The Flywheel

Program for November 17th, 2006

The Rotary Peace Fellows Program

After completing a degree in civil law and earning a diploma in international law, Rotary Peace Fellow Hélène Carvallo (District 1660 in France) began travelling the world. She has worked in humanitarian projects in the Phillipines, Lebanon, Mexico, and Yemen. These experiences have convinced Hélène to deepen her knowledge and understanding of global development challenges on a legal level, especially between western and Islamic worlds. She'll share her perspectives with us at our next meeting.


Meeting of November 20th, 2006

Welcome, Invoication and Thought for the Day

Prez George Egan rang the bell and called the meeting to order at Mira Vista Country Club. Stoney asked for a moment of silence for peace on earth. Ted Abreu led us in the pledge of allegiance. Pam Jones provided a Veteran’s Day quote from former USA President Bill Clinton: “Today we remember and honor the past service of America’s veterans and today we renew our commitment to meet the challenges of America’s future for which they gave so much.”


Visiting Rotarians

Werner Schwarz introduced Irv Trumbull from Orange County. Dan Tanita welcomed a group of visiting Rotarians from St. Petersburg, Russia. They’re all dentists and are in this country to increase professional skills as well as promote international friendship. Marina was the group’s spokesperson and, through a translator, she told us they formed their local Rotary Club in 2000 after several of them had visited the USA and learned about the good things that Rotary International does. They currently have about 28 members, half of them women. Making note of the young and attractive group visiting us, PrezGeorge scored points when he expressed disbelief at Marina’s statement that the median member age in the Russian Club is 40 years. Each of the eight Russian visitors introduced themselves to warm applause from our Club.

Rotarians with Guests

Jim Young introduced his wife Linda.


  • Margaret Markowski reminded us that more readers are welcomed for the “Bedtime Story Hour” reading at Peres Elementary School on Nov 15.
  • Remember the Dec 1 joint Holiday Party with El Cerrito Rotary.
  • The Holiday Auction Committee is still accepting creative offerings for the Dec 15 event.

Special Events 

Lawyer Leigh Johnson will be welcomed as a new member on Nov 17.


Leslie Levy presided over recognitions and happy/sad dollars.

  • Rhonda Harris is celebrating her 3rd anniversary as a Club member.
  • Multiply Rhonda’s time in the Club by 10 and you’ve got Erle Brown’s 30 years of service, including his current Chair-ship of the Club’s Foundation Committee.
  • Werner’s B-Day was last Friday so he gave Leslie a hard time (nah!) for forgetting. They both contributed some dollars.

Happy and Sad Dollars

  • David K provided sad dollars because of a really bad day of fishing.
  • Jim Young had happy dollars for his educator wife having the Veterans Day holiday off and sad dollars for banks still being open (back to work for him).
  • Markku Pelanne offered happy dollars if any of the Russian visitors could guess his country of birth (which they did -- Finland).
  • Erle Brown provided happy dollars for Cal beating UCLA.
  • Herb Kohl was happy about several things, including the “indescribable” experience of visiting Ghana in Africa and meeting so many happy people even amidst the abject poverty.
  • Liliane Koziol was happy about recently visiting the UN and meeting with the ambassador from her home country of Madagascar.
  • Marina from Russia offered happy dollars for their important and successful trip as well as for meeting and making so many new friends.
  • Jon Lawlis also had happy dollars for the Ghana trip, not only because his 17-year-old daughter was able to accompany him but also, like Herb, he was blown away with how friendly, generally healthy, and happy the people were. He even expanded his foreign language vocabulary by learning, upon visiting local markets, how to say “I’m broke!”  

Raffle Results

Dan Tanita won the raffle and pulled a free-lunch white ball out of the bag.

The Program

Jim Young introduced Lois Boyle, President of the Richmond Museum
Association and a great story teller. She shared with us some of the
fictionalized memoirs of a typical Rosie the Riveter whose name also
happened to be Lois.

It was so appropriate, and not by accident, that the real Lois Boyle joined
us on the day before Veterans Day, when we celebrate all those who have
served our nation in time of conflict. The Rosies of Richmond's Kaiser
Shipyard personified the hard work and dedication of all those who supported
the conduct of World War II from the home front.

In rural Oklahoma, late 1941, Lois and her family huddled around the radio to hear FDR talk about “the day of infamy”. Lois remembers being both upset and excited, one of her first thoughts being that Charlie, the love of her life, would probably sign up to join the war effort, which he did. Charlie and Lois, who was 17 at the time, agreed to marry when the war was over.

Lured by prospects of high shipyard wages of $1.20 per hour, Lois’s father moved his family from Oklahoma to Richmond for a better life. Without seeking her parent’s approval, Lois also decided to seek employment at the Shipyard and tried to join the Boilermaker’s Union, where the response was, “We don’t take women.”

With persistence and firm resolve, Lois finally got into welding school and became part of a team that took 225,000 parts and assembled them into 120 pre-fab units which were then put together to become a Liberty ship 431-feet long and 56-feet wide. The ship would carry 10,000 tons of materials or 230-million rifle bullets to the war’s front lines.

Initially, it took four months to build one of the ships but soon the construction time was cut in half. Then a record was set when a ship was built in less than four days, start to finish.

Climbing several flights of scaffolding every day in heavy protective clothing while lugging her “stinger” (torch), box of welding rods, and electric cables, Lois became stronger and tougher all the time. She said the work environment was noisy, busy, exciting, and 24/7.

With starting wages of 90-cents per hour, Lois eventually made a whopping $1.56 per hour on the graveyard shift. By 1944, one out of every four shipyard workers was a woman.

Her father finally found out through a movie newsreel that Lois was working at the shipyard and it sparked a major family squabble. But soon afterward it was discovered that Lois’s mother had quietly joined the painter’s union and was part of the crew that finished up the SS Red Oak Victory. Mom said, “This work is just too important to miss out on!”

Thanks to the real Lois Boyle for sharing this inspiring story!

Rotating Editor/Scribe: Tom Waller