Rotary Club of Homer-Kachemak Bay

 

 

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Welcome to the Rotary Club of Homer-Kachemak Bay - Celebrating Over 30 Years Serving Homer and Abroad

Homer-Kachemak Bay

Four Way Test: True, Fair, Goodwill & Beneficial to All

We meet Thursdays at 12:00 PM
Best Western Bidarka Inn
575 Sterling Hwy
PO Box 377
Homer, AK  99603
United States
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Home Page Stories

Ironman triathlete Minda Dentler challenges world to end polio

Minda Dentler becomes the first woman hand cyclist to complete the 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile cycle, and 26.2-mile marathon of the Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, USA.

I was born in 1978 in Mumbai to a domestic worker and single mother. At six months old, I was paralyzed from the hips down by polio. The chances of surviving in India until your 18th birthday with a disability are very slim. My mother was unable to care for me and left me at an orphanage. I don't remember much about my time there because I was so young, but I know the conditions were primitive. I had no real hope that my life would become anything of note or that I would have the opportunity to be independent and overcome the burden of a very preventable disease.

I didn't know it then, but several years after I was born, a revolution in the way the world approached polio prevention came to India. That revolution was the , which has reduced global polio cases by 99.9 percent since 1988. But like millions of others in India, I never received the two drops of oral vaccine that protect against the virus. In India, your health is vital to your social and economic opportunities. If you are healthy, you can get a job, and if you have a job, you can get married. Unfortunately, this simple passage of convention seemed beyond my reach. But then my life changed irrevocably once more.

At age three, I was adopted by Bruce and Ann Dentler and joined their family of two children and another adopted son, from Korea. I moved to Spokane, Washington, USA, shortly after my third birthday. Over the next few years, I underwent a series of surgeries on my hips, legs, and back to straighten my body, and I could eventually walk with leg braces and crutches. My parents had the same expectations of me as they did of my siblings and set the tone that having a disability should not prevent me from doing whatever I wanted to do with my life. I had to do the same chores and do my homework. It was a very happy childhood.

I loved to compete, so I threw myself into many activities, from debating at school to playing the piano. I graduated from high school and moved to Seattle to study business at the University of Washington. While in college, I interned at the White House and IBM. I studied abroad in Spain and backpacked through Europe by myself, wearing my leg braces and crutches. Upon graduating, I moved to New York City for a management consulting job. I pursued an MBA, got married, and now work at a large multinational insurance company. Through my example, I hope people can see that a disability shouldn't hinder someone from living a full and productive life.

While living in New York, I met Dick Traum, the first amputee to complete the New York City Marathon in 1976. Dick later founded a nonprofit, Achilles International, which provides free training and support to help people with disabilities participate in sports. He gave me a hand cycle, which is a three-wheeled recumbent bicycle propelled by the arms, and encouraged me to train for a marathon. This opened up a new world of opportunity for me, and I completed the New York City Marathon in my hand cycle in 2006.

My next challenge was thought to be impossible for a female wheelchair athlete: the Ironman Triathlon. I made the transition to triathlon and finished my first Ironman in Louisville, Kentucky, USA, and qualified for the world championship in Kona, Hawaii, in 2012.

The Ironman Triathlon requires a wheelchair athlete like me to swim 2.4 miles, hand cycle 112 miles, and push a racing wheelchair 26.2 miles, all within tight time limits for each stage of the course. But at the Kona Ironman, I failed to make the 10½-hour cutoff time for the cycling portion. I was disappointed, but I'd faced harder setbacks before. The failure steeled my determination, and I decided to regroup and try again the next year.

By October 2013, I was back at the starting line for the Kona Ironman in Hawaii for the second time. I was bidding to become the first woman hand cyclist in history to finish the Ironman World Championship. Just as my parents had insisted that I complete the same chores as my siblings, the Ironman event demanded that I complete the course within the same strict time limits as every other able-bodied competitor. I had qualified for the race and earned the right to compete on a level playing field, but if I did complete the race, it would mean something more than achieving another personal goal.

Every stroke in the water and crank forward on my hand cycle were movements for those who could not lift limbs paralyzed by polio. With every rotation of the wheels on my racing wheelchair, I was moving forward for the millions of polio survivors who would never get this opportunity. When I finally crossed the finish line 14 hours and 39 minutes after I started, I was overwhelmed with joy and excitement. It was a storybook ending and the realization of a dream that seemed impossible to achieve.

I'd followed Rotary's polio eradication efforts for some time when I had the honor of being invited to speak at a World Polio Day event in 2014. Since then, I've been one of Rotary's polio ambassadors, helping to raise awareness for the End Polio Now campaign. In this role, I was offered an opportunity to return to India for the first time since I was a child.

Last year I set off for the country where most people said polio could never be eradicated. But against the odds, one year after my first successful Ironman World Championship, India did eradicate polio – despite the challenges of crowded slums with poor sanitation, the second largest population in the world, the weakened immune systems of millions living in poverty without proper nourishment. Despite all this, Southeast Asia was certified polio free in 2014.

