Cogwheel Archive

Rotary Cogwheel | 12.15.2011

December 15, 2011

Thursday, Dec. 15, 2011

Today: Round Table: Dreaming of Northfield’s Future, Steve Wilmot (Ellingboe)

Birthdays: Ed Fox (12/11), Dean Johnson (12/14) and Dale Ness and John Ophaug (12/15).

Next Week: Anti-Bullying, Lynn and Maggie Miland (Durkin)

Last Week:

Tom Thorfinnson, an active Hopkins Rotarian who is completing his two-year term on Rotary International’s Board of Directors, is a self-described progressive within Rotary circles. He sees the need for Rotary to refresh some of its mores in order to be more relevant to younger prospective members. But he said there are some fundamental core values that need to be preserved. He counts ethics and service among them.

A graduate of St. Olaf College, Tom practices law in the Twin Cities. Since 1980, he has been an active Rotarian. He and his wife, Jane, have hosted three Rotary Youth Exchange students. Tom has served as a Country Representative for Rotary Youth Exchanges to and from Thailand, India and Indonesia. He chaired the Multi-District Youth Exchange program for 5950-5960. In 1996-97, Tom served District 5950 as Governor. He has chaired numerous district committees, many with a focus on fundraising for The Rotary Foundation.

His eyes were opened wide to the important work Rotary does when he visited Haiti. He subsequently has made 10 trips, working on numerous water and housing projects. He said it is just one example of the impact Rotary has in so many developing countries worldwide.

The Rotary Foundation, Tom said, is a vehicle that helps Rotarians make a difference.

“At its core, Rotary is an amazing organization, and we should all support it,” he said.

Paul Harris Award: Rick Estenson honored his longtime friend and brother-in-law Chuck Beske with Paul Harris Fellowship. Chuck has been active in a number of humanitarian initiatives that reflect Rotary’s mission.

This just in…..

Amelia Ousley, an outbound in South Africa, reports:
Since arriving in Grahamstown, South Africa, she has experienced the racial difficulties and disparities that remain in post-Apartheid South Africa.  She has been volunteering at the Lebone Centre, which is a place where disadvantaged black children go for help with reading and schoolwork. The children also receive a meal and have the option of taking music lessons and working on art projects. Many of the children are HIV positive or suffer from Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and all have grown up in poverty.
This week Amelia went with her Rotary club to visit a school that was built by a local monastery for rural children. Without this school, many of the children would receive no education at all.  Her Rotary Club in South Africa would like to purchase some supplies for the school and Amelia thinks this may be a worthy cause for the Northfield club to support.

Grace McGregor, our outbound in Finland, writes:
   “Being here in Finland, I have three lives; my life in the US, my life in Finland, and my life as an exchange student. It is really only something you can understand if you’ve done it yourself… you actually experience being in someone else’s shoes, which seems to be something not many people get to do. It really is the greatest experience you can have, it opens your mind to how the world can work, and that not everything that works is “right” and not everything that is “right” works.”

Elisha McLaughlin, another outbound in Finland, writes:
“Things have been amazing here. The exchange experience is truly beyond words. I never really believed people when they said it was something you couldn’t understand until you had experienced it for yourself, but it is 100% true. Being here in Finland has pushed me outside of my comfort zone, redefined words like home, friends, family, normal, time, important and so much more, taught me about myself, and allowed me to meet some of the most amazing people in the world (both Finns and other exchange students). I have memories that will last a lifetime and am only four months into my exchange. This has been the best time of my life so far, despite challenges, and I have no doubt I will continue to enjoy my exchange and grow as a person as the year goes on.”

Guests: Nathan Yaffe, Cindy and Chuck Beske, Kris, Sam and Maria Estenson (Estenson); Erin Mayberry and Jill Frey (V. Dilley); and Ruth Amerman (Amerman).

Scholarship Enhancement: David Koenig


— Fred Rogers is looking for volunteers to work as bell ringers for the Rice County unit of the Salvation Army during the holiday season. Ringers raised $6,000 in the first three weeks. He hopes to double that amount before the season is over.

— Rotary is responsible for two weeks of Meals-On-Wheels in January. If you are available the weeks of January 8 and January 15, please see Lynn Pederson.

— James and Clarice Grabau made a memorable entrance last week. James is recovering from knee surgery, Clarice from a broken wrist. We witnessed James hobbling ahead of Clarice so he could open the door for her. They’ll laugh about this some day.

— Save the date: “To India and Back,” our bi-annual winter fundraiser will be Saturday, Feb. 25, 2012. Tickets will be available for purchase today.

— Mark Abbott reported that progress is being made on our service project in Thailand. Photos that he circulated showed the school taking shape for the orphanage and boarding school.

— President Bierman announced that Judy Brown-Wescott is recovering from back surgery. She will be recuperating for four to six weeks.

— Jim Holden offered to donate to Rotary proceeds from the sale of his Minnesota tennis book.

Coming Up:
Dec. 29 –- Rotary Social in the evening. No noon meeting.
Jan. 5 – Roberto Zayas – Classification, (Rich)
Jan. 12 – Aishwarya Gokhale, Exchange Student from India – (Abdella).