Rotary Club of Homer-Kachemak Bay



Club Information

Welcome to the Rotary Club of Homer-Kachemak Bay - Celebrating Over 30 Years Serving Homer and Abroad

Homer-Kachemak Bay

Four Way Test: True, Fair, Goodwill & Beneficial to All

We meet Thursdays at 12:00 PM
Best Western Bidarka Inn
575 Sterling Hwy
PO Box 377
Homer, AK  99603
United States
District Site
Venue Map
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Peterson Bay Picnic
July 23, 2016
Unless we have some extreme weather conditions the Peterson Bay Family Picnic is a go for Saturday, July 23. We hope it will be a fun and positive experience for the entire family. Following are a few thoughts and considerations about our picnic across the bay:
1)   The beach and trail conditions in Peterson Bay are rocky, slippery and uneven. Please wear sturdy shoes and take care when navigating the area. We are hoping for sun but bringing rain gear is advised.
2)   The house and grounds are located on a cliff above the beach and special attention should be paid to children navigating the stairs and stair decks.
3)   The beach, yard and hillside are open to play and exploration, however all children and adults are to stay away from the cliff area.   
4)    All children must be under direct parental supervision at all times!
Water, crystal light, ice and coffee will be provided at the picnic site. In addition to the salads, sides and desserts guests are bringing to the picnic Rotarians will also be grilling hamburgers and hot dogs provided by the Rotary. If you wish something different to eat or drink please feel free to bring it to the party.
Please follow Sharon’s directions for loading the boats … 10:00 AM Departure from the boat launch ramp. Be there NO LATER THAN 9:45 AM, please.
See you on Saturday … we look forward to lots of laughter and good cheer no matter what the weather, but sunshine would be great!!!

Monday, June 11th saw the day that our 2015-2016 Rotary Exchange Student, Karoline, departed for home.  It was both a happy and a sad occasion.  Happy because she gets to go back home and be with her friends and family, and sad because she, as one of our finest exchange students and an absolutely wonderful person and Rotary Ambassador, is going out of our lives, at least for a time.  We wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors, and hope to see you again!
Karoline and Summer, one of next year's Outbound Exchange Students at Homer Airport.
Karoline, in her "Southeast Alaska Sneakers" (xTraTufs) says goodbye.
That darn ticket would have to pick NOW to hide!
Bye, Bye!
Have a Wonderful Trip!

A thank you gift from Summer McGwire, one of our Outbound Rotary Exchange Students, who is actually being sponsored by the Seward Rotary Club.


Altruism: Individual serving

Illustration by Dave Cutler

From the of The Rotarian

The sun rises on a new school day. In rural Ganguli, India, 450 students climb aboard school buses. Five years ago they couldn’t have gone to school because the distance from their village was too far to walk.

In San Agustín, Ecuador, students used to attend classes in the town morgue when it rained, because their school had no roof. Since 2012, hundreds of children there have learned to read and write in a real classroom.

Quietly orchestrating these and other projects was Vasanth Prabhu, a member of the Rotary Club of Central Chester County (Lionville), Pa. When he was growing up in India, education was not free, and he saw how hard his father worked to pay for schooling for eight children. Understanding how school can change a person’s life keeps Prabhu working to provide education to those with no access to it, he says.

“I feel that everyone is a diamond in the rough,” he says. “But it must be cut and polished to show its brilliance.” So instead of spending his money on luxuries, he is using it to bring out that brilliance.

There are three ways we can deal with enormous problems and our emotional responses to them. We can let them overcome us until we feel too paralyzed to act. We can bury our heads in the sand. Or we can act. And when we help others, we often find that we benefit as well.

“Taking action allows me to exercise passion,” Prabhu says, “to give it a good place to go.”

James Doty, director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University, wrote Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon’s Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart. “We’re adapted to recognize suffering and pain; for us to respond is hard-wired into our brain’s pleasure centers,” says Doty. “We receive oxytocin or dopamine bursts that result in increased blood flow to our reward centers. In short, we feel good when we help.”

