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Family of Rotary District 5450 Day at the Zoo by Casey Sacks
July 15, 2012
$20 per adult, $10 per child under 12
- Zoo Admission
- Lunch BBQ chicken, mash potatoes, baked beans, salad, cookie, tea/lemonade
- Special pass to see new Elephant Exhibit
Register on the district website
EASTER SEALS CABIN MAINTENANCE WORK DAY by Casey Sacks
Monday, April 30, 8:30AM
Meet at the El Rancho parking lot
If you're able to help, please join us for a few hours of roll-up-your-sleeves worthy work in service of a good cause. Got to keep our Rotary cabin in good shape!
Thus far the crew is:
Nothing to bring but a pair of gloves and your willing hands!
Interview with Rotarian Ellen Wakeman by Hagerman, Brenda
Ellen is a new Evergreen Rotary member and we are lucky to have her. She is looking for her niche, so read here about her interest and her life so far.
Interview with Ellen Wakeman June 10, 2013
Marcia: Ellen, you are fairly new to Evergreen Rotary. Tell us something about yourself.
Ellen: Well, a big part of my life has always been to be physically active. Currently, I am into biking, hiking, skiing, volleyball and yoga. In high school, I was on the dance team, because that is all they had then. In college, there were Intramural sports. I love horses and used to ride my horse all around Sacramento, where I grew up.
Marcia: Tell me about your family growing up.
Ellen: When my dad was in the Navy, he discovered he loved California and afterwards got a job as a professor at Sacramento State College. I have one older brother. My dad, mom and even my brother and his wife, all received PhDs in Psychology from Ohio State. My dad’s specialty was suicide prevention, my mom was in administration, and my brother is a Dean at the University of Florida at Gainesville. I remember how happy I was, when I was 8 years old and my mother announced that she was going to work and would no longer be home when I came home from school. I was so excited for the freedom I thought I would have! She was always pushing me to excel in academics. She wanted me to go to Stanford.
Marcia: So did you go to Stanford?
Ellen: No, I went to the University of California at Davis. I preferred the more casual atmosphere. However, I did start out studying psychology! Later, I decided to go to law school at Berkeley. For the last year of law school, I was in an exchange program that took me to Harvard. I realized that I preferred to live in the West where I could engage in all the outdoor activities that I most enjoyed. In 1975, during my undergraduate years, I took a year off to travel internationally. I started out in Germany, where I bought a Volkswagen bus and picked my dad up in England. Later I traveled with various friends through Europe and Greece, then on to Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Syria and Turkey. That whole year I only spent $3000, including airfares!
Marcia: So, how did you wind up in Colorado?
Ellen: As a lark, I took a summer internship at a big law firm in Denver after my second year of law school and loved it here (of course, it was Summer). After law school, in 1982, I accepted the offer from the firm. I rotated among the different departments at the law firm, but couldn’t imagine spending the rest of my life doing any of the specific areas of practice. I looked around and wound up taking a job as an attorney for Jefferson County. I feel like I can make more of a difference now as I care about what I’m doing and get more involved with my clients.
Marcia: And do you have a family of your own?
Helen: I met my husband playing volleyball at the International Athletic Club downtown. We would bike a lot together. We married in 1986 and had two kids right away. In 1988, we moved to Evergreen. My daughter, Kristen, is now 24 and my son, Trevor, is 21. We divorced about two years ago, so now I am alone for the first time in my life. Last year was a most difficult one for me. At age 55, I took up cycling and racing and was even winning 55+ races. Then I had a near death experience when I had a wreck on my bike that involved going over a guardrail, followed by an infection that caused a heart problem, liver problem, etc. with one leading to another in ways doctors still don’t understand. Then my mother died. My dad had died about 10 years before. Anyway, I want to take a Mulligan on last year.
I have never been much of a homebody. Poor Carma could not interest me in the home and garden event! I am involved in many activities….two book clubs – one focuses on spirituality and the other is a mother/daughter group that lasted after the daughters left, yoga, volleyball and I also love live music and dancing. Wednesday is often my night to have dinner with my son in Boulder. He is studying economics at CU. My daughter is taking a year to go on “workabout” in Australia, and my son and I can’t wait to go visit her there and in New Zealand at Christmas. Tips welcomed!
Marcia: How did you connect with Evergreen Rotary?
Ellen: A friend, Dennis Schavietello, has been trying for years to get me to join Conifer Rotary. I had been looking for ways to do something meaningful and positive to give back. Dennis finally gave up on getting me to Conifer and introduced me to Evergreen. He assured me Carol would get me to Africa! The first meeting I heard about Haiti and I was hooked. I find the people in Rotary energetic and engaged, and enjoy the Friday meetings. I want to be able to add something to any group I join, so my concern with Rotary now is finding where I most want to direct my energy. The project Dennis told me about that took kids who don’t have access to outdoor adventures would be up my alley. The international projects appeal to me also.
Marcia: Do you have words of wisdom for us?
Ellen: Well, I think it would be pretty presumptuous to walk into a group with Rotary’s history and start saying how things ought to be done. Maybe after I get my red badge done and can remember ten people’s names (without their badges) I’ll let you know! I’m not known to have a retiring personality.
Interview with Rotarian Larry Caine by Hagerman, Brenda
Larry easily qualifies as a Renaissance man...wide range of interests and accomplishments. He is happy to share the life lessons he has reflected upon and what Rotary means to him at this stage of his life.
Interview with Larry Caine May 22, 2013
Marcia: Larry, I see you as being a very energetic person. Where does that come from?
Larry: Well, I know that I am interested in most things and I like to have some knowledge about most things. It’s intellectual curiosity, I guess…some have called me a bit of a Renaissance man.
Marcia: What was your childhood like?
Larry: I was born in Berkley, CA in 1952. My parents met in college in Oregon and were married at the end of my mom’s freshman year, right after my dad’s graduation. My mom quickly became pregnant and became a mother at age 19. My brother was born 16 months later; another surprise. Then 7 years later my sister was born. Dad majored in journalism and was interested in photography. He got a job, in industrial photography, at the University of California – Berkley. While we lived paycheck to paycheck, he truly loved his job and stayed there his entire working career. He worked for the UC College of Engineering, photographing professors’ experiments for various breakthrough research, including the building of fire-proof walls and earthquake-proof walls. I was raised in the North Berkley Hills in a house that had been built by my great-grandfather in 1921. We didn’t have much money, but lived in a very nice neighborhood. Once a month, as our big treat on pay-day, we went out to dinner, I remember, at Mel’s Drive-In Diner. By age 10, between my very strong will and my mother’s struggles, I was sent to live with my grandparents for a while. I felt like I was on my own and actually thrived on that feeling. My grandmother was also my fifth grade teacher. The time away healed our relationship and we got along fine afterward.
I spent a lot of time with the Boy Scouts, ultimately becoming an Eagle Scout. My Dad was also an Eagle Scout and he was the Scout Master of our dynamic troop for 17 years. We spent a lot of vacations as a family camping. Some of the most memorable times were camping at Yosemite National Park back in the early 60’s. Camping was so popular back then, not to mention unregulated, that we had to hang up bedspreads between camps for a little privacy! I also spent a lot of time at North Congregational Church through high school.
Marcia: What were your high school years like?
Larry: Well, it was Berkley high school in the 60’s! A tumultuous time and location by all accounts. Actually, it was a pretty normal high school but quite diverse, ethically and religiously. We had over 4,000 students from all walks of life. I was shocked when I saw racial prejudice for the first time when we relocated to Chicago in my 30’s. I was just an average student that was into church, scouts, music, sports…I did very little homework, but I really paid attention in class and always did well on tests. It was a trade-off that I’m not proud of now but it allowed me to go 100 miles an hour with everything going on in my life. I was on the first crew team the school ever had and in that first year we lost every race. The next year, we got together, decided to get very serious and trained all year instead of just during the rowing season. After that, we never lost a race! We all learned a lot from that experience, not just for the team, but for life as well. When I was 16 and eager to become a driver, my parents told me I would have to pay the additional insurance if I wanted to drive the family car, which was substantial. So, I viewed this as another opportunity for freedom and I worked as a maintenance director at a summer camp. Even then, my restrictive parents required me to reserve the car 2 weeks in advance in writing on the calendar; NO exceptions. My dad would fill up the gas tank prior to my date, and I had to return home with a full tank! Believe me, they checked!
Marcia: Where did the music fit in?
Larry: When I was in 7th grade, my mother encouraged me to join the boy’s Glee Club. As a child, I was always singing along with the old 78 records with music from the 1940’s that I played on an old record player we had. And I’m still singing… now with the Evergreen Chorale. Next year, I’ll mark 50 years of choral music.
Marcia: So, what about college?
Larry: Well, I knew I was expected to go to college and I also knew that I was expected to pay for it. I started out at a local junior college and lived at home the first year. I chose to major in biology, as I knew I loved to work outside. I wanted to be a forest ranger and spend my time outdoors. I attended class during the days and worked nights and weekends…making pizzas. But again, I had that wonderful feeling of freedom, knowing that I had earned a little extra money that I could spend as I wished. After my first two years, I decided to slow down, reconsider my major and take a semester off for work and introspection. I earned money by driving a school bus. It was an eventful time in my life. It was then that I came to the realization that I did not wish to live my life from pay check to pay check like the way I was raised. I was going to figure out a way to earn more money and someday afford a mountain cabin that I dreamed about since working at a summer camp in 1968. I would start by studying business! I never worked so hard in school, getting good grades and yes, doing all my homework. Also, I decided to marry my soul mate. I was 21 years old. I had met Debby while we both worked at a summer music camp after high school. There’s nothing like shared interests and passions. This September 1st, we’ll celebrate 40 years of marriage.
Marcia: Oh, so what next?
Larry: Debbie was a recent graduate from Cal Berkley with a degree in Industrial Psychology. I was finishing my Business Administration degree from San Francisco State University while working a job as a security guard in downtown San Francisco and later slinging pizza’s once again. Upon my graduation, I followed all the rules and sent out resumes by the hundreds, but only got rejection letters. So, one day I took a week off from work, filled my briefcase with resumes and walked door to door in downtown San Francisco. I got a job on the first day! I would be working in the underwriting department for The Pacific Insurance Company, a subsidiary of The Continental Insurance Company. I worked for that company for the next 22 years!
Marcia: So, what kept you there so long?
Larry: Hard work and a great mentor, Tom O’Brien! From my work during college, I had learned that hard work paid off. My new boss, Tom O’Brien had seen the potential in me and he asked if he could be my mentor to help me climb the corporate ladder. I eagerly accepted.
His advice to me was simple, but difficult to hear for an aggressive young man looking for quick growth. It was to “be patient, learn the business in detail. Get the appropriate certifications to differentiate you from the rest, and…. Wait your turn”. I took his advice and by age 25, I was a sales manager over 3 states. In 1984, I was given a big promotion and transferred to Chicago. So, at age 32, I was managing half the states. In ’89, the company’s Group Life and Health division was bought out by the UNUM Corporation and I was asked to become the Vice President and National Sales Manager for US sales and transferred to Piscataway, New Jersey. Deb was established in the tax business by then and shortly thereafter she went back to school and earned her CPA designation.
Marcia: Did you have a family?
Larry: Why, yes. Our daughter Jenelle was born in 1978 and our son Jim in 1981. They spent most of their school years in New Jersey.
Jim has had a career in the Air Force and will leave this August. He plans to go to college at age 32 on the GI Bill, studying nuclear medical technology.
Marcia: How did you ever wind up in Colorado?
Larry: My company merged and they didn’t need two heads of sales, so I got offered a buy out. I had always liked Denver when I traveled the country for business. Both Deb and I also had some family here. My daughter went to CSU, graduating in criminal justice. So, in ’97 I came out, looked around for work, but wound up buying a house in Mt Vernon Country Club and we are still living in that house! Deb was tired of moving around and really wanted to put down roots. I worked for several companies in the ensuing years, and now I am semi-retired. I run a very small health insurance brokerage business, helping small business with their health insurance challenges and I have my outdoor and travel photography business. I’m also doing some “paying it forward” by mentoring photography students!
Three years ago, we finally got that mountain cabin I’ve dreamed of since 1968! I’ve served on the Board of Mt Vernon Country Club, the Evergreen Chorale and the Evergreen Rotary Club. We have two grandsons now living close by. Deb and I love to travel. Our first foreign trip was in ’86 to Ireland and Scotland. We’ve taken our family and parents to Europe and sent our parents to Hawaii. There are now few countries in Europe we haven’t been. This year we are returning to Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man. My great-great-great-grandparents came from the Isle, and we’re taking family there as a sort of family legacy trip. Next year we plan to go to Botswana, Africa. The photo safari opportunities are very exciting! My brother and I are avid cyclers and we have done bike touring and camping across the entire coast of Northern California and Oregon, the New Jersey coast, Boston to Bar Harbor, Nova Scotia, Pennsylvania Dutch country, Canadian Rockies and more. I think we have cycled every pass in the Rockies at least once. I’ve done Ride the Rockies at least 4 times, the Triple Bypass and Pedal the Plains. I worked hard and I play hard! I see life as three stages – Learning, Doing, and Giving. I’m in my giving stage now, and it’s very rewarding.
Marcia: Is that why you joined Rotary?
Larry: Yes, exactly…Doug Griffith, whom I met through Rockland Community Church, invited me to Evergreen Rotary. It’s the best organization I have ever joined. There are just so many opportunities to get involved in the local and international communities. I have learned that Rotary is not just Friday mornings, but Rotary is really about what happens between Saturday through Thursday!
Marcia: I can see that Colorado and Rotary are the perfect place for you, Larry.
Larry: Yes, I’ve recently written a book and am currently looking for a literacy agent. It’s working title is “Colorado: God’s Country, Majestic Words of Holy Scripture, Photography and Humble Thoughts”. It contains words of scripture, photos of Colorado’s beauty along with my thoughts and reflections. I’m starting another book, a non-fiction book about balance in life called “Enough”. How much is enough? Where do you draw the line? Do you continue to grow your goals, business or wealth as fast as you can because you’re driven to, not because you need to? Ergo: how much is enough? A third book I would like to do would be a photography book based on the “Water of Colorado”.
Marcia: What would be your words of wisdom for us?
Larry: Take life seriously, but don’t take yourself too seriously.
Interiew with Rotarian Dori Painter by Hagerman, Brenda
Dori has a generous spirit. In fact, she has won many awards for being an outstanding volunteer. Her curiosity and love of people and cultures have taken her ....just about everywhere. Read here about how she does it all..
Interview with Dori Painter May 27, 2013
Marcia: Dori, I know you have seen the world.
Dori: I have seen a lot of the world - at least 90 countries.
Marcia: Where did it all start? Where were you born?
Dori: I was born in Glen Ridge, New Jersey. I was the only child born to my mother, who was one of the first women to get a degree in Architecture and Interior Design at the University of Minnesota, and my father, who eventually became a VP at RCA. In 1931, after graduating, my mother was hired for a job in New Jersey and managed to get a ride back east with my father. That’s how they met. They were very nurturing parents and I had a wonderful childhood even though we did have to move around the Northeast a lot because of my father’s job. Because Dad helped develop cathode ray tubes for TV’s, in the early 1940’s we had the first prototype TV set in our neighborhood.
Marcia: How did you like moving around?
Dori: By the eighth grade, I really hated changing schools! I had pigtails, buck teeth, and wore glasses. I felt like I didn’t fit in anywhere. I learned to become independent from my mother who was a very independent woman. When she was young, she sailed to France with a friend on a transatlantic liner. When I was 16, she bravely took me to Europe for six weeks…two nights in each city. That trip instilled in me the love of travel, as she had hoped it would. When I was a junior in high school, we had a German exchange student live with us for a year, so that I would learn to share. For several years, we had Tom, a black man, clean the house and from that experience I learned not to be prejudiced.
Marcia: Where did you go to college?
Dori: I went to Denison University in Ohio and graduated with a BA in French. After college, I studied French at the University of Grenoble in France. I lived with a French family for the first six weeks. It was pretty miserable! I was allowed one bath a week and even then, the very conservative lady of the house put a thermometer in the bath water to make sure I didn’t waste hot water! I then moved in with a couple whose apartment had no hot water. However, my landlady boiled a pot of water for me every morning so I could take sponge baths, but I had a nice view and could take a shower (no shower curtain) from her mother-in-law’s apartment next door. I paid for that year with money I earned as a waitress during summers. After France, I went to Spain for two months to learn some Spanish.
Marcia: So what did you do with all that French?
Dori: I joined the Foreign Service at the U.S. State Department and was with them for 33 years. I was actually advised to do that by the U.S. Ambassador to France. Because I wanted to travel again and being a secretary seemed to be the only way I could do that quickly at that time, I took a speed writing course in order to take dictation. The Department sent me every two years to a different French speaking country starting with Morocco. My Mother actually visited me there as she made her way around the world on a cargo ship which took a few passengers. My next assignment was in Saigon….1967. From my apartment, I watched the Tet offensive and could see the tracer bullets and flames at the US Embassy as the Viet Cong attacked. The next day, a group came and got me and escorted me to the Embassy where I saw dead bodies and blood all around. The next assignment was for two years in Paris. After that I was sent to the U.S. Mission to the UN in NYC. It was there that I got to know President George Bush, Sr. when he was the Ambassador. His office was above mine and I often had to go up the back stairs to see him on business. Upon returning to the Department in DC, I was put into the Mustang Program, a training program for future officers. My first assignment was as Consular Officer in the embassy in Conakry, Guinea, the so-called armpit of West Africa. This was a hardship assignment. The Soviets had come into the void left by the French who had been kicked out of the country. Because the French had taken with them all the infrastructure, including telephone wires and typewriters, there was rarely any electricity. Each US staff member had a 25 KVA generator to use no more than 10 hours a day. I used mine to have air conditioning at night. My next assignment, in 1985, was to Bujumbura, Burundi, which is south of Rwanda. This is a wonderful country for its climate and its people, but we sometimes had to keep clear of hippos when driving on the road along Lake Tanganyika. My last assignment was in Washington, DC for three years. I was in charge of assigning administrative staff to African posts, and later I traveled around the US interviewing candidates interested in applying to the Foreign Service. I retired in 1990.
Marcia: After all that, I can’t imagine what you would do in retirement, except maybe rest!
Dori: Well, I wasn’t at all sure what I was going to do with myself or where I was going to live now that it was completely up to me as to where I would settle. I decided to see the USA and visit old friends. In February 1991, I set out with my dog in a second-hand RV that I had purchased, towing my Honda Civic behind me. I first drove south along the East coast all the way to Key West, then across Texas to California, then north along the West coast to Alaska. At Whitehorse, Canada, I joined an RV Touring group. We had a tour leader and a mechanic traveling with us across the Alcan Highway for six weeks. When I left the group, I traveled across the middle of the country. It was my stop in Evergreen, Colorado to visit my college roommate, who owned the Abundant Way Chalet, that would stick with me. A year later In September, I moved to Evergreen! I think I always knew what I wanted and when I was in Evergreen, I saw what I wanted.
Marcia: So, how did you connect with Evergreen Rotary?
Dori: My mom always encouraged me to help others. She said it was the best thing to do to forget your own problems. After moving here, I joined Kiwanis and started volunteering at Mt. Evans Hospice, the Mountain Resource Center and other charitable organizations. I was taking a stain glass class from Betsy Montgomery and she kept talking about Evergreen Rotary and the positive energy she got from the meetings. So, I joined - and she was right!
Marcia: You are really into positive energy, aren’t you Dori?
Dori: I used to be a very negative person. I had a life change in my mid-40’s when I went through a program called Life Spring. It was an experiential training program that gets you out of your comfort zone and you learn a lot about yourself in the process. I believe that there are no accidents. There is a reason for everything and there are always lessons to be learned. I enjoy watching people grow and am happy when I can be a part of that. I enjoy the work I do as a reading tutor to first and second graders and especially the work I do with prisoners. I am a facilitator with AVP (Alternatives to Violence Project), another experiential training that the Colorado Department of Corrections allows in its system. Three days every other month, I work with inmates leading them through exercises that help them express and deal with their emotions. AVP workshops empower participants to manage strong feelings, deal more effectively with risk and danger, build good relationships, communicate well, recognize skills they already have and learn new ones, be true to oneself while respecting others and understand why conflict happens. I’ve done this for 20 years.
Marcia: You’ve never married?
Dori: I’ve have had serious relationships, but I haven’t been interested in marriage. However, my latest relationship has lasted 33 years.
Marcia: Any words of wisdom?
Dori: Variety is the spice of life!
Interview with Rotarians Jack and Sondra Kellogg by Hagerman, Brenda
Jack was a charter member of Evergreen Rotary. He is a true traditionalist. Sondra is a fighter for women's rights and for expermential education. Together they make quite the team! They have each done some unbelievable things in their lives...but it's probably all true.
Interview with Jack and Sondra Kellogg April 24, 2013
Marcia: Jack, as one of our senior members, I would like to ask you the secret of longevity and good health?
Jack: I would say for me, it’s been peanuts and a cocktail (Bombay gin) every day.
Marcia: Jack, where were you born?
Jack: I was born at home, which was in Downers Grove, Illinois..a suburb of Chicago in 1924. We lived there the first ten years of my life. I actually went back in ’94 and found that house and visited with the nice lady that lived there.
Sondra: I was born in Denver….much later.
Marcia: Any siblings?
Jack: I had a half-sister. She was eleven years older than I.
Sondra: I had a younger brother by ten years.
Marcia: What were your parents like?
Jack: My father was from Nebraska and moved to Chicago. He was a railroad man..a telegraph operator. He taught memory courses and loved to play golf. In fact, he had a fatal heart attack on the golf course at age 64. My mom died 3 months later. My grandmother lived with us and worked at Western Union in Chicago. She would take me with her to work sometimes and I got to see all the workers on roller skates and played with the tapes.
Sondra: My dad was a reserved gentleman who owned a financial business. He was active in the Optimist Club, Boys Club, and the Masons. When his stepdad died, he had to go to work at age 14 to support his mother and two year old brother during the Depression. My mom was loving, outgoing, fun-loving, very well read. She was a member of a study group Literary Guild. During WWII, she worked as a nurse at St Luke’s Hospital. She died of cancer at age 46. I was 22 at the time and became a “mother” to my younger brother. Six months after my mother’s death, my father remarried. Fortunately, I got to spend a lot of quality times with my dad before his death at age 90.
Marcia: What about your education?
Jack: When I was 12 we moved to Albion, Michigan from Urbana, Ohio. So I attended high school in Albion where I was on the debate team and Boy Scouts and sang in a choir. The only thing athletic about me was my feet! In 1941 I entered Albion College, but I was 19 in 1942 and fate intervened. I decided it best to enlist in the Navy, mostly because I really didn’t wish to be in the Army. I became an irregular Apprentice Seaman and sent to school in the V-12 unit at Central Michigan College. Then on to midshipmen’s school at Plattsburg, NY. By this time, I had not been on a ship or seen any action, except when I entered a boxing contest and got KO’d! I was then sent to Hollywood, Florida to a Navy school that specialized in tactical radar. I was eventually assigned to a ship…the USS Lenawee as Combat Information Center Officer. I even got to attend the commissioning ceremony at Astoria, Oregon and am a plank officer(which means that when the ship is decommissioned, I could claim a deck plank!). We did see action when we participated in the landings at Iwo Jima and Okinawa. I have stayed in touch with the crew and have attended many to the ship’s reunions through the years. I later retired from the Naval Reserves as a Captain. Judge Advocate General’s Corps. After the war in 1946, I went back to Albion College and then to the University of Michigan and received my law degree in 1950.
Sondra: Through the eighth grade I went to Denver Public Schools. Then I moved to Wheat Ridge High School. I met my first husband, Jim Jackson, in high school. I got my bachelor’s degree at the University of Colorado, but it was a difficult time as I went home to help my sick mom almost every weekend. I got married the day after graduation and began teaching two days after getting married. We lived with my parents so that we could help. My mom died nine months later.
Marcia: I know that you both had long active careers. Tell me about that.
Jack: After I graduated from law school in 1950, I moved to Denver and practiced general law for many years. I wore many hats within the legal community. I was editor of “Probate and Property”, an American Bar Association publication. I was Trustee of the Denver Bar Association. I was Convention Chairman of the Colorado Bar Association. I was Chairman of Real Estate Law Section of CBA. I was Director of the Real Property Division of the American Bar Association. A vice-chair of the Denver Urban Renewal Authority. I retired from my law practice in 1993. I have always been a traditionalist and a constitutionalist. I have copies of the US Constitution all around my house, even within reach of where I watch TV! One of my grandsons was at Harvard and a student at the Kennedy School of Government…He told me he didn’t have a single class on the constitution. So, of course, I promptly sent him a copy! I even ran for the Colorado State Senate as a Republican…I lost and didn’t try again.
Marcia: OK, Sondra, let’s hear your story.
