strong arm of the membership. The membership was persuaded by the threesome to donate to the Raffle in large sums. More on the totals later in this edition.
**Featured Program**
Eddie Zamora, Kern County Red Cross Executive Director came to visit us to share the vast amount of services our local Red Cross provides to families 365 days a year. We are all familiar with the National response of the Red Cross to natural disasters. From floods to fires you can count on response from the Red Cross to fill the void in services for those families in need in desperate times. Mr. Zamora prepared a carefully laid out Power Point presentation to display not only what Red Cross is doing nationally, but locally as well.
Mr. Zamora was not raised in Kern County but is familiar with Kern County through his brief stint serving the Red Cross canvasing neighborhoods going door to door presenting the Disaster Preparedness Smoke Alarm program. Many of the neighborhoods Mr. Zamora traveled to provide this much needed disaster education were identified as neighborhoods where fires were most likely to occur. For those residents that agreed to receive the education, they benefitted from the FREE installation of smoke detectors.
Fast forward a few years, while Mr. Zamora was employed in the banking industry, he became aware of the open Red Cross executive director position in Kern County. He quickly responded to the job notice and now looks forward to improving the public service capabilities of our Kern County Red Cross district.
It goes without saying that minimizing risk for disadvantaged people is a goal of the Red Cross. To achieve that, Red Cross relies upon their volunteers. Might I say “dedicated” volunteers. It is not uncommon that persons that hear the calling of the Red Cross as a volunteer soon submerge themselves into roles with more responsibility and time commitment. Sometimes this level of commitment takes these volunteers to locations away from home on deployments that can last for days and weeks. Certainly not on everyone’s to do list, Red Cross volunteers are a special breed that become heroes in the eyes of those persons who become disadvantaged through natural disasters.
The Red Cross according to Mr. Zamora is needed now more than ever. His area of responsibility encompasses Kern, parts of Tulare, Fresno, San Luis Obispo and Ventura counties and includes 4.2 million people. Up to the year 2014, it was expected that one major category disaster that would occur somewhere in the United States. He said currently, there are 3 major category disasters PER MONTH! Mr. Zamora added that in 2020, 1 million people were housed in long-term housing by the Red Cross. These numbers are daunting and command that Red Cross accelerate efforts towards expanding their relationship with other community church and civic organizations to just make ends meet.
Housing for displaced families of course includes the need for meals. Coordinating meal programs includes extra volunteer efforts with a heavy dose of donations. Speaking of donations, Mr. Zamora told us that in addition for the need of volunteers, donations of food, clothing, furniture and financial support are welcome year around.
For those with loved ones serving in the military, Mr. Zamora shared with us that Red Cross efforts in establishing emergency contact for service member’s families is a high priority. Did you know that 40% of the nation’s medical emergency blood supply comes from Red Cross donors? And for those of you that do not know how to perform CPR, or need to brush up on your skills, that the Red Cross provides training? Yes, they do, all volunteers all the time is what the Red Cross is all about. Mr. Zamora even shared two new local executive and administrative positions that have become available (with salary) with our Red Cross. How about that, do you know someone who has the Red Cross spirit?
We want to thank Mr. Zamora for his dedication to service and his sacrifice to lead those who are clearly in need of support and coordination during times of utter catastrophe due to fire, flood or earthquake. All I can say is thank goodness we do not have hurricanes or tornados in Kern County, or did I speak too soon…
If you would like to reach out to Mr. Zamora and the Red Cross, he can be reached at (661) 203-4452, or
**Announcements Announcements**
I remember Past President Jim Bell. He was my first Breakfast Rotary president 2008-2009. His timing was not so good then, I love the guy, but it’s not any better now. Why you ask? Because during our featured program and then again when President Jeff was trying to talk, a video of Jim Bell eerily continued to re-appear with Jim talking. Don’t blame our IT specialist Temo Lopez, it was classic Jim Bell. Oh well since I’m talking about Jim, Jim was our club’s 27th president. He later became 2017 District 5240 Governor. Proud of his Ohio State Buckeyes, Jim’s reign as our president was coupled with his favorite music in all he did that year. Guess because he worked at an FM radio station. In the video featurette Jim’s message was that he congratulated us on our 40th Rotary anniversary as a club. Thank You Jim for your Rotary service!