Caring for others brings other benefits, too. “When we engage in activities that help, it also results in lowering our blood pressure and heart rate,” he notes. Research shows that it can help us live longer. And the good deeds we do can inspire others.

On the flip side, Doty says, “People can create mistrust or fear by implying that another group is threatening our safety. When that happens, fear or anxiety makes us want to withdraw into our own group and not care for others. Hormones are released that are detrimental to long-term health. But generally speaking, most people will be kind and compassionate to other people.”

For years, Peggy Callahan has told stories that are hard to hear. A documentary producer covering social justice issues, she’s also a co-founder of two nonprofits working to help people who are enslaved or caught in human trafficking. But perhaps paradoxically, her difficult work brings her happiness, and, thanks to neuroscience research, she understands why. “When you do an act of good, you get a neurotransmitter ‘drop’ in your brain that makes you happy,” she says. And there’s a multiplier effect: “Someone who witnesses that act also experiences that, and remembering that act makes it happen all over again.” She wondered how she could leverage that.

The result was Anonymous Good, a virtual community and website where people post stories or photos of acts of kindness they’ve carried out, observed, or received. For each act posted, website sponsors make a donation to feed the hungry, free people who are enslaved, plant a tree for cleaner air, or dig a well for clean water.

“One act of good is much more than simply one act of good,” says Callahan. “It’s part of a much bigger force.”

Like Prabhu and Callahan, P.J. Maddox – a member of the Rotary Club of Dunn Loring-Merrifield, Va. – has felt the joy of tackling issues that seem too big to face. Rotary projects she has supported include funding a nurse-led clinic in war-ravaged rural Nicaragua. She has also mentored and made a Youth Exchange trip possible for a student otherwise unable to participate because of hardships at home.

“Some problems are so complicated and huge, it could be easy to say, ‘Why bother?’” Maddox says. “But in addition to Rotary’s power of collective talents to make something happen, I realized that the outcome of these projects wouldn’t have been what they were if I wasn’t there. I realized that a single human being can change the world.”

As the sun sets around the globe – as students in India head back home on the school bus, as pupils in Ecuador close their books for the day, and as people in many places are well-fed, free, and happy – the world looks a little different. Because one individual extended a hand, there are people newly ready to change the world tomorrow.

Carol Hart Metzker is the author of Facing the Monster: How One Person Can Fight Child Slavery and a member of the E-Club of One World D5240.

The Rotarian


Homer-Kachemak Bay Rotary's new president, Tom Early, accepted his new President pin and introduced his Board and Committee Chairs at our June 30, 2016 meeting.  Check out the pictures of the ceremonies.
2016-2017 President Tom Early Introduces his new Board and Committee Chairs
2016-2017 President Tom Early Presents Plaque to 2015-2016 President Craig Forrest

At the June 30, 2016 meeting, six new and one 2nd time Paul Harris Fellows were introduced to the Homer-Kachemak Bay Club.  They included Joy Steward, Flo Larson, Gayle Forrest, Bob Hartley, Ramona Pearce, Charlie Welles, and second time recipient, Sharon Minsch.  Joy Steward became a Paul Harris Fellow upon a unanimous vote of the Homer-Kachemak Bay Rotary Club Board of Directors in recognition of her many years of support for non-profits and other organizations in the Homer, Alaska area as Executive Director of the Homer Foundation.
Joy Steward, Executive Director of the Homer Foundation, receives her Certificate and Pin as a Paul Harris Fellow from Past District Governor Clyde Boyer.


What you don’t know about the campaign to end polio

Photo Credit: Khaula Jamil

From the of The Rotarian

When was the last time there was polio in Europe? If you guessed 2002, the year the region was certified polio-free, you were wrong. The last time polio affected a child in Europe was last summer. In 2015, two Ukrainian children were diagnosed with paralytic polio, and, given the way the disease manifests itself, that means many more were likely infected and didn’t show symptoms. At least one Western news outlet deemed the outbreak “crazy” – but the reality is that no place on earth is safe from polio until the disease is eradicated everywhere.

