Jun 21, 2017
It's a Wrap, Folks!
Jun 28, 2017
Demotion-It's A Scary Thing
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Announcing Scholarship Winners for Fall 2017
Pardee Family Award to Andrea Lewis (Lewis and Clark College).  
Andrea is an exceptional student who brings infectious joy to all her activities. She is on the Advisory Board for Youth Speaks and helped to organize Poetry Slams in the Bay Area. She has participated in two summer abroad programs focusing on ecology (in Costa Rica) and social issues (in Nicaragua).  For several summers she has worked at the Edible Schoolyard at King Middle School.
Pardee Family Award to Citlaly Hernandez-Duran (UC Davis)
Citlaly is passionate about immigration issues, especially finding solutions to provide healthcare in immigrant communities. She is self-motivated and independent, and told us that she enjoys watching documentaries and reading about the world. She techs at BHS productions and musicals because she likes seeing these events develop.
The first two of our four scholarship winners are presented today. The next two will be in next week's newsletter.
Pate Thomson Receives Service Above Self Award
At our club meeting on May 31, District Governor Fred Collignon presented Pate Thomson, accompanied by his wife Judy (his partner in all things), a plaque commemorating RI's highest award -- the Service Above Self award. Members of the club who went to the District Conference in May were aware of the award, because it was announced in the plenary session before some 500+ Rotarians, with Pate called to the stage. But the RI plaque had yet to be received, and would normally be presented at the July 8 Awards Banquet, for which Pate will be out of town. We wanted to give the full club a chance to share in Pate's recognition.
Pate won the award in international competition for his leadership in four different projects of major impact.  First, he led the Heart to Heart project, which brought modern heart surgery training and equipmento to Russia, initially to St. Petersburg and then speading across the then USSR. Second, he helped organize the club's efforts in rebuilding Warren Easton High School in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, in partnership with the New Orleans Rotary club, which was honored by President Obama in a White House ceremony. Warren Easton is the principal school sending African Americans in New Orleans to college with a 100% graduation rate. Third, he discovered a critical need in Chacala, Mexico and helped organize our initial (and later) club projects, which have resulted in rebuilding schools and community facilities across the region. Fourth, he was the catalyst in founding Richmond Rotacare, serving the non-insured with free medical care.
In his talk at the conference and at the club meeting, Pate acknowledged he couldn't have done it without the major leadership of other Rotarians and the financial support and participation of our Berkeley Rotary club. He cited, among others, Grier Graff, John Ferguson, and Mary Alice Rathbun as his key helpers in launching these projects.
A Youtube video about Warren Easton HS can be view here:
Veterans Journey Home
Our speaker at the June 7 Rotary meeting was Frederick Marx, an internationally acclaimed Oscar- and Emmy- nominated director and writer with 40 years in the film business. He was named a Chicago Tribune Artist of the Year for 1994, a 1995 Guggenheim fellow, and the recipient of the Robert F Kennedy Special Achievement Award. His film, Hoop Dreams, played in hundreds of theaters nationwide after winning the audience award at the Sundance film Festival, and was the first documentary ever chosen to close the New York film Festival. It was on over 100 “10 best” lists nationwide, and was named best film of the year by critics Roger Ebert, Gene Siskel, Gene Shalit, and Ken Turran, and by the Chicago Film Critics Association. Ebert also named it “best film of the decade.” It is one of the highest grossing non-musical documentaries in US history. Three of Marx’s films have premiered at the New York film Festival.
Marx's latest project is a one-hour film for television entitled “ Veterans Journey Home.” This is the story of the 1.7 million returning US veterans and what it takes for them to transition back to civilian life successfully. Many veterans have great challenges returning to civilian life, evidenced by statistics of alcoholism, drug dependency, homelessness, unemployment, and suicide among this group. Whether officially diagnosed with PTSD or not, most vets suffer the psychic scars of “moral injury” and carry the battle within long after the bullets stop flying. How might they be “re-civilianized” through training that is as effective as that which first turned them into soldiers? And what might that do for the 250,000 now in prisons? The 500,000 who are homeless? The 350,000 who are unemployed? What about for the 22 veterans who commit suicide every day? This film will show how they can be healed and maybe even saved.
In preparing this film Marx interviewed several recent returnees from the desert wars, as well as their wives and families. A frequent comment from the wives of returning veterans is that the man who returned was not the man who left. This is not surprising since these veterans were not conditioned for civilian life. There are several organizations that provide some form of training to assist veterans in making the transition to the civilian world. However, there is no systematic program to provide this kind of training to all the returning vets. The purpose of Frederick’s film will be to call attention to the plight of veterans and to illustrate the kinds of training that can be provided to assist them in making the transition.
Further information concerning Frederick Marx and his work can be found at
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Service Above Self Since 1916
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Editor - John Ferguson    Copy Editor - Irene Hegarty