|Meeting Report of June 12, 2012
Reporter: Alan Galbraith
Theme of the Day: “Honor the Past; Deserve the Present” (from the Latin)
Our luncheon speakers were St. Helena High School History teacher Frank Mazzi and history (student) buff Randy McKay. Frank teaches an elective history class, The World War 1 American Experience. It is thought to be the only World War 1 (“WW1”) high school history class in the country. The current goal is a film, to be premiered at our own Cameo Theatre, that brings together oral histories, including that of the last surviving WWI veteran, along with illustrative material, including never seen before WW1 photographs (from the Army Signal Corps) as well as vintage WWI posters (“Uncle Sam wants you!”). We were treated to the Trailer for the film in the making. The Trailer was gripping. Overall objective: do not forget “the forgotten war” (though those of us of a certain age could not possibly forget).
Frank began with Frank Buckles, the last American surviving veteran of WWI. Mr. Buckles lived in South Charleston, W.Va., a community that has continuously honored Armistice Day. Frank learned that Mr. Buckles was to serve as co-Grand Marshall in the annual Armistice Day parade, and, working through the Visitor’s Bureau, arranged to meet Mr. Buckles at an Armistice Day dinner in his honor. Mr. Buckles then enthusiastically agreed to an depth interview and filming. This came about on November 8, 2008 at Mr. Buckles’ old family home and homestead (400 acres). Mr. Mazzi and two St. Helena high school students (now in college) spent the better of the day with Mr. Buckles (now 107). Their interview is accessible on-line through the Library of Congress website. (Mr. Buckles would live to be 110.)
Frank explained that the goal is to present WWI through the oral histories of 25 men and women. This then led Frank into a graphic description of the horrors of WWI, including the 116,000 U.S. troops who perished in the conflict, the many more who succumbed to infection from exposure to mustard gas, and the slaughter that continued through the last fifteen minutes, right up until the moment the Armistice took hold at 11:00 a.m. on November 11, 1918. Frank stressed the importance of understanding the past to an understanding of the present, and reminded us of the gratitude that we owe to our ancestors as we “enjoy the sweet earth.”
High school student Randy is chief editor of the film project. He showed us the Trailer for the film. It started with a series of “Enlist Today” posters. It had old footage of tanks and artillery shelling. Of special note was logo and emblem (stated in the Theme of the Day). As Randy noted, the integration of old photos into film footage is laborious, but of course it is the creative process that brings the still images to life. The professionalism rivaled that of Paramount studios.
- Doug Hitt of the Calistoga Rotary Club (and donator of the Las Vegas trip at Saloon night)
- Dr. Rod Ellison, guest of Ted Bryztrowski. Dr. Ellison, a dentist, recently relocated to St. Helena.
- Steve Grinna, guest of Lester Hoel. Mr. Grinna is Director of the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum in Decorah, Iowa. He gave us a brief synopsis of the Museum’s history, going back to its founding in 1850. It began with students bringing items of interest from their homes.
- Xilian Twil, guest of Alyssa Samrick. Ms. Twil is new to St. Helena, with a specialty in Fine Arts appraisal.
- Susan Korcz, guest of DeWitt Garlock. See announcments.
- Antonia Allegra, guest (and wife) of Donn Black.
- Carol Sobczak announced that the shirts’ order was in. If you have forgotten that you ordered one, just check your next billing from the Club.
- DeWitt Garlock stressed our Relay-for-Life tradition, with the relay on July 14. Susan Korcz, further emphasizing the need for participation, also noted that the Cancer Center at St. Helena Hospital was a major beneficiary of the St. Helena Relay.
- Cindy Warren announced that Ian Mcraffry was the recipient of a $1,000 rotary scholarship, to be applied toward tuition at UC Davis.
- President Kelly Crane announced that a survey was forthcoming, and also advised your reporter that he handed out two $100 Rotary awards at the RLS Middle School Awards Ceremony, the recipients being Gus Conway and Sara Ebersole.
- Norm Mitroff announced that Kelly Crane was without a tie. President Crane invoked the 90 degree F plus rule.
- Michael Lane reported on the progress of Rebecca Uribe and also of her husband (who underwent major surgery of his own just before Rebecca’s accident). Recovery is difficult, but improving.
- Incoming President Margo Kennedy announced the several new officer positions on her team.
- Donn Black, in honor of Tony’s singing group, Two Queens and One Jack, gave $25.00 to the St. Helena Rotary Foundation.
- Pam Rubio, remarking on nine days in Hawaii with husband and son, contributed $25 to the St. Helena Rotary Foundation.
- David Moreland, recovering from an accident involving 32,000,000 bees (but not stings), contributed $32 to his Paul Harris.
- Phil Toohey, remembering that Susan Sculatti ran 26 miles for Relay for Life (he did not say when, but it could only have been just yesterday) ran 26 miles for Relay for Life, contributed $26 to her Paul Harris.
- Paul Dean, celebrating a 30 minutes airline delay upon landing that caused him to miss out on a raging gun battle among senior leaders of a drug cartel at his vacation home, contributed $30 to his Paul Harris. (Next time, $1,000 per minute.)
The chosen subject of the Finemaster, Paul Dean, was, well, Paul Dean. Some tidbits: no gold coin discovered in his scuba diving phase; did not attend the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania (clearly, he wished he had); an Eagle Scout at 12 (not challenged on his proof); holder of an engineering degree but never a practicing engineer. The professionalism rivaled that of Paramount studios.