Sondra: My entire 33 year career was spent in Jefferson County Public Schools! After graduating from CU in 1960, I began teaching sixth grade at West Lakewood Elementary. In 1961, I was asked to serve on a committee to help find a site for an Outdoor Education School. We were fortunate to find the Phelps Dodge Ranch in Upper Bear Creek and recommended that the school board purchase the 554 acre site for $125,000. In 1962, I was one of the first teachers to take sixth graders to the site and helped write the first curriculum guide. In 1963, I was asked to take a supervisory position called Resource Consultant for grades 4-6. One of my responsibilities was to train sixth grade teachers to teach in the out-of-doors before taking students to the Mt. Evans Outdoor Lab. In 1965 I received my master’s degree from the University of Northern Colorado and took another administrative position called K-6 Elementary Specialist, which was followed a few years later by another position, Elementary Science Resource Specialist. During this time, I was awarded a Natl Science Foundation grant to learn a new elementary science program that was created in Newton, MA. My husband and I lived on the Harvard campus and attended a 6 week training after which I was responsible for implementing a new “hands on” K-6 science program district wide. In August 1971, I acquired my principal’s certificate from Western State College in Gunnison. I was asked to take a principalship at Earle Johnson Elem in Golden. I was the first female principal to be appointed in over a decade. The front page of the “Golden Transcript” read, “Woman Takes Over Earle Johnson”. After two years, I became the first pregnant principal the school district ever had and I was told not to tell anyone until the last day of school(These were the days when teachers had to resign at four months. Needless to say there was no policy on how to deal with a pregnant principal!) The school district, however, was very generous and held my school while I took two years of maternity leave when my daughter, Jennifer, was born. She is my only child and, ironically, is a principal in Jefferson County at Dutch Creek Elementary. Her husband, Marcus Pennell, is a physics teacher at Ralston Valley High School. In 1971, my husband was appointed principal at Mt. Evans Outdoor Lab School. Since this is a residential program, we lived on site. I requested a closer assignment and was assigned to Wilmot Elem in Evergreen as Assistant Principal for two years. Then the principalship at West Jefferson Elem became available and I was there for six years. Then on to Bergen Elem as principal for the last ten years of my career. During these many years, I also enjoyed teaching graduate level courses in environmental education and outdoor education.
Marcia: So you love the outdoors?
Sondra: In 1968 we drove a rag top jeep to Alaska and back, tent camping for nine weeks, fishing for salmon, hiking and photographing wildlife like Brown Bears at the McNeil RIver. We did this for 10 summers…me, my husband, and my daughter! Oh, and when we were enrolled at Western State, we camped in a 13’ trailer without bathroom facilities.
Marcia: What was your connection with the fire towers?
Sondra: The summers of 1960 and 62, my first husband and I staffed the Mt. Thorodin Fire Lookout on the Roosevelt National Forest in Colorado. This experience led to a life-long love and interest in fire lookouts. For 3 years I served as the Director of the Colorado/Utah Chapter of the Forest Fire Lookout Assn. This group has been instrumental in restoring Squaw Mt. Fire Lookout near Evergreen in hopes that it will be available for rent. Evergreen Rotarians helped with that too.
Marcia: Jack, what about your family? Any kids?
Jack: I met my first wife, Maggie, in Denver. A University of Michigan Alumni friend introduced us . Maggie worked as a speech therapist at Children’s Hospital. We had three children: Ann, she teaches Art in Evergreen Middle School; John, a sign maker in Centennial; Dave, was a realtor in Evergreen but now lives in Arizona. Maggie died in June of 1991. I have 7 really wonderful grandkids… the youngest is the only granddaughter.
Marcia: So how did you two get together?
Sondra: After my divorce, I joined a singles group at church called “Pairs and Spares”. The pastor actually introduced me to Jack at church. Jack had quite a harem at the time and a new Caddy(Cadillac) in which he would take the ladies to the race track. We went to brunch at Hiwan and later that day he took me to Funplex with his family. When we got back to my house, I offered him grilled cheese and apple pie. Then he pulls out a bottle of vodka and we had a party..I was under his spell from then on. He was so charming. We married June of 1993.
Marcia: So, you’ve had a good retirement life?
Jack: We set a goal of visiting every state and we have! 103 trips so far not counting instate trips...eight elderhostels..river trips, Europe, Norway, Italy, Morroco. We used to winter in Florida.
Marcia: What are your passions these days?
Sondra: My granddaughter, Jack, and education. I still volunteer one day a week at Shelton Elementary School..teaching small reading groups of first graders. I think there needs to be less emphasis on testing in schools. I’ve always believed in the power of experiential learning.
Marcia: So, how did you connect with Evergreen Rotary?
Jack: Well, I was actually a charter member..in 1985. I was the Song Master!
Sondra: I remember the first woman to join Evergreen Rotary….because she had been my boss, Dr. Ann Brady. Some members even resigned over it. I later joined because I had to drive Jack to the meetings. Dick Mund was my Sponsor.
Marcia: Any words of wisdom for Rotarians?
Jack: Go to Rotary Dine Around! Use the 4-Way test!
Sondra: Personal relationships are the most important thing in life.
Disaster relief for Oklahoma by Sacks, Casey
Fellow Rotarians & Concerned Citizens -
On behalf of Districts 5750 & 5770 we want to welcome donations on behalf of Disaster relief specifically designated for the May 20, 2013 victims and their families!
We all have family and loved ones (including myself) that have lost homes, auto's, personal belongings and friends to this F 5 tornado. Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett said today that there were between 12,000 and 13,000 homes destroyed or damaged not including all the businesses and schools destroyed as well!
Any funds received by our Rotary Bi-District 501c3 Foundation will be used exclusively for the benefit of those damaged by this terrible event.
One can either mail a donation to-
Bi-District Tornado Disaster Fund
P.O. Box 13800
Oklahoma City OK 73113-3800
Or make an online donation using your VISA, MasterCard or Discover go to - DONATE NOW
Please be aware that this is tax deductible donation and all donations will be acknowledged. Thank you in advance for all that your donations may accomplish.
Any questions please feel free to call or write me anytime! In service - I am
Interiew with Rotarian Marianne Temple by Hagerman, Brenda
Marianne is new to Evergreen Rotary but not new as a valuable asset of the Evergreen community, especially the educational community.
Interview with Rotarian Marianne Temple Feb 7, 2013
Marcia: Marianne, where did you grow up?
Marianne: Pasadena, California.
Marcia: Bet you saw a lot of parades on New Year’s Day!
Marianne: Yes, My dad served on the Tournament of Roses Parade committee for over 25 years. He was also a member of the LA Five Rotary Club.
Marcia: What were your parents like?
Marianne: Dad had been in the service and then became a financial planner. Mom went to USC and became a teacher. They lived in Hawaii for a few years while Dad was stationed there. They were strong Irish Catholics and raised 8 kids together. They were very hands on and always there for us. We often went, all of us, camping at Big Bear or to the beach in the summer. My parents married on July 4th, so we all get together for a big reunion around the Fourth about every five years. I am so grateful that we are still all close. Mom got into the arts and interior decorating and still does a lot of volunteering. They both have their own businesses.
Marcia: So, where were you in the eight?
Marianne: I was in the middle and the only girl with 7 brothers! Needless to say, I was a tomboy. We were all very active in sports. My dad was a phenomenal tennis player. Most of my brothers went to college on athletic scholarships. I myself played USTA tennis until I tore my shoulder rotator cuff.
Marcia: Where did you go to college?
Marianne: I graduated from San Diego State University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. I worked for IBM in San Diego during my senior year of college. After graduating I worked in marketing and sales in San Diego for the food & wine industry – first with the Gallo Wine Company and then with Rykoff/Sexton Foods, Inc.
Marcia: Did you meet your husband in college?
Marianne: Yes, we were both living in the same apartment complex. He was such a jokester and fun. We had similar backgrounds even though he was born in Leadville, Colorado. My husband is also the middle child of a large Irish Catholic family. He is one of 7 kids with 3 sisters and 3 brothers. He was flying for the Navy and because he was on active duty and traveling a lot, we had a long engagement. A lot of letters went back and forth.no email, you know. When we did get married, he was stationed at NAS North Island in Coronado, California. In 1988, we decided we wanted to start a family. Pat got hired as a pilot with Delta Airlines; plus, he continued to stay in the Navy for 25 years in the naval reserves. Delta Air Lines then transferred us to the Dallas/Ft. Worth area in the spring of 1989.
Marcia: How did that work out?
Marianne: Pretty great! We had three kids the 10 years while living in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. After having children I became very interested in the education field. So in 1994 I went back to school to receive my teaching certification. Once I received my teaching certification I taught accounting, computer applications, and business law at a local high school in the Ft. Worth area. Then Delta closed its pilot’s base at DFW . . .
Marcia: My goodness. So what did you do next?
Marianne: Well, we loved Colorado having spent many summer vacations here. It made sense to move here. So, we moved. We came to Evergreen in February 1999. We knew when we saw Evergreen Lake that this was the place for us. At the time we had a third grader, first grader and a preschooler.
Marcia: Then how did you get involved with Bergen Meadow Preschool?
Marianne: Well…In the spring 0f 1999 when my son was enrolled in the preschool and I was asked by the current director if I was interested in teaching the following school year. I began my early childhood teaching career in August 1999 at Bergen. About 8 years later I decided to get into preschool administration. I became the preschool director at Molholm Elementary in Lakewood in 2007. Then I returned to Bergen Meadow Preschool in January 2011 to be the director. It is a real joy for me to be back at the school where I started teaching in 1999. We have 90 plus preschoolers! I do have a passion for the education of children….a quality education.
Marcia: How did you connect with Evergreen Rotary?
Marianne: I kept hearing about Rotary through people I knew, like Maria Camp at church and Vicky Autry whom I knew through the National Charity League. So, I finally went to a few breakfast meetings! I’m a morning person, which helps. Now that I’m an empty nester, I feel that I have a little more time to give back to my community. Also, my daughter was able to attend RYLA and I really liked the leadership training she received. Youth training is my passion.
Marcia: Any words of wisdom for us?
Marianne: I say, “Go with your heart, your gut”
Don’t take it too seriously. Live your life so that you have no regrets.
Money doesn’t equate to value in life.
Interview with Rotarian Toni Stevens by Hagerman, Brenda
You may know Toni as your insurance agent, but she is also a valued Evergreen Rotarian. Read about her life journey from Motown to Evergreen and lessons learned along the way.
Interview with Toni Stephens Aug 14, 2012
Marcia: Toni, where were you born?
Toni: I was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. I had five brothers, four of whom I grew up with and put up with a lot of teasing. My parents were very hard working. Mom was a waitress and Dad was in Real Estate. I was closer to my Mom because my Dad was gone a lot with his work. My mother was our rock. Her mother was a phenomenal woman from good German stock. Mom died four years ago at age 81. The year she died was a horrible year. I also lost my Dad, my dog, and was diagnosed with lung cancer!
Marcia: What can you tell us about your cancer?
Toni: The diagnosis really caught me off guard. I was having some acid reflux problems. The cancer was discovered when they did a chest x-ray. It was stage 1 and I had chemo treatments. Two years later I had a recurrence and again one year after that, both of which were treated with radiation. Cancer is not for wimps, you have to fight it. Support of friends and community make all the difference.
Marcia: So how has this experience changed your life?
Toni: Well, at one time, I really thought it was all over. My doctor told me there was nothing that could be done. I called each of my brothers for a heart-to-heart talk. I do believe that my Mom was sitting on my shoulders and seeing me through. I’m now a Buddhist with a long bucket list!
Marcia: How did you come to be in Evergreen, Colorado?
Toni: I moved to Colorado in 1978. I went to college to become an x-ray technician. I worked at Children’s Hospital for one year and then Lutheran Medical for 18 years. I chose Colorado for its blue sky and skiing. I just loved adventure. I lived in Indian Hills. I skied all over Colorado and rode horses in the summer. I had always wanted a horse. Now, I have two horses..one is 34 years old and the other is lame. I’ve slowed down but I still ride with friends. I now live in an area that has a lot of riding trails. I love animals. I also have two dogs and two cats!
Marcia: I know you are in the insurance business now. How did that happen?
Toni: I received an offer from American Family Insurance that I couldn’t refuse. More money and more time off! I have my own agency office. I’m very happy with what I am doing now.
Marcia: What do you do in your spare time?
Toni: Well, there’s my animals. And I love to read mystery novels..cop stories. In 1980 I actually wanted to join the Jeffco Sheriff’s office. I had an interview..but turns out they were not hiring women. And, of course, there’s Rotary!
Marcia: How did you connect with Evergreen Rotary?
Toni: I was in the local Kiwanis club. I heard that Rotary was a larger group and decided to try it. Marsha Manning was my sponsor. After I got to know Rotarians, I realized that they are not there to benefit their businesses, but service is what it is all about. You have to jump in and sign up for things.
Marcia: Any words of wisdom?
Toni: Don’t sweat the small stuff. If you are not sick or dying..it’s all small stuff.
Marcia: About that bucket list…
Toni: Travel…I’ve done the trip to Alaska..now there’s the Hawaiian cruise, a trip to the Caribbean, racing around on a jet ski,…..
Interview with Rotarian Bill Manning by Hagerman, Brenda
Bill Manning is everywhere..every community event, every fundraiser, every Rotary meeting. Where does he get that energy? What keeps him going? Read about it here.
Interview with Bill Manning June 28, 2012
Marcia: Bill, how old are you?
Bill: I am 54. I was gray at 35.
Marcia: Well, tell me about your childhood.
Bill: I was born in Wichita, Kansas. The oldest of five kids. Three sisters. My parents were CIA. You know…. Typical middle America childhood.
Marcia: Ah… CIA?
Bill: Yes. My parents met in DC when they were both working for the CIA. All I know is that my Dad was always gone a lot! Anyway, when my grandfather died, my parents moved to Wichita so my father could run the family insurance business. My Mom, who was from Champaign, Illinois, retired at that time and they started their family. My Dad was my hero! He had a presence, a great voice. He was 230 pounds and had been a football player in college. He managed to put his siblings and his kids all through college, a total of eight in all. He did work hard! Unfortunately, he was bedridden the last six years of his life. Mom took care of him. For many years they were extremely active in the community. They were remarkably loyal to their friends and they to them. Friendship and Fidelity…most important.
I gave the eulogy at my father’s funeral. I had found a childhood grade card of his when we went through his box of stuff. He had not been outstanding academically, but on the right side of that card was a testament to his outstanding character. He instilled this value in his children.
Marcia: Are you close to your family?
Bill: Oh, yes. We all take fabulous vacations together. My siblings and their families, including nine nieces and nephews. Beach houses, Europe. We rented an Italian villa…40 of us! Though as kids, all the family could afford was the Chevy Chase Vacation in the station wagon traveling to see relatives. The Kennedy family always played football together…the Manning’s play basketball.
Marcia: Did you have any challenges growing up?
Bill: Not too much, as I recall. We lived in the “Catholic Ghetto”. There were 85 kids on our block! Some families had 11 kids. We barely qualified to live on the block with only 5 kids. We created our own entertainment. Mostly getting together with friends and family. Sports were big. I played basketball. In 1976, I tried out for the Olympics in track. Didn’t make it. I was a good student. I loved high school though I was not part of the popular kids group. I would say I was more the smart jock. I ran track(All American) but I was also in the United Nations Club and a math geek.
Marcia: What about college?
Bill: I went to Kansas State University in Manhattan, KS. And then to Law school. I kept the family tradition and pledged Beta Theta Pi Fraternity(five generations) and was active in the student government organization, but I never practiced law. Ran a campaign for a new basketball arena on campus. College was awesome.
Marcia: So what did you do after college?
Bill: When I was 25, I worked for Senator Robert Dole. Then I went to work for a venture capital company. We financed the building of Pizza Huts in Bangkok, Thailand. So I got to travel over there numerous times.
Then I worked at the Beta Foundation at Miami of Ohio University for a year raising funds. In 1989, Kansas State hired me to run a capital campaign to raise funds for a new library and expansion of the football stadium. Kind of bi-polar. Libraries are tough because nobody graduates from the library. But it sure is satisfying to go back now and walk by the library that I help to build.
Marcia: So how did you meet Marsha Manning?
Bill: I first saw Marsha in Wichita at a running race… at the finish line. I was 34 and single. I ran into a doctor client of mine and she was with his family. She worked for him. About a month later, I was back in Wichita for another race and stopped by at a favorite restaurant where the racers always gather. There was Marsha sitting next to a woman that I had worked with on a Foundation. After playing phone tag for awhile, we finally got together for lunch. That was May of 1992. In August, I invited her to go to the Olympics in Barcelona. She finally agreed to go, after much persuasion from her office co-workers. After a wonderful time at the Olympics, I took her to Provence, France where my family was gathered on another of those vacations. They loved Marsha, of course. Christmas of ’92, I proposed! On the bridge in the middle of College Hill Park. The whole family were all anxiously waiting for our return from the walk. “Where did you go” they asked. My mother says..”They went to the bridge..That’s where your father proposed to me”. We had never heard that story before. Anyway, Marsha said “yes”.
Marcia: So was Marsha a doctor by then?
Bill: Oh, no. After Barcelona, at age 35, she starts med school. It was a tough time for us. She studied all the time. We lived in different cities. We actually got married in Sept of 1995, her senior year. We had done a lot of hiking in Colorado and had our ceremony in Beaver Creek. We both wanted to live in Colorado and we didn’t actually live together until we moved to Colorado. Marsha was thrilled to get St Joe’s Hospital in Denver for her residency. And I had been approached by an investment advising firm in Colorado. So….we bought a home on Cheeseman Park in Denver.
Eventually, we got tired of the city and a friend told me about a house for sale in Evergreen. So, we moved. And we settled right in. My realtor was on the Board of Mt Evans Hospice and got me involved. My mortgage guy was on the Evergreen Chamber Board and got me involved there.
Marcia: So how did you connect with Evergreen Rotary?
Bill: Evergreen Rotarian Karen Cage invited me through the Chamber. I had spoken to various Rotary clubs over the years working for the University. I thought it was probably going to be a bunch of old men. Evergreen Rotary, I found, was different from any other club. I remember meeting Curt Harris while we picked up trash together before my first meeting.
Marcia: And when did you get involved with RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards)?
Bill: Kimra Perkins called me after Bob Wallace fell off a roof and broke his ankle. She asked me to fill in for him at RYLA as a counselor. I went to the training, but still wasn’t too fired up about it. But once there, two Junior Counselors, college students, took me under their wings and reeled me in. I’ve been totally hooked ever since. I see it as an opportunity to change the lives of the young people. RYLA has become an extended family of choice for both Kimra and myself. This year will be my ninth year with RYLA. It fulfills a need in me and gives me purpose. I believe in developing leadership skills in our youth and mentoring them to work in teams.
Marcia: What have been your proudest life achievements so far?
Bill: Number one, overachieving in marriage with Marsha and being able to help her dreams come true in the medical practice. Then, probably being asked by Mat Matson to lead International RYLA at the Los Angeles, London & Montreal Rotary International Conferences. We had 150 kids from thirty countries. It was the absolute coolest thing that I’ve ever done! We had Kimra give the closing keynote address. I remember many of the young women attending from different countries were so amazed that a woman would be allowed to speak at this prestigious event. That warmed my heart.
Marcia: Bill, what words of wisdom could you share with us?
Bill: Happiness is a choice. Life is about building relationships. If you can warm the heart, then you can stir the mind. When you work with non-profits, you don’t get wealthy but you get a wealth of life purpose.
Interview with Rotarian Linda Lovin by Hagerman, Brenda
Linda has had a most interesting and varied life. She has also been an integral part of the Evergreen community. Read here about her enthusiasm for Rotary and the new opportunities to serve.
Interview with Linda Lovin July 23, 2012
Marcia: You’re Southern, aren’t you Linda?
Linda: Yes, my parents were from East Tennessee and the Smoky Mountains… good people with strong Scotch-Irish values…caring about people, proud, hard-working. I was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, where my parents met.
Marcia: Tell me about your parents.
Linda: They met while working in the same bank. They were married over 50 years, raised 4 children and have 10 grandchildren. My father served in the Korean War, worked in banking then served as a minister for 20+ years, fully supported by my mom. My father passed away three years ago but, in the latter part of his life, required special care from my mom as he struggled with the harsh effects of diabetes. My mom still lives in Alabama (where we grew up) and at age 81, has discovered that she loves theater, travel and being very involved with activities in her church. I admire her determination to continue to learn new things in life.
Marcia: So, what was growing up in Alabama like?
Linda: I really had a wonderful childhood. I was the oldest of four children. When I was in the third grade, my father received the call to preach. He moved the family to New Orleans to attend the Southern Baptist Seminary. Later, we moved to Mississippi and then on to small towns in Alabama. We were a close family and very protective of each other. I think that moving around made us all more resilient and aware that there was good and evil everywhere. Often, there was only one Baptist church, so everybody knew us. My sister, Brenda, and I played piano and all 3 sisters sang together in church. My father lovingly thought that we were “as good as the Andrews Sisters” when we sang! My little brother was very involved in church and sports.
Marcia: So where did you go to college?
Linda: It was “strongly advised” by my principal that I get a teaching degree. So I went to Jacksonville State University in Alabama which was known for its education department. I received a degree in Secondary Education with majors in history and English. But I really wanted to be a lawyer!
Marcia: So then what did you do?
Linda: I went to law school at Cumberland School of Law on the campus in Samford University in Birmingham, AL. One day at law school, because of my work with the Speaker’s Bureau, I was able to meet and talk with the Director of the FBI. Judge Webster encouraged me to apply to the FBI to train as an agent. After I finished law school, I worked for the FBI in Indianapolis. That’s where I met my husband, Dale, who was also an agent. We were married one year and two months after we met! I resigned as an agent and was hired as an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney.
Marcia: Did you practice law?
Linda: Yes…criminal law. That was the only part of law school that I really enjoyed. I had worked for a criminal defense lawyer while in law school and was fascinated by the interactions that occur in the courtroom. I worked one year in Juvenile law and five years in felony rapes, murder, and sex crimes. My last year, I headed the Child Advocacy Center in Indianapolis and carried a prosecutor’s caseload. We had our first son, Brandon, in Indianapolis. He is now a corpsman in the US Navy.
Marcia: Why did you leave your practice?
Linda: Dale was transferred to FBI Headquarters in DC. We moved to Maryland and I stayed home for the next two years. Just after we adopted our daughter, Amy, we learned we were expecting our son, Brian! So, they are pretty close in age. Brian is now a Junior at Baylor and Amy is a Senior at Samford.
Marcia: How did you ever wind up in Evergreen?
Linda: Dale got a chance for his dream job in Colorado and was transferred to Denver.
Marcia: And you moved to Evergreen?
Linda: Yes. Since I was an active mom of three young children, I didn’t want to take the Bar in Colorado…so instead I started a community bookstore in Evergreen, Lovin’s Books and Music. I loved this time because I met so many people in our community and developed great relationships. Later, we sold the store and it is now operating as Hearthfire Books. I then became a teacher at Rocky Mountain Academy and, after a year, taught at Evergreen High School for 8 years. One highlight during these years was using my love of the law to work with the EHS Mock Trial Team.
Marcia: So, what are you doing these days?
Linda: I do security audits for DIRECTV all around the US. I’m enjoying volunteer work and am involved in two bookclubs.
Marcia: Great! What causes are you working for?
Linda: Friendship Bridge, Evergreen Chorale and ECHO. Also, of course, Rotary.
Marcia: How did you get involved with Friendship Bridge?
Linda: Ted and Connie Ning used to hold their Friendship Bridge Board meetings at my bookstore. I really admired all that they were able to do in Guatemala. In fact, this past February, I went to Guatemala with Friendship Bridge.
Marcia: What do you see yourself doing in Rotary?
Linda: Rotary is a new avenue for me. I want to learn all about it. I see a whole new world opening up for me with this group. I’m interested in the international projects, literacy and am currently the co-chair of the party committee and a Youth Exchange Counselor.
Marcia: Any words of wisdom?
Linda: My mother has always simply told me: “You can do it.” It’s important to use positive self-talk like this and I tell my children the same thing. Regardless of the challenges or opportunities that come my way, I can hear that voice in my head saying, “You can do it”.
Interview with Rotarian Hanna Holt by Hagerman, Brenda
Read about Hanna's incredible journey from East Germany to Evergreen, Colorado and from where she derives her strength.
Marcia: Hanna, tell us a little about your childhood in Germany?
Hanna: I was born at home in Chemnitz, East Germany. I first saw my Father when I was two year’s old, because he was away at war. I have an older sister and younger sister. We were very poor, but happy. We spent most of our energy just trying to survive. My mother was always fearful that we would not have enough food, even though we had a vegetable garden. I remember, at the age of four, seeing the Russian soldiers marching into town. They would come into our homes and take whatever they wanted. But I was not afraid.
Marcia: Why not?
Hanna: I have always felt that I have a guardian angel that would protect me and give me strength. When the Russians marched in, everyone hid, but not me. I stood at the fence and watched them. One day I wandered into their camp when I smelled food cooking. The soldiers were friendly. They played and laughed with me. They would even share food with me to take home to my family. I became their little mascot. From that day on, they continued to bring food to our home and to protect my family.
Marcia: So, when did you leave?
Hanna: 1949. My father had been in German intelligence and was in danger. Through Dad’s connections, my parents prepared to secretly leave the Russian occupied area. My mother packed our things in many small boxes and my father took each box to a different Post Office to mail, so as not to raise suspicions. My uncle had a trucking company and was to deliver a load of bricks from East Germany to East Berlin. My Dad hid our suitcases under the bricks and then the whole family rode in the truck. While driving through West Berlin, we all jumped out of the truck…..We were free!
Marcia: So, was life much better for you in West Germany?
Hanna: Not really. The children at school were not very friendly. In fact, they were cruel. They were not allowed to even play with us. We were refugees! I felt like I needed to protect my two sisters from the other children, calling us names and throwing stones at us.
Marcia: So how did you get to the United States?
Hanna: In 1958, I immigrated to America from Australia.
Marcia: So what’s the story on Australia?
Hanna: Around 1956, Australia was opened up to Germans. My father accepted a job with the Miele company in Sydney, Australia. So the whole family immigrated to Australia. We traveled by ship to Sydney. That trip became rather interesting when we stopped in Naples, Italy and 300 young Italian men joined the passengers. My poor mother was seasick for the entire three week voyage. In Australia, we were housed in huge camps. I remember there were signs advertising the different job openings. My oldest sister moved in with a family as a governess. I moved into a home to be a companion to a lady whosehusband traveled a lot. I was able to finish high school and two years of college through correspondence courses.