Ukraine had fully vaccinated only 50 percent of its children against polio, and low immunization rates are a recipe for an outbreak. In this case, a rare mutation in the weakened strain used in the oral polio vaccine was able to spread because so many children had not been vaccinated. To stop it from progressing, the country needed to administer 5 million to 6 million vaccines through an emergency program. But as recently as March, Ukraine’s ability to do so remained in question.

Finding the occasional case of polio outside Afghanistan and Pakistan, the only countries that have yet to eradicate it, is not unusual. In 2014, just before the World Cup brought travelers from all over the planet to Brazil, the country identified poliovirus in the sewage system at São Paulo’s Viracopos International Airport. Using genetic testing, officials traced its origin to Equatorial Guinea. Brazil’s regular vaccination efforts kept the disease from showing up beyond the airport doors.

Those are frustrating examples for the thousands of people around the world working to eradicate polio. The fight has come a long way, but it is far from over. And while many involved in the effort say we may detect the final naturally occurring case of polio this year, getting to that point – and ensuring that the disease remains gone – will continue to require money, hard work, and the support of Rotarians around the world.

Finding polio

One of the most important aspects of the fight to eradicate polio is detecting where the disease is present. This continuous surveillance is complicated and costly. Ninety percent of people infected with the virus show no symptoms, and those who do usually have mild symptoms such as fever, fatigue, and headaches. Only one in every 200 cases of the illness results in paralysis, which means that for every child with signs of paralysis, several hundred are carrying the disease and may not show it.

But not every case of paralysis is caused by polio. Other viruses that can be responsible for the polio-like symptoms known as acute flaccid paralysis include Japanese encephalitis, West Nile, Guillain-Barré, and Zika. To determine if a patient has polio, doctors must collect a stool specimen and send it to a lab for testing.

To find the patients who don’t present symptoms or don’t make it to a clinic, Rotary and its partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) – the World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – have set up environmental sampling in the areas that are most susceptible to the disease. Fifteen to 20 countries are still at high risk despite having eradicated the illness. Because the poliovirus is most easily detected, and most easily contracted, through stool, researchers take samples from sewage systems and, in places that don’t have sewer infrastructure, from rivers and open gutters.

GPEI has developed a network of 145 laboratories around the world that can identify the disease, and Rotary has played a leading role in supporting these facilities. But regular environmental surveillance is “logistically not so easy to do and it’s relatively expensive. It adds a considerable burden to the labs to process the sewage samples,” says Stephen Cochi, senior adviser to the director, Global Immunization Division, at the CDC. “It costs real money to keep that network operational, and this lab network is the most highly sophisticated, state-of-the-art infectious-disease network in the world. Rotarians should be proud of that – it’s the No. 1 network, bar none.”

As part of this system of labs, Rotary has helped fund smaller, more sophisticated local laboratories that are trying to keep track of the complicated genetic variations of the disease. These labs genetically test the poliovirus to follow how it changes as it spreads. All viruses mutate to confuse the human immune system, but the poliovirus is notorious for doing so at a rapid rate. This makes it easier to track the virus’s genetic changes, though the process, vital to the eradication effort, is expensive and will need continued funding. It was these specialized laboratories that allowed Brazilian authorities to trace the virus they found at their airport to Equatorial Guinea.

“Each virus has a fingerprint,” says Cochi, and that is an essential tool for monitoring how the virus is moving around the world.

Vigilance is key to successful surveillance, says Michel Zaffran, director of polio eradication at WHO. “We need to go and investigate a case of paralysis, take specimens, and analyze it. This level of vigilance needs to continue in all of the places that no longer have polio to make sure we are really without polio. This is a hidden cost to the program that people don’t realize is absolutely necessary to maintain.”

Vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate

The appearance of polio in Ukraine last year is a perfect example of why vaccination campaigns are essential – and not only in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Large-scale vaccinations are an enormous undertaking that require money as well as thousands of volunteers on the ground. And in places where the vaccination programs have been successful, the challenge is now to locate and vaccinate that small percentage of children who have been missed.

