Cogwheel Archive

Rotary Cogwheel | 02.02.2017

January 31, 2017

Today’s Program | Thursday, February 2, 2017

Today: Tesgaye Nega, Improving Cooking Solutions in Ethopia (Rogers)

Birthdays: Ben Martig (1/31) and Jean Wakely (2/3)

Next Week: Andrei Sivanich, Classification

Last Week:
A Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholarship changed Wooj Byan’s life. In 1990 he received a $23,000 scholarship that allowed him to travel from South Korea to study in the United States, earn a law degree and become a successful lawyer in Edina, Minn. Now he wants to give back.

Wooj, a member of Edina Rotary, says he carries two mortgages now, one is for his house and the other is his intent to pay back the scholarship award with interest. He estimates that commitment at $2 million.

“Rotary is responsible for my success,” he said in explanation.

The ambassadorial scholarship program began in 1946. Since then, it has provided scholarship awards to some 40,000 scholars from 120 countries.

Over the years, Wooj has been influenced by a memorable performance by Howard Russell in the 1946 movie “The Best Year of My Life,” the writing of Victor Frankl (“Man’s Search for Meaning”), and the philanthropy of Bill Gates. He said his commitment to “service above self” ripened when the idea of service migrated from his head to his heart.

“You just do it,” he said about his concept of service. “You just give, and you don’t expect anything back.”

Wooj has written a book, called “My Rotary Journey,” where he lays out his evolving relationship with Rotary and service. One of his most dramatic episodes in the book is about his arranging for a gifted pianist from South Korea, a woman who has only two fingers on each hand, to perform in Minnesota. It was designed to boost the spirits of a young boy who had a similar disability.

“Creating hope is now a mission for me,” he said.

Wooj was in law school at the University of Minnesota with Brad Frago.

Brad Frago to Minnesota to attend Carleton College and really never left. He fell in love with Minnesota, learning all about local geography by listening to weather reports and school closings on WCCO-radio. He graduated from the University of Minnesota Law School and went to work as a law clerk in Meeker County. He met his wife, Michelle, our fearless leader, when she interviewed for a job there. They now live in Northfield with their two children and work together in a family law practice.

New Members:
Shelley Holden, vice president of Housing and Community Outreach for Northfield Retirement Community, was formally inducted into the club. Kyle Nordine is her sponsor.

Guests: Jason Zienty (Knutson)

Scholarship Enhancement: John Ehresmann

The Paul Harris Foundation Centennial Dinner is planned for Thursday evening, Feb. 16, 6:30 p.m. at Bethel Lutheran Church. Here is a sneak preview:

  1. Celebration of the club’s contributions to the foundation and the international projects it has supported;
  2. Talk by Sarah Swan McDonald, Northfield’s 2015 Teacher of the Year, titled: “Why We Give Back;”
  3. A reunion performance by the legendary Cogwheels, one of the area’s most popular folk groups of its era.

Our goal is to raise $10,000 at this event. Any contribution over $25 will go towards your Paul Harris Fellowship.

You won’t want to miss this.

Inbound students are:
Daniel Chien from Taiwan

Emma Nielsen from Denmark

Nico Suarez Toloza from Colombia

Eric Kwun from South Korea
Wanzita Ally from Tanzania
Matteo Lombardo, Italy

Our 2016-17 outbound students are:

Sage Brinton, Argentina

Caroline Hummel, Norway

Noah Klein, South Korea

Jane Ludwig, Colombia

Yizel Marcial, Germany

Daiki Nishioka, Taiwan

Liliana (Lily) Noble, Italy

Emma Pritchard, Taiwan

Nathaniel Urke, Brazil.

Coming Up

February 16 — Paul Harris Foundation Dinner. No noon meeting.

February 23 — Mateo Lombardo (O’Neill)

March 2 — Human Rights Commission Diversity Skit (Wakely)

March 9 — Ben Martig, Classirfication