Marcia: OK. So when did you leave for the US?
Hanna: When I was 17, I was ready to explore another part of the world. America was at the top of my list. Without the knowledge of my parents, I lined up a job in the USA, got a visa and boat ticket. I had been corresponding with a German friend that lived in Chicago. She knew of a family there looking for a governess. They were willing to pay my way over, but I declined the offer because I did not want to owe anyone. I first arrived in California by sea and then traveled two days by Greyhound bus to Chicago. I lived with that family for four years and they accepted me like one of their own. They taught me how to drive. I stayed with the family until I married Al Holt. The man of the family even walked me down the aisle at the small German church in Glencoe, Illinois. They were happy to provide the wedding reception at their home and gardens.
Marcia: How did you meet Al?
Hanna: At my 21st birthday party! He showed up in his American Army uniform. I remember saying “who invited him?”. I did not have a favorable memory of American soldiers when they moved into the German villages. However, by the end of the party, I accepted this American soldier and even asked him to drive me home.
Marcia: Did you get engaged right away?
Hanna: Al was slow about that. It wasn’t until I decided to go back to Australia for three months that he decided to buy an engagement ring in my absence. The ring did not stop me, however, from continuing with my plans to drive around Australia with a girl friend and two male friends. I shot my first kangaroo on that trip and we all enjoyedkangaroo soup. Anyway, I married Al in 1962. We lived in Al’s parent’s home and fixed up the attic for our “love nest”. We had number one son a year later. Four and a half year’s later, number two son was born. Because of Al’s job we moved around a lot.
Marcia: How did you come to live in Evergreen?
Hanna: Al was a sales manager for Alcoa Aluminum in siding. One of his customers in Denver wanted to sell his business. Al decided to buy. Al moved here first. His co-worker told him to check out Evergreen. Al did and was so convinced that it was the place for his family, that he went to the Post Office and registered before even finding a place to live. I have now lived here for 33 years.
Marcia: How’d you get connected with Evergreen Rotary?
Hanna: I knew Evergreen Rotarian Joan Spalding through Mountain Mamas, a hiking group. She invited me to a Rotary meeting. Before that though I had heard about Evergreen Rotary….when I was on a safari trip in Tanzania.
Marcia: Really, how so?
Hanna: My roommate on that trip became very ill and I had to go with her to the hospital in Arusha. While there, I saw a plaque with my doctor’s name, Fred Buckwald. There was another plaque thanking the Evergreen Rotary Club.
Marcia: What keeps you in Evergreen Rotary?
Hanna: There are so many opportunities to be involved around the world and also in our local community. I got so much support during and after Al’s battle with cancer. Rotary became my family and a big part of my life
Marcia: What are your passions?
Hanna: I'd say child education. I still love to travel. I really enjoyed the Rotary trip to Guatemala. It opened my eyes to the strong desire of those boys and girls to be educated. Of course, I have always loved classical music and have been on the board of the National Repertory Orchestra and the Evergreen Chamber Orchestra. I also enjoy nature photography.
Hanna's words of wisdom: Be open minded! Life is as good as you make it!
Interview with Rotarian Dee Cooper by Hagerman, Brenda
Dee's life journey has taken her many places and to many situations. And she is only just getting started. See how her experiences helped to prepare her for her current job...Presbyterian minister.
Marcia: Dee, we know you as the minister of the Church of the Hills. Where did it all begin?
Dee: Lubbock, Texas was my place of birth. My ancestors were founders of the state. The first school started on my Grandmother Sissie’s front lawn. Myself and my older brother were mostly raised in Perryton, Texas. This was a small town in Texas where diversity or diverse thoughts were hard to find.
Marcia: Were you a good student?
Dee: Yes.I worked very hard to excel in academics! I found most of my confidence from external validation. So I excelled in athletics, track, volleyball, basketball, swimming and was in the marching band, and leadership of most organizations. My Mom was the senior english teacher and my Dad was on the school board. And with all of this going on, I managed to get expelled the last three weeks of high school!!
Marcia: Really? What did you do?
Dee: In planning for the senior party and trip, a guy I was dating and I drove to Pampa to get the beer for the party, we split a beer in the car. When I went to the NHS social, a fellow student noticed I had been drinking and told the principal. I was later asked that week if I had been drinking and I was honest and said yes. I was expelled for a week and in detention for the remaining time. I was asked to resign from all leadership roles and relinquish all awards and honors received. It was a very hard time in my life.
Marcia: What about college?
Dee: I went to Texas Tech. I started out a double major of Political Science and History, as I was thinking about law school. I later changed to business and finance. I had a great experience with my sorority ,Kappa Kappa Gamma. I graduated but didn’t feel like the job options matched my personality, so I applied for a graduate assistantship and got the position, which meant I had to be admitted to graduate school. So I completed a Master’s in Educational Psychology.
Marcia: So what did you do with all this knowledge?
Dee: My first job was at WichitaStateUniversity as an Assistant Dean of Students..at age 24. I advised fraternities and sororities and I actually met Bill Manning there. Bill was working with the Beta Theta Pi Foundation. When we met in Evergreen, we kept thinking we knew each other and finally put together where our lives had connected earlier in our work with fraternities.
Marcia: So when were you called to the ministry?
Dee: I actually felt called at age 14, while a missionary was speaking in church. I felt a nudge to respond and said to myself no way God! You will make me be a pastor’s wife or go to Africa or something like that! Later I was in a singles group at a Presbyterian church in Wichita, and realized I wanted to go deeper with people. Asking questions of life and death, to walk with them on paths they were taking, to find out what sustained them on their journeys, and kept them going. The pastor at the church, was not supporting women in ministry at all. For a year, he had me shadow all areas of ministry, hoping I would choose a more traditional female role. After the year, he went back to the session saying I know I have preached against women in leadership; but I cannot deny this woman has been called by God. That church provided a full scholarship for me to attend the seminary at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, MA. I was seriously dating a guy during that time and we continued to date long distance. We eventually broke off the engagement, which was a good decision as he was sleeping with a very close friend and they were expecting a child. It was a hard time then and kept me from trusting guys for a long time. I do now. I trained as a chaplain at Massachusetts GeneralHospital, working with the inoperable oncology floors. I found this sacred and holy work to be with patients, families, and doctors during this time.
Marcia: So after the seminary, did you go to a church?
Dee: Not right away. I wrestled with the expectations people had for a minister, to be holy, happy, and hallowed, and my knowledge that I was not that at all, I was just plain human like everyone else. I didn’t see myself as having all the answers, but just wanting to walk and learn with others in this journey. I pursued more training in psychotherapy doing post-graduate studies at the Institute for Masters of Family Systems and became a clinical licensed marriage and family therapist, as well a substance abuse therapist. I worked as the family therapist and substance abuse therapist at a residential treatment home for folks who were dual diagnosed, with an addiction and schizophrenia, or bi-polar disorder. I also started my private practice. And I still wrestled with my call to ministry. Most of my friends were not Christian, and they kept encouraging me to be the minister that is not like the others, to be myself. My first call was to Lowell, MA to an ethically diverse congregation. They were 1/3 African, 1/3 Cambodian, 1/3 Scottish Presbyterian. I loved it! They were a poor church in resources but rich in joy. They were lively, liberal and with lots of diversity. We were chosen as “UrbanChurch of the Year”by the Presbyterian denomination. I also served at Wellspring House, which was radical approach to helping the homeless population (mostly women and their children) by providing mutuality and hospitality and respect. Wellspring was a 3 million not-for-profit that didn’t follow the mold of the typical shelter, offering education, microcredit, gardening, job creation.
I loved New England, but I decided to go back to Wichita to be closer to my family. I served at Grace Presbyterian where we established a productive 10 year mutual partnership with a church in Nairobi, Kenya. From there, I went to Brentwood, CA to a large church with 1200 members as an associate minister, until the head of staff left, and I served as the acting head of staff. It was a typical Hollywood church, with many actors and singers, and ordinary people too. It was filled with great folks. But I do not miss the traffic! At BPC, we established a mutual mission partnership with a church in Cameroon. I am currently a Doctoral candidate, all but the dissertation, at San Francisco Theological Seminary.
Marcia: So what brought you to Evergreen?
Dee: Four years ago, the Church of the Hills called and I came and interviewed and fell in love with Evergreen and COTH. I got interested in Rotary when Kimra Perkins invited me to a meeting. I’ve always felt that a pastor should have a life outside of the church. I have always been an activist to help others. I went to Haiti with the Colorado Haiti Project and also to New Orleans post –Katrina. At our church, we have started a Sunday morning ’WorKship’, to go out and support the community showing our worship isn’t just contained in the sanctuary but continues in our work in the life of the community, helping to make it a better place. So we go pick up trash along the highway, make blankets for newborns leaving the hospital with no blanket, packing kits for Haiti, making burritos for Denver’s homeless, gathering food at the grocery stores for Echo, etc.
Marcia: What are your words of wisdom as a cancer survivor?
Dee: Bring laughter and joy into the world. Feel all your feelings, as they are all gifts from God. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Love those around you. My favorite quote is St Francis of Assisi “Preach the gospel at all times, and if necessary use words.”
Another money giveaway by the Evergreen Rotary Club by Williams, Jerry
Editor's note--This is the story that was sent to the Canyon Courier about the grants awarded during Friday's (11/5) weekly meeting)
The Evergreen Rotary Club awarded a $1,500 grant to the Camp
Comfort program of Mount Evans Hospice Friday morning during its weekly meeting
at El Rancho.
Rotarian Phil Miller, chairman of the club’s Community Services Committee, made the award to Nancy Heister, the hospice’s director of development, from proceeds of the Mountain Home and Garden Show, held earlier this year at Evergreen High School.
Heister thanked club members for the gift and praised their past support of the camp, which offers two weekend sessions every summer for children 6 to 12 who have lost loved ones.
The club also presented a check for $1,321 to Dan and Patty Schmelzer, founders in 2002 of the Capstone Ministries in Kenya, West Africa, which is devoted to helping street children in Kisumu, primarily boys, return to their families. The check was presented by Rotarian Joan Spaulding, who was instrumental in getting the Schmelzers a $36,000 grant three years ago for the transition center the Schmelzers run for the boys.
Spaulding, who characterized the check as “extra money” left over from the grant, said the original grant purchased beds, kitchen equipment and bicycles for the center. Dan Schmelzer, who, with his wife, presented an update on the couple’s work in Kisumu, said the new money will help with a rainwater collection project at the center and provide a boost in the economic status of the families to whom the boys return. To date, the Schmelzers noted, their program has returned more than 150 boys to their families.
Club president Todd Bastian disclosed that the club’s annual fundraising event, Bright Lights, Rotary Nights, held Oct. 23 at the Evergreen Country Day School, netted more than $50,000 which the club will return in the form of grants to non-profit organizations doing humanitarian work in the Evergreen community and around the world.
Interview with Rotarian Ben Allen by Hagerman, Brenda
Ben Allen is so enthusiastic about Evergreen, Colorado, his family, youth programs and especially Rotary. Read his story right here.
Marcia: Ben, where did you start in life?
Ben: I was raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan. My Dad is a Rotarian with his own commercial real estate business.He also teaches Real Estate Feasibility at the University of Michigan Business School for over 30 years. My Mom is an accountant. They are both world travelers.
Marcia: Any siblings?
Ben: I’m the oldest of three. I have a brother who works with my father in Ann Arbor and a sister that actually lives here on South Turkey Creek. I have 17 cousins in Illinois and 5 of them have done Rotary Youth Exchange. We all get together for family reunions.
Marcia: So did you go to college in Ann Arbor?
Ben: No, I went to DePauwUniversity because Michigan would never have accepted me.I had a very consistent 2.67 grade point average throughout high school and even though my grandfather had been on the DePauw board of trustees for 20 years they didn’t let me in freshmen year (I went to Eastern Michigan next door in Ypsilanti for my freshman year). I became an English Composition major and, true to form, got a 2.67 grade point average through college. I met my wife, Kathleen, there after I graduated at the local bar, “Toppers.”She was suma cum laud and very dedicated to school, it was her 3rd time at a bar in 4 years (conversely it was my 6,781 time at a bar, I think). We were good friends first because I didn’t want to scare her off with how smitten I was.I got her and a friend an apartment and jobs in Chicago, where I was living,
Marcia: How did you propose?
Ben: I had 25 fraternity brothers show up with champagne at a “Goddess Traditions” 7 – 10 pm class that she was taking, I had cleared it with the professor prior to class and he introduced me. Then my 15 minute “will you marry me” speech turned into, “It was raining the night I met you.It’s raining now.Will you marry me?”
Marcia: What did you do after college?
Ben: My first job was at Price Waterhouse in Chicago. I was there for several years then changed over to GE Capital to be part of a help desk.
Marcia: How did you get to Evergreen?
Ben: I’d been out to Colorado for skiing and really loved it out here. In 1995, when Kathleen was 7 months pregnant, we moved to Evergreen.I was able to come back to Price Waterhouse in Denver. And now we have 4 kids, ages 7, 10, 12, and 14.And I have my own business, Allen Technology Advising, a computer consulting business with 9 employees who make up an amazing and multi-skilled team. I am currently moving away from the technical end of things and plan to spend my energy doing more marketing and selling.
Marcia: How did you connect with Evergreen Rotary?
Ben: In 1999, Rotarian Tom Johnson approached me about joining the club.I had been exposed to Rotary Youth Exchange and wanted to be part of the program in Colorado. That’s what hooked me. I believe that going to another country as an ambassador for a year is probably the most life changing experience any person could have.
Some of my Rotary highlights include meeting and working with Mark Williams, a past president of our club.Because of him, and Ashley Shuler of Africaid, I have made two trips to Africa, one by myself to build a computer lab and another trip to take my family for 7 weeks to volunteer at the SelianHospital in Arusha.What amazed me about Africa was the opportunity to meet people who have nothing and yet have everything.What they care about are relationships, much more then work or anything else. It was amazing for my family to be part of that culture.
What I love about Evergreen Rotary is the amazing membership that we have.So many people are and have been successful business people. They have served as mentors and as part of my advisory board for my business.I have served with many Rotarians on boards in Evergreen.Next year I will be chair of the Evergreen Chamber of Commerce board of directors and we will have 6 people besides myself who are all Evergreen Rotarians helping me, I know we will have a great time!
Marcia: I remember that Evergreen Rotary was very supportive after Kathleen’s accident and recovery.
Ben: Oh yes. Kathleen was training for a the world triathlon event in Germany and we were leaving in 5 days and she was riding her bike on Upper Bear Creek Rd.A truck coming from the other direction did not see her and took a left turn right in front of her, she took out the front light and went under the vehicle.The result was horrific injuries. All our plans were put on hold. Rotarians stepped up with a plan to take care of our family. Driving, meals, and all so that we could concentrate on my wife’s recovery. We felt held and loved. And we truly saw the power of prayer. I believe it really works. Rotary became our family. Service Above Self, it will come back to you. We learned so much from all that. And today we have a better marriage and closer relationships with so many people as a result.
Marcia: And how is Kathleen doing today?
Ben: Really great. Incredibly, she is racing again. She is competing in the Iron Man Classic soon in Hawaii. As a result of a letter from my 13 year old daughter, NBC is doing a piece on Kathleen’s story. They will be coming to Evergreen for 3 days to film.
She is also a SuperMom, waking up everyday saying “What can I do for my kids today?
Marcia: What’s ahead?
Ben: I plan to spend more one-on-one time with each of my kids being a better listener.
I am learning when to turn off my cell phone..especially when with a client or driving.
Someday, I would love to help start up a computer consulting business in Africa.
Marcia: Any advice for new Rotary members?
Ben: Volunteer because you love it. Build personal relationships with other Rotarians. Family is everything and Evergreen Rotary is a great family!
Interview with Rotarian Casey Sacks by Hagerman, Brenda
Casey joined Evergreen Rotary just over a year ago. She has become one of our biggest cheerleaders. She currently leads our Red Badge program for new members.
Marcia: Casey, tells us about your family.
Casey: I was born in California. My Mom was a flight attendant and she met my Dad in LA. I was the first born of three girls. We moved to Evergreen because my Mom needed help from her family as she traveled a lot with her job. Her family all lived in Colorado. She eventually hired my grandmother to help look after us kids. As a result, I had an incredibly close relationship with my grandmother. Both of my sisters still live in the Denver-Metro area.
Marcia: Where did you go to school?
Casey: Marshdale, Evergreen Junior, and Evergreen High School - then on to CSU. After college, I did my masters at CU in the springs in clinical psychology. And when CSU plays CU in football, I always cheer for CSU! After my clinical rotations, I realized that I didn’t wish to be a psychologist so I took at job at Drexel University in Pennsylvania working with college students. I went on to obtain my doctorate from Bowling Green State University in Ohio in higher education administration. I enjoy working in a college environment and love the development that happens for students during college.
Marcia: Did you meet your husband in college?
Casey: Oh, no…I actually met Erik when I was 12 years old! We sat next to each other in science class at Evergreen Junior High. Our romance started in high school. For our first date, Erik bought me a coffee while I was ringing the Salvation Army bell outside King Soopers in Bergen Park. We survived a seven year long distance relationship while I was working and studying out of state. It was on a trip to Paris that Erik proposed to me. In 2008, we got married.
Marcia: And what does Erik do?
Casey: Erik is one of the manager’s at Hiwan Golf Course. He is also in his 4th year as president of Evergreen Scholarships Bootstraps. We recently bought a home in Hiwan that we are remodeling ourselves. Along with our dog Toby and cat Melody.
Marcia: And what about your work?
Casey: I am with the Community College System of Colorado. I do policy and finance work for career and technical education. One of our goals is to help students get the career training they need to be able to find work in Colorado.
Marcia: How did you ever find the time to get involved with Evergreen Rotary?
Casey: Actually, a friend of mine on the faculty at Bowling Green recommended Rotary to me when I was complaining about the difficulty of getting involved in the Evergreen community.
At his recommendation, I joined Evergreen Rotary. I really enjoyed being a counselor at RYLA this summer and having the opportunity to guide incredibly dynamic young people – and I plan to go back again next summer. I find I love to share Rotary with others. I would love to host an exchange student in the future. And for now, I really love the people and the dynamic group.
Marcia: What would you say is your biggest passion?
Casey: I do love being with other people. And mediation. I am a mediation volunteer for JeffCO working with parties to come up with their own solutions to difficult problems. I serve as a facilitator – mostly with child custody cases. In fact, one of my professional goals is to be an Institutional Ombudsman where I could focus on mediation for faculty and students at a college or university.
I also love estate sales. I collect sorority pins. And I love to read Agatha Christie mysteries!
Interview with Rotarian Mereth Meade by Hagerman, Brenda
Mereth tells Marcia all about her very interesting life story. She has been around! Beginning in Switzerland...
Marcia: Mereth, were you really born in Switzerland?
Mereth: Yes. My parents were Swiss but they had immigrated to Oregon. My sister was born there but mother really wanted to be “home” for my birth, so they traveled back by ship. After three months in Switzerland she and my sister survived a stay on Ellis Island (some paper glitch) with a baby that had whooping cough.Dad was ashore, unable to expedite our release so we could return to what had become their new home in Norman, Oklahoma.
Marcia: Why Norman?
Mereth:Leaving his philosophy position in Eugene, Dad took a professorship at the University of Oklahoma. After he retired, they did manage to retire in Bern, Switzerland.They returned to the house that Dad had grown up in.It had been rented to the same person all those years!
Marcia: So you grew up in Norman?
Mereth: Actually, my sister and I were taken back to Switzerland for four years where I had to learn Swiss (forgetting English in the process).I also lived in Bern for a year and a half when I was in high school. That time the challenge was to follow lessons in German while speaking the dialect the rest of the time.
Marcia: What about college?
Mereth: I started out at the University of Oklahoma, but decided I needed to get away and out on my own. It was no fun being a professor’s daughter and in the footsteps of a bright and beautiful older sister, so I got a scholarship to Smith as a Junior.After that I went to Yale for a Master’s in Nursing.
Marcia: You wanted to teach like your Father?
Mereth: Oh, no. I really wanted to be a nurse.As it turned out, nursing is riddled with teaching opportunities.I particularly liked public health and home visits.
Marcia: So when did Bob Meade come into the picture?
Mereth: I met Bob in the hallway outside of my weekly, detested geology lab. We had been neighbors when his naval father moved the family into a house two doors down when he was sent to Norman to build a naval base. I played with his sister and was aware of his existence.He was in the Navy while I was at Smith. We reconvened in Norman for a wedding when it was 113 degrees outside.
Marcia: And where did married life take you?
Mereth: Marriedlife started in the Four Corners area where Bob did field work for Chevron while I learned to cook on a wood stove in a cabin without heat or running water--in Disappointment Valley in the Paradox Basin.I kid you not.It takes a guy with a sense of humor to take a bride to such nomenclature!After the first month we got to live in a motel in Dolores.We moved to California in the truck we were able to buy from his summer’s earnings.It came from a dairy farmer and said “Thirsty? Drink Milk” on the side. We kept that old truck for years, always parked downhill on the road to our cabin in Portola Valley because the dairy farmer had warned us that the battery was about togo. My nursing salary helped him finish graduate school. Two children were born at Stanford and the third in Falmouth, MA.We were there for eleven years. Bob was away at sea a lot and I continued to work in nursing.
Marcia: How did you ever get to Colorado?
Mereth: Bob came to Colorado with the USGS in 1974 so as not repeat himself in work he was doing at Woods Hole on Cape Cod.I had various jobs along the way, including teaching LPNs at Emily Griffith Opportunity School and as registrar at Colorado Academy after I left nursing.
Marcia: What are your kids doing now?
Mereth: Our oldest son is an engineer, daughter has her own tutoring business that includes college counseling for parents and students looking for the right college fit, and the youngest son is an architect who just sold his climbing wall business. Oh, and we currently have two grandkids in Oregon.
Marcia: How would you describe yourself?
Mereth: Oh, I’d say that nurture and problem solving are threads that run through my life.
Marcia: How did you come to join Evergreen Rotary?
Mereth: I first came to Evergreen Rotary because of a very persistent friend. It took me a year and a half to find my niche. President Jim Davis spoke of the need for someone to work on literacy so I ended up as Literacy Chair for 4 years.
Marcia:How would you describe yourself, extrovert or introvert?
Mereth: I consider myself an introvert.I read and think a lot and love to garden.I miss tennis and ping pong from the past.Rotary gives the energy to embrace my passions as others join me in endeavors that they, too, seem to embrace. I have recently joined with other Evergreenites to form Evergreen’s Alliance for Substainability (EASY), whose mission is to foster sustainability in our mountain communities. Half of the Board consists of Rotarians.
Marcia: Any words of wisdom?
Mereth:If you enjoy doingsomething you probably do it well.So do it!
Interview with Rotarian Karen Cage by Hagerman, Brenda
Karen has really made her mark on Evergreen Rotary and the Evergreen community. Read all about it here.
MARCIA:Karen, were you a cheerleader?
KAREN:I get asked that all the time. No. I was a tomboy that loved horses. Still am! In fact, on the way over here, I stopped to rescue a horse that had gotten tangled up in a wire fence!
MARCIA: What was your childhood like?
KAREN: Very stable. We lived, my parents, brother, and I, in Webster Grove, Missouri outside of St Louis. My parents had a building supply business and were always very involved in the community and the Methodist church. My father was an active Rotarian! We were always going to Rotary functions. My husband and I were high school sweethearts. We just celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary.
MARCIA: What about college?
KAREN: I attended the University of Missouri at Columbia and studied Interior Design. We got married my sophomore year. Jim got drafted at the end of his junior year and was called up to serve in the Naval Reserves. So we were off to California. When he got out he finished undergrad and went on to Law school in Kansas City taking advantage of the GI Bill. After that we decided to move to Colorado
MARCIA: Why Colorado?
KAREN: Before Jim served in the Navy, we drove out to Colorado on a vacation. We didn’t have much money, so we camped in the Buffalo Creek area near Pine. We really fell in love with Colorado. I told Jim we must move here someday. Later, in 1978, we were driving through Colorado and decided to take the I-70 Evergreen exit. We’ve always liked to drive off the Interstates. That little side trip resulted in us buying a home near Pine! God answered my prayers seven years later! Our three daughters were born in Colorado. Jennanne, Courtney and Christine.
MARCIA:So the girls got to grow up here?
KAREN: Yes, they are my passion and the main reason I got involved in the Evergreen community and Rotary also. They attended Faith Christian Academy for elementary, middle school and part of high school, where I was a substitute teacher for two years.When they all transferred to Evergreen High School, I went to the PTA and looked for ways I could get involved in the school. I saw a need for character and self esteem building. At the time it wasn’t so cool to do community service.I was asked to get involved with a committee to boost school spirit and help build character values which the schools were not allowed to address.I was the founding President of an organization that eventually became a 501-C-3 Corporation that’s mission was to build character values in the youth of Evergreen.This organization was called Cougar Pride and followed the format created by the asset building initiative which was designed to work with PTA’s, schools, administrators, church youth groups, etc. We emphasized twelve character values…like taking pride in the school, involvement in the community through volunteering and giving back, involvement in clubs or activities, etc. We dealt with critical issues like teen suicide and bullying. We were able through seminars and community forums to get the community leaders, parents and schools to participate and become involved with the initiative.
MARCIA: Were you a Rotarian then?