The vaccine itself isn’t the biggest expense in a vaccination campaign (in fact, Rotary rarely funds vaccines). It’s the distribution of the vaccine – transportation and staffing, for example – that costs so much. In January, money donated by Rotarians covered the costs of a Cameroun vaccination campaign that involved 34,000 vaccinators and 21,000 rental cars, which volunteers used to canvass neighborhoods and travel from home to home administering the vaccine. Funds also went to more than 3,700 town criers and 45 radio spots in Chad, to more than 14,000 local guides and 500 clan leaders to ensure that the children of nomads were vaccinated in Ethiopia, and to provide training and support for 60,000 community volunteer vaccinators in Afghanistan.

“I think sometimes people don’t realize the scale of what these immunization campaigns are actually like,” says International PolioPlus Committee Chair Michael K. McGovern. “Rotary and its partners have administered 15 billion doses since 2000. We’ve immunized 2.5 billion kids. Repeatedly reaching the kids to raise their immunization levels is very personnel intensive.”

A vaccination campaign is almost mind-bogglingly complex. Rotarians’ contributions  pay for planning by technical experts, large-scale communication efforts to make people aware of the benefits of vaccinations and the dates of the campaign, and support for volunteers to go door to door in large cities as well as in remote areas that may not appear on any map. It sometimes includes overcoming local distrust of government or outsiders and negotiating complicated religious doctrine. And it means trying to understand the movements of nomadic populations or people pushed out of their homes because of unrest. Regardless of how they live their lives, each of these children must be vaccinated. GPEI has addressed some of these issues by setting up vaccination points in highly trafficked transit areas such as train stations or bus depots.

“In northern Nigeria, for example, when there’s unrest, the population tends to move out of dangerous areas,” says WHO’s Zaffran. “So we monitor carefully when a certain area is accessible and when it is not. If Boko Haram was present, we wouldn’t vaccinate, but the minute it was a more quiet situation we’d do a hit and run – a vaccinate and run. Go in for a short time and get out.”

GPEI creates detailed logistical blueprints for vaccination teams, which are constantly refined to ensure that every child is reached. In a process called social mapping, health care workers meet with residents of remote or conflict areas and ask them to draw their area, comparing it with maps and other data to try to find settlements that may have been missed. On top of the challenge of discovering previously unknown villages or the difficulty in ensuring that every house in a city has been visited by volunteers, there’s the complicated task of negotiating the religious or cultural beliefs that might prevent people from agreeing to be vaccinated. This is one of the areas in which Rotary has excelled, as local Rotarians have taken on the task of helping to vaccinate their neighbors.

According to Reza Hossaini, UNICEF’s chief of polio eradication efforts, vaccinators on the ground have developed relationships with local leaders to identify what local people want and need. These relationships have built enough trust to overcome the “hard-core resistance” that vaccinators have met with in the past. But this level of detail in understanding the psychological reasons that a community would be averse to vaccinating requires scientific, technological, and social skill as well as finding vaccinators who meet the specific needs of each community.

After the last case

Even if the last case of polio is identified this year, a huge amount of work will remain to ensure that it stays gone.

Vaccinations will continue and need to be funded. In the areas where polio still exists and many of the areas where it has recently been eradicated, the vaccines contain a weakened live version of the virus, which is much more effective than a killed virus at protecting communities from outbreaks, creating what is known as herd immunity. It’s also less expensive to manufacture and distribute and, because it is given orally, much easier to administer than the inactivated, injectable polio vaccine (IPV).

