The Flywheel

This Week's Program: August 7th, 2009

“Damn the Torpedoes, Full Speed Ahead!”

Boys drinking water

Paul Levitan, CEO of Galaxy Desserts, returns to Richmond Rotary to discuss how his company’s strategic planning has enabled the company to capitalize on opportunities created by the economic downturn.

Last week's MEETING: July 31st, 2009

Welcome, Invocation, Thought for the Day

President Glenn Daggs presided over the meeting. The Pledge was pledged. Werner surprised us all with a joke that was both funny and clean. Henry Kelman reminded us that, “It is good to be here”.

Rotarians with Guests

It was a nice day but “Rotary Light” as there were no guest Rotarians or members with guests.

Sunshine Report

Nothing special today.


  • Prez in waiting Alan Baer reminded everyone of the Rotary Night at the A’s. August 12th, 6 PM at the A’s Stadium.  It is all you can eat but not ‘all you can drink’, Buy Your Own Beer.  See Alan or Rafael if you still do not have tickets.
  • PP Pam Jones reminded all who want to participate in the Rotary Visioning (for the club’s future) that it will begin at 5 PM, August 5th in the third floor meeting room of the Hotel Mac.  The event which includes dinner ($15) is expected to last until 9 PM.
  • Jim Young announced that the City of Richmond would be dedicating the ‘New” old City Hall on Saturday, Sept. 12th, and suggested the Board and members consider participation in this major civic celebration.
  • PP Herb Cole announced the club and other West County Rotaries would be hosting a contingent of Rotarians form Monterey, Mexico, during the week of October 14th. We will have a special joint meeting with the Mexican Rotarians and other clubs at MVCC on the 14th.  Herb was also looking for volunteers to house the Rotarians for a few days. While they are visiting.  See Herb for details.

Happy and Sad Dollars

The Beav (Jim Beaver) took over the rest of the business meeting, as there were no Recognitions asked for Happy & Sad Dollars:
Prez Glenn had Happy $$ for being a Dad and for the gold metal showing his kids had in both gymnastics and soccer.
Bill Koziol had Happy/Sad $$ for his pending three week vacation camping, a family wedding and Vegas, but missing Rotary (ah sucks Bill!).
Josh Genser. had Happy $$ for his family’s annual trip to Massachusetts and his Birthday noting that ‘the check’s in the mail’.


Clean Water: the Tragedy and the HopeBoys drinking water

Former Rotary President Winston Bowman introduced our speaker, Jim Johnson.

Mr. Johnson's powerful presentation described the plight of millions of the Earth's peoples who lack access to clean water, most of them in Africa.

Holding up a dollar bill, Johnson asked "What can this buy you?" Answers came back: a candy bar. A Coke. Not much.

Every day, Johson continued, women of Zambia, South Africa, Kenya and many other countries rise at dawn, pick up a couple of jerry cans or a large plastic basin, and walk and walk and walk—about 4 miles on average—to a lagoon, a watering hole, or the muddy trickle of a spring. The quality of the water is typically very poor, the cause of numerous intestinal diseases. Then, burdened with their 40 or 50 pound load, these women walk home. They often return near nightfall, exhausted but satisfied that they've procurred the family's supply of water for the following day.

Yet this water doesn't always mean survival. Some 40,000 people die from diarrhea and other water-borne illnesses every day—one every 2.6 seconds. Most are under the age of 5.

The remedy is as simple as it is, in its absence, tragic. In most cases ancient aquifers lie on average, 90 feet below the surface of these parched lands. That's within reach of well-drilling machinery but too deep for manual digging.

The nonprofit organization, Blood:Water Mission, raises funds for drilling these wells. Since 2004, the organization has funded 617 water projects in 11 countries, delivering clean water along with hygiene and sanitation training to more than 460,000 people in Africa.

Mr. Johnson cited one more statistic: a single well drilled in a dry region of southern Africa, has the effect of saving approximately 5,000 lives. The cost of drilling that well? $5,000.

So what can one dollar buy? One dollar can buy a life.

Visit the website of Blood:Water Mission to donate your dollars. A little goes a long way.

You may also want to attend a benefit concert, "Buiild a Well for Africa" on Friday, October 16th, at 7 PM. Music (classic rock), dancing, barbeque, desserts, stand-up comedy. It's at 124 Lincoln Road East, Vallejo. Take along another Richmond Rotarian.

Tickets are $15 each, or 2 for $25. One hundred percent of the money collected will be donated to Blood:Water Mission. Contact Nick for more information (or to carpool to the event.)

- Pinch-hitting Editor, Nick Despota