KAREN: I was invited to join Rotary in the late 80’s. Of course, my main focus was on the schools at that time.Columbine had just happened and most parents werestill in shock over this event.In 2001, I was the founding sponsor who for the Evergreen High Interact club. My daughter Christine was the club’s first president. They were able to raise funds for radiology equipment for the Selenian Hospital in Arusha, Tanzania. My oldest daughter, Jennanne Cage Dougherty started a Rotary Club in West Virginia for young professionals while working for Smith Barney and her husband finishing up medical school! I’ve always been involved in my community. I helped rewrite the Red Badge program in Rotary. I’m less involved now in Rotary as I have been also serving as chair the of the Evergreen Chamber of Commerce and next year, I’ll be the President of the Center of Arts Evergreen. I am still very active my real estate business with Fuller Sotheby’s International specializing in both residential and investment properties as well as running a private real estate investment business called JK Design LLC for my family. My daughters are spread out now in Miami, Chicago, and Colorado. And we still have our horses.Jim and I are members of the Arapahoe Fox hunting club. We hunt coyotes out at the old Lowry bombing range.
MARCIA: Any words of wisdom?
KAREN: God answers prayers…with what is best for us. Sometimes we think our plans or timing are the best, while God shows us that His timing is perfect for our needs in the end.
My daughter, Courtney, has been trying to get into med school for five years. After the earthquake, she helped set up a medical clinic in the Dominican Republic. She saw a village washed away with people losing everything they possessed which for this poor country was almost nothing to begin with. This experience allowed her to help save the life of a woman who had gone into a diabetes coma.Fortunately for this woman in this poor village where there was no hospital, or clinic, a doctor who was part of the mission’s trip and Courtney took turns staying up all night with her and she survived.
We just got word that she has finally been accepted into med school! Her lifelong dream come true. My oldest daughter, Jennanne has been involved with the Alzheimer’s Association and has even spoken before the US Senate on their behalf. …. Yes, God answers prayers.
Interview with Rotarian Michelle Wolins by Hagerman, Brenda
You've seen Michelle's work...on the Bright Lights printed programs and posters. Now, read about her life and what keeps her in Rotary.
Marcia: Michelle, We want to hear your story.Where did you grow up?
Michelle: I grew up in Ames, Iowa. I was a parochial school “victim”, taught by nuns. Just five years later, my younger sister had a very different experience when the school was primarily staffed by lay teachers, but in my day, it was all about discipline. My family led a very “Leave it to Beaver” lifestyle. My father was head of purchasing for the city of Ames and my mom stayed at home until I went off to college. While my father never was a member of a service organization, both my parents were always helping out in the community. Ames, being a Midwest college town, was a very sheltered place to grow up. I was so naïve about the rest of the world!
Marcia: Where was college?
Michelle: I studied Graphic Design at Washington University in St Louis. I knew I would be in a creative field, but I also wanted a good education.
Marcia: Did you meet your husband in college?
Michelle: No, I actually met Seth in high school. He went to Purdue on a hockey scholarship. We will celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary this coming August. We have a nine year old daughter who is awesome. She’s smart, creative, compassionate, funny and a very special person. (OK. So I’m the bragging kind!)
Marcia: So what kind of work do you do now?
Michelle: I have a graphic design business that I operate out of my home in Conifer. After college I worked for thirteen years in Southern California. The last eight years was with a wonderful design firm, Baker Brand Communications.When I moved to Colorado, I was able to maintain that relationship. Now, I have clients all around the country.
Marcia: And what about Seth?
Michelle: He is a business person, a negotiator. Currently, he’s a General Manager with Emptoris, a software company based in Boston. In the past, we moved around because of his work but now he just makes Colorado his base. We spent thirteen years in California, one year in Seattle and even lived a year in Thailand.
Marcia: Oh, what was that like?
Michelle: In Thailand, I remember a lot of kindness and compassion.
Marcia: So, how did you happen to land here?
Michelle: Seth’s job brought us to Colorado. We looked all over with a realtor and just loved the foothills here. We both really enjoy the peace and quiet. It’s good for my creative urges and also has a calming effect on my type A husband.
Marcia: How did you connect with Evergreen Rotary?
Michelle: I was volunteering at the Mountain Resource Center, as I wanted to get involved in the community. I met Jim Davis and he invited me to Evergreen Rotary.
Marcia: What keeps you in Rotary?
Michelle: I am so inspired by the people in Evergreen Rotary! The Friday morning meetings are a “feel good” time for me. Due to my husband’s travel schedule, I have to pay a nanny to get my daughter ready for school on Friday mornings so that I can attend but Rotary reminds me that there is a larger world out there. I hope to introduce Rotary to my daughter by sending her to young RYLA in the future. I would love to take her to see Rotary projects in places like Ecuador.
Marcia: What else do you do for fun?
Michelle: Seth and I love to travel. We enjoy outdoor activities. Once we followed along with the Tour de France! I love to paint, although there has not been enough time the last few years. I love to read, mostly fiction. One day, I’ll have more time for local Rotary projects, I hope. I have been able to help out with some of the art work for advertising Rotary fundraisers. Now, I just want to be fully involved in my daughter’s life. I would love to see Rotary offer more family outings, like hiking or biking.
Interview with Rotarian Carma Scheafer by Hagerman, Brenda
Even though Carma is new to Evergreen Rotary, she is way not new to Rotary! Read here about her life and Rotary experiences(so far).
Interview with Carma ScheaferJan 19, 2011
Marcia: I know that you are new to Evergreen Rotary. Tell me what brought you to us.
Carma: I decided to retire last March from my position with a software development firm in Omaha. In May, we were vacationing in Estes Park. I remember looking around and saying “people actually live in this beautiful place”. It hit me that I didn’t have to spend my retirement years in Omaha! So after 22 years in Omaha, we sold our home and moved to Colorado. I was an active Rotary member in Omaha so, of course, I did some inquires about Rotary clubs in Colorado. I called Mary Richards about Evergreen Rotary and when I visited the club, I was hooked. The Evergreen club is very much like my Omaha club. As it turned out, Mary, being a realtor, showed us some properties around Evergreen and that was it. Everything just fell into place.Evergreen and its Rotary have a great energy about them, my husband and I love it here.
Marcia: So what has been your experience with Rotary before coming to Colorado?
Carma: After five years in the Omaha club, I became President (2007-2008). At the time the club was only ten percent women and I think they were looking for a female leader to help turn that around; today the club is 35% women. I went on to become an assistant Governor for the district. Before I became President, I went to Nicaragua to see the projects that my club supported. Rotary has made such a difference in an area outside of Leon, which was nothing but a dump in which people lived. Seventy-five houses have been built for $1500 each, and given to women; many of these women have started businesses in their homes. The village now has a medical and dental clinic and a pre-school. I understand that the city of Leon now sends out buses everyday so that the women can go to work and children can go to school. A thriving village exists where there was nothing before. On our trip we also visited our clinic in Managua where we do screening for cervical cancer. In nearby barrios we distributed bus tickets to women and children to go visit the clinic. In Leon, we visited a school for deaf pre-schoolers that was started by a 75 year old Rotarian. Seeing first-hand what a difference Rotary can make convinced me it had to be an important part of my life.
Marcia: Did you grow up in Omaha?
Carma: No, I grew up in Oklahoma City. My parents are still there. I have two brothers and one sister. I’m the baby! My dad is 90 years old and a veteran of two wars. My folks were hardworking and active in the Methodist church. I left OKC when I was twenty. When my husband retired from the Air Force, we owned a computer retail business for a few years in Omaha. Also, in Omaha, we lived in, renovated and sold five houses in twenty years as a hobby.
Marcia: Do you have kids?
Carma: We have a daughter that lives in Denver. I get to babysit once a week. We have a son in Grand Rapids and a daughter in Omaha. At this time we have five grandchildren…four boys and a girl…an another girl on the way. I think she will be a redhead!
Marcia: What are some of your interest?
Carma: I’ve mostly worked in accounting and finance. I served on the Foundation board of my Rotary club. I especially enjoy Toastmasters and will be checking out the Evergreen Toastmasters. I really enjoy hiking, travel and wine tasting, and certainly hope to do a lot of these in the future. I love to socialize and to have a close group of girlfriends around.
Marcia: Words of wisdom?
Carma: Any small act can make a BIG difference!
Interview with Rotarian Al Steger by Hagerman, Brenda
Al cheerfully greets you almost every Friday morning when you check in at Rotary. Read here about the man behind that smile who continues to contribute to the success of our club.
Interview with Al StegerJan 20, 2011
Marcia: Where did you grow up, Al?
Al: Appleton, Wisconsin…a blue collar town of about 40,000 south of Green Bay. That’s where my grandfather immigrated to in the 1890s from Bavaria. There were a lot of paper mills along the river. My dad was a machinist for Kimberly-Clark.
Marcia: What was it like growing up there?
Al: We were probably poor but didn’t know any better. I had a lot of family around. In fact, we had four houses in a row…all family. I had three brothers and three sisters. I’m the second oldest. Education was stressed - Catholic schools. My parents never went to college, but my five oldest siblings all did.We pretty much had to pay our own way.I was very much an introvert but I participated in all sports.Naturally, I grew up a Packer fan!
Marcia: So where did you go to college?
Al: The University of Wisconsin. I had wanted to be an architect, but there was no state supported school that offered architecture in Wisconsin, and I couldn’t afford a private college, so I went intocivil engineering. I later got a graduate degree from Michigan State.
Marcia: Did you meet your wife in college?
Al: No, Barbara and I actually first met in high school, but never dated until college.We met in a bar, but always told Barbara’s mother that we met at the library. We got married in 1968 when I was in my senior year.
Marcia: That was the Vietnam era.Did you get drafted?
Al: Almost. I had student deferments in college.When I graduated, I took a job with the Federal Highway Administration as I thought it might be my best shot at getting anoccupational deferment. They were busy building the Interstate System as well as access roads to missile sites around the country. A few months after I started, however, my deferment was canceled!I was called for and passed my preinduction physical, but before I was actually inducted,the draft lottery was introduced.I drew a high lottery number and was never called to duty. Sometimes I felt a little guilty about that.I had friends go, some of whom never came back, but I honestly did not know anyone at that time who volunteered unless they believed being drafted was inevitable, and then it was to have some control over their destiny.
Marcia: So how long did you work for the government?
Al: Three years ago I retired from the Federal Highway Administration after 39 years. During my career, we moved around a lot - 11 states, 17 cities, 23 homes - from coast to coast! When I retired, I had offices in eighteen states, and about 600 employees under my supervision.
Marcia: Where was the most interesting place you lived?
Al: Cooke City, Montana. It was so remote that the mail carrier sometimes took our grocery order and delivered with the mail!Baltimore was also interesting.We bought a pre-Civil War rowhouse in a historic district, and busted our butts for three years fixing it up.It was easy to get to know our neighbors there.We loved to sit on the front steps in the evening with a glass of wine. Soon neighbors would gather and we’d have a block party.
Marcia: How about family?
Al: We have two sons. The oldest, AJ, was born in San Diego and now lives in Littleton. The younger one, Kevin,was born in Michigan and now lives in Portland. We have three grandkids, 6, 4, and 2
Marcia: So how did you wind up in Colorado?
Al: I planned to retire as soon as we could sell our home in Baltimore.When we did sell, my boss wanted me to stay on for a while longer to ease the transition.I told him that if I did it would have to be from Colorado, because we were moving to be closer to our two grandkids at that time.He said “that can be arranged” and the next thing I knew I was working out of our offices in Lakewood.But, that was only for a few months.I retired in February of 2008.In August, 2008 we moved to Evergreen.
Marcia: Why Evergreen?
Al: We were looking everywhere from Ft. Collins to Larkspur, but fell in love with Evergreen. We wanted to feel like we were on vacation, and Evergreen fit the bill.Mary Richards became our Realtor. She showed us a lot of properties before we found “the one,” much to her relief.
Marcia: So, did Mary invite you to Evergreen Rotary?
Al: Yes,she did. She suggested that the Rotary club would be a great way to get involved in the community. I have come to realize just how unique and dedicated the members are. I am truly humbled.Barbara has gotten involved in the community too. For the first time, we feel that we are growing permanent roots, even though we are still “free spirits.”We love the laid back outdoor lifestyle here.
Marcia: Words of wisdom?
Al: Get out of your comfort zone.Don’t hesitate to try new things or newplaces.We loved everyplace we ever lived, but we discovered it was always due more to the people than the place.
Interview with Rotarian Sam Smith by Hagerman, Brenda
Sam is a fun guy. Also he is a giver, a mentor, and an all around good guy. Read here about his many interests.
Interview with Sam SmithFeb 3, 2011, revised Feb 20, 2011
Marcia: Sam, where are you from?
Sam: I was born in Greenville, Alabama, about 50 miles south of Montgomery, and spent my first year living on my maternal grandfather’s farm there. My grandfather was designated Master Farmer in the state of Alabama in 1937, and his farm was a fun place to visit while growing up in Atlanta.My grandfather made sure that my mother, and all of his four children, got a good education.My uncle, Jim, graduated from Annapolis.
My dad’s father was Canadian and was tragically killed when he tried to stop a runaway carriage.Later, Dad and my grandmother relocated to Calendar, Iowa, where Dad became a naturalized citizen and graduated from the Drake University School of Pharmacy.
My parents met when my dad was an Army pharmacist, stationed at Ft. Rucker, Alabama, and Mom was teaching English and German in a high school nearby.We moved to Atlanta and later Decatur, Georgia when my dad was released from Army at war’s end.Mother home schooled me for kindergarten, a special time for both of us. She later became a substitute teacher in the DeKalb County Georgia School System.My dad was a salesman for Geigy Pharmaceuticals, currently Novartis, and among other Geigy drugs, he introduced anti-depressants to Georgia doctors.Upon retirement he received special recognition from the mental health physicians group in the state.
I have one younger brother. George, who like me was an Eagle Scout and graduated from Georgia Tech.He is a salesman for HP in the Washington D.C. area and has two, wonderful grown daughters.
I was an independent kid growing up. I became an Eagle Scout at age 13. I loved scouting and have fond memories of attending a Jamboree in Colorado Springs, 51 years ago. I was also very much involved in Clairmont Presbyterian Church in Decatur.
Marcia: Where did you meet your wife?
Sam: I met Linda in high school senior English class. She was a popular, and I was president of the student council. A mutual friend acted as match maker. I was off to Georgia Tech after high school, and Linda went to a Georgia State University in Atlanta. I started out in Industrial Design, but transferred to the school of Industrial Management. I was a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity. In one week in 1967, I graduated from Tech, Linda and I got married, and I was commissioned as a Navy Ensign!
Marcia: Did you go to Vietnam?
Sam: Yes, I served as anti submarine warfare officer and nuclear weapons officer on a Navy destroyer off the coast of Vietnam.While there, our ship served as “plane guard” for aircraft carriers and provided naval gunfire support for troops ashore.I enjoyed being officer of the deck while the ship was underway. I left the Navy in 1970, and Linda, who was pregnant at the time, and I returned to Atlanta to start a new life.
Marcia: Is that when you got a job with the Federal Reserve?
Sam: Yes, I was hired by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s into its Planning Department which focused on automating the bank.I reached the level of assistant vice president.I enjoyed pioneering new electronic payments systems including the Automated Clearing House (ACH) used for direct deposit and other payments.I transferred to the Cleveland Fed in 1983 as vice president, and was promoted to senior vice president in 1986, a position I held for 24 years.I felt that I did important work, and I enjoyed a wonderful working relationship with the U.S. Treasury. I retired from the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland at age 62 after a total Fed career of 37 years.
Marcia: Is that when you moved to Colorado?
Sam: Yes, our only daughter, Jennifer, had lived in Boulder for eight years, and we had spent summers in Jackson Hole, so deciding to move out west to the mountains was an easy decision. Her husband, Scott, works for Ball Aerospace, and they have a daughter, Audrey, age 6. It was difficult to leave our friends in Ohio to move to a place where we knew no one, but when Scott took us to see Evergreen, it was love at first sight.We are very happy here.
Marcia: What bought you to Rotary?
Sam: I used to speak at Rotary clubs about the Federal Reserve and was impressed with it. Before we moved here our assistant minister, a Rotarian, urged me to join in Hudson, Ohio where we lived. So, when we moved here, and I was looking for ways to get connect with my new community, I decided to join the Rotary Club of Evergreen. Right after I joined, Diane Rising asked me to be Secretary, which I did for two years and got to know all the members pretty well.One funny story was as secretary, I had to get to Rotary by 6:30am, a bit early for me in retirement.One morning my clock was set wrong, and I got to El Rancho at 5:30am!
Marcia: What keeps you in Rotary?
Sam: The meetings are always stimulating, and there are so many fabulous people in our club that I enjoy. The club does amazing things for others here and around the world.So far I have enjoyed working on Rotary Warm Heart at Ft. Carson, highway cleanup, Salvation Army bell ringing, and also Project Earth. I appreciate that Rotary is non-political.
Marcia: What other interest do you have, Sam?
Sam:We sailed for 20 years, but I sold my boat in Cleveland.I used to play tennis every Saturday morning in the winter (indoors) and golf in the summers.Here I play golf, fly fish, hunt birds, and hike. Linda and I enjoy our two English setters, Winnie and Kit.I do some bank consulting as well.I just have a lot of interests!
We like to travel and plan to visit Greece, Egypt, Turkey and Israel this May. I am often asked to mentor young people. I’d say that helping young people is one of my passions.
I’ve always enjoyed leadership roles in my church and with non-profits. At one time, I served as Chairman of the Board of Beech Brook, a charity in Cleveland that was founded in 1852. It helps abused and neglected children and families.Next year, I will serve as President of Art for the Mountain Community (AMC).I got involved in AMC through former Evergreen Rotarian, Karen Lindsey.
Marcia: Any words of wisdom?
Sam: I’d say just trust to turn one’s life over to the Lord and let Him lead.
Interview with Rotarian Phil Miller by Hagerman, Brenda
Phil has been in our club only a few years, but he has taken on some big roles. Currently he serves as Community Service Chair. Read about his life and loves....
Interview with Phil MillerJan 26, 2011
Marcia: You are from the South, aren’t you?
Phil: Yes, I grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Marcia: What was your childhood like?
Phil: I have two older brothers and two younger sisters…all still living in North Carolina. Life was pretty normal for the time. My parents were both educated, and encouraged my education. My Dad graduated from North Carolina State in 1949. After graduating from Merideth College with a degree in home economics, my Mom worked for a short while.After she and my Dad married, she stayed at home and took care of us kids.
Raleigh was very different then.We played all day and knew to come home when the street lights came on. I remember getting my mouth washed out with soap one time for saying something I shouldn’t have! We attended the First Baptist Church and that was a big influence on my life growing up. The schools in Raleigh integrated in the 70’s and my school became 90% black. All my friends were black in those days. ACC Basketball was a big part of my life growing up.
Marcia: Did you go to college in Raleigh?
Phil: I went to Appalachian State in Boone, NC.ASU is located in the mountains of North Carolina.I majored in chemistry, probably because my older brother was a biology major, who became a research scientist. I realized when I got out of school that I was drawn to residential construction. At that time, there was a great need for new home construction so jobs were easy to get and paid well. I moved into management and soon became a superintendent, and then a licensed general contractor.
Marcia: How did you meet your wife?
Phil: I met Nancy in Raleigh when we were introduced by a mutual friend. We actually got married in Colorado. Her parents had retired to South Fork and we married there. This is when I fell in love with Colorado. I was twenty-nine. Nancy has made such a positive difference in my life! It was because of Nancy that I returned to Church. After we married, I stayed busy building new homes. Nancy had decided to go to law school, but was still working. She got her law degree from the University of North Carolina Central by attending night school. She passed the bar in NC and in Colorado. She applied for a job as a paralegal with the US Forest Service in Lakewood. When she got the job, they moved us out here in 2005.
Marcia: How did you happen to choose Evergreen?
Phil: Evergreen was an easy choice because the scenery is so awesome and we wanted to live (and retire) in the mountains. Our three golden retrievers liked our choice. I am an elk hunter, and I remember how exciting it was when we first moved in and a herd of elk moved through.I am still awed by the surrounding scenery and wildlife!
Marcia: And did you find work here?
Phil: While we were in Raleigh, I was working for David Weekley Homes as a senior builder.I transferred to the Denver division and worked a year before the market slowed and most of the division (including me) was laid off. I am thankful to David Weekley because that year’s employment helped to make this transition. Because of my experience leading volunteers (from my church back in N.C.) to build Habitat for Humanity homes, I offered the local Habitat office help as a volunteer to lead other volunteers. I was soon offered a job as their operations director. They also have had money problems because of the economy and were not able to keep me on. Now, I am excited about new and different opportunities within the building industry.
Marcia: How did you connect with Evergreen Rotary?
Phil: I worked with some of the Evergreen Rotarians who volunteered to help build a Habitat home in Evergreen. Jerry Williams invited me to a meeting.
Marcia: What keeps you in Rotary?
Phil: Being in relationship with the community enriches my life. I like the fellowship in Rotary, and being part of a force for good. The members are vibrant, caring people. Another influence in this direction was when several Raleigh churches… conservative, liberal, black, white… all joined together to build a Habitat home. It was such an amazing experience for me.In 2004 my Raleigh Church introduced me to international service through its relationship with its sister church in South Korea and this partnership to establish a dental and medical clinic at a Christian School in Bolivia. I enjoyed helping to set up this clinic and in making a difference in the lives of Bolivian children. I fashioned a shop vac to use as the dentists suction device. I also assisted the dentists and medical doctors. I even pulled a molar when the dentist’s hand got tired! I enjoy being the Community Service Chair this year. Maybe, in the future, I’ll participate in an international project.
Marcia: Any more words of wisdom?
Phil: Happiness takes work. Look upward and outward, not downward and inward.
Interview with Rotarian Gretchen MacArthur by Hagerman, Brenda
Gretchen is our brave President-Elect. She came to us from a Rotary club located on Martha's Vineyard. Read on about her life journey from Minnesota to Evergreen.
Interview with Gretchen MacArthurFeb 22, 2011
Marcia: I know you moved out from back East. What brought you to Evergreen?
Gretchen: Our three children lived here in Colorado ( we’d come out every Christmas to ski). Our oldest, has now been transferred to Richland, Washington. He has two little girls,8 months and 3 years. Son #2 has an Alpacafarm in Elizabeth, CO., as well as a Fiber Mill that spins the fleece into fiber, then yarn, etc. Our daughter lives in the Highlands area of Denver. She is a professional photographer and manages a three physician women’s health clinic in Denver.
Marcia: Where did you grow up?
Gretchen: Fairbault, Minnesota. My mom grew up there and my dad was a dentist. I have one sister who lives in Aurora, as do her 2 children and 3 grandchildren.
Marcia: And where did you attend college?
Gretchen: I went to the University of Minnesota and majored in special education.
Marcia: Is that where you met your husband?
Gretchen: Yes, John was in med school. My sorority would invite the guys from fraternities over for lunch on the weekends. That’s how we first met. We were marriedafter I graduated from college and moved to Boston, where he was doing his residency at the PeterBentBrighamHospital ( now Brigham and Women’s) and I was teaching in special education .
Marcia: What attracted you to special education?
Gretchen: I liked the flexibility I had in the classroom and was well trained in the field. I taught some college courses in special education at SimmonsCollege in Boston, and received my MA from there.
Marcia: So when did you get into Mary Kay Cosmetics?
Gretchen: When we moved to CT., I taught at a Rehab. Ct. for 3-5 yr. old multi-handicapped children—full time with a very busy hubby, 3 kids—I was exhausted—that was when I made the decision that I wanted to work for myself, with a product I loved and could help other women enrich their lives and become financially independent.It worked and I have never looked back! I have promoted myself in MK (the only way) and have learned leadership and business practices plus helping others to succeed. MK has provided me with a new (earned) car every 2 years (yes, pink)…plus insurance and income I could never have achieved in teaching, plus having my own timewith precious family, skiing, tennis, hiking and entertaining and volunteering. I have met so many wonderful people in my 25 yr. journey in MK and will never have to stop!!!When you look good, you feel good !I love what I do!
Marcia: How did you get involved in Rotary?
Gretchen: I was a member of Rotary when living on Martha’s Vineyard. It was a small club but I began to realize what Rotary does!After moving to Evergreen, our daughter was working at Gail Riding’s Tall Grass Spa, and learned that Chuck was a Rotarian. He invited me to the meeting and here I am…Pres. Elect!
Interview with Rotarian Naoma Eisenbach by Hagerman, Brenda
Naoma is a true southern belle with a heart of gold. Read about how she and Ronny moved around and around and wound up in Evergreen.
Interview with Naoma Eisenbach1/6/2011
Marcia: I know you are a Texas girl, but exactly where in Texas did you grow up?
Naoma: San Angelo in West Texas,close to Abileen. Oil and farming country.
Marcia: Did you have a happy childhood?
Naoma: Why, yes I did. There were always a lot of neighborhood kids to play with. I had 2 older sisters. My Dad traveled a lot. He worked for the Santa Fe Railroad.
Marcia: Is your husband, Ron, from Texas also?
Naoma: Yes, we met in high school and hit it off right away. We got married when we were 18. Ron had to teach me how to drive and how to cook! It turns out we share the same values and so it has worked well, even though we have changed as we have grown older.
Naoma: We first attended a small college, Sulross, in Alpine, Texas in Big Bend country. Then we moved to Austin so that Ron could get his degree in geology at the University of Texas. Sheri was born there. Then we had Larry. Nine years later we had Laurie. We paid our own way through school, but it was relatively cheap back then.
Marcia: Where did you go after college?
Naoma: Ron got a job with a small drilling company near Lubbock, TX. Then we lived 3 years on the Mississippi River in St Louis. Then we went to Houston with Shell Oil. Then on to New Orleans and then back to Houston.
I got involved in Real Estate.
Marcia: Did you get tired of moving around?