But, while vaccine with live virus has reduced polio by more than 99.9 percent, it carries a small risk. The weakened live virus inside a vaccine can, rarely, mutate back to a virulent form. Where vaccination coverage is low, it can reinfect populations, even in countries that have been certified polio-free, such as Ukraine. To prevent this, once the virus has been certified eradicated, all of the live-virus vaccine around the world will be destroyed and replaced with IPV, which does not contain the live virus. This vaccine will be distributed, and trained health care workers will perform injections, a process that has already begun. The polio-fighting community will still need to vaccinate hundreds of millions of children every year until the world is certified polio-free. By that time, polio vaccinations will have become part of routine immunization programs around the world.

Once the final case of polio is recorded, it will take three years to ensure that the last case is, in fact, the final one. That means that if the final case is seen this year, all of these programs will continue to need funding and volunteers until 2019, at a price tag of $1.5 billion that will be funded by governments and donors such as Rotary. That’s in addition to the more than $1.5 billion Rotarians have contributed to the cause so far.

“We are so close. We’ve got a 99.9 percent reduction in polio. But we’re not there yet,” says John Sever, a vice chair of Rotary’s International PolioPlus Committee, who has been part of the eradication effort since the beginning. “Rotarians and others have to keep working. People will naturally say, ‘Well, it seems to be basically gone so let’s move on to other things,’ but the fact is it isn’t gone, and if we move on and don’t complete the job, we set ourselves up for having the disease come right back.”

“Rotary was there at the beginning,” McGovern says. “It would be unfortunate if Rotary isn’t there at the finish line. We’ve done too much, we’ve made too much progress to walk away before we finish.”

The Rotarian



John Germ: Champion of Chattanooga

Photo Credit: Rotary International / Alyce Henson

From the of The Rotarian

Just before John Germ dropped by, Rick Youngblood took a deep breath. “You want to match his energy,” he says, “but he makes it hard to keep up.” Youngblood is the president and CEO of Blood Assurance, a regional blood bank in Chattanooga, Tenn., that Germ helped found in 1972. After his visit with Youngblood, Germ strode between mountains of empty bottles and cans at Chattanooga’s John F. Germ Recycling Center at Orange Grove, which he designed, before he drove to a construction site and popped a cork to dedicate a Miracle League field where special needs children will play baseball – all before zipping to the airport for a flight to Chicago and a cab ride to Rotary International World Headquarters, where he takes office as president of RI this month.

Why the breakneck pace? “I don’t have hobbies,” he says. “Civic work is my recreation.”

Not long ago Germ, 77, spent a raucous evening at the Chattanooga Convention Center, enjoying jokes at his expense. “John is a very influential person,” his friend Harry Fields announced from the podium. “I can’t tell you how many people emulate him … at Halloween. I mean, he’s the epitome of tall, dark, and handsome. When it’s dark, he’s handsome!” Nobody laughed harder than the guest of honor at the celebration of his contributions, which was referred to as the “roast of John Germ.” The dinner raised more than $75,000 for Chattanooga State Community College. In closing, Fields noted Germ’s contribution to his community and the world: “100 percent of himself – and everyone else he can shake down!”

A legendary fundraiser, Germ led Rotary’s $200 Million Challenge, an effort sparked by a challenge grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Rotarians ultimately exceeded that number, raising $228.7 million to fight polio. He has already served Rotary as vice president and director, and The Rotary Foundation as vice chair and trustee. His contributions to the fight to eradicate polio led to his selection as one of 12 U.S. Rotarians honored at the White House in 2013 as a “Champion of Change” – someone who has improved communities around the world. As president, Germ chose three simple, no-nonsense words to be the theme of his year: Rotary Serving Humanity.

“Rotary has kept its light under a bushel for too long,” he says. “We need to do a better job of promoting our cause. That’s the challenge ahead, but I don’t see it as a problem. I don’t believe in problems – I believe in opportunities.”

