Volume XIII, Issue 39: May 6, 2016

Coming Distractions …
May 14 – Help package incoming food for the Letter Carriers Food Drive – Noon to 2 pm at Trinity Baptist Church
May 22 – “A Taste of Italy”- Authentic Italian cuisine prepared by an authentic Italian – Exchange Student Alessandro Sarris! At the Lutheran Church in Arcata at 5 pm 
May 29-June 1 – RI Conference in Seoul, South Korea 
June 11 – RISE EVENT – Rotaract Color Run
June 18 – RISE EVENT – 26th Arcata Oyster Festival – providing beer to the thirsty
July 4RISE EVENT – Independence Day on the Plaza – volunteer at the RCAS Family Comfort Station
July 9RISE EVENT – Friends of the Dunes’ Sand Sculpture Festival
July 16 – Opening of the World War II Memorial at the Airport

RISE = Rotary Involvement Strengthens Everyone 

Sunriser Shorts

  • If you’re not busy this Sunday from 12 to 2 pm, you can help the annual Letter Carriers Food Drive at Trinity Baptist Church (across from Murphy’s Westwood Market). Please contact Carol Vander Meer to let her know you’re coming.
  • Alessandro Sarris, the Arcata Noon Rotary Exchange Student, dropped in to let us know that he will be hosting “A Taste of Italy” – a dinner to help him raise funds for next month’s Rotary Western Safari Trip. The event will be held on Sunday, May 22nd at the Lutheran Church on 16th Street in Arcata (just off Union Street near HSU). Tickets are $25 per adult and $15 for students or children. If you can’t make the event but want to help Alessandro’s cause, visit his GoFundMe page to make a donation. 

Vocational Moment 
Maggie Kraft is the Executive Director of the Area 1 Agency on Aging. She told us that they have about six different programs for seniors, and she is currently in the throes of developing a budget for the organization to keep those programs healthy. Last weekend, the Agency had an Art Show fundraiser in conjunction with Arts Alive.

One of their programs assists seniors organize and declutter their homes, and it also helps them move, if that is their plan. For those who stay in their homes, the program also helps them ensure that the residence is as safe as it can be. Maggie said that the program is a lot of fun for her and her staff.

Speaking of staff, A1AA has about 20 employees – half full-time and half part-time – “and lots of volunteers”.

Committee Report   
Randy Mendosa presented a report from the Financial Assistance Committee. The programs supported by the Committee (so far) include:

  • Gray Matters: We donated to the A1AA volunteer driver program, supporting the health and well-being of local seniors.
  • Rising Stars Foundation: We helped local students attend the State Science Fair. Our $500 donation made our Club a “Major Sponsor”for the event.
  • Fieldbrook Volunteer Fire Department: We provided funding for an Automated External Defibrillator (AED), with pads for adults as well as for children. (Randy told us that one of his friends was recently in full cardiac arrest, and was saved because an AED was available!)
  •  Boys & Girls Club: Our Club donated to the organization’s Camp Odyssey, which plans to serve 30 Arcata area kids, many of whom score low in science and math. The Camp focuses on those subjects, helps the young people develop habits that will help them achieve academic success, and fosters good citizenship values.
  • KEET-TV: We once again supported the Homework Hotline, in cooperation with other Rotary Clubs in Humboldt and Del Norte Counties.
  • Redwood Writing Project: We provided funds for scholarships to their Young Writers Camp at HSU. These scholarships (full or partial) will be awarded based on need and availability.

Randy thanked the Club for providing the funding for the Committee, and for suggesting worthy projects and ideas.

Helping Haiti   
President Howard introduced our Featured Speaker, Dr. Andrew Hooper, noting that Andrew has made several humanitarian trips to Haiti. He first traveled there in 2010, to see what he could do to help following the devastating earthquake that year. Dr. Hooper is a General Practitioner with the Open Door Community Health Center, and his prior experience included treating emergency room patients.

Andrew strives to ensure that the donations his organization receives are used as efficiently as possible. Andrew’s work is based in Lascahobas, a rural commune located near the border with the Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispanola with Haiti. 

In addition to the medical assistance the group provides, they are also working to build a kitchen for the local school. The addition will allow the school to provide hot lunches for its students. Eventually, they hope to add a second story, which will add capacity and allow more students to attend. The new construction is well-reinforced, to allow the school to withstand future quakes. All of the work is being performed by Haitian contractors. Our Club has helped provide books for the school.

Andrew said that, although Haiti is only 90 minutes from Miami by air, they are like two separate worlds. Haiti is even closer to Cuba, which supplied about half of the medical support in the early days following the earthquake.

The Haiti earthquake was devastating. It was strong, weighing in at a magnitude of 7.0, and it was a shallow quake. This combination would have been damaging even if the buildings were better reinforced. The poorly built structures in the area were no match for the power of the quake. Even in 2013, three years after the disaster, only about half of the rubble had been cleared.

Dr. Andrew Hooper

When Andrew heard about the earthquake, he wanted to help. He boarded a plane and found the only hospital that was still operational – the Hospital Adventiste in a suburb of Port-au-Prince. He arrived in a country that had serious existing public health issues before the earthquake hit. 

The medical personnel who were in place when Andrew arrived told him that they were looking for someone who was a generalist. When he told them that he was a family practitioner with ER experience, they put him in charge.He protested, “But I don’t know what I’m doing.” He was told, “That’s fine.” 

His first day took the form of an outreach clinic. He and his team of 20-30 practitioners saw about 900 patients that day alone. Andrew said that they also held clinics at the Mission House. These sessions were more effective, although they would still see about 300 patients. The medical personnel came from all over the world. 

They also made the rounds to orphanages in the area. One of the most important treatments they offered was to rid the children of parasitic worms. Once they were free of the worms, the kids would have higher red blood cell counts, which meant that nutrients were no longer being scavenged by the parasites. 

Andrew has returned several times, but as the funds began to dry up, he aligned himself with Upward Bound Ministries, of Haiti a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, founded by a Haitian-American couple, Ronald and Marjorie Magloire. 

Following his presentation, we presented a check to Andrew, reimbursing him for textbooks he purchased and provided to the school. 

Andrew receives a reimbursement check from John Gullam

 Flash Recognitions  

  • Terri Clark is “more than counting the days” until her impending retirement (this Friday?). People keep asking her what she plans to do first. She told us that she took a “Before” photo of her linen closet, which she plans to organize. “Right now,” Terri told us, “when I open the door, stuff falls on my feet. I hope there’s not a family of mice living in the back corner.” The best advice she has received is to say “No” to everything for the first six months, so that’s her plan.
  • Bryan Reeser spent a week in Baja recently. His family traveled there with another family, for a total of “nine people running around”. It was a relaxing trip, he said.
  • Mary Crow didn’t want to brag, but that’s why we have parents. Rebecca told us that, since Mary sold 750 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies, she won some prizes. One of those was the opportunity to go on a ropes course and zipline in the woods outside Marin. She will also be doing an overnight in Levis Stadium soon. 
  • Romi Hitchcock Tinseth’s daughter Zoe is an International Studies major, and she is wrapping up her finals in Querétaro, Mexico. “She’s ready to come back and change the world,” Romi said. By the way, Romi was smiling just a bit as she said this.