Naoma: We did get tired of Houston. In 1981, Ron’s job brought us to Colorado. Lauri was twelve. We love it here and now all of our children live here. We did enjoy making friends in all of the places we lived. In 1985, after the oil slump, Ron started with Allstate and I joined him in 1986. I like the insurance business. I get to meet a lot of new people and help them get the coverage they need.
Marcia: Is Rotary of value to you in your business?
Naoma: Well, I’ve always tried to practice the Four-way test.
Marcia: What keeps you in Rotary?
Naoma: When I walk into the Friday morning meetings, I just feel that those folks are strong, hard-working people who love to help others. I see that Rotary helps people in need all over the world. Like Ronny. Remember when we went to Guatemala and he gave away all his clothes!
Marcia: And what do you like about Evergreen?
Naoma: It is a caring community.My father, a sweet gentle man, died at 74 but my Mom lived to be 100.. right here in Evergreen. She was one of the first to take advantage of the services at the Yellow House.
Marcia: What else do you like to do?
Naoma: I play bridge. I love to get together with family and friends. Every Friday night, Ronny and I have our date night! And I like to hike in the mountains. We both love to travel. My favorite trips, I’d say, were to Egypt and to New Zealand.
Marcia: Any words of wisdom?
Naoma: I’ve always believed in the best in everyone, even though that may seem a bit naïve. It works for me. A lesson I learned from my daughter…Try not to judge others. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you!
Interview with Rotarian Bart Corfee by Hagerman, Brenda
Bart has worn many hats in his life, including membership chair of Evergreen Rotary. Read here about his interesting life journey.
Interview with Bart CorfeeFeb 28, 2011
Marcia: Bart, where did you grow up?
Bart: I was born and raised in Sacramento and DavisCA. I would have been the fourth generation of Corfees there (Sacramento) had I stayed. My Dad’s grandfather on his Dad’s side fought in the Civil War in Virginia, then homesteaded in the SeattleWashington area.My Dad’s grandfather on his Mother’s side homesteaded in Oklahoma, prospected for gold in Cripple Creek, met his wife at a Baptist church in Colorado Springs, and wound up in Sacramento! I’m very much into genealogy! My Mom’s parents were both teachers. Her Dad taught at Folsom Prison…reading, writing, and math. Her mom was an English and piano teacher.
Marcia: What was your family like?
Bart: I was the oldest of four. Our family ran a business. My dad’s parents had started Corfee Cleaners and Laundry in Sacramento. It grew to 26 branches and 400 employees. My Dad had to finally close the business though when polyester became popular. If the business had not closed down, I probably would still be living in Sacramento as a third generational owner.I am the oldest of four children with normal family strains revolve around taking care of each other.I was very close to my Corfee grandparents spending free time with them constantly.My parents still live in Sacramento. One of my younger sisters now lives in Paris. She has her PhD and works for OECD with global warming issues. My next oldest sister is a working professional / engineer in the energy industry in the SF Bay Area and my brother is a business owner / commercial property finance specialist in Sacramento.
Marcia: When did you leave Sacramento?
Bart: I attended SacramentoCityCollege for two years and graduated with honors in 1975 with an AA in accounting. Then I attended CaliforniaStateUniversity at Sacramento and graduated in 1978 with aBS in accounting.I paid my way through school by working as an assistant golf pro. I did not get my CPA license as I knew I wanted to be a stock broker / financial advisor / money manager. I had an uncle who was a stock broker. I was first hired / trained by Sutro & Company and subsequently moved on to E.F.Hutton & Company in the San FranciscoBay area.
Marcia: So how did you meet your wife?
Bart: I met my wife, Toni, 26 years ago. I was a Financial Sales Manager and we were in a meeting together. We clicked right away.She was in the financial business too. She is now a Regional Vice President for a Midwestern Financial Services Firm.Both Toni and I had been married previously but it had ended. Toni and I both wanted children. Tragically, we lost our first born child after she was born with a tri-some 13 genetic problems.A year after that, we had Katelyn. She is now 22 and currently in Hamilton Island, Australia as an intern. She is in her fourth year at MetroState, studying the hospitality business. Our son, Brenden, is in the eighth grade. He was born in Colorado.
Marcia: So how did you get to Colorado?
Bart: Toni got a transfer to Colorado, which was great because her parents lived on the western slope.
Our moved was prompted by Toni’s dad was diagnosed with cancer in early 1992.I said, let’s go to Colorado and Toni said yes.One day, in the fall of 1992, I drove out towards Conifer and ended up in downtown Evergreen. I walked into Davidson’s Insurance and introduced myself. He asked me if I’d like to be a volunteer firefighter! We’ve lived in Evergreen for 19 years. I was president of the volunteer firefighters for two years at the end of my 13 year volunteer committment.I used to have my financial office above Breezy Travel.Toni’s Dad passed away 15 years ago.
Marcia: How did you connect with Evergreen Rotary?
Bart: I introduced myself to Steve Feldman, who had a jewelry business on main street Evergreen. He invited me to the club. I joined in October 1992. I served as Membership Chair for several years and tried hard to get more small business people into the club. Now, the club has a broader variety of members, not just business people, and I think that is a good thing.I have been awarded several Rotary awards over the years with the biggie “Rotarian of the Year” in 2000-2001.
Marcia: What are your other passions?
Bart: I’m quite involved with the Masons, Denver Consistory, and the Shrine.My grandfather and fatherwere Masons.(Bart brings out his grandfather’s Shriner’s hat). I really respect the older Masons. I put in a historical library at the Masons Blue Lodge in Idaho Springs. I’m thinking about leading a tour of the three local lodges. I just love history! Also, my family loves to sail together. I learned to sail in San FranciscoBay. Now we all certified divers and we spend 14 days at a time on a boat in the British Virgin Islands.
Marcia: Any words of wisdom?
Bart: Be true to yourself and your loved ones. Follow your passions.
Interview with Rotarian Mimi Nelson by Hagerman, Brenda
Mimi has spent most of her life in Evergreen, but what a life that has been. She really embodies the Colorado mountain spirit and the Rotary spirit. Read all about it.
Interview with Mimi NelsonApril 20, 2011
how long have you lived in Colorado?
years! In Evergreen! My family moved here when I was VERY young.
where were you born?
Mimi: I was
born in Michigan. My Dad was a farm boy, but very smart and very lucky. A
friend of the family got him a job working at a hotel in Harbor Point. He
became the concierge and this friend helped
him get a scholarship to college to study hotel management
at Michigan State. At the Harbor Point Hotel he managed to meet and impress the
current US Secretary of Commerce who encouraged and helped him get into Harvard
Business School after graduation from MSU..
Harvard Business School, he went to law school, and was an investment banker in
Detroit. In 1938, he started a chemical company with his brother and
brother-in-law. He has several patents. When he was 36 he was drafted into the
military. He was married with 2 kids then. He happened to know the head of the
War Department and was made a civilian administrator of War Ordinance in
Detroitfrom 1942 – 1945. After the war,
he continued to work for the War Department but he had his sights set on
Colorado or California. I realized several years ago, after discussing my
father’s life with a friend, and reading a book my father wrote about his life,
that he was probably a spy in World War II.
Dad took the train to Colorado and interviewed for a job
as comptroller for an oil company. And that led to us moving out here. One day
we were visiting the Broadmoor and Dad asked “Where do people go in the
summertime.”…Evergreen was the answer! We rented a cottage in Wilmot Woods and
later bought a home there. My dad was one of Evergreen’s first commuters. My
brothers and I went to elementary school where the Evergreen library sits now.
In the ‘60s, Dad could see that Evergreen was poised to grow and he opened a
real estate office right where One World Café is now. He dealt with the
Buchanan family and the Hiwan Land Company. As you can see, he was quite a guy.
He died in 2000 at age 93.
you more like him or your Mom?
Mimi: Well, I
know I got my good sense of humor from him and my love of cooking from Mom.
They both had a strong sense of community and were founding members of the
Church of the Hills. My dad started the Evergreen Board of Realtors and the
Elks. My mom loved to garden and was a founding member of the Evergreen Garden
Club. She loved to play cards and was even asked to join a men’s poker team! I
had two younger brothers and always felt like I needed to be in charge. When I
attended Evergreen High School, I was the student body president in my senior
year. I’ve always been involved in the community, as were my parents.
studied at the University of Colorado…education, art, and psychology. Then I
taught first grade in Denver. It was a sad time in my life though as my
youngest brother died at age 17; my remaining brother lives in Denver; we have
always been the best of friends.
did you marry?
Mimi:I met my first husband, Gordon, at CU and
we married in 1962.When my husband
joined my Dad in his real estate business, we moved back to Evergreen. We were
married for 24 years. Our first daughter, Lisa was born in 1965, then we had a
son, Grant, and Emily was our youngest. We divorced; and I wanted to go back to
work. I’m a member of the Junior League of Denver where I learned a lot about
organizational leadership which helped me get my next three jobs: PR and
fundraising for Mercy Medical Center Foundation, marketing for the United Bank
of Denver, and then Director of Development for Catholic Charities. Seven years
after my divorce, I met and married my second husband, Russ. He was with the State
Patrol and I met him when I was planning a local biking event. We are no longer
together, but remain good friends. A year after we married, tragedy struck when
my 20 year old daughter, Emily, died as a result of an auto accident. My life
did you recover from that?
Mimi: With a
lot of help. I was a Regional Director of Habitat for Humanity then and
traveling a lot around four states. I loved the job and that actually helped in
the healing process. My good friend since high school, Sondra Kellogg,
recommended a psychotherapist who was a wonderful teacher; she helped me to
live again. I know that God will provide and that synchronicity is present in
you a grandmother?
they are the loves of my life. My son has my three children who live in Castle
Pines, so I see them a lot. My daughter lives in Boulder.
did you connect with Rotary?
Mimi: Well, my
brother belonged to the Denver Rotary when it was men only; he asked me if I
wanted to join when they began accepting women. Then two friends asked me to
join Mile High Rotary, which I did for eight years; I enjoyed Rotary a great
deal. I attended Evergreen Rotary for make-ups. When I decided to start my
catering business in 2007, I knew that I needed to concentrate on my business.
After five years in business, I am pleased to be back in Rotary. My lifelong
friend, Sondra Kellogg, persuaded me that the time was right.
would you say are your biggest passions?
has always been a passion of mine. I started the PTA at Wilmot School, and
later became president of Jefferson County PTA; I volunteered on many Jefferson
County School committees. Education can change the world. And of course, I love
cooking and entertaining.
words of wisdom?
Mimi: Be open.
Do the right thing. Never give up. And as my daughter, Emily, has told me many
times, “Go for it, Mom.”
Red Cross Presentation follow up by Sacks, Casey
Thanks again for the invite today. What a fun group!
Chief Communications Officer
American Red Cross Mile High Chapter
303-607-4703 office / 303-579-2005 cell / 303-722-7474 front desk and after hours
Twitter: "redcrossdenver" / Facebook Causes: "American Red Cross, Mile High Chapter" email@example.com, www.ColoradoRedCross.org
Bits and Pieces Clothing wins Evergreen Rotary Ethics in Business Award by Williams, Jerry
The 2011 Ethics in Business Award from the Rotary Club of Evergreen has been presented to Bits and Pieces Clothing.
The award was presented to
Manager Sarah Scott for being, said President Gretchen MacArthur, “the business
that best exemplifies the Rotary Four-Way Test of truth, fairness, goodwill and
is of benefit to all.”
Bits and Pieces, located at
1250 Bergen Parkway, Suite B, No. 130, in Bergen Park, has been in business at
that location for 23 years.
Scott said she was “really
humbled” to receive the award, which was voted on by club members. The award
was announced at the Evergreen Arts Alive Open House and Chamber mixer in late
Photo by Carolyn Alexander
Evergreen Rotary fall recycling event adds new items by Williams, Jerry
The Rotary Club of
Evergreen’s fourth annual Fall Recycling Festival, scheduled this year for
Sept. 24 at Evergreen Country Day School in El Rancho Town Center, offers area
residents more opportunities than ever to get rid of items for which they have
no further use.
This year, said Rotarian
Mereth Meade, co-chairman of the club’s Preserve Planet Earth Committee that
puts on the festival, residents can add household batteries, mattresses,
orthopedic devices, usable latex paint and collections of CDs, DVDs, floppy
disks and tapes to the list of hard-to-recycle items that will be accepted.Used orthopedic devices, such as
crutches, leg braces and old wheelchairs, will be donated to Mountain Foothills
Rotary Club’s Crutches4Africa program.
Items brought to the festival
in the past that were free remain free, this year, Meade said, and these
No. 6 Styrofoam blocks (but no food containers,
bubblewrap or “peanuts”). The blocks will be made into new foam products
Documents for on-site shredding. The shredded
material will be made into paper towels.
Metal (washers, dryers and appliances, but no
refrigerators, freezers of other items containing gases or mercury).
Bicycles that can be refurbished will be separated and donated to charity.
Clothing/textiles (nothing smaller than 1 square
foot, clean, though stains and rips are OK; no underwear, bathing suits or
socks) and shoes (paired and reusable). Clothing and textiles that can’t
be reused are made into industrial rags.
Tires (after the first 800 of the day, which are
free thanks to a subsidy from Big O Tires of Evergreen, the cost is $1
each). Shredded tires will be used under artificial turf, playground
surfaces and road paving materials.
Electronics, including answering machines, cell
phones, keyboards, mice/cables. Fees for processing other electronics
range from $5 to $10, with TVs at $1 per diagonal inch.
for which fees are charged include:
Paint ($1 a can for usable latex in good
condition only, in original container, no intermixed colors).
Mattresses ($16 a set, $5 each additional piece).
The fabric will be incinerated for concrete productions (it is less
polluting than coal). Wood will be shredded for agricultural use. Metal
will be recycled. Padding will be included in carpet padding products.
Household batteries ($2 a pound). CDs/DVDs,
floppy disks, audio/video tapes (30 cents a pound).
Meade especially thanked the
sponsors of this year’s festival—Big O Tires of Evergreen, Evergreen Country
Day School, Wolins Design, Rising Graphics, Mountain Foothills Rotary Club and
the Rotary Club of Evergreen—for their support and added that anyone wishing to
make donations at the festival may do so by locating one of the festival’s
donation jars or simply handing the donation to one of the red-aproned
Rotarians at the event.
Questions, call Meade at
303-674-7001 or Paul Collings, 303-273-9494.
Tire recycling is back again at this year's fall clean-up festival Sept. 24 at Evergreen Country Day School.
Club gets $7,000 from Home Show by Williams, Jerry
The Rotary Club of Evergreen accepted a check for
$7,000 last Friday as its share of proceeds from the annual Mountain Home &
Garden Show held in the spring. The Rotary Club of Conifer received a similar
amount for the show held this year at the Conifer High School.
Members of each club
volunteer to help put on the show every year, which alternates between the high
schools in each town.
Show co-sponsor and Evergreen
Rotarian Ron Catterson presented the check to Evergreen Rotarian Bob Hagerman,
who accepted it on behalf of the Evergreen Rotary Foundation. Proceeds from the
Home Show and the club’s major annual fundraiser, Bright Lights, Rotary Nights,
held each year in October, help fund the club’s philanthropic efforts in the
Evergreen community and around the world.
An a meeting earlier in the
month, Rotarian Curt Harris, chairman of the club’s International Services
Committee, presented a check for $1,000 to David Munoz, of Berthoud, who
accepted it on behalf of Colinas de Suiza, a school in Villanueva, Honduras.
Munoz, a retired professor of
mechanical engineering at the Colorado School of Mines for 25 years, said the
money would be used to build computer desks for the school.
Interview with Rotarian Maria Camp by Hagerman, Brenda
You may know that Maria spends a lot of time in Uganda with her organization Into Your Hands. Just wait until you read the rest of her incredible story.
Interview with Maria CampFeb 22, 2011
Marcia: Maria, where did you grow up?
Maria: Everywhere! I was born in Santiago, Chile. My dad worked for the UN and we moved from country to country. He was born in northeast Spain in the same town as Salvador Dali. My mom was born in Ecuador. So my first language was, of course, Spanish! My dad was a teenager during the Spanish Civil War. His house was used as a base by the Red Army and they had to go into hiding. He kept a diary of all this. He dreamed of becoming a diplomat, but it couldn’t happen in Spain as he was not from an aristocratic family. So he traveled to the United States to get his education. He received a law degree and studied International Affairs at the University of Virginia. He has a Masters in Foreign Affairs. When he joined the UN, he spoke four languages. My parents met in Washington, DC in 1958 when my mom was working at the Ecuadorian embassy. Their first assignment was in Chile where my brother and I were born.Then we moved to Ecuador. My brother now lives in Spain, north of Barcelona. He works as an economist for the government.
Marcia: Where did you learn to speak English?
Maria: When I was seven years old, we moved from Ecuador to Dobb’s Ferry in New York State so I had to learn English then. After that, we moved to Honduras. I attended a Mennonite school there which I really loved. I remember at age 10, lying in bed at night and wanting to be tired at night from helping people. My parents tried hard to present all viewpoints of any issue. I remember when we were in El Salvador, there had been a peasant uprising. My parents would drive us out into the countryside to attend the little church where the rural peasants attended. My mom always volunteered a lot wherever we were.When I was twelve years old, we moved to Uganda and found ourselves speaking English again.
Marcia: Oh, what was living in Uganda like?
Maria: It was quite the experience as that was the Idi Amin era. Everything was in shambles! He kicked out all Americans, British, Jews, and the Asians. The school that I attended there had only 60 students in grades 1-8. There were only 3 of us in the eighth grade. All the shops were boarded up so there was nowhere to buy food or clothes. We had diplomatic status so there was the commissary where the only food available was milk, butter, eggs, and cheese. And the prices were exorbitant! There was no infrastructure. This was between 1974 – 1979.The people took the law into their own hands. I remember passing a mob and was told that they had caught a robber and were going to kill him. We all had code words for the President so that we could criticize him without being caught. We always had a gun in the car and the doors locked.
Marcia: How did you get out of there?
Maria: Well, my parents had to stay to the bitter end. When the shelling begin in Kampala in 1979, they laid downin the bathtub. My mom was able to escape in a convoy to Nairobi. My dad had to stay to the end. One of our neighbors was killed in front of his teen age daughters when he refused to give up his car. I was in boarding school then in Kent, England. I made friends there from all over the world. I heard a lot about the injustices happening in Africa from some of those girlfriends, especially Phumie my South African friend who spoke so much about apartheid.
Marcia: What did you do after you graduated from high school?
Maria: By that time, my father had been reassigned to Geneva, Switzerland. ..his dream job! I lived with my parents and studied architecture at a local Swiss university. Of course, I had to learn French!
Marcia: Where did you meet your husband?
Maria: I actually met Al while crossing the English Channel after visiting friends in England. He caught my eye as soon as he walked into the waiting room. Then he asked me to move so that he could take a picture. We now have that photo hanging in our home! He was studying architecture in Paris. He visited me in Geneva and we were married in September of 1980. I was 20 years old.
Marcia: So when did you come to the United States?
Maria: Al accepted a job in Duncan, Oklahoma. So we moved. My first son, Robert, was born there.
After a while, I really wanted to live in the mountains somewhere. We looked at a map and Al sent out
200 resumes to Colorado. We moved to Woodland Park, Colorado. However, in 1988 we moved to Herndon, Virginia.We had another son by then, Chris. I did home child care and attended theatre classes at the local community college. I love theatre and art. My mom died of breast cancer while we were out there. She came out to stay with me for six weeks and let me take care of her. After that, Al took a job with the Federal Government in Denver. We lived in Evergreen, across from Wilmot school and I worked as a teacher’s aide. And I had a third son, Luke.
Marcia: How did you get involved with Into Your Hands?
Maria:I took a job as Director of Religious Education at Christ the King church. It was during that time that I hooked up with St Denis in Uganda in 2007. I went to Regis University and started a degree in non-profit management.I founded Into Your Hands-Africa in 2007 and now I work full-time for Into Your Hands.
Marcia: So how did you get involved with Evergreen Rotary?
Maria: Actually, my father was a Rotarian…in Honduras. I continue to be inspired by the people in Rotary. They all seem to have a passionate desire to make the world a better place.
Marcia: Any words of wisdom?
Maria: Patience, persistence, and optimism. Never fail to see yourself in someone else. Recognize our common souls.
Interview with Rotarian Tom Johnson by Hagerman, Brenda
Tom is Mr Evergreen Rotary. He also is and has been many other things. Please read the rest of his fascinating story.
Interview with Tom Johnson8-10-2011
Marcia: Tom, how long have you been in Evergreen Rotary?
Tom: I was a charter member in 1985.
Marcia: Take me back to your childhood.
Tom: I grew up in Sioux Falls, South Dakota back when only 40,000 people lived there.Now, it’s 200,000. My father’s parents came over from Finland and Sweden. My mother's family was English. I had a rather unusual childhood in that my father was in the movie theatre business. I grew up taking tickets and popping corn! I got to see all the movies, and I’m still a movie buff! We also owned a resort in Okoboji, Iowa. Yes, my father was a real entrepreneur! He was a projectionist for the traveling movie “Birth of a Nation”. He also showed movies on trains. He was behind the first drive-in movie which was located in Camden, NJ. He said the farmers complained that the speakers kept the cows from giving milk! My mother was caring and loving and a cub scout leader. She always believed in getting a good education and doing good. My dad believed in business and marketing. He used to market movie reviews. I think I am a true product of both of them.
Marcia: What about your education?
Tom: I graduated from the University of South Dakota, studying business management. I recently went back for my 50th class reunion. I was in ROTC and when I graduated, I served two years in the Army as a 1st Lieutenant during the Berlin and the Cuban crisis.I worked in the Army Finance Corps in Civil Affairs at Fort Gordon, in Augusta , Georgia, helping to restore economies of war-torn countries.
Marcia: How did you get into the telecommunications business?
Tom: Well, my father told me that there was no future in independent movie theaters. He said I should go into “pay TV”! When I was in the Army, someone suggested I get into cable TV. I did some research. I connected with Fred Lieberman from Philadelphia, an owner of several cable TV systems.He agreed to teach me the business. At the age of 21, I traveled all over the country for two years,training sales people to knock on doors and sell Cable TV.
When Fred decided to sell his company, he suggested I contact Bill Daniels in Denver, a cable TV pioneer and "father" of the cable TV industry. Bill hired me over the phone! So in 1963, I moved to Denver. I worked for him for 18 years. I was Vice President of Marketing and later Senior VP of Cable System operations serving 250,000 subscribers. In 1980, I was the President of CTAM - the cable TV industry'snational marketing association.I later invested in cable TV systems from the ground floor, which proved to be very rewarding. Dad was right!
Marcia: So, when did you meet your wife in all of this?
Tom: Diane and I first met in Denver in front of the Heidelberg Apartments. I saw that she was having a problem getting out of a parking spot, so I offered to help. When I saw what she was wearing….a University of South Dakota sweatshirt, I became very interested. It was amazing that we both had graduated from USD. We’ve been married for 43 years now, since 1968. She was a high school business teacher.
Marcia: How did you wind up in the Evergreen area?
Tom: My office with Daniels was in Cherry Creek. Eventually, we decided we wanted to move and live out of the city and chose Genesee. Diane sold her parents and also her sister and husband on moving from Vermillion, South Dakota to Lakewood, Colorado.
Marcia: Any kids?
Tom: Yes, two. Our son Mark and daughter Sara. They both graduated from Texas Christian University, but returned to Colorado for graduate school. Mark at DU and Sara at CU. Mark works for Harris Broadcastingand lives in Golden. He just married a year ago with a wedding at the Dunafon Castle by Bear Creek. Kimra Perkins officiated the ceremony. Sara lives in Denver and works for Inspirato, a resort destination travel business. No grandkids yet.
Marcia: And what brought you into Rotary?
Tom: Bill Daniels asked all his cable system managers to be Rotarians, so that they could interface with the community. I visited many Rotary clubs when I traveled. When the Evergreen Rotary club was trying to get off the ground, I decided to join them as a Charter Member in 1985. Tom Hobson, from the Denver Rotary Club, was my mentor.
Marcia: What would you say you have brought to Evergreen Rotary?
Tom: Well, I can remember when the membership was around 30 with maybe 16 attending any one meeting. We seemed to be losing membership. When I became President in 1997, I contacted District Rotary leaders for some ideas to increase membership. In my Rotary presidential year, we were able to increase the club membership to 65. We changed to a Friday morning club. We went to Chamber of Commerce mixers and invited people to Rotary. We created a database of names of potential members. We looked at classifications that we didn’t have in the club. We did a lot of follow-up..We started a Red Badge program. We even started the clubs of Conifer, Clear Creek, and Mountain Foothills. I also have helped start the Evergreen RotaryWarmHeart, to assist needy military families.
Marcia: What keeps you in Rotary today?
Tom: I enjoy Rotary’s involvement in the local community. Members are service minded, giving back. I like the social aspects as I get to know people outside of the Genesee area. I like the variety of programs at the meetings as they keep all of us aware of what is happening in the community and the world.
Marcia: What do you do for fun?
Tom: Diane and I both golf, and we love to travel around the world. I love sports. When I worked for Bill Daniels, I got to meet a lot of big sports figures with my involvement with the Denver Boxing Club that featured Ron Lyle, the Utah Star ABA Basketball team and Indy 500 Race cars which included our honorary pit- crew of Apollo 12 astronauts .
Marcia: Any words of wisdom for us?
Tom: For the club, I say keep continuing to go after new members.Bring in youngpeople with new, fresh ideas.. This keeps excitement and builds fun enthusiasm within the club.
In general, don’t get set in your ways. Always be willing to change!