The son of a stonemason, who built the family home with his own hands, excavating its foundation with a shovel and a wheelbarrow, Germ developed his work ethic early in life. Nothing came easily. Other schoolboys made fun of his name – “they called me ‘Bacteria’ ” – and his parents couldn’t afford college tuition. After a stint in vocational school, he paid his way through the University of Tennessee at Knoxville by working in a machine shop and serving food in a dorm cafeteria. After graduating, he joined the U.S. Air Force. Soon promoted to captain, he was navigator on a 50-ton Douglas C-124, ferrying troops and tanks to Vietnam. “Unfortunately,” he says, “we flew home with soldiers’ bodies.” In 1965 Germ’s C-124 carried the Gemini IV space capsule to Cape Kennedy. On another mission, the giant plane lost two engines and skimmed the ocean, shaking like a bumper car all the way back to base. “When we landed, we found seaweed hanging off the fuselage,” he says. “That’s how close we came to a watery grave.”

When Germ’s military service ended, he joined engineering firm Campbell & Associates in his hometown. His boss, George Campbell, liked the young flier’s can-do attitude. “Within 10 years,” Germ told him, “I’ll either own some of this company or I’ll be your biggest competitor.” He wasn’t wrong. He eventually became chairman and CEO of the firm, which went on to serve Chattanooga’s airport, its most prominent hospital, several downtown high-rises, and the Convention Center. One of his challenges was a new cineplex, where the owner gave him a warning that puzzled him at first: “Don’t make the air conditioning too good.”

Germ asked, “Why not?”

“Because the customers need to smell the popcorn; we make most of our money at the concession stand.”

As president, Germ wants to “find the popcorn smell that’ll bring people to Rotary. And what is that? Service. We’ve got a service-minded generation coming up. We’ve got to get our message out to them, and we’d better do it fast.”

Part of that message, he says, is that polio hasn’t been eradicated yet. We may be “this close,” but there were still 74 cases worldwide last year (all in Pakistan and Afghanistan). His own father was struck with the disease as an adult. “We were on a fishing trip when my brother said, ‘Daddy can’t walk,’” Germ recalls. “We carried him back to the car. Doctors said he’d never stand up again, but he did exercises. He tied an iron weight to his leg and tried to lift it. Little by little he got to where he could lift that weight and wave it around. He walked with a limp after that, but he walked.” Germ thinks he inherited a little of his father’s stubbornness. “I don’t give up easily either,” he says.

He’s certainly not giving up on supporting polio eradication – and he’s calling on Rotarians to follow his lead by urging every Rotary club to give at least $2,650 to fight polio during his term, which is also The Rotary Foundation’s centennial year. The number commemorates the first donation – of $26.50, made by the Rotary Club of Kansas City, Mo., in 1917 – to the Foundation. During the 2017 Rotary International Convention, a birthday celebration is also planned for Arch Klumph with tickets costing $26.50. If that all sounds a little gimmicky, fine. “If we can get people to pay attention,” Germ says, “they’ll see that Rotary is doing great things in the world.”

While preparing for his presidential term, he stayed in touch with friends and allies – often from the nerve center of his world, a maroon leather La-Z-Boy recliner in his comfortable home on the Tennessee River. He designed the house himself. He hangs corncobs on the poplars out back to feed the squirrels that run around his porch. His desk holds a photo of Germ dressed as Elvis Presley, entertaining at a district conference, and a plaque his wife brought home from the local Hobby Lobby. The plaque reads, “Integrity is doing the right thing when no one else is watching.” “It made me think of John,” says Judy Germ.

Since her husband of 57 years became president-elect last fall, “Rotary has consumed our lives,” she says. “In a good way.”

His presidency marks the apex of a life devoted to service. Previously active in the Jaycees, Germ joined the Rotary Club of Chattanooga in 1976. A natural leader and inveterate schmoozer, he has set fundraising records for Rotary and other organizations. The Blood Assurance program grew from a single blood draw into a regional network that supplies over 70 health centers in the Southeast with more than 100,000 units a year. It began when the United Way sent three doctors to the Chattanooga Jaycees to seek help with a blood shortage, recalls Germ’s friend and co-founder of Blood Assurance, Dan Johnson. “John was the Jaycees president and I was treasurer, so I got to watch him in action,” Johnson says. “When he goes to work, he never looks back. From nothing, we grew to our current budget of $29 million.” With help from Germ, Johnson, and others, Blood Assurance got its message out: Donating a pint of blood is a painless way to spend 30 minutes and save three lives.

