Volume XII, Issue 42: May 15, 2015

On The Calendar
May 21RISE EVENT! – Rotary Park Grand Opening!! 
May 29-30:  RCAS Board Retreat
May 31RISE EVENT! – Kids, Crabs, and Rotary at the Arcata Ballpark 
June 2-9:  Rotary International Convention – São Paulo, Brazil
June 12-13SWOT Project!!! Painting the Night Shelter
June 20:  Oyster Festival Beer Booth
July 4RISE EVENT! – Arcata Plaza Fourth of July Celebration

On May 4th, a garden at the Arcata Chamber of Commerce and California Welcome Center was dedicated to the memory of Kevin Ebbert, who was killed in Afghanistan while serving as a Navy Seal. Kevin’s mother, Charlie Jordan, helped select the plants for the lovely tribute to a fallen hero.

Kevin’s Garden

President-Elect Howard Stauffer was enthusiastic about the previous week’s Fireside Meetings. He thanked hosts Lisa and Chris Hemphill, Scott Heller and Robin Meiggs, Bob and Susan Johnson, and Matt Babich for opening their homes (and in Matt’s case, the Ingomar Club) to us. Of the 37 Sunrisers who attended the meetings, 34 said that they wanted our Club’s size to remain about the same (we’re currently at 60 members). Howard also said that he received quite a few good suggestions for SWOT Projects.

We have several important things happening before President Barbara relinquishes the gavel. We will be seeing the last Selfies of her year on May 29th (Final Friday). Get your mug to Barbara for the chance to win $100 toward your next Paul Harris Fellowship. And be ready to sling some brews on June 20th, when we staff a beer booth at the Oyster Festival. For more immediate action, this Thursday (May 21), will be the Grand Re-Opening of Rotary Park. The ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for 4 pm.

Exchange Student Mozara Abdalla is looking forward to Memorial Day weekend; she has two friends coming up from Santa Rosa to visit. We also learned that host dad Stan Elcock put her to work stacking firewood recently. She told us that it was fun, though – “It’s good exercise!” So President Barbara picked “lenha” as Mozara’s Word of the Day – it means “firewood”.

A Craft Talk Two-fer!
Last Friday, we received a double Craft Talk, as Chris and Lisa Hemphill told us how they came to become Sunrisers.

Lisa was part of a family of seven children – four boys and three girls. Her father sold promotional products to businesses and her mother was an elevator operator, who was a single mom prior to their marriage. Lisa’s father adopted the older children. When Lisa was three, the family moved from El Cerrito to Redding. They moved again about nine years later, eventually settling in Oakland near Lake Merritt in 1968. Her parents’ relationship was not going well, and the couple divorced not long after the move. 

Chris was born in Columbus, Ohio on April 20th. (“I won’t tell you what year,” he said, “but it’s really nice that this town throws a party for me every year!”) 

Chris was the youngest of four children. His father taught at Ohio State, but when he went to work for ETS (the people who brought you the SAT), the family moved to Princeton, New Jersey. His mother was a child psychologist who operated the state home for girls in Trenton. 

In 1966, the family crossed the country to move to Oakland. Chris had some iconic late-sixties experiences – visiting the Native Americans who occupied Alcatraz Island, cutting school to visit People’s Park in Berkeley, and attending the ill-fated concert at Altamont Speedway. He graduated from high school in 1973.

Lisa’s mom pulled her out of public school, so she attended St. Elizabeth High School in Oakland. It was a long bus ride, and one of her friends who shared the bus was a guy named Joe, who turned out to be Chris’s best friend. During high school, Lisa performed in school plays, and she attended the Friday night dances. Those dances featured bands such as Chicago, Santana, and Tower of Power. 

After Lisa graduated in 1972, she realized that she would have to work rather than go to college. Eventually, she was able to attend Heald Business College, which led to a position as a receptionist in a doctor’s office. 

Chris tried higher education, but “Junior College was a bust for me”. He became a distribution manager for the Oakland Tribune, and he also worked in construction. One day, an attractive woman walked by when Chris was talking with his best friend (Joe?). He said, “Who’s that?”, and his friend said, “That’s Lisa.”

Shamelessly Lifted from Facebook

What really brought them together was the night in 1980 that Lisa was at a bar, and a friend from school started hitting on her. Seeking a means of escape, “I saw Chris across the room, and I asked him if he would pretend that we were together.” Chris may not be that good at pretending – five months later, they were married. “We’ve been married now for almost 35 years,” Lisa said, “and he still gives me the chills.”

The couple had their first son, Christopher, about two years later. He attended local schools in San Ramon, and then went to the University of Colorado. He earned a degree in Business, and he now works for Salesforce.com.

Nick, the couple’s younger son, just graduated from Humboldt State with a degree in Art. He’s the one who introduced them to our community. They visited Nick many times over the past several years, and they came to realize that they wanted to make it their home. 

Welcome Steve!
Last Friday, we welcomed Steve McHaney into our Club. He’s a new Sunriser, but an experienced Rotarian. He joined the Eureka Rotary in 2002. Steve and his wife Patty have four children – twins Westin and Carson, who are 17, 16-year old daughter Zhanna, and Kristina, who is 14. 

Steve likes music, backpacking, biking, and kinetics. He holds a degree in Engineering from HSU, and he has worked for GHD (formerly Winzler & Kelly) since 1995. His sponsor, Rebecca Crow, was unable to attend last Friday’s meeting, but her face made an appearance.

Steve with “Rebecca”

Helping Nepal Post-Quake
Our Featured Speaker last Friday was Neal Carnam, a member of the Eureka Rotary. Neal and Dave Creech (a member of the Old Town Eureka Rotary) were in Nepal when the first earthquake hit on April 25th. Upon their return, they were determined to find ways to help those who lost their homes and loved ones.

Neal and Dave began planning their trip about a year ago, and training for it as well. They visited the base camp at Mt. Everest, but their trip to the Annapurna base camp had to be scratched. 

Neal Carnam

They arrived on April 13th, and stayed at local guest houses. The trek took eight days, two of which were “acclimation days”. Everything that is taken to the local villages is carried in. The travelers visited monasteries and other picturesque buildings. Neal said that the villages were very clean. One slide showed a woman sweeping the sidewalk with a hand broom.

Neal and Dave were having lunch in Phakding, about three days from Kathmandu, when the quake hit. “We stood in a door frame,” he said, “and we actually felt pretty safe there until we saw a piece of the wall fall off the second floor.” No one in the guest house was injured, although there was much damage.

A retired engineer, Neal understood better than most how vulnerable the homes and other buildings are. Most construction uses dry stack stone – rock shaped by hand, using hammer and chisel. No mortar is used, which meant that the earthquake hit them particularly hard. 

They then returned to Kathmandu, seeing earthquake devastation on the way back. Temples and homes were badly damaged, and the residents were very frightened. Most slept outside in the streets to avoid being trapped by aftershocks.

They learned later that the Everest base camp was hit by a devastating avalanche that destroyed the tent they had stayed in a few days before. Neal said that the avalanche dropped several hundred feet and “exploded” upon impact.

Neal and Dave have set up a fund to raise money for the guest house at Phakding they had stayed in, and to help the families of two sherpa cooks who had hiked in with them, but who died at the base camp. They are working to set up an International Service Project, partnering with a Rotary Club in Nepal. If you would like to contribute, please send a check to:

Old Town Rotary
P.O. Box 87
Eureka, CA 95502
Make your check payable to 
“Redwood Capital Bank — Old Town Rotary”