Rotary gives $2,000 for bench at Veterans Commemorative Walk by Williams, Jerry
The Rotary Club of Evergreen presented a check for $2,000 recently to American Legion Post 2001 for a bench to go in the Veterans Community Walk the post is completing at the north end of Buchanan Park.
The post’s commander, Scott Coffer, accepted the outsized check from Rotarian Pat Martin, past chairman of the club’s Vocational Services committee. Phil Miller, past chairman of the club’s Community Services committee, was to have helped present the check as a joint effort between the two avenues of service when the grant was originally approved but was unable to attend. The post’s deputy commander, Al Veinbarq, and its past commander, Dave Loomiller, also attended the weekly meeting, held at El Rancho.
Rotarian Joan Spalding obtained the grant for the post.
Evergreen Rotarians will have more invested in the Walk than the bench when it is dedicated Nov. 12 in ceremonies at the park. Rotarians have bought some 30 dedication pavers to be included in the walk. The pavers, purchased for $125 in honor of a veteran, contain the veteran’s name, his or her military branch, the name of the veteran’s conflict and when it occurred.
Interview with Rotarian Bob Wallace by Hagerman, Brenda
Bob's story is an inspiration to young people everywhere. And Bob's Rotary service above self is an inspiration to us all. Read about it here..
Interview with Bob Wallace8-31-11
Marcia: I detect a little bit of an accent. Where did you grow up?
Bob: LongIsland! I was born in Oceanside, New York. Irish Catholic family. Both sets of grandparents came over from Ireland! I was the youngest of four kids. I have two older brothers and an older sister. One brother became a priest. I, however, gave my parents their gray hair!
Marcia: So did you go to Catholic schools?
Bob: Yes, I did. I really wanted to go to the public high school though. That’s where all my friends were going. Instead, I had to go to the Catholic school that both my brothers went to and I did not do well there! I was a bit mischievous. I left that school with a 65 average and no desire to join the Alumni club by either party.
Marcia: What about college? I know you are an educated man.
Bob: I somehow got accepted to a small college in Florida. For three years, I didn’t know what to do with myself. I majored in business, partied a lot, and left school in my junior year.
Marcia: What about Vietnam?
Bob: I expected to get drafted, so I joined the Navy with 3 of my buddies. I also got married to a girl from College that was part of our little group. I was 20 years old. The Navy trained all 3 of us to be medics. Later we were transferred to the Marine Corps, as the Marines didn’t have their own medical corps. After being transferred to California, we were ordered to Vietnam. I was a member of the 24 hour Strike Force at Camp Pendleton and had to leave my 4 month old daughter with hardly any notice. So, I served as a medic in Vietnam for eleven months. It was definitely a life changing event!
Marcia: How so, Bob?
Bob: The experience woke me up. I grew up there. My first memory of Vietnam was of the poverty. The houses made of cardboard and seeing folks going to the bathroom out in the open. I knew that was the end of my party days!
Marcia: So did you go back to school on the GI Bill?
Bob: I did use the GI Bill to finish my undergrad at the same school I left (where I won the Wall Street Journal Award for the best business student that year) and then got my graduate degree in health care administration at Washington University in St Louis. I seriously thought about becoming a doctor, but I was really too old to start all over again. I did my residency at a Catholic hospital in Chicago and when I finished, they offered me a position as Vice President of Operations. I stayed there for the next twenty years! Ten years in hospital operations and then ten years in charge of new developments. I helped to establish a Medical Staff development plan to bring in younger medical staff members with new ideas.I also remarried and had two boys.
Marcia: How did you get to Colorado?
Bob: In 1993, I started talking with recruiters about changing jobs. An opening in Denver at St Anthony’s Hospital sounded interesting to me. So we moved in March of 1993.
Marcia: And how did you get to Evergreen?
Bob: My first assignment at St Anthony’s was to open a surgical facility at Frisco. Evergreen seemed like a good location for me to call home. A Vice President at St Anthony’s lived in Evergreen and, in fact, was a member of the Evergreen Rotary.
Marcia: So did he invite you to our Rotary club?
Bob: Well, he moved down into Denver, but he introduced me to John Zabawa who introduced me to Evergreen Rotary in 1994. I had been very active in the Lions club back in Chicago. I had participated in that Club through all the offices, including President and then as a Zone Chairman for the District. I am also very interested in our youth and the RYLA program. I currently work as World Community Chair for our Rotary Club. I also teach at Regis University…Intro to Healthcare Systems.
Marcia: I know that you have taken some medical equipment over to Vietnam.
Bob: Yes, and I hope to go over again when we deliver many of the beds from the old St Anthony’s to a hospital in Hanoi, Vietnam. We are going to “borrow” a C-130 cargo plane from the Air Force and I would love to hitch a ride.
Marcia: How has Vietnam changed since the war?
Bob: Well, I’ve observed that Da Nang has not changed much. It’s like it is stuck in time. Hanoi has figured out how to combine capitalism with communism and is moving forward in order to be successful. The people of Vietnam truly like Americans.They have put the war away and it is just another part of their history.
Marcia: Do your kids live in Colorado?
Bob: One son and my daughter live in Illinois. My oldest son has a Masters in Humanities and works at the University of Chicago. My daughter is a Paralegal and is married and lives on the South Side of Chicago. My youngest son does live here and he went to school at UNC. He’s still trying to figure out what he wants to be. He is on a wait list to get into the Colorado School of Trades to learn Gunsmithing.
Marcia: Have you been back to Ireland?
Bob: Mary Alice and I are going next March to celebrate our thirty year Wedding anniversary. That will be my first trip there.I am actually an Irish citizen having had both sets of Grandparents born in Ireland.
Marcia: Your favorite pair of shoes? Ones that you would most identify with?
Bob: They would have to be sandals, and I’d be walking by the water somewhere.
Marcia: Words of wisdom?
Bob: Make sure you are remembered in a way that makes you proud.
Rotary hands out nearly $9,000 in grants by Williams, Jerry
The Rotary Club of Evergreen has presented nearly $9,000 in grants to local and international non-profit organizations in the past three weeks.
Of the total $8,500 handed out, $8,000 was given away at Friday’s regular meeting of the club at El Rancho.
Phil Miller, chairman of the club’s Community Services Committee, presented one check for $2,000 to EChO, Evergreen Christian Outreach. Executive director Sharon Smith accepted the check. The non-profit food and clothing bank was the Evergreen Chamber of Commerce’s 2010 charity of the year.
Miller presented another check, for $1,250, to Dan Georgopolus, executive director of the Lakewood-based Hands of the Carpenter, which provides automotive repairs for single parents and widows in need. A $1,000 check went to the Mount Evans Hospice and was accepted by Kathy Engel, the group’s executive director. A second check for $1,000 went to the Outdoor Lab of Jefferson County and was accepted by Kathy Weiss.
Rotarian Larry Caine accepted a $750 check on behalf of Evergreen’s Center Stage and the Evergreen Chorale. Caine is a member of the group.
The last of Miller’s checks, for $500, was presented to the Mountain Area Land Trust, which assists landowners and residents of the foothills communities of Jefferson, Clear Creek and Park counties with the preservation of significant open spaces. The group’s development director, Betsy Hays, accepted that check.
Another check, for $1,500, was presented by Rotarian Curt Harris, chairman of the club’s International Services Committee, to Danny Dodson, an honorary member of the club, on behalf of Peruvian Hearts, which was founded by his sister, Ana Dodson, at age 11. Peruvian Hearts’ mission is to improve the quality of life for children in Peru who are living in orphanages or in extreme poverty by focusing on education, health-care and nutrition programs.
Two weeks earlier, Miller presented a check for $500 to Marjorie Griek, executive director of the Colorado Association for Recycling, which works to promote and encourage recycling in the state. Following the check presentation, Griek brought club members up to date on the association’s work.
Following Friday’s check ceremony, Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler spoke to club members about business identity theft.
Money for the grants came from the club’s participation in the Mountain Home & Garden Show. The show, held annually in either Evergreen or Conifer, divides the proceeds from admissions between the Rotary clubs of those communities.
Interview with Rotarian Larry Fitzsimons by Hagerman, Brenda
Larry shares his life story and his passions. What makes him the devoted Rotarian that he is? Read on..
Interview with Larry FitzsimonsOct 19, 2011
Marcia: Larry, where did you grow up?
Larry: I was born and raised in Denver, Colorado. We lived in the DU area, by Observatory Park, in a house we built in 1952. My dad owned a mortgage company from 1951-1971. He was very devoted to his business and on Saturday’s he would take me to the office with him. I always admired his work ethic. I started out in public schools, then attended the Denver Christian Academy, but then finished high school at South High. I played the saxophone in the school band. I was very active in Junior Achievement and that is where I first got involved in banking, which became my career field. My big thing was sales and I won contests for being the best salesman. My dad was an avid fisherman and at one time he bought some property near Bailey, CO and moved a construction hut there to use as a cabin. We made fond memories there together.
Marcia: How about college?
Larry: I went to Western State College in Gunnison. I was president of my fraternity. I loved the western slope…did a lot of fishing and hiking. When I was a senior, my dad suffered a massive stroke when he was coming out of gall bladder surgery. My mom had to take care of him for the last 14 years of his life.
Marcia: When did you start your banking career?
Larry: I started in banking by working at one in the summers while in college then went full time after graduating from college.I was in banking for 40 years and worked for 8 different banks as a loan officer until I retired 3 months ago,
Marcia: Did you have a family?
Larry: Yes, we had a son who is now 23 years old and engaged. He will soon graduate from the School of Mines in Golden in mechanical engineering and will be working for Ricoh in R&D. He met his fiancé at the Colorado School of Mines. She also is an engineering graduate.
Marcia: How did you connect with Rotary?
Larry: I was working at a bank in Conifer when Cortland Brown(who was thenpresident of Evergreen Rotary and had also been my best man) simply told me that I should join Rotary. So I joined the Conifer club and actually ran their annual golf fundraiser for awhile. Then when I was transferred to a bank in Evergreen, it made sense to move to the Evergreen club.
Marcia: What keeps you in Rotary?
Larry: I’d say my two passions…youth and community service. When my son was in scouts, I was quite involved in scouting. When he grew up, I thought “What’s going to keep me young now?”…In Rotary, I have found joy in working with the youth. They are our future. I’ve been a senior counselor at Young RYLA for 2 years and next year will be a senior counselor at RYLA. I’m still helping with the Interact club at Conifer.
Marcia: So what’s on your bucket list?
Larry: Well, at one time I wanted to have my own business and in 1996, we started our home building business. We built 2 to 3 homes a year. That’s when we built our cabin near Bailey. Linda and I just celebrated our 30th anniversary and we had planned to take trip to Australia and New Zealand in the spring, but our son is getting married in March. Instead, we are going to Las Vegas to see Garth Brooks in January! We both love Garth’s music and we have never seen him live.
Marcia: Any other interest?
Larry: I am very active in my Presbyterian church. I am a deacon and the church plays a major role in my life.
Marcia: Any words of wisdom?
Larry: A positive attitude will take you far!
Interview with Rotarian Joyce Williams by Hagerman, Brenda
Joyce shares some of her ups and downs and how she comes out smiling. And she really smiles a lot!
Interview with Joyce WilliamsNov 1, 2011
Marcia: Joyce, where did you grow up?
Joyce: I was born and grew up in Denver. I was a shy little girl. My dad was a meat cutter during the Depression and then went into business for himself. When I was a teenager, he owned a grocery store on South Gaylord and one on South Louisiana. My mother and I both worked in the stores.
Marcia: Any siblings?
Joyce: Yes, a brother five years younger. We were a close family. My parents were the children of immigrants; both grew up in Globeville at a time when it was like a little Europe. They moved to south Denver as newlyweds just before the 2nd World War. When I was a child we spent many weekends car camping and fishing around Bailey. I went to South High School and at Washington Park Methodist Church; I was active in church youth groups.
Marcia: What about college?
Joyce: I went to Colorado State, CSU. I was the first in my family on either side to graduate from college. My parents wanted me to major in home economics, in order to learn to how be a good wife and mother, you know….when I changed my major to Biology, my parents were livid! The only way they would agree to help me pay for school was if I also got an education degree…which I did! And never used.
Marcia: So then did you become a good wife and mother?
Joyce: Why, yes I did! I met my first husband when I was a sophomore in college. I helped put him through George Washington Medical School working in medical research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Washington, DC. We moved to Colorado Springs where my husband established an ER medicine practice at St. Francis Hospital. He later died in a mountain climbing accident on Capital Peak near Aspen. I have three daughters; Shawna and Michelle are mine and Jenna, Jerry’s daughter.
Marcia: Where are your daughters now?
Joyce: Shawna is in Colorado Springs where she is an ER physician…like her dad. She adopted a baby girl from Ethiopia 3 years ago and now is expecting to adopt two more Ethiopian children. She hopes to bring them home in the spring. Michelle lives in downtown Denver, travels and goes to school. Jenna is a stay at home Mom with two children a boy and a girl. Thankfully, they are all are nearby.
Marcia: So how did you meet Jerry?
Joyce: Well, I was a single mom, my daughter, Michele, encouraged me to join a dating club and that’s where I found Jerry! We met the first time for coffee at Poppies on south Colorado Blvd and dated one year and five days before marrying. It’s been twenty years now for us.
Marcia: Do you want to talk about your medical diagnosis?
Joyce: Sure. In 1998 I was diagnosed with leukemia. I had been very tired and was bruising easily. Shawna talked me into going to an internist. She later got me into a medical study through the National Institute of Health when none of the known treatments were working for me. I went to Washington, DC where I was treated with a new experimental chemotherapy. I was given the highest dose of the drug possible and as a result I lapsed into kidney failure. I had to have a plasma transfusion every day for ten days. I gradually recovered and now most likely due to the high dose of the chemo, I have been in remission for ten years! I’m not on any medication. I go back once a year to the NIH for a checkup.
Marcia: Remarkable. So how did you connect with Evergreen Rotary?
Joyce: I’ve known Pat Martin for twenty-five years, at least. She and Bob were always inviting us to Rotary. So when we each retired, we decided to join the group.
Marcia: What keeps you in Rotary?
Joyce: I love the fellowship. I’m still trying to figure out where my passion lies in retirement after working 20 years in the environmental field for the State of Colorado.
Marcia: Any words of wisdom?
Joyce: Look at the beauty around us every day. Live in the present. Enjoy every day. I say this as a cancer survivor!And a life survivor.
Interview with Rotarian Linda Swanson by Hagerman, Brenda
Linda has lived in Evergreen twenty years, but is fairly new to Rotary. You must read her inspiring story...
Interview with Linda Swanson9-26-2011
Marcia: How long have you lived in Evergreen?
Linda: It’s been 20 years.
Marcia: Really? Why haven’t I met you before?
Linda: Most of that time I’ve been working in nursing. The last four years I was a night nursing supervisor.
Marcia:Where did you grow up?
Linda: Green Bay, Wisconsin. I had an idyllic childhood. My parents were both very family oriented and had a great sense of humor. My dad worked for the Chicago and Northwest Railroad. He played the harmonica and he and the kids all sang together. I have three brothers and a sister. Two of the brothers and my sister still play in their own band. We spent our summers at a cabin on Lake Michigan, with no electricity! I can remember how excited we all were when we got our first color TV…
Marcia: So, do you get your optimistic outlook from those years?
Linda: Maybe. That optimistic attitude has carried me through a lot of personal tragedy. My mom died when I was 21. My aunt, who is now in her 90’s, became my role model. When I was 40, I was diagnosed with stage four lymphoma. I’m in remission now. Three years ago, I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. This happened just three weeks after Richard and I were married. As a result, I have lost vision in my left eye. Luckily, he is willing to drive me around as I am no longer able to drive because of my poor eyesite.
Marcia: And how did you meet such a wonderful man?
Linda: Match.com…after my sister kept bugging me to try it. I am so happy I met Richard!
Marcia: Where did you get your nursing degree?
Linda: After I went off to school, I married, had a family and helped my first husband with his business. When the marriage ended, I decided to go to CU to get my nursing degree. I choose to specialize in psychotic disorders and mental illness.
Marcia: Tell me about your kids.
Linda: I have three…ages 39, 35, and 33. My oldest is a Lt Commander in the Navy. He is working on a PHD in Public Policy and Hospital Administration. He and his wife live in Maryland and have 3 kids. My next son and his wife have a deli in Eagle, CO and before that he managed the Home Depot there. We are going over to see him sing in a country music completion, singing a song that my brother wrote! They also have 3 kids. My daughter is a nurse at Lutheran Hospital and she and her husband have 2 kids. My eight grandchildren are such a blessing in my life.
Marcia: How did you connect with Evergreen Rotary?
Linda: When I began to recuperate from my brain surgery, I felt the need to do something important. I had really enjoyed working with troubled adolescents as a nurse. So I was looking for something when Harry Roulin answered an ad for our Bronco which he bought for his daughter. Harry invited us to visit the Evergreen Rotary club, so we did. We got such a warm welcome and now I am working with Holly Brekke and the Interact Club.
Marcia: What do you do for fun?
Linda: Well, we just bought a camper and we hope to camp and hike at some of the National Parks.
Marcia: Any words of wisdom?
Linda: With determination and persistence, anything can be accomplished! Be remembered for making a difference for good in the world.
Interview with Rotarian Don Synder by Hagerman, Brenda
Don joined Evergreen Rotary BECAUSE he is gone a lot! Read here about the important work that takes him around the world and the greatest influences on his generous spirit...
Interview with Don SnyderApril 2011
Marcia: Don, tell me about your childhood.
Don: The first years of my life were spent in New Rochelle, New York. There were 4 kids. I had one older sister, a younger sister and brother. We were all born in March! My dad was in the materials handling business and had an opportunity to start his own business in Denver, San Francisco or Anchorage.He chose Denver and in the summer of 1961, we moved to Cherry Hills Village. He and my mother still live in the same house they bought those many years ago. I attended Cherry Creek High School, which at the time was located on the sparsely populated eastern plains of Colorado! At that time it was the only high school in the district, and the biggest club in the school was FFA (Future Farmers of America) . . . my how things have changed.The parents of one of my parents closest friends were the Buchanan's, the last owners of the Hiwan Ranch . . . now the Hiwan Homestead.From time to time, during the 60's, my parents would take us up to Evergreen to stay in the bunk house (they stayed in the big house) at Hiwan Ranch!This was my first exposure to Evergreen.My wife and I would eventually move to Evergreen in 1976.
Marcia: How about college?
Don: I went to Colorado College and majored in physics. I met my wife, Kit, there. Her grandfather was then Chair of the History Department. She was studying English literature but later transferred to Philadelphia College of Textiles & Science to pursue a degree in textile design.This actually worked out, since I was in New York apprenticing my grandfather at the time.We both did graduate work, me in engineering at UCD and Kit in education at Regis.Kit is a now a teacher at Wilmot Elementary.
Marcia: I know that you have worked all over the world.
Don: Yes, I work in the nitrogen fertilizer industry, primarily in developing countries, or wherever there is a reliable source of natural gas from which nitrogen fertilizers (urea, ammonium nitrate, etc.) are synthesized. I’ve worked on every continent with the exception of Antarctica! This all began quite by chance out of my strong relationship and love for my grandfather.He was my grandfather, my godfather, my friend and my business partner up until his death in 1988.He was a chemical engineer and I was the lowly apprentice.Our first business trip together was to a plant in Iran, followed by business meetings in Italy.I was 22 years old at the time. His instructions to me were “Keep your eyes open, your ears open, your mouth shut and carry my bag” . . . I learned a lot!
Marcia: Sounds like he was a big influence on you.
Don: He was without a doubt one of the biggest influences on my life. From the day I was born we were joined at the hip. I had such respect for him. His love of family and for the needs of others. He was so creative and hard working. A member of a very special generation of Americans.I now have 2 grandsons and I try to spend as much time as possible with each of them, remembering the influence of my own grandfather.
Marcia: And still you find time to give back to your community.
Don: I try in various ways.I love soccer and have played all my life, still do.I was a coach for twenty five years. There were many highlights, but certainly winning a state championship with my Evergreen High School girls team in 1997 was special. I just loved being engaged with young people who had such great energy and commitment.I could have coached forever, but I always had a feeling that I wanted to be engaged with the needs of the developing world that I had been exposed to over so many years. So, I intentionally walked away from coaching in 2002 and began to look for opportunities in public service, primarily international service.
Marcia: So, how did you get so involved with Haiti?
Don: Well, it was like this… Kit knew Gretchen and Warren Breggren who were of course, deeply committed to working in Haiti. We were invited to their home to meet Father Kesner, a young, charismatic Haitian priest.While I was reluctant to go, I went.By the end of the evening I was in and on my way to Haiti!This was in the fall of 2003.I've never looked back.It is difficult to describe .. but my primary role in building relationships and trust on the ground in Haiti with the people we, meaning the Colorado Haiti Project, serve has been one of the most fulfilling things I have ever experienced.The journey continues . . .
I now share this world, most closely with my youngest daughter Erin, who after working as an actuary and traveling to Ghana and Haiti, walked out of her high paying position and moved to Port au Prince.After a year and a half, she returned to do get her MPH at Columbia University and is now the public health program manager for Latin America and the Caribbean for a large global health organization.
Marcia: Tell me about your kids.
Don: Well I have just told you a bit about Erin, our youngest daughter.Our oldest daughter, is a literacy coach (primarily to Spanish speaking children and their parents) in Denver Public Schools.She is our blonde haired, blue-eyed Mexican child!Our niece, Anna, who we consider as our third daughter, works as an accountant.All 3 are happily married, and Sara and Anna both have 3 year old sons.
Marcia: Wow…and where would you all go on vacation?
Don: Mostly to visit family. Kit is originally from Seattle.Her Mom and Dad live in British Columbia along the coast at the southern entrance to Desolation Sound.It is a difficult place to get to, but beautiful and peaceful, so we go there as often as possible. Kit and I also own an old farm house on Cape Cod.It is our home away from home and a place where my family has spent many, many summers since the early 1930's.It is the place we go to recharge each year!
Marcia: What keeps you in Rotary?
Don: That's a good question.I am gone a lot and often wonder whether I should continue.Generally, ever since I left coaching, I have very few ties to the local community, even though I have lived here since 1976.I work internationally, and I when I am here I work alone and out of my home office.Rotary keeps me engaged with the local community.While I am most interested in Rotary’s International projects, I know there are needs right here in my own community.Over time, I hope to connect more locally and Rotary provides an avenue for this to happen.Beyond that, it's just a great group of people to be associated with.
Interview with Rotarian Carol Carper by Hagerman, Brenda
Carol is a most active Rotarian, especially in international services. Read here about where she gets her grit...
Interview with Carol CarperDec 14, 2011
Marcia: I know that you have been active in Rotary for years. Why did you recently decide to join Evergreen Rotary?
Carol: Well, I wanted to be in a club that was very active internationally and Evergreen was recommended to me. I think it will be a good match for me.
Marcia: Have you always been interested in working internationally?
Carol: Ever since I was a young girl and my mother gave me a book about Albert Schweitzer, I have wanted to work in Africa.
Marcia: What was your life like growing up?
Carol: I was born at St Joe’s hospital in Denver. We lived in east Denver…my parents and me, my older brother and younger sister. My Dad was a teacher and swim coach at George Washington High School in Denver., where I went to school. I was an avid swimmer myself, about 100 laps a day. Dad was a scout master. I was active in girl scouts. Dad was active in church..Episcopal Anglican…I sang in the choir. My Mom was the intellect. They were very different, but both had a strong sense of ethics of service. I was in AP classes, but I knew the fine line between a “C” and a ”D”.My Great Grandmother always said “Work is God’s gift” and “If you are born into the world with advantages, you have a responsibility to help those with less”. I have explored different religions, myself, and find I am most aligned with Buddhism.
Some of my fondest childhood memories were camping with my Dad and sister…canoeing and sailing. We had a sailboat on Sloane’s lake.
Marcia: What about college?
Carol: I went to CU in 1961. I was told to get a teaching certificate and it was understood that I would find a husband there too. And I did both! Just before I graduated, my current boyfriend introduced me to Bob, who did become my husband. He had been an exchange student in Italy and was into oil painting.He is now a retired architect and we live in Conifer. He has COPD and is confined to home a lot, where he is currently writing his memoirs.
Carol: Yes, we had a daughter . Sadly, she died thirteen years ago at age 30 with breast cancer. But she was an adventurer. She did a lot of backpacking with her dad. At age 18, she went to Nepal as an EMT. She hiked five days to get to a village where they treated 5000 people. Our family had a history of pulling together in adversity which is what happened with her final illness. The dying was full of love and caring.She continues to be MY inspiration to do the things I do. If she could do such things, then I can too! Bob retired so that he could help her when she was sick. Her last six months were good. We all took a trip to Peru and the Galapagos Islands .
Marcia: So how did you eventually get to Africa?
Carol: I went on a safari trip to Tanzania. I just loved it there and asked if I could stay and help at the school. And I did stay….for six weeks! Later, I connected with Rotarians working in Kenya. I looked at wells with Don Howard. I met a Kenyan doctor in Colorado and was invited to go to a medical camp in Kenya twice. I saw a lot of broken water systems then. I was put in touch with a Kenyan, George Oyeho, who was a Rotarian in Minnesota and he had gotten his club to build schools in Kenya and also a clinic. I’ve been working with George on his projects ever since. Next month, I’m helping to lead a Rotary trip to Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania. It will be my tenth trip to Africa. Last year I took a group ofInteractors there to build a bridge. In Kenya we are developing a leadership program for the locals.
Marcia: So, do you have other passions?
Carol: Well, my passion is education…and people….and reading.
I love to read and discuss books. I read a lot about current events and foreign affairs. When we moved to the mountains, it took me some getting used to. Bob built me a lovely ceramics studio but I found myself going to the grocery store a lot just to be around people! I am such an extrovert!