“We owe much of our success to John Germ,” says Youngblood. “To me, he epitomizes three aspects of leadership: He’s a gentleman at all times, he’s compassionate to all people, and he’s an achiever. If John can’t get something done, it probably can’t be done.”

According to Fields, Germ’s success as a fundraiser comes from his out-of-the-box thinking. “Go back to the ’90s, when he was district governor. People thought of him as Mr. Chattanooga. We bought a barrel of Jack Daniel’s whiskey in honor of [well-known Tennessee Rotarian] Bill Sergeant. A barrel is 266 bottles’ worth, so we gave one bottle from that barrel to anyone who donated $1,000, and we raised $250,000.” The two men have often tended bar for charity, wearing matching aprons marked “Bar” and “Tender.” “My friend John is my greatest hero,” says Fields.

At the recycling plant Germ converted from a run-down dairy in 1989, adults with developmental disabilities sort tons of recyclables into great stacks of bottles and cans. “He has been involved in every bit of what happens here, from engineering the building to helping us negotiate contracts with the city,” says Tera Roberts, director of adult services for the center. Few of the employees would have a job if not for the recycling center, and they can keep anything interesting they come across. One worker found a crumpled $100 bill.

To finance the city’s new Miracle League field, one of the best-equipped in the country, Germ enlisted co-sponsors including Berkshire Hathaway, BlueCross BlueShield, and his own Rotary Club of Chattanooga. “Every kid should be able to play sports,” he says. “It’s not just for the child, but the whole family. What’s better than a child hearing his mom and dad cheer when he plays?” Another of his causes, the First in the Family program at Chattanooga State, provides scholarships for students who couldn’t attend college otherwise. Flora Tydings, the school’s president, calls Germ “an excellent role model to many of our students who, like him, are the first in their family to attend college.”

Today his schedule changes daily – sometimes hourly – as he keeps up with the duties of his new office. On his agenda, he says he would like to see Rotary operate more like a business. “We’ve been getting leaner, and I’d like to speed that up. In January, for instance, we’re going to hold our Board meeting in Chicago instead of San Diego. That means we won’t have to fly a couple dozen staff members to San Diego and put them up there. It’s just common sense.” He wants to shorten Board meetings, shrink some RI committees, and save money on committee meetings to make Rotary more cost-effective.

Half a century after landing his last C-124, Germ sees himself as Rotary’s navigator, plotting a course toward a bright future. “It’s going to be a team effort,” he says. His main target after polio will be Rotary’s static membership. On that issue, he says, “The fault is with us, the current Rotarians.” He wants members to “step up their outreach. I really think one of our main problems is that we don’t ask enough people to join. Why? For fear of rejection. We need to get over that – to get out there and bring in new members we’ll be proud of.”

To appeal to younger members, he supports a new move (approved at the Council on Legislation in April) that allows membership in Rotaract and Rotary at the same time. “I’m all in favor of that,” he says.

It doesn’t stop there. Germ supports flexibility in many Rotary matters. “Our clubs have always been organized around a meal. Lunch and dinner were part of our dues, and that system served us well. But society has changed,” he says. Rotary International is catching up by allowing clubs more leeway in when and how they meet. “How do we accommodate the 30-year-old businessperson raising a family? Well, for one thing, we could pay less attention to attendance,” he adds. “My question isn’t ‘How many meetings did you make?’ It’s ‘How are you making a difference in your community?' "

Visit the to:

The Rotarian


Some picture of the Homer portion of the Open World Visitors trip.  A really interesting and interested group.
Bye, bye!

Milli Martin, Susie Quinn, Dee Clyne, and Dave Brann worked on the planters for Ben Walters Park this last week.  Looking Good!
 Milli Martin and Susie Quinn working on flowers for Ben Walters Park.

