The word “stimulus” is in the air these days. To some it means a paltry amount of money “magically” received in the mail designed to encourage spending so as to “stimulate” the economy. That kind of stimulus loses its luster once it is realized that the ultimate source of the “public” funds is one’s own pocket (with far more extracted than returned). To others it means something at once more realistic and inspirational, an appeal to the heart to genuinely help a fellow human being, i.e., the purpose of service clubs such as Rotary.
On July 10, as Arcadia Rotarians gathered for their first weekly meeting under their new leadership, they found themselves welcomed by leadership team members wearing baseball caps. A glance underneath each visor revealed the face of a fellow Rotarian, one of the new officers or directors. This was a harbinger of the program to come.
First, our new President Imy Dulake asked the Red Badge members to come up to the podium. There each was given a letter of the alphabet to hold. Then they were asked to arrange themselves in such a manner as to spell the word “stimulus.”
Next the word “stimulus” was dissected into its component parts. As Imy explained, each letter represented the following words: “S” for “Stand” (resolve to “stand with Rotary”);”T” for “Time” (dedicated to Rotarian service); “I” for “Integrity” (required for effective leadership); “M” for “Membership” (strength in numbers); “U” for “Useful” (making the service valuable to the community); “L” for “Love” (motivation to help others); “U” for “Understanding” (providing direction); “S” for “Service” (the purpose of Rotary).
The five fingers on Rotary’s symbolic helping hand include the thumb (local service), the second finger (extending service to other communities), the third or tallest finger (the necessity of leadership), the fourth and weakest finger (reaching out) and the fifth finger (one’s self). Thus, the future of Rotary is in the hands of each of its members.
Next on the screen appeared a human pyramid. At the top was an image of President Imy standing on the backs of the officers. Holding up the officers in turn were the directors. At the base of the pyramid, supporting the directors was the club’s executive secretary Barbara Barnes whose many duties were represented by multiple images of her.
This led to the parties depicted explaining their respective functions.
Executive Secretary: Barbara Barnes is the keeper of the master calendar. She theatrically portrayed a typical day at Rotary headquarters: problems with the computer (calling Jack McRae for help); answering the phone (“Good afternoon, Rotary”) and dishing out a wide spectrum of information to disparate callers; performing various office duties; and transporting materials to weekly meetings.
President Elect: Matt Weaver assists President Imy Dulake in carrying out her ambitious agenda, including, inter alia, the water project in Thailand.
Vice President for Club Service: Brad Miller described himself as “the slave of Imy.” Brad then proceeded to slavishly interrogate Imy as to her knowledge of the “Four Way Test” (thereby assisting her in the memorization process).
Treasurer: Gerard Tamparong is in charge of managing Rotary finances, charging members for meals and club dues. This was a tough year for the club financially. However, thanks to the efforts of Jack McRae we were able to cut expenses and raise money at the annual “Pot of Gold” event. Nevertheless, the club did have to dip into its reserves. Members were invited to attend Board meetings for greater detail as to club finances.
Secretary: Jack Lamb keeps the meeting attendance records which he reports to the district on a monthly basis. Arcadia Rotary has the highest per cent attendance of any club within the district. Jack urged the members to keep him informed as to make-ups so that he can give them appropriate credit.
Past President: Bruce McCallum was absent, but represented by Imy wearing her Uncle Sam hat. She explained that this time Bruce could be found on the golf course.
Youth Services Director: Al Laghab invited the children present to stand. He then told of a girl in Manila who had to earn money to support her family. Rotary took her under its wing, sponsoring her college education. She is now a neuro-surgeon and President of the Rotary Club in Manila. Al also noted Rotary’s local youth projects at Camp Trask and RYLA.
International Services Director: Frank Hall observed that of the million some Rotarians around the world, over half reside outside the United States. Rotary International has a program of matching grants with local clubs to assist them in international projects. Frank noted various international efforts involving Arcadia Rotary. Rotary Amigos is a project started by Dick Martinez to make improvements to orphanages in Tijuana. Brad Miller has a project to help Maoris in New Zealand preserve their tribal heritage. Al Laghab heads a project to provide hearing aids to persons in Tijuana who are hard of hearing. In addition, there is the Thailand water project. Finally, there are youth exchange students under Rotary sponsorship.
Community Services Director: Tony Parrille listed some of Arcadia Rotary’s community projects. Eric Barter headed up a project to provide Bar-B-Que meals to families of cancer patients at Ronald MacDonald House (across from Pasadena’s Huntington Hospital). Other Rotarians wrote to military personnel stationed in Iraq (via Soldier’s Angels, etc.). This past year Arcadia Rotary honored the “Teacher of the Month” and “Police and Firemen of the Year”. Mary Salcedo was in charge of a “Salute to Seniors” project. In addition Rotary organized the annual Spring breakfast at the Community Center, which this year featured as speaker radio talk-show host Dr. Laura Schlesinger.
Environmental Services Director: John Davis noted Arcadia Rotary’s environmental projects such as improvements made at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and at Camp Trask.
Vocational Services Director: Mimi Hennessy was absent, but represented by Nancy Nien. Nancy listed such vocational events as the Dan Stover Musical Contest, the George R. Hensel Ethics Essay Contest, the teacher mini-grants to enable teachers to provide their pupils with special types of lessons, and the Four-Way Speech Contest.
Membership Services Director: Sho Tay urged every Rotarian to try to bring at least one new person into Rotary, by inviting them to join them as guests at the weekly meetings.
Taking her cue from the politically-stimulated California state budget crisis, President Imy Dulake then closed the meeting by offering each of the speakers an “I.O.U.” instead of the usual speaker’s gift.
Nevertheless, by the time that they left the gathering, Rotarians realized that they had experienced a genuine stimulus.