I find I love to start new things. I have started two successful schools and twice I started Head Start programs. I was the first director of the Mountain Resource Center in Conifer. At Red Rocks Community College, I directed a program for early childhood development which is now a model of quality care and education. I love working with low income populations. I would say I am just extremely interested in cultures of all kinds. I even enjoy ringing the Salvation Army bell so that I can observe the folks coming and going.
Marcia: If you were to describe yourself as a pair of shoes, what would they be like?
Carol: Ah…they would be mostly comfortable….but my toenails would be painted blue. I do have a playful side!
Marcia: Any words of wisdom?
Carol: Find a passion, find other people who are also interested in the same passion and give it your all.
Interview with Rotarian Woody Hancock by Hagerman, Brenda
You may see Woody as a quiet, easy-going, always smiling kind of guy. Read more here for a few surprises......
Interview with Woody Hancock Jan 16, 2012
Marcia: Is Woody your real name?
Woody: Officially, I am Woodrow Wilson Hancock, Jr. Obviously, my Dad’s father was an admirer of President Wilson!
Marcia: Where were you born?
Woody: I was born in Camden, South Carolina, but grew up in Maryland. I was the first of four boys. My Dad’s family were sharecroppers on a cotton farm. He knew how to work hard. He dropped out of school in the 6th grade to help support his family. He learned to lay bricks with my Mom’s dad in South Carolina and also worked in a local general store. These skills served him well later in life. During WWII, he worked as an airplane machinist in Oklahoma. After the war, he ran a small store in Maryland and later went back to bricklaying and put 4 boys through college on a bricklayer’s salary. He and my mother never had any debt, not even a mortgage! He was a good judge of character, things were black or white, and his word was his bond. You know, old school. Of course, my mom didn’t work outside the home, but she did volunteer at the local hospital-for 40 years! She was a real Christian who lived the Golden Rule. However, I did observe how she always somehow managed to get her way…without confrontation. A lesson in itself!
Marcia: What would you do for fun back then?
Woody: We had a happy small town childhood-playing in the woods, all sports, and Sunday picnics. Both of my parents were from large families in South Carolina, so we had a lot of cousins to visit. We would go to Myrtle Beach for vacation and twice a year we would visit with my Mom’s family in North Carolina to the church revivals!
Marcia: Did your Dad’s work ethic rub off on you?
Woody: I think so. In high school, I worked with my dad part time, but my first real job was clerking at the local Safeway. I played all the sports (not very well) and was president of the Key club. I remember one summer Washington D.C. day I was working with my dad helping to build a brick wall and it was hot and I was sweaty. My dad looked down at me, covered with sweat and dirt, in the ditch and said “Son, you sure you don’t want to go to college?”
Marcia: So, you did, right?
Woody: I switched to college prep the next semester! I graduated from the University of Maryland with a major in accounting. I loved participating college activities including inter-mural sports. I joined a fraternity and was very active in student politics. I was actually on the student court, Treasurer of the SGA, and president of my senior class. I realized that I enjoyed people and being part of the campus life. Also my extra curricular activities helped me get my first job at Price Waterhouse & Co.
Marcia: Did you meet your wife in college?
Woody: No we met in High School. Barb was a cheerleader and very athletic and into sports. I watched her from the bench. We got married just before my senior year in college, 49 years ago, and she continues to take me out of my comfort zone.
Marcia: So how has she pushed you, Woody?
Woody: Well, we have recently become avid bike riders. Just before I turned 65, I signed up for the Triple By Pass bike ride. Barb trained with me and we both enjoyed the activity. We’ve been biking in France, Austria, Germany, and Switzerland many times! We have done a bunch of century (100 mile) bike rides and Ride the Rockies three times. Early on, we both played competitive volleyball and tennis. For a while, we were really into competitive horseback riding and owned a small farm where we raised (unfortunately slow) race horses. I was even the president of the local Fox Hunting Club! We now play golf and I have played in Scotland and Ireland. This year, I am going to play in Ireland and then Barb is coming over and we will do a three week bike ride in NW Ireland with another couple.
Marcia: What kind of career have you had that allowed you to follow all these adventures?
Woody: After college, I interned at Price Waterhouse as an auditor and stayed with them for three years earning my CPA certificate. Then, I became a salesman with IBM (when they called it data processing), and spent the rest of my corporate career in sales, and sales and leasing management positions. I preferred sales to auditing-can you imagine that? Barb and I moved to Evergreen in 1995 and in 2001 I was doing some consulting in Oklahoma and decided I had to find something that allowed me to live and work in Evergreen. I discovered that the H&R Block Franchise in Evergreen was for sale and I bought it. Probably the best business decision I ever made. Later, I opened offices in Idaho Springs and Conifer. I discovered that being a tax preparer combined two things I love, working with people and knowing their business.
Marcia: Did you have time to raise a family too?
Woody: Yes. We have two adult sons. Matthew works for the border patrol as a construction manager in Dallas and Brice is a musician with an IT degree who now owns a music venue in Littleton-The Toad Tavern. We also are blessed with our first grandson-Trace.
Marcia: So, how did you get involved in Rotary?
Woody: I wanted to get more involved in the community so I asked Chick to take me to his Rotary club. Everybody was so charged up at that first meeting that I attended. I knew I wanted to be a part of this group.
Marcia: What would you say keeps you in Evergreen Rotary?
Woody: There are so many incredible people in this club that do so much for the community and the world. I like being part of the Sergeant of Arms. I am not really a “save the world” kind of guy but really want to help out in my community. I enjoy spreading the word and telling people about Rotary.
Marcia: Surely you have some words of wisdom?
Woody: I spend a lot of my time at Block giving advice to my clients. Most of it is life’s lessons learned. It’s probably a miracle they still come back! I would probably go back to the Golden Rule as my guiding principle.
Marcia: If you were a pair of shoes, what would you be?
Woody: They would be well worn because they would have been a lot of places and done a lot of things- Clean but not too shiny!
Interview with Rotarian Curt Harris by Hagerman, Brenda
Curt is a big guy with a big heart. He learned a lot of lessons early in life. Read here about how he has applied them over the years.
Interview with Curt Harris Nov 14, 2011
Marcia: Curt, tell me about your childhood.
Curt: Well, I was born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.My Dad died of a heart attack when I was only six years old. He was 41. He had been in the 4th Calvary, the last unit on horseback. In WWII, he was hit with a lot of shrapnel. We don’t know if that had anything to do with his heart attack. So my Mom was left to raise three boys. We were a good Catholic family, going to Catholic schools. We were good kids and never got into trouble. My Mom believed in a good education and a mid-west work ethic. She passed away five years ago. She was a child of the depression…saving everything and very, very thrifty! She worked most of her life, until 75, at a bakery.
Marcia: Were you a good student?
Curt: Not exactly..I was an underachiever, however I did receive “Student of the Year” in drafting! I loved sports though and was an avid swimmer.
Marcia: So what and who were your main influences during that time?
Curt: Boy Scouts, sports, and the YMCA! In that order. My first scout master, Don Koetzle, instilled in me a code of ethics. I loved the outdoor activities. I still remember the scout pledge! My second leader gave me opportunities in leadership positions. When I moved to Colorado, I helped out by teaching Boy Scouts winter camping.
In sports, I was influenced by my really great baseball coach, Don French. He always went beyond what was necessary and he loved kids. I mostly played first base. I later coached my son’s baseball teams. I also coached my daughters’ softball teams for six years. And they won four State championships and a National Championship.
As for the YMCA, I spent a lot of time swimming there.
Marcia: What about college and marriage?
Curt: I first majored in Biology. After the first semester, I transferred to Park Management. Then in 1974, Nixon cut the Park’s Forest Ranger program. By then, I had married my high school sweetheart, Barb. She got a job in respiratory therapy in Minnesota and I transferred to Minnesota State University at Moorhead. I had decided to change my major to economics and graduated in 1977. I helped pay for school by working at a pizza place and also by painting houses and even a church....inside and out.
Marcia: So how did you get out to Colorado?
Curt: I had passed though Colorado going out to Philmont scout ranch in New Mexico and had always thought I would like to live here. Barb had a brother that lived in Aurora. In June of ’77 I took a job with a finance company located on West Colfax and in two years was the Branch Manager. Later, I answered an ad for a manager training program for FirstBank just a few blocks from my office. I was hired as a trainee and worked at the Castle Rock FirstBank for a year and a half. In 1981, I was back at the corporate office on West Colfax. For twelve years, I was a bank auditor. Then when FirstBank wanted to expand, we had to file a new bank charter for each bank…no branch banking. I was involved in opening the first branch off ice in a grocery store in Colorado in King Soopers. Eventually, I became President of the Evergreen FirstBank in March of 1997. After I retired from the bank in 2001, I went back to school, DU, to get an international MBA. I completed all the course work, but did not complete the program because of my difficulty conquering Spanish, even after spending four weeks in Mexico in a language immersion program! I did eventually get a Masters degree in Finance.
Marcia: How did you connect with Evergreen Rotary?
Curt: As a bank President, I was “expected” to join a service club. Gary Madsen, a past president of the Evergreen Rotary club, had invited me and when the club changed over to a morning club I decided to join.
Marcia: I know you are a past president of Evergreen Rotary, but what keeps you in Rotary?
Curt: The fellowship and good friends. Plus I do have a passion to make the world a better place. I love to travel. I love to coach kids. I was a leader at Young RYLA for five years and now I’ve been with RYLA for five years – twice I have chaired RYLA. I am serving as the International Service Chair for Evergreen Rotary. When Mark Williams was club president, I had an opportunity to go with him to Africa and there I saw the needs of a third world country. I believe that we should give them the tools to be self-reliant and not victims of their circumstances. I was even published in as economist publication. My article was about Tanzania and how international trade is a good thing.
Marcia: Words of wisdom?
Curt: Remember that service is a reward in itself!
Marcia: Any grandchildren yet?
Curt: Barb and I have a son and two daughters. Or daughter Stacy has one daughter and our daughter Lisa, who lives in Texas, has two daughters. That’s it, so far.
Interview with Rotarian Ann Moore by Hagerman, Brenda
Ann has had an extraordinary life, due in no small part, to her openess to new experiences, her love for her fellowman, her love of nature and her love of music.
Interview with Ann Moore Feb 22, 2012
Marcia: Ann, I know you have traveled the world, but where did you start out life?
Ann: I grew up on a farm in Southern Ohio near Dayton. I‘m a farm girl at heart. My parents were Dunkards (Old Order German Baptist), very similar to the Amish, only we had cars, not buggies, and electricity. My folks were “plain clothes” people – bonnets and black broad rimmed hats. The sect is very family oriented and peace loving like the Mennonites and Quakers.
Marcia: So, where’s your bonnet?
Ann: My parents were excommunicated when I was in 3rd grade for having a radio. Daddy listened to the farm reports to know when to sell the corn, etc. To this day, the radio and television are forbidden but all of my extended family are still Dunkards. They sometimes would sneak over to my folks to watch tv.
Marcia: Did you go to public school?
Ann: Yes. There were 16 students in my class and we started first grade together through our senior year. I was a bit hyper so in 3rd grade my parents gave me accordion lessons thinking that for ½ hour each day I would be calm with this big instrument on my lap. I still play the accordion. I also played the cello, flute and recorder and am now studying banjo. Music has become a life long passion.
Marcia: What about college?
Ann: I graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a BS in Nursing & Health. My brother was so bright that he tested out of most of his college classes and received his BA from Univ. of Chicago in one year.
Marcia: So then did you practice nursing?
Ann: I taught pediatric nursing.at Columbia Univ. in New York City, under the auspices of the Babies Hospital, for five years. During that time, I participated in two international work camps sponsored by the Quakers. The first was in Morocco, building an orphanage after the earth quake in Agadir that killed 30,000 Moroccans. The second experience was in Germany working with East German refugees. Those 2 experiences filled my core with the realization we all are the same in our hearts regardless of our cultural, religious, or political differences. We are one big human family.
Marcia: So what happened next? Where did you meet Mike?
Ann: When President Kennedy suggested the Peace Corps in 1961, I was the 33rd applicant. I so believed that when we work and play together coming from very different life experiences , it’s the greatest path to a more peaceful world. Seven of us from Babies Hospital joined a medical team of 20 going to Togo, West Africa. Mike, at the same time was going to Togo on a teaching team. We trained at Howard Univ in DC and our first day, Mike walked in playing the guitar. That did it. We were married 8 weeks later at the Ohio farm. 400 Dunkards attended the lawn wedding with the reception in our cleaned out chicken house. Mike and his Yale Whiffenpoof singing group entertained. It was a great cross cultural experience.
Marcia: So, what was your experience like in Togo?
Ann: My role was teaching nutrition and practicing pediatric nursing. During our first year, there was a coup in which the outstanding president was assassinated by a drunken soldier who became the president for life. We returned a few years ago with Rotary’s Polio Plus program and Togo is as poor as when we were there and five times as many people. Peace Corps is still there trying to make inroads in health and nutrition.
It was there that the seeds were planted that would change our lives. While in the hospital or market place we observed the well-being emotionally of African children – few anxiety problems such as thumb sucking, crying, etc. The kids are all breast fed and constantly carried by a family member on the back held by a long piece of fabric. What we were seeing was “bonding”, a word that we didn’t have in the sixties.
We returned to the US, and 6 weeks later our first daughter, Mandela, was born. I wanted to carry her close to me similar to the African mother. My mother and I fashioned a way for me to wear Mande on me as I rode my bike, shopped, worked through fussy times, etc. We had no thought of marketing it but people would stop me to inquire, “Where can I get one of those?” We received a patent and in 1970, Mike quit his job to develop the Snugli business. At that time, no one carried their babies on them – only used those plastic infant seats that conduct no human touch. We developed a cottage industry in Ohio and had 200 farm women making various aspects of the Snugli baby carrier. We believed so whole heartedly that if you satisfy the infant’s needs through love and human warmth that that will contribute to a secure and healthy loving adult.
Maria: So what are you doing these days?
Ann: In 1985, I was asked to design a portable oxygen carrier, which we did. It went into production and we called our new venture, Air Lift. We sold the Snugli business at that time. Later, we sold Air Lift to our son-in-law and daughter. We were busy for awhile building our zero-energy home here in Evergreen. Now I spend time enjoying family, music, our sunroom, gardening, and , of course, my chickens. Every summer, Mike and I travel with the Yale Alumni Choruso to perform someplace in the world. I‘m on the Evergreen Alliance for Sustainability + You (EASY) board and enjoy my time on the Univ. of Colorado Nursing School Advisory board.
Marcia: How did you get involved with Evergreen Rotary?
Ann: Mike & I were very involved in Evergreen Chorale performances at Evergreen Center Stage. He went to Rotary to ask for help with building the new lobby. Rotary gave a very generous grant and Tom Johnson soon invited him to join Rotary. After one Friday am, Mike invited me along. We find the meetings to be exciting and love the diversity of the club.
Marcia: Do you have any Words of Wisdom?
Ann: I say follow your heart, your intuition, your spirit and “feel the love”. Envision a more peaceful world!
Marcia: Describe yourself as a pair of shoes.
Ann: Oh, Marcia, I would be barefoot. I love the natural world. I’m so happy when digging in the dirt.
Interview with Rotarian Mary DeBaets by Hagerman, Brenda
Mary takes us from her carefree childhood days of riding her horse between Marshdale and Evergreen and along her "indirect" path to a successful Evergreen Financial Planner.
Interview with Mary DeBaets March 21, 2012
Marcia: Where did you grow up?
Mary: I was born here and grew up on North Turkey Creek Rd, in Marshdale. We lived there until I was seven or eight years old. When Dad married my stepmom, we moved to Lakewood. But we still spent most of the summers in Marshdale….with our horses. Even as a little girl, I remember riding my horse to Evergreen and back. My favorite horse was a gentle palomino named Buddy. We also had Jack and Jill. We also had two Shetland ponies. It was overall a fantastic childhood. I have a younger sister. Dad passed away in 1993. Mom still lives in Lakewood.
Marcia: Where did you go to high school?
Mary: I graduated from Lakewood High School in 1975. I married young. I met my first husband when I was working as a bartender in Parker. He was from New Orleans. Tragically, he died at age 37 of a heart attack. I grieved for a good three years. It was a difficult time.
Marcia: So, how did you get through that?
Mary: While I was working at Coors as a secretary to one of the vice presidents. I had become good friends with three other girls working there. We heard of and applied for a management training program. We were accepted into the program which was at Regis University. I loved learning and decided to continue on at Regis to finish my degree. I finally finished with a major in Business Administration and minor in Human Resources. I worked in marketing with the Coors ZIMA brand. Also, I helped coordinate the Ride the Rockies Bike Ride and in 1995, I trained with a friend and participated in Ride the Rockies. I remember how emotional it was to cross the finish line! I still love biking. I went on to ride seven more Ride the Rockies. It is the best way to see and experience the country.
Marcia: So, how did you meet your current husband?
Mary: Steve also worked for Coors. It was a friendship that eventually blossomed into a romance. He took a buyout package from them and became self-employed. He is still quite involved with the Miller-Coors distributors across that country which keeps him very busy. Everyone teases me about being married because he is gone so much, but we have a great marriage and will celebrate our 20th anniversary next year.
Marcia: So how did you get into financial services?
Mary: Well, after my husband died, I had many financial issues to deal with. Thankfully my father had encouraged my involvement in our family finances early on so I was familiar with stocks and how the market worked. When a friend of mine left Coors to pursue a career with Edward Jones, I trusted him with some of my accounts. Within a few years he suggested I look at a career in the industry. He said they wanted an office in Evergreen. That peaked my interest. In June of 2000, I accepted a position with Edward Jones and began the process. I choose the new location at Castle Court for my new office I waited for the building to be completed to move in. I opened my office….the day before 9-11! Needless to say, business was slow for awhile. I moved to LPL Financial in May of 2007. I was looking for the true independence and non conflict of interest that this type of Brokerage Firm offered.
Marcia: How did you connect with Evergreen Rotary?
Mary: I was invited to Evergreen Rotary by Jamie Herman. The club had about 20 members then. This was 2001. The program was about helping children. I was so touched that I cried. Then I wondered if I was going to cry at every Rotary meeting! And I felt I wanted to help “save the world”. And I still feel that way. I’ve been studying for my CFP®, a very difficult certification, and with the growth of my practice and other volunteer commitments, I’ve had to pull back for a bit. But after attending Robert Weinberger’s service, it brought back the feeling and out pouring of family that Rotary is all about. It reminds me of what a great community we have in our own back yard.
Mary: Dad used say “The older you get, the faster it goes, and the smarter your parents get”….He was right on!
Interview with Rotarian Dr Gretchen Berggren by Hagerman, Brenda
Few people we know have lived a life like Gretchen, with such determination and sense of purpose. And she has touched so many lives where she has lived in a total of 26 countries! Please read her incredible story here.
Interview with Gretchen Berggren Nov 14, 2011
Marcia: Gretchen, looking back, how would you describe your life up to now?
Gretchen: Mostly, I would say it has truly been a spiritual journey. I believe that God has a plan for each life and we must search for that plan and choose to follow that plan.
Marcia: How did you discover God’s plan for your life?
Gretchen: I grew up in Nebraska, near the So.Dak./Wyoming border in a small town called Chadron. I grew up in a Church of the Nazarene in a farming and ranching community that also had Chadron State College. It was really a no-nonsense way of life. My father worked for the Chicago Northwestern Railroad; my mother was a teacher and later a principal. During WWII she became an x-ray and lab tech. My sister, younger by three years, later became a nurse, and a brother sixteen years younger became an oncologist . Some of my classmates were children from the Lakota-Sioux Pine Ridge Reservation ! I remember the discrimination against them. Every Saturday in the summer we would go to “powwows” held on Chadron’s Main street. They were great musicians; some were in the high-school band where, due to my love of music, I played clarinet. Our marching band was chosen to go to Lincoln and march in Univ. Nebr. parades.. It was an outdoor life; I even learned to ride bareback and camped with the Girl Scouts.
Somewhere between eight and eleven, I told my parents that I felt “called” to be a missionarydoctor. I was intrigued by the thought of working in a developing country; I wanted to save lives. I heard a medical missionary, Dr Evelyn Wittoff, speak about her experiences as a doctor in India during World War II. She had been on a ship that was captured by the Japanese and spent time in a Japanese prison camp in the Philippines. I was inspired by her story and corresponded with her for many years. She was my role model.
Marcia: So where did you go to college?
Gretchen: While I was still in high school, I took college courses at the local college. Studying German, I learned about Dr Albert Schweitzer and his work in Gabon, and once again was inspired. . I actually read his autobiography in German; it changed my thoughts on human suffering and taught me about “reverence for all life”. After graduation, I started at the University of Nebraska (Omaha) and graduated from their medical school, being the only female in my promotion. That’s where I met my husband, Warren Berggren.
Marcia: How exactly did you meet Warren?
Gretchen: My room-mates knew Warren and agreed that I invite him over for pie and coffee. We later got better acquainted while volunteering at the Open Door (charity) Mission in an underserved area of Omaha.
Marcia: I know you have worked and lived in many places.
Gretchen: Yes, twenty-six countries!
Marcia: Where did you start?
Gretchen: We began in the Belgian Congo.After medical school, I studied French and Tropical Medicine in Belgium, as Warren had done before he began serving in the Congo. We married in Belgium; then I went with Warren to “Institut Medical Evangelique” (IME) where he headed a program to train nurses and medical assistants. (Comment::-- After World War I, the Congo had been given to the King of Belgium. After WWII, the government of Belgium “took over” the Belgian Congo. It was a difficult situation as the seeds of rebellion were already being sown. There were no African doctors, only expatriots. Missionary doctors trained Congolese medical assistants to a very high level; some were allowed to perform surgery. We experienced great personal peace and joy working with our African colleagues in saving lives, but also saw many people die needless deaths that could have been prevented.).
We witnessed the “anti-colonialist” rebellion started in 1960; at one point 500 Belgian doctors fled within a few days. Americans were “ordered out” by our embassy and given transportation. Landing in Ghana, we learned that the US Red Cross was pleading for doctors for the Congo, when we had just been ordered out!. Later, President Kennedy himself intervened and got our group of medical professionals back to Leopoldville (now Kinshasa). Once there, with the Mennonite and Quaker leadership, we helped start the “Congo Protestant Relief Agency” that eventually brought in over 200 American doctors.
Marcia: What was that like?
Gretchen: Tough! We took over an almost abandoned Belgian Congo government hospital, still served by faithful nuns who never left their posts. Pregnant at the time, I contracted malaria. Our baby was stillborn and we buried him there. Later, on home furlough, we studied public health at Harvard and returned to the Congo (now Zaire) to set up a community health worker program. Warren became ill with pneumonia, malaria and some other illness.. Colleagues helped to evacuate us, Warren on a stretcher. Years later, in Haiti, a Haitian doctor showed up in our program and was so surprised to see Warren; he had served as a W.H.O. doctor in the Congo; had provided medicine for a “dying” missionary doctor named Warren Berggren. He said he felt he had seen a ghost!
Marcia: So then where did you and Warren go?
Gretchen: We were offered the opportunity to return to Harvard School of Public Health, where we had previously studied, in part due to the recommendation of Dr C.Everett Koop, who later became the US Surgeon General! Warren completed a second doctorate there; we both served on the faculty for many years thereafter.
Ruth, our oldest daughter was with us from the 1960’s; she actually took her first steps in the Congo. She learned to speak Lingala, an African language, along with English. Our second daughter, Jeannie, was born in the US, and with us in Haiti. Our daughters were pretty much schooled overseas; both speak several languages, and treasure what they say are “important values” from living overseas..
Marcia: So, when did Haiti come into play?
Gretchen: The Dean of Harvard School of Public Health responded to a request from Dr William Larimer Mellon, Jr., of Haiti, for someone to start community health programs at the Schweitzer Hospital in Haiti. The Dean sent us down to check it out. And that was that! Many students rotated there under our tutelage. Altogether we spent more than 20 years living and working in Haiti, with Haitian government programs as well as with US funded programs.
Marcia: I understand you worked in Tunisia, among many other places.
Gretchen: Yes, we worked on public health in rural Tunisia; I worked on a nutrition program.
Marcia: I know that you and Warren have received many awards over the years for your medical work. Which is the most memorable one?
Gretchen: I guess that would be the International Health Award that we actually received from the hands of Mother Theresa. She had won the award the previous year. It was for our work in Haiti, where, due to community based programs, we had shown significant reductions in child death rates. An award last year was very special also: At the new University of Nebraska College of Public Health, the Dean’s conference room was named after us. Former classmates and friends contributed to make this possible. Currently I am honored to be a part of the faculty of the newly accredited UC School of Public Health.
Marcia: Why are you a Rotarian?
Gretchen: The people in Rotary share my values and my commitment. I greatly respect Rotary’s goal to rid the planet of polio. Rotarians are making a difference in the world; I am proud to be one of them!
Interview with Chad Dyson by Hagerman, Brenda
Chad is a new Evergreen Rotarian. New to Rotary even. But does he ever enbody that Rotary spirit.
Interview with Chad Dyson April 5, 2012
Marcia: Chad, where did you grow up?
Chad: Around Wichita, Kansas.
Marcia: I guess you’ve seen a few tornados?
Chad: I have seen a couple in my life. When I was 5 years old we had one at the lake in the middle of the night and we were forced to hide under the dock and sit in the water. Apparently tornados tend to jump over water and that is exactly what it did, in a straight line over our heads! It was pretty scary for a 5 year old and immediately after that my grandpa built some tornado shelters for us and others at the lake to take safety in. Over the years they definitely got some use!
Marcia: Sounds like you were a smart kid?