Our Outbound Youth Exchange Students, Summer McGuire and Alex Miller, accepting a certificate acknowledging a donation being made in their name (as our weekly speakers) to Haven House.  Although Summer is from Homer, the Seward Rotary Club is sponsoring her Youth Exchange visit.

An unsolicited letter from one of our past Exchange Students, Lily Westphal!
Jul 28, 2016
Nancy Dodge
Shelter Boxes
Aug 04, 2016
Samantha Cunningham
Aug 11, 2016
Josh Brann
World Environmental Projects
Aug 18, 2016
RYLA Students
RYLA 2016
Aug 25, 2016
Tom Early
Club Assembly
Sep 01, 2016
Katie Koester
The state of the City
Sep 08, 2016
Bob Hartley
Port and Harbor
Sep 15, 2016
Sep 22, 2016
Sep 29, 2016
Oct 06, 2016
Oct 13, 2016
Tom Early
Club Assembly
Oct 20, 2016
Christie Griffard
Inbound Exchange Student
Oct 27, 2016
Nov 03, 2016
Nov 10, 2016
Nov 17, 2016
Dec 01, 2016
Dec 08, 2016
Dec 15, 2016
Dec 22, 2016
Dec 29, 2016
Jan 05, 2017
Jan 12, 2017
Tom Early
Club Assembly
Jan 19, 2017
Michelle O'Brian
District Governor Visit
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The following Rotary members will serve on the 2016-17 Nominating Committee for President of Rotary International in 2018-19. The committee is scheduled to meet on 8 August. Zone 2Kazuhiko Ozawa, Rotary Club of Yokosuka, Kanagawa, Japan Zone 4 Sudarshan Agarwal, Rotary Club of Delhi, Delhi, India Zone 6 Noraseth Pathmanand, Rotary Club of Bang Rak, Thailand Zone 8 John B. Boag, Rotary Club of E-Club of District 9650, New South Wales, Australia Zone 10 Jackson S.L. Hsieh, Rotary Club of Taipei Sunrise, Taiwan Zone 12 Elio Cerini, Rotary Club of Milano Duomo, Italy Zone 14 Ekkehart Pandel,...
eBay Live Auctions that benefit Rotary
Each month, eBay, the world’s largest auction website, selects a set of upcoming Live Auction events and donates a portion of all sales proceeds to Rotary. Only U.S. auction sales are eligible. See the schedule of July auctions.
Apply to serve on an RI committee
Would you like to contribute to Rotary by serving on a committee? The 10 committees listed below are searching for qualified candidates for openings in 2017-18. Each of these committees works with Rotary leaders to increase efficiency and promote the goals and priorities of our strategic plan. Apply for a committee appointment by 14 August. Learn more about the committees and the application process. Get answers to frequently asked questions. Committees with openings for 2017-18 Audit Communications Constitution and Bylaws Election Review Finance Global Networking Groups Joint Young Leaders...
John Germ: Champion of Chattanooga
From the July 2016 issue of The Rotarian Just before John Germ dropped by, Rick Youngblood took a deep breath. “You want to match his energy,” he says, “but he makes it hard to keep up.” Youngblood is the president and CEO of Blood Assurance, a regional blood bank in Chattanooga, Tenn., that Germ helped found in 1972. After his visit with Youngblood, Germ strode between mountains of empty bottles and cans at Chattanooga’s John F. Germ Recycling Center at Orange Grove, which he designed, before he drove to a construction site and popped a cork to dedicate a Miracle League field where special...
Member Spotlight: The book on Brad Rubini
From the July 2016 issue of The Rotarian When Brad Rubini was reading a bedtime story to his seven-year-old daughter, Claire, she asked him why he was reading the words wrong. “I’m dyslexic, so I thought I was reading the words right,” recalls Rubini, a past president of the Rotary Club of Toledo, Ohio. After he explained his problem, she began to read to him on most nights instead. “She was a voracious reader and storyteller. She was always telling stories, even when she was a toddler,” he says. Three years later, while Claire was away at summer camp, she died unexpectedly as a result of a...