August 26, 2016 – Foundation Final Friday!

2016-17 Rotary Theme

This Friday’s Program:
On Friday, September 2nd, we are dark (no meeting), but on the following Friday (September 9th), we will hear all about insects in Humboldt County!

RISE Calendar … “Rotary Involvement Strengthens Everyone
September 2 – We will be dark (no Friday meeting) in honor of Labor Day Weekend
September 10 – District 5130 Membership Seminar, at the Eel River Multi-Generational Center in Fortuna –  8:00 to 11:30 am
September 10 – District 5130 Foundation Seminar at the Eel River Multi-Generational Center in Fortuna – 12:30 to 3:00 pm
September 11 -“Out of the Darkness” Suicide Awareness Walk – meet at the Arcata Plaza at 9 am
October 18-26 – Opportunity to travel to Nigeria to help fight polio and attend the West Africa Project Fair! Check your email for details, or contact Howard Tours in Oakland (800-475-2260).

A Blast From the Past!

Last Friday, President Susan was on the road, so she asked Bob Johnson, who served as RCAS President during the 1995-1996 Rotary Year. Bob had unearthed an agenda from that year for us to follow (loosely), so we stepped into the Wayback Machine and emerged on August 25, 1995 …

Acting Prez Bob with the 1995 Agenda!
Acting Prez Bob with the 1995 Agenda!

Bob noted that it was “Fry Day”, a day to catch up on recognitions. In those days, a fine generally accompanied the recognition, and President Bob had set up the “Rat Line” to allow Sunrisers to snitch on their fellow members (and to rat themselves out, on occasion). Bob noted that our guests for the day included Tom Stokes and Tracie Alberg, and we exchanged Rotary banners with somebody, which involved gifts from Holly Yashi (provided by then-Sunriser Catherine Andrews). This was followed by the Sunshine Report – a weekly update on Rotarians who were under the weather.

“What a day for a picnic,” Bob read. He thanked Bob and Colleen Mullery (Colleen was our Club’s second President). The thanks included Dave Myers and Hal Fitzpatrick, both of whom have since passed away. Stacey Douglas and her parents provided the barbecue, while Craig Newman supplied the music.

Notes from the Board Meeting of August 23, 1995 showed that we accepted the resignation of Kim Kellenberg, and Rosemary Edmiston’s request for a leave of absence. Club Treasurer Jeff “The Check’s In The Mail” Dickey reported that half of our Club Members had paid their dues. The report from the “Crabs and Rotary” fundraising golf tournament showed that $6,500 had been raised to support the Redwood Regional Rotary Disaster Relief Fund and Humboldt Crabs Youth Baseball Camp scholarships. Sunrisers who participated were Harry Johnson, Don Anderson, Cam Appleton, Stacey Douglas, Dan Johnson, Dick Johnson, and Craig Newman. Many more Club Members also donated items for the auction. The Board also renewed its financial commitment to the annual Rotary Float in the Rose Parade.

Committee news included an announcement that Lee Simmons would be conducting a meeting of the Vocational Awareness Committee immediately following the Club Meeting. Lee was a Charter Sunriser who has since passed away. Lee and his fellow musicians provided live entertainment for many years at our Taste of the Holiday fundraisers. He was in charge of personnel at Humboldt State University, and a great guy. Bob noted that Lee was the first person to invite Bob to a Rotary meeting. Bob was scheduled to host a meeting of the “Brewers and Vintners Appreciation Committee” at the Plaza Grill on “Fry Day” evening. The topic to be discussed was the 1995 Taste of the Holidays Fundraiser.

Bob also announced our next “Massive Makeup Meeting”, which was to take place the following Tuesday at the Old Town Eureka Rotary. This was part of an effort to help Red Badgers who might not feel comfortable going alone to a make-up at another Club.

Joyce’s Craft Talk Revisited

On Bob’s agenda was a Craft Talk by Joyce Hinrichs. Since she was in attendance last Friday, she provided an update, 21 years later. “In 1995, I was an attorney,” she told us. “Then in 1997, I was hired by the courts to be their commissioner.” She was the first Child Support Commissioner in Humboldt County, and she was later assigned to Family Law, where she served for 11½ years. In 2009, Joyce was elected to serve as a Superior Court Judge, following the retirement of J. Michael Brown. Joyce is currently the Presiding Judge of Humboldt County Superior Court, which means that she is in charge of the Grand Jury and of the court officers. She noted that the courts are working to change many aspects of the system, including improving staff morale and revamping jury service.

Joyce also talked about her two daughters, noting that in 1995, “they were very little, now they’re big.” Kayla started law school, and she realizes that Joyce works a lot harder than she thought when she was younger! Her other daughter Lacey is working to become a nurse practitioner, so she is looking to enter a masters program soon.

A.J.’s Craft Talk and the New Blue Crew!

When we returned to 2016, we heard from one of our newer members – A.J. Gonzales, for his Craft Talk!

