President Mark’s First Meeting! Governor Ed Visits!!

The Burtchett Era has finally arrived – President Mark took over the podium on Friday, to rave reviews. Mark said that he is looking forward to a great year, and he thanked First Lady Cammy for being so supportive.

Mark told us that there is an important item that is being addressed by the Board of Directors. The Senior Resource Center let us know that they will provide our breakfasts through the end of July, but not beyond. So the Board is looking at other venues for our meetings. If you have a suggestion, please contact President Mark or your favorite Director.

Past-President Lori called the Youth Exchange Team up to help her give Exchange Student Jessica Bono a farewell gift, a digital picture frame. Jessica will be returning to Italy next Tuesday, and she tearfully thanked our Club for hosting her.

District Governor Ed Fullerton and Past DG Terri Clark announced three Sunrisers are new Paul Harris Fellows. Scott Heller was not at Friday’s meetings, so we will honor him later, but both Club President Mark and Past President Lori Breyer have completed their first $1,000 in contributions to the Rotary Foundation. Both Terri and Governor Ed noted the importance and impact of donating to the Foundation.

“People keep insisting on cooking me dinner,” said Wendy Madsen, whose birthday was July 6th. Wendy always tries to keep the celebration confined to a simple 30-day period each year.
The old convenience store jingle is, “Oh, thank heaven for Seven-Eleven …”, something Orrin Plocher must sing every year on his birthday. At least this year, it fell on the same day as our Club meeting. How did he plan to celebrate? “I went to Rotary … and I’ll let the evening unfold”. He did note that the celebration would “probably not be up to my expectations”.

On Friday Jessica McKnight debuted as the perky new Finemaster, and she hit up Hal Fitzpatrick. Hal’s photo was in the paper as he held a bag of oranges he had received at the Senior Dining Center. “You got some oranges,” asked Jessica, “and you got your picture in the paper?” Oh yeah, and he got a $20 recognition.

Harry Johnson was recognized, not for his profession, but for his lack (kinda) of one. Harry recently retired, noting (alliteratively) hat “It’s a way to make my lackadaisical, loping lifestyle legitimate.”

Rob McBeth had the misfortune of being in the paper the day before our meeting. “You go to one meeting, spout off, and you’re in the paper,” he said. And, of course, you’re fined.

We already knew about Jason White’s recent appointment as the new Athletic Director at St. Bernard High School. But he too made the paper – the front page of the Times-Standard Sports section on June 27th. Jessica asked, “How’s the new job going?” “It’s a lot of work,” replied Jason.

Another Athletic Director – Dan Collen – was caught napping, or at least lying down on the job. Dan was on his deck, field testing a lounge when a fellow Sunriser drove by, calling out, “Dan – are you going to the social?” Dan had forgotten (momentarily, I’m sure) about the reception for District Governor Ed, but he hopped right up and drove up the hill to Julie V-E’s.

Amy Bohner’s Alchemy Construction was featured in last Thursday’s Times-Standard along with Hal (but on a different page). The article recognized the company as a local leader in “Green Construction”. Amy said that they have just finished work at Jacoby Creek School,
installing radiant heat in the walls, and she spoke of another project where a propane boiler was converted to use waste vegetable oil as its fuel. To see the article online, click here.

The next Adopt-a-Highway foray is scheduled for this Sunday, July 20th. Remember, Scott Heller buys the first round at the Plaza Grill when it’s over.

President Mark said that the Eureka Rotary will host a golf tournament on Thursday, July 31st. If you’re interested, see Mark for details.

Assistant Governor Cindy Denbo, of the Rotary Club of Southwest Eureka, says that “everyone has a story”. Some stories are more compelling than others. When a person has been a fighter pilot with the US Marines, a Chief Pilot for Pan Am World Airways, and has been married for nearly half a century, you can be sure that person has an interesting story. Ed Fullerton certainly does.

Ed joined Rotary at the invitation of a friend. When his wife Carol asked about the club (the Rotary Club of Petaluma), Ed was able to say that “they have lunches and great fellowship”. When he told her that if he joined, he would be attending weekly meetings, Carol was all for it. Ed was retired, and he says that Carol favored any activity that got him out from underfoot.

The goals and actions of Rotary resonated with Ed. As a young boy during World War II, he was impressed with “all of those people going off to serve their country”. Later, as a junior in high school, he was assigned to write about a career goal. Until then, Ed had been taking agriculture classes, and when his counselor looked at what he had written, he scoffed. Ed had said that he wanted to become a pilot. The counselor said to try again, but this time he should write about something Ed could actually achieve. Through the rest of the class period, Ed grew more upset, and he went on to change his class schedule to a college prep program, and he became that fighter pilot and more.

Ed spent ten years at El Toro Air Station as a pilot and as an instructor. It was there that he met his bride-to-be Carol, “at the top of a ladder”, with both looking into the cockpit. “Can I help you?” Ed offered. “I don’t think so,” Carol replied.

When Ed left the Marine Corps, he joined Pan Am, which was then the premier airline in the US. He was with Pan Am for 27 years, working first as a navigator. He recalled that the main tool of the navigator in those pre-GPS days was the compass. “Rotary has a compass, too,” he mused. “The Four-Way Test. It has four major points, just like a compass, and it can help guide you.”

Ed was ultimately promoted to Pan Am’s Chief Pilot, based in New York. It was a difficult job for him at first. He was concerned about his ability to make sure that all the planes and pilots were under his control. But he relaxed when he realized that the job was not about controlling the pilots, it was about allowing the pilots to do their jobs, and supporting their work. He sees his role as District Governor similarly – he doesn’t have to run the clubs. He is there to help make the job of getting things done easier.

Our Rotary International President for 2008-2009 is D.K. Lee, from Seoul, Korea. Ed told us that D.K. is a “capable, good leader”, who has asked us to meet some ambitious goals:

  • Each club should realize a net 10% increase in membership
  • All Rotarians should take a hard look at child mortality in the world, and act to reduce it in some way
  • Continue the campaign against polio, with each club contributing $1,000 per year over the next three years
For his part, Ed would like each of us to contribute $200 to the Rotary Foundation this year. Expanding on President Lee’s theme of child mortality, Ed would also like to see us “do something to save one child’s life” this year. “Our mission [as Rotarians] is to relieve human suffering,” he said. How better to accomplish that … and then do it again …


From left:

  • Cammy and Mark Burtchett
  • Ed and Carol Fullerton
  • Cindy Denbo