Chad: Well my grandpa was at least! I did have to grow up pretty fast though as my parents divorced when I was seven years old. I had a younger sister and I remember cooking for the family as a kid while my mom worked full time as a systems analyst while raising both of us. I had no idea how hard it was on her at the time but she is also very driven. She battled her way up the corporate ladder so I was well aware of the struggles that females faced in the work force compared to male peers. Later on in life she used her drive to graduate from Seminary and became an Ordained Minister which she currently uses as a Director for Habitat for Humanity. Needless to say she has been quite the influence and I truly believe the responsibilities I learned as a kid has made a huge difference in my life. Lucky for me she remarried to a good man that I really looked up to who became my father figure. As far as school was concerned, getting bad grades was not an option so I tended to excel in class work but somehow always seem to get the checkmark in ‘Does Not Follow Directions’ in elementary school. Pretty sure my mom would attest to that when I was a kid too! I enjoyed sports a lot and was driven to improve whether it was baseball, basketball, or soccer. Balls sports took the sidelines when I moved to Colorado after I was introduced to the endless amount of extreme sports I had at my finger tips. ‘So many challenges, so little time’ is what I used to say. Whether it was the snow in the winter on the hill or the river in the summer I always was driven by sports and determined to succeed. Kayaking was hands down the sport that I got into the most. Every weekend when the season was happening we had a trip to somewhere new, maybe a first descent out of state or out of the country when the rivers dried up here. Being older and maybe a little wiser now has me playing golf instead, a sport that I will probably never master, but a sport which makes my wife at little more at ease and lets her sleep at night.
Chad: Yes, I graduated from Kansas State University. I was good in math and science which pointed me towards engineering. While attending an engineering open house during my senior year in high school, I decided on a 5 year program in Architectural Engineering.
Marcia: Did you work during college?
Chad: I always had some sort of job while attending college and also worked full time during the summer. A lot of times I would use my Christmas and Spring Break to get a few extra work hours as well which helped out with the expenses. During the last the last three years of college I taught an engineering physics lab which I really enjoyed.
Marcia: How did you end up in Colorado?
Chad: During a spring break skiing trip in my fifth year of college (ok there was one year I actually took a real spring break!) I somehow managed to line up an interview with a consulting engineering firm in Avon, CO. I must have impressed them because I was offered a job on the spot! Seemed to good to be true but two days after graduation I was working in a resort ski town in the mountains of Colorado!
Marcia: Had you been to Colorado before?
Chad: We had a few family ski trips to Colorado as a kid but I had never heard of Vail or Beaver Creek before. It would be fair to say that our family trips were on a tight budget and a very special occasion indeed. I am sure you have seen our type before. We were the Midwest family who skis in scotch guarded jeans in order to justify the lifts tickets and the rental skis but we didn’t care. It was so much fun and brings back good memories talking about those trips. Looking back it seems a little crazy that I ended up in one of the most expensive resorts in Colorado to call home for 17 years.
Marcia: Do you still ski in jeans?
Chad: Nope, I gave into the pressure of being a ‘local’ to fit in. Lucky for me I made friends with the owner of a ski shop who let me work for gear at cost by helping tune skis in the evenings.
Marcia: How did you meet your wife?
Chad: Funny story, we like to say I met her ‘pole dancing’ at a local club after a concert in Vail. My friend was dating her roommate and the evening started out as a large group, but somehow I was left alone with just Chris and her female friends. Not a bad place to be being the only male left in the group! So we decided to go dancing and the club at the time had a pole in the dance floor and of course we had to use it. When people ask us how we met, the best reaction we get is when we just say ‘pole dancing’ without expanding on the story just to see the expression on their faces. We’ve been married four years now and I like to say I imported her from Summit County. She’s very honest, love’s life, enjoys art, and is well traveled. She is a part time nanny for a family here in Evergreen and also works in Marsha Manning’s office.
Marcia: So, how did you get to Evergreen?
Chad: I was hired by Wells Fargo Advisors to be a Financial Advisor in the Bergen Park office. Quite a few years back I became very interested in the markets and decided to go back to school to learn how to invest. I found myself wanting to spend more time focusing on the markets and my investments than I did running my electrical contracting business so I decided to make a switch. The Bergen Park office seemed like a good fit and it was still close to my existing network in the Vail Valley but yet still close to the city. Not to mention living at a lower elevation! For the three years prior to moving here we lived at 10,300’ on top of Tennessee Pass which made for rather long winters. It was a great experience and we still have the property up there, but we definitely don’t miss the additional 3000’!
Marcia: So how did you connect with Evergreen Rotary?
Chad: I met Gretchen MacArthur at an Evergreen Chamber mixer and she invited me to visit Rotary. My mother was involved in Rotary and served on the board in Wichita, KS but I didn’t know a lot about it myself. The first meeting I attended was the program on a recent trip to Africa. It seemed to be a lively group with a lot of folks doing some pretty impressive things globally and locally. It reminded me of when I was in high school and went on a mission trip to help build an addition onto a church. I have to admit since then I have lived a fairly self serving life and I feel like I need to reach out beyond myself and give back and I know that being a part of rotary will allow me to do that.
Marcia: So what are you thinking about doing?
Chad: For one, I was accepted as a ‘buddy’ for Camp Comfort. This is something that really hits close to home for me. My father took his own life in 2008 after a long battle with alcoholism, depression, and the realization he was going to be spending time in jail. To make matters worse it happened a month before Chris and I got married. Looking back now I can see how much of an impact his death had on my life, as well as my wife and my families. My priorities and focus changed instantly and all of the sudden everything I was doing and trying to achieve took the back seat, both physically and emotionally, giving a whole new meaning to the word ‘perspective’. It was definitely one of the hardest things I have ever had to endure in life and I hope by supporting and sharing with others that I can make it easier for someone else. I was a camp counselor for many years as a teen for the YMCA so when I heard about Camp Comfort I jumped at the opportunity.
Marcia: Any words of wisdom?
Chad: Although it’s easier said than done - No Regrets
Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a ride!” – Hunter S. Thompson
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Please feel free to share these resources with other Rotarians in your club or district. If you have questions, ask us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your vital service in your own community and throughout the world. We look forward to working with you.
Rotarian Ted Ning Helps Mud Slide Victims by Brenda Hagerman
Hurricane Agatha recently dropped tremendous amounts of rain on Guatamala in the area around Lake Atitlan, where Starfish One By One and Friendship Bridge operate. Both of these non-profits were founded by Ted and Connie Ning. Tens of thousands have lost their homes and many their lives.
Several young women in the Starfish One by One program live in Santa Catarina and were lucky to escape with their lives. Some of their family members were not as fortunate. Nicolasa and Claudia are members of Starfish One by One's pilot group and are in their third year of the program. In addition to the loss of loved ones, these young women had their homes devastated and their worldly possessions washed away. Both come from large families which are now among the thousands rendered homeless.
Starfish One by One makes a whole-hearted commitment to the young women in the program to ensure that they graduate as empowered and educated women. For Nicolasa and Claudia, two young women who right now truly embody the fabled starfish on the beach, the path to being a strong mother and leader just got a lot more challenging.
Starfish One by One is organizing an exceptional campaign among its current supporters to create an emergency fund to ensure that these Nicolasa, Claudia and other young women and their families are able to survive this catastrophe to continue their journey towards empowerment and education.
To donate to this cause, click on the link to Starfish One By One on the home page of this website.
District 5450 Water Task Force Water Projects! by Barbara Wingate
District 5450 Water Task Force is creating a world map of all international district water projects for the District Conference. If you are currently or have ever been involved in a water project, please send a photo and brief description to email@example.com.
District 5450 fundraising project by Jerry Williams
Rotary clubs in District 5450 are being given an opportunity to purchase Rotary-branded water bottles to use in fundraising projects.
The opportunity was announced in an e-mail earlier this month to members of the district's Preserve Planet Earth Committee, Mereth Meade and Bob Hagerman, co-chairs, both of the Evergreen Rotary Club.
Hagerman said the idea resulted from a contest run early this year to give a prize to the club getting the most pledges from members and friends willing to give up plastic water bottles. The prize, he said, was to be special red aluminum water bottles engraved with the Rotary emblem and the phrase "It's perfectly clear tap water is better."
Prizes were awarded at the District Conference held in April. The winner was the Broomfield Crossing Rotary Club.
After the prizes were awarded, Hagerman said, the bottles proved so popular with members at the conference "that we decided to make them available to the clubs in our district to use as a fundraiser and to help protect the environment at the same time. "
"If we buy these bottles in large volume by pooling our requests," he said, "we can get them for about $4 a bottle, "with clubs selling them for $10 to $12 for a profit of $6 to $8 a bottle. "We've already gotten requests for more than 400 bottles," he added, "and we haven't even heard from most of the district's 64-plus clubs."
"Every bottle sold helps reduce our use of non-reusable plastic water bottles, which are causing so many environmental problems," Hagerman said.
District President Karen Sekich already has bought 20 of the bottles for a special Rotary event, Hagerman said, while the Evergreen club has bought 144 of the bottles, the minimum number needed for an order to get the $4 price, "and we think we can sell 'em all."
Also, Hagerman said, leaders of RYLA, the Rotary Young Leader Awards, have purchased 166 of the bottles to give them to campers this summer.
"We think there's just a big untapped market potential" for the bottles, Hagerman added.
Clubs interested in purchasing the bottles should e-mail either Hagerman or Meade by Aug. 1 with the number of bottles desired.
Contact Hagerman at B_Hagerman@msn.com (address has an underscore after the B) or Meade at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interview with Pat Martin-Stillmock by Hagerman, Brenda
Marcia interviews Evergreen Rotarian Pat Martin-Stillmock at Cafe De Lucca. Pat is currently the Vocational Services Chair and serves on our Board. See what she has to say about Rotary and life in general.
Marcia: Pat, where did you grow up? Pat: Western Kansas in the town of Garden City. My parents met there. My paternal grandfather was a stock broker. My maternal grandfather was an active Rotarian. My dad left for the war just after I was born and I was in kindergarten when he returned as an Army Captain, having been awarded a Bronze Star. I have two younger twin sisters and a younger brother who was spoiled as he was the only male grandchild. My parents were outgoing and involved in the community and the Episcopal church. Even though women didn't work outside the home in those days, my mother, along with other church women, started and ran a school for kids of migrant families. She also took care of a sickly neighbor when his wife had to go to work. In many ways, we could have been that family on The Donna Reed Show! No poverty, no racial strife, no crime. All young girls were only expected to become good wives and mothers. That's was it. I went to high school and then to a Junior college, then left Garden City to go to Emporia State College. Majored in French and piano..
While in college, I met and married a college football player and thought I was set for life.
I soon found out how ill prepared I was for "Real Life". Marcia: No more Donna Reed? Pat: No. It was a troubled marriage that ended after twelve years, but it resulted in three really wonderful kids. Two sons and one daughter. Steve is a mining engineer working now as a mining investment manager in Singapore; Mark is a retired Naval aviator; and Andrea left her career to be a stay at home mom and also helps out with her husband's contracting business. Marcia: What about your working career? Pat: My first real job was as a receptionist with an insurance agency in Kansas and 40 years later I retired as a VP account executive from a large Denver insurance brokerage. I was actively involved in insurance professional organizations, especially in education and training. Marcia: How did you meet your husband, Bob Stillmock? Pat: We met at work. We were friends for 15 years before we married. And that's when we moved to Evergreen. Marcia: So, how did you connect with Evergreen Rotary? Pat: Bob worked with Rotarian Macky Towne, who invited him to a club meeting. I joined in 1998, dropped out for a few years because of work commitments, but returned in 2006. Marcia: What keeps you in Evergreen Rotary? Pat: Oh, there are just so many outstanding members. Amazing people. Many have become heroes of mine, so many wonderful people in one club!!. Our club allows and encourages its members to act on their passions. Marcia: What is your Rotary Passion? Pat: I would have to say working with young people. I volunteered to tutor reading. Later, when our club's exchange student from Denmark was having some difficulties and on the verge of being sent home, Bob and I took him into our home. It took some work, but he turned himself around, and we had a great time with him. We have since hosted several other exchange students. I really got hooked on RYLA when I was called on at the last minute to fill in as a Sr. Counselor when someone had to cancel. It was one of the most rewarding experiences I've ever had. Marcia: And what do you do for yourself? Pat: I play my piano, classical music. I love to travel. One of our favorite trips has been a river boat tour we took in China. I have to say my biggest pleasure comes from being with my grandkids. Together, Bob and I have 11 grandchildren, and 4 of them live in the Denver area. Marcia: Any words of wisdom to share? Pat: The only way to conquer a fear is to face that fear head on. Okay, that's a cliché, but an example of this for myself is that when I was a little girl, my father would take me flying in his small plane. I dearly loved to fly with him. The first time I had to fly with a pilot other than my father, I panicked and developed a real fear of flying. This was a fear I forced myself to overcome by continuing to fly often until the fear went away.
Interview with Mark Vickstrom by Hagerman, Brenda
Marcia Walsh interviewed past Evergreen Rotary president, Mark Vickstrom. His story reads like a novel. A very inspiring novel..
Marcia: Mark, how's life?
Mark: Great! I turn 50 next week.
Marcia: Are you having a big celebration?
Mark: I've had big celebrations before ... at 30 and 40 Anne threw huge parties. So at this stage of my life, I'm taking my family camping and celebrating this milestone at 12,000 feet. Just us.
Marcia: And where were you born 50 years ago?
Mark: Colorado. Glenwood Springs.
Marcia: Did you have a happy childhood?
Mark: I'd say I had a fractured childhood. Some pretty serious problems in the family, unfortunately. There were very high expectations of me, and I became a reflection of those expectations. Sort of lost myself in the process for a while. But the upside was academic and athletic success, which opened a lot of doors. One of those doors led to Japan, where I was an exchange student and met my wife, Anne. We later went to college, I played music for a while in Up With People, I went to law school, and we finally married here in Evergreen at the Church of the Transfiguration in 1986.
Marcia: And "success" followed?
Mark: Depends on how you define the word. Materially, I was quite successful. I practiced law with a prestigious Denver firm, Holland & Hart, and eventually started a company or two in the finance and securities industry.
Marcia: I know you are now a Presbyterian minister. There must be a story there?
Mark: Sure. Late 1990s, Anne and I had three kids, I was in New York. Up early one morning for a run, I passed a guy laying half on the sidewalk and half in the street in front of 5th Avenue Presbyterian. I thought he was dead. I looked up and all the doorways to the church were packed with sleeping homeless men covered in cardboard. I drug the guy out of the street and determined that he wasn't dead, just passed out. Nothing I could do, but this all nagged at me as I ran on down 5th to Rockefeller Plaza, where I saw John D.'s creed etched there in stone.Among his words were the proposition that rights, opportunities and possessions imply responsibilities, obligations and duties. I had plenty of the former but wondered how well I handled the latter. My life was pretty self-focused. Then I got to the bottom and read there that an individual's highest fulfillment, greatest happiness and widest usefulness all come from living in harmony with God's will. I knew I had a call to the ministry - that came early on when I was 19 - and I guess the stars all aligned. I spent that weekend at Princeton, looking over the school, talking with students and teachers and praying a lot. I flew back to Denver, told Anne what I wanted to do, and when our youngest was ready for kindergarten we pulled up stakes and moved to Jersey.
Marcia: So, you did the seminary thing and then what?
Mark: I quip that I looked at churches from Scotland to Scottsdale. But those were all just jobs. So we moved back to Colorado, moved back into our house in Evergreen, and I started helping out at a small church in south Denver, St. Andrew Presbyterian. I eventually became its pastor and have been there now for almost 7 years.
Marcia: How did all this set with your ambitious family?
Mark: My dad was really opposed to my leaving the law, but by the time I went to Princeton I had "made it," so to speak, so both he and mom came around. Before they passed a lot went down, not the least of which was the death of my oldest brother to AIDS. This stuff catalyzed a lot of reconciliation and healing of old wounds -- and everyone was at peace in the end. In my ministry, I counsel on the idea of healing through reconciliation. Also, on the power of attitude . you can't control what happens to you, but you can control how you respond!
Marcia: So, Mark, is there anything you dream of doing that you haven't done yet?
Mark: I would really love to do some foreign mission work after our youngest graduates from high school in three years. Probably in Africa. Trade the pulpit for the mission field.
Marcia: What about your relationship with Rotary?
Mark: Currently, I'm the District's Membership Growth and Retention Chair.
Marcia: What do you tell the clubs?
Mark: That members stay in Rotary because of personal relationships. That membership growth and retention are the natural byproduct of a healthy, fun, committed and active club. And that people give time and money, not so much to a cause, but to other people. That's why personal relationships are so important to service. For me, Rotary is a vehicle for service and the fulfillment of basic human needs.
Marcia: Any more words of wisdom?
Mark: Life is not a reservoir, but a river!Don't dam yourself up - let it flow!
Interview with Rotarian Jim Davis by Brenda Hagerman
Jim is a previous President of Evergreen Rotary, plus many other positions. Read here about his many joys and many challenges.
Marcia: Jim, Where did you grow up?
Jim: We lived (my parents, older brother and sister and I) in Oklahoma until I was a sophomore in high school. Then we moved to Colorado where I attended Cherry Creek High School. My family has been involved in community service for several generations as my grandfather was active in the Masons and with the Scouts and my parents became very involved in CASA and other community organizations.
Marcia: What about your college experience?
Jim: I attended the University of Northern Colorado for two years and then transferred to CU Boulder where I majored in Finance.
Marcia: I know you retired as President of Evergreen 1st Bank. How did you get into banking?
Jim: While at CU, I decided I wanted to emancipate myself financially from my parents. I landed a part time job as a teller at a FirstBank and was later offered an opportunity to participate in FirstBank's management program.
Marcia: After college, what did you do?
Jim: For the first 8-9 years, I worked for FirstBank in the Denver Tech Center and then ran a FirstBank branch in Aurora for a few years. In 1997, I accepted an opportunity to be President of FirstBank of Greeley and moved the family up to Greeley. We enjoyed what Greeley had to offer, but I found that the banking environment there was a real challenge. It was the most competitive banking environment in a five state region according to my bank examiners. So, when I found out Curt Harris was leaving his job as President of FirstBank of Evergreen, I jumped on it. And here I am.
Marcia: So is that when you joined Rotary?
Jim: Actually, I began my service involvement as an active member of Kiwanis. I was actually told to join Kiwanis as part of my job at FirstBank. I grew to love the people involved and even served as president. It was a small, active club and I very much enjoyed working on community projects. Curt Harris was responsible for directing me to the best service group around when I first came to Evergreen, the Rotary Club of Evergreen.
Marcia: And what keeps you in Rotary?
Jim: I love the opportunities to promote leadership with youth through Rotary. What really jazzes me up is seeing people reach new levels and doing things they thought they couldn't do. I like to challenge kids, especially. With Interact and RYLA, we have great models for leadership development. I've recently accepted the role of the "New Generations Chair" for our Club. This is a focus in Rotary to do a better job of recruiting young people to our Club. Although the final plan is not set for how to promote New Generations, I anticipate working with our Club to find out what young people would most benefit from Rotary. Producing new generations of Rotarians..that's the idea.
Marcia: You seem very goal oriented.
Jim: Yes, I do like to win. When I decide on a goal, I work very hard to reach it.
Marcia: So, how do you spend your non-Rotary time?
Jim: Golfing at Hiwan - dining with friends - mostly, the kids keep me busy...
Marcia: How many kids?
Jim: We have six kids in all ranging in age from 8 to 19. My oldest daughter is now a student at Metro State. She wants to be a Family Counselor. Next year, Jimmy will graduate from Evergreen High School and be off to college, too. Donations are welcome!! Joel is 14 and a Freshman at EHS. Jenna is 12 and in 7th grade at the middle school. Tanner is 11 and having his first year in middle school as a 6th grader. Donovan is 8 and is a 3rd grader at Bergen Valley Elementary. We have a lively household and my wife, Laurie, stays home to manage the wonderful, crazy family. Laurie is both the sunshine and the glue for our home and especially for me.
Marcia: How did you meet Laurie?
Jim: After running a race in Denver, I met a lady on the bus who was from Evergreen. She worked at the Methodist Church and told me that she had a friend who had lost her husband that I should meet. Eventually (eight months later), I decided to stop by the church and got Laurie's phone number. The rest is history! I am so thankful to have met her!
Marcia: Where do you like to spend your vacations?
Jim: Laurie and I went to Italy on our honeymoon. Wonderful! Our family just went to Hawaii and we also go to Playa del Carmen, Mexico fairly often. Laurie and I have our diving certificates so we like to go where we can do some diving.
Marcia: Sounds like you like to "jump right in".
Jim: I don't like to sit on the side lines and watch. I like to be on the playing field. Sometimes there is a need to take a risk by putting myself in unfamiliar situations or to get an organization or family to do something that really makes a difference. I like a challenge...if the reward is worthy.
Marcia: Any words of wisdom?
Jim: Be passionate in what you do and who you do it with. It makes life so much more fun!
Interview with Rotarian Kimra Perkins by Hagerman, Brenda
Kimra Perkins, outstanding Evergreen Rotarian, shares her many stories and what has made Kimra....well, Kimra.
Marcia: Kimra, we want to know how you became this bubbly take-charge fun-loving person that we know today..What were your childhood aspirations?
Kimra: Well, after I saw Neil Armstrong walk on the moon on TV, I wanted to be the first officer of theStarship Enterprise. My first real job though was a paper route when I was 12 years old. My favorite job was as a camp counselor. I found out that I love organizing people! I also spent a summer in Japan as an exchange student.
Marcia: What about your family?
Kimra: I grew up in Boise, Idaho the oldest of seven, 5 brothers and 1 sister. Mom was a nurse.Dad was a policeman. My parents had divorced early on and I took my step-dad's last name. That's how I became Kimra Perkins.
Kimra:University of Utah on a scholarship. I majored in English with minors in historyand German. That's where I met my husband, Randy. We were both Resident Assistantsworking in the residence halls on campus. I knew right away that he was the one. As for graduate school, I received my MBA from ColoradoState.
Marcia: What about your working career?
Kimra:I was working at WeberStateUniversity when I heard about a civil job as a contract negotiator at a nearby Air Force baseMy area of specialty was purchasing landing gear for military planes.After working at that job for awhile, a former work colleague encouraged me to apply for an operations manager position with a large shopping center development company.Little did I know that they would offer me a job at one of their shopping centers in Oklahoma, near Tulsa. Randy said "OK" to OK, and we moved. After two years, I became the General Manager.When an opening came up to manage a shopping center in Hawaii, we jumped on it. Three weeks later we were on a plane to Hilo on the big island. That's where I joined a Rotary club.
Marcia: What was Rotary like in Hilo?
Kimra:Most of the business folks in Hilo joined Rotary. That's where a lot of business took place. The Friday lunch club had 110 members. There were only 3 women in 1991 when I joined since women when only granted admission into Rotary in 1988. Shortly after I arrived on the island, several Rotarian men called on me at work one day inorder to invite me to join their Rotary club as my predecessor had been a Rotarian. Theywere very surprised to see a female, as they were sure that "Kimra" was a Japanese malename!Although I didn't know the first thing about Rotary, I decided to accepttheirinvitation and join the club.I later served as Vocational Service Chair.
Marcia: So why leave paradise?
Kimra:My company moved us to Chicago, where I became a regional manageroverseeing eight regional shopping centers in six states.Eventually, I switchedcompanies and we moved to Cincinnati where I served as a senior vice president foraglobal real estate company managing super-regional shopping centers across thecountry.This firm also had a regional office in Denver, which is how we landed in Colorado. Eventually, Randy and I tired of all my traveling.For the past six years, I haveserved asthe general manager of a super-regional shopping district in Lakewood, Colorado.
Marcia: And how long with Evergreen Rotary?
Kimra:In July 1997, I became the 34th member of the club.
Marcia: So, what keeps you in Rotary?
Kimra: Rotary's application of the Four-Way Test. Plus, I fell in love with RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards).I see such positive growth in RYLA delegates and I continue to maintain connections with many of them.Iam delighted our club hastakensuch an active role in senior RYLA, young RYLA and international RYLA.Also, Ithink the world of Rotary's GSE program.I had the honor in 2004 of serving as theGroupStudy Exchange (GSE) Team Leader from District 5450 to Rotary District 9200 inEast Africa.Our GSE team attended 91 club meetings and Rotary events in fourcountries (Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and Ethiopia) in 31 days!Since the days of watchingWildKingdom on TV in the 70's, Africa had intrigued me.It was a life-changingexperience to see 4 countries in East Africa through the eyes of fellow Rotarians..Tostay in Rotary you have to fall in love withits people and with some project, otherwise the bureaucracy may overwhelm you.I've seen that Rotary is trusted around the world. Truly,Rotary isa FABULOUS tool to bring about World Peace, one person at a time.
Marcia: Kimra, what keeps you going and so positive?
Kimra:Please don't think I am always so full of energy and positive.I struggle just like everyone else.But on days when I am at my best, my faith fills me with energy.As many people know, I am pursuing a masters degree in divinity at Denver Seminary. One of my favorite places for spiritual reflection is the small prayer chapel at the base of Mother Cabrini Shrine Chapel.Everyone should visit this peaceful and inspired place since it is so near Evergreen.In addition to faith, the power of play, or being a bit crazy and fun-loving, energizes me.It is one of the reasons I always carry a kazoo with me..one never knows when a kazoo moment might appear!
Marcia: I must ask about the red high-top tennis shoes.
Kimra:They were a gift from Randy in the summer of 1987.I had been having a really bad season at work and he gave them to me to cheer me up.Now they are my "shoe of choice," much like a personal logo or brand.I wear them because they energize me.Plus they make everybody smile!