A.J. told us that the reason he became a Rotarian and a banker stems from his experiences when he was young and his father was a diplomat. The family traveled a lot, and every three or four years, he would find himself in a new country. It could be Asia or South America, but wherever he went, he gained an appreciation for the culture, and he also grew to realize the needs that are out there in the world. He saw abject poverty as well as opulent Hong Kong skyrises and much of the world in between. This led him to develop a deep respect for people as individuals, whatever their circumstance.

A.J. Gonzales
A.J. Gonzales

A.J. came here to attend Humboldt State, where he earned his degree in Environmental Science. While he was in school, he got a job as a teller, which led to his career in banking. The environment is still a passion for him, though. “I can appreciate the technology that is developing, and the need for alternative ways of acquiring energy.”


But his career as a banker led him into management, first at Bank of America, both in Eureka and Arcata, and now at the local Umpqua Bank store, where he has been for over 1½ years. He enjoys banking, since it allows him to help others reduce their debt, purchase a home, or establish credit. He tries to pass on that enthusiasm to his associates, and he had nothing but praise for his team at Umpqua. He noted that the world of banking has changed a lot with the advent of the internet, and he and his staff continue to work to help their customers.

Amy Jester is A.J.’s significant other, and she works at the Humboldt Area Foundation, “so we both found jobs that have to do with finance” and helping others. And although he misses his family in Southern California, he and Amy love it here. “I love the peace and quiet and the small community up here,” he told us. And he is excited to be a member of our Club, which provides another way to contribute locally.

With his Craft Talk, A.J. completed the last of his requirements to earn his Blue Badge, which Bob presented to him. But he wasn’t the only new Blue Badger – Deb Engs also traded in her Red Badge, and our Exchange Student Judy (Chen Yi Ting) received her new Blue Badge as well!

Judy’s Week in Review

While Judy was up getting her new badge, Bob informed her that we have a tradition of hearing from our Inbound Exchange Students about their week. Judy’s response was something like, “Oooh!” But she was game, and she told us that she had attended orientation at Arcata High the day before. She said that she was both excited and nervous, and she met a lot of new people. We’re looking forward to hearing about her classes when at our next meeting on September 9th.

Sylvie Provides an Update

Sylvie Leppig was our Outbound Exchange Student to Belgium for the 2014-2015 Rotary Year, and she visited to tell us about her first year of college. She is attending the University of Victoria in British Columbia, where she is studying neuropsychology. “I don’t know where I’m going with that yet,” she told us, “but so far, it’s been great.”

Sylvie Leppig
Sylvie Leppig

Over this summer, she worked in the Rocky Mountains in British Columbia. She worked at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort, which is not far from Calgary. She said that she held five jobs, “which was a lotta, lotta work!” When she did get time off, she traveled around Canada and Montana, doing a lot of backpacking and camping. “It was a great summer,” she said, “and I’m happy to be home for a few days, and then back to school for another year.” She is also preparing for a study abroad program through her school. Sylvie is debating between New Zealand and Spain.

Paul Harris Fellowship Update

Foundation Chair Terri Clark distributed some “hardware”, as described by Bob Johnson. I think Terri’s preferred term is “bling”. Call it what you will, because what it symbolizes is the important part. A person becomes a Paul Harris Fellow when he or she contributes $1,000 to the Rotary Foundation, or that amount is donated in their honor. Many Rotarians make several laps around the track, and our Club has a good share of those generous folks. And these “lappers” were honored last week: Jessica McKnight is a two-time Paul Harris Fellow, Matt Babich is a six-time PHF, and Joyce Hinrichs (who is always a generous participant in our Final Friday Auctions) has seven Paul Harris Fellowships to her credit. Thanks to these three and to all of you who donate to the great work that the Rotary Foundation does in our names!

Final Friday Foundation Auction

We held our Final Friday Auction, where all of the proceeds are donated to the Rotary Foundation. As always, we had an enticing selection of packages up for bid. Here is a list of items, donors, and purchasers:

  • Lori Breyer’s contribution was a basket containing brownies, an item from Fire & Light, macadamia nuts, and other goodies. Janice Newman was the top bidder.
  • Dick Johnson offered two pairs of tickets to two separate events that took place the following night. The tickets for the Southwest Rotary’s Fish Feed were purchased by Bob Johnson, and the tickets for a performance by comedian Will Durst were sold to Tami Camper.
  • Maggie Kraft donated two vintage Four-Way Test posters, but these were retained by the Club for future use.
  • John Richmond provided some smooooooooooth whisky that he personally vouched for. (Please note that I missed the name on the bottle and that I may have shorted the smoothness of the potent potable by several o’s.) Maggie Kraft will enjoy sippin’ that hooch, as she outbid the competition.
  • A fully-equipped margarita kit in a gift bag was supplied by Cam Appleton. The contents will be assembled into a delightful concoction by Lori Breyer, who cast the winning bid.

Thanks to all the donors and purchasers – your contributions will be used wisely by the Rotary Foundation!


Brother Bob!

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