We have some wedding and club anniversaries, so let’s see who!
Will and Janet Duerksen are celebrating 28 years of marriage, Jeff and Donna Schwartz have been married 32 years, Harry and wife Debbie Bryant are celebrating 37 of wedding bliss, Bill and Jan Black are logging 38 years. Rotary anniversaries include Past President Ron “Buford” Nelms 10 years, Past President Denise Haynes 16 years, and Past President Dave Spalinger 23 years. Congratulations everyone! It just came to mind…I think Rotary is good for your marriage and longevity in Rotary makes for good stewardship.
Our gleaming Mindy Wilmot danced up to the podium to give preliminary reports of our profits from last weeks Wine, Place, and Show. In essence, she said all the data is not in yet, but our club and those that organized and helped make the event happen should be pretty darn happy. Mindy said it appears that our club netted big profits after expenses, and as all of you know, it is these monies that enable us to perform community service. This is so exciting news and you are all deserving of a congratulations. Wow, I love our Breakfast Rotary Club!
Denise Haynes is calling all members to consider bringing an unwrapped toy for our Toys for Tots contribution. Boxes will be conveniently placed at our next meeting so that you can deposit your gift before December 10th. Denise also invites us to the Boys and Girls Club at Beale and Monterey Street for much needed help in packing Thanksgiving boxes Tuesday November 22nd. Be at the club at 4:00pm. It usually takes about 30 minutes to complete the task and it’s fun! A special thank you to those that have brought food staples to add to the boxes. There is still time to donate, contact Denise for last minute instructions.
Were did November go? Ask Dave Spalinger because December 3rd is quicky approaching and he is hosting our Breakfast Rotary Christmas Dinner at his home on Country Club Drive. Social starts at 6:00 pm and Dinner at 7:00 pm. Bring and appetizer or side dish. Hey how about desserts! Don’t know what to bring? Contact Sandra Parnell as she is organizing a list of needed food dishes. I am looking forward to this and looking forward to seeing all Breakfast Rotarians dressed in their holiday finest.
President Jeff reminds us that this month’s Rotary Reach is Russo’s Books, 1601 New Stine, Ste 182 which is in the building north of Olive Garden on New Stine. Great place for gift items so give Russo’s a visit! Next month’s Rotary Reach will be Bonnie’s Best Sandwiches. Located on the corner of F and 21st Street, Bonnie’s is known for their cheerful service and outstanding lunch sandwiches and desserts. You won’t be disappointed, take my word.
**Happy Spots**
It never ceases to amaze me what simple things constitutes “Happy Spots” for Breakfast Rotarians. I guess we are just a bunch of happy folks because our community service work and comradery make us that way. All the more reason to be active in Rotary and invite a guest.
Michele McClure announced her happiness as she was the lucky recipient having her name drawn for prizes at WPS. Chelsea Ashcraft missed us at WPS, because she was with a friend who is battling a serious illness. Her happiness comes from our thoughts and prayers to her friend in need.
Dave Spalinger was willing to donate a $20 Happy Spot because he knows someone famous. Darren Scott was apparently seen on the cover of a fashionable chic cigar magazine. Dave likes that, we like Dave’s money. Mike O’Doherty saw his four grandchildren last weekend and celebrated his wife’s birthday, hence is the reason why he was not at WPS. Four kids…$40 bucks!
Another absentee from WPS was Sandra Parnell. She and husband Jon were on a Carnival Cruise Line last week, but I really don’t think she was all that happy about it. I think she would have more fun at WPS. Past President Kay Pitts attended the Rotary Zone Institute in Tucson, Arizona. Hey, I never heard of this place! But at least she brought The Prez another pair of socks and some Jalapeño candy. Kay is really trying to score some points here, and The Prez is the one happy now.
Remember our greeters? Yes, they accumulated a whooping $76 dollars for our raffle. That’s a lot! Job well done and so agrees our visiting Rotarian Chuck Canada who walked, or ran away with the prize.
We are DARK the next two weeks everyone!
In Rotary,
Frank Wooldridge