The enormity of this achievement is clear if you consider that less than a decade ago, India reported almost half of the world's new polio cases. But until the disease is eradicated everywhere, it could easily return. So on my trip, I participated in a National Immunization Day, when 172 million children through age five are immunized against polio.

One of the most memorable moments for me was meeting a polio survivor named Parveen at St. Stephen's Hospital in New Delhi. It was a stark reminder of a tale of two worlds. Here she was, the same age as me, but we are living very different lives. I was adopted and catapulted into a life of privilege. At age 37, Parveen is illiterate, without resources, and has been a burden on her family.

I do not want to see other children become victims of polio and suffer the lifelong effects of a preventable disease. It was heartbreaking to me, and, as a mother, I want for her and all children in the world, no matter their circumstances, to have a chance at a healthy life. Rotary is changing the world, one child and two drops of vaccine at a time.

I've had good fortune at various stages of my life. I was adopted by a loving family after three years in an orphanage. I was given my first hand cycle by Achilles International in New York. I had the support of my family to push me across the finish line in Hawaii. But I hope readers realize that my story is also one of empowerment and personal choice.

Whether you are a polio survivor, a supporter of the polio eradication effort, or even someone who is surprised polio is still a threat – we all have an important choice to make. We can choose to have our children vaccinated and ensure that other parents in our communities do the same. I know what it is to miss out on this life-changing vaccine, as my childhood wasn't the same. In India, I also met Rukhsar Khatoon, the country's last documented polio victim, and it made me realize that when we finally do end polio, our work will not be over.

There are 10 million to 20 million polio survivors worldwide, and they need more than physical rehabilitation. It will be another lifetime's work to ensure that every polio survivor has access to a good education and to prevent stigmatization in communities or the workplace because of a physical disability. The least we can do in the present is to make the choice to prevent more needless suffering by vaccinating our children. And soon, our children, and their children, will live in a world without polio. Just imagine.



9-Sep-2016
 

 

Practicing peace

 

Nations around the world will observe the International Day of Peace on 21 September, a date designated by the United Nations in 2001 as "a day of global ceasefire and nonviolence."

Rotary's commitment to building peace and resolving conflict is rooted in the Rotary Peace Centers program, formed in 2002. Each year, the program prepares up to 100 fellows to work for peace through a two-year master's degree program or a three-month professional certificate program at university partners worldwide.

Today, nearly 1,000 peace centers alumni are applying their skills — negotiating peace in conflict areas, drafting legislation to protect exploited children, keeping communities safe through innovative law enforcement tactics, and pursuing many other career paths devoted to peace.

.

Rotary News

19-Sep-2016
 

 
New member Bernie Griffard was inducted at the September 15, 2016.  Bernie was sponsored by his daughter, Christi. A great addition to the Club!
 
Welcoming New Member!
 
 
Photo provided by Tom
 
 
 

 

A photo of part of the crew that helped clean the Peter Larson Memorial Rotary Garden.  We had a great turnout and it looks spiffy.  All ready for winter!

 

Some of the 2016 Cleanup Crew

 

Photo provided by Milli

 

 

Charity Navigator upgrades Rotary Foundation’s rating

 

The Rotary Foundation has received the highest possible score from , an independent evaluator of charities in the U.S.

In the most recent ratings, released on 1 September, The Rotary Foundation earned the maximum 100 points for both financial health and accountability and transparency.

The ratings reflect how efficiently Charity Navigator believes the Foundation will use donations, how well it has sustained programs and services, and its level of commitment to good governance and openness.

In the previous rating, the Foundation had received 97 points.

6-Sep-2016
 

 

Rotary members link love of beer, clean water crisis

Beer festivals have a strong fellowship component. When people are sampling beers, they are socializing and having a good time. Founders of the Beers Rotarians Enjoy Worldwide maintains a list of Rotary-sponsored beer festivals and encourages clubs to hold them.
Photo Credit: Libby March

When you sit down to enjoy a beer, you probably don't spend a lot of time thinking about one of its main ingredients – water. Or the fact that 3,000 children die each day from diseases caused by unsafe water.

A group of innovative Rotarians aren't just thinking; they're doing something about it.

Their group, , has organized events around the world and is working to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for Rotary's global water, sanitation, and hygiene efforts.

"By drinking a beer, I can help bring fresh water to a village in Africa," says Steven Lack, a member of the Rotary Club of Pleasant Hill, California, USA. "If you can drink beer and some of the money goes to doing good in the world, that is something you can feel good about."

Fellowships like BREW are Rotary's way of bringing together members who share a particular passion. Rotarian Action Groups unite members who have expertise in a specific service area. The beer fellowship's leaders realized that joining forces with an action group dedicated to providing access to clean water would create a sum larger than the two parts.

"Beer and water have a natural affinity; you need water to brew beer" says Moses Aryee, past president of the Rotary Club of Accra-West, Ghana, and co-chair of the beer fellowship. "Our vision is a global approach to fresh water around the world, because beer is around the world."

The fellowship members are working with the to identify specific water projects to support by funneling 25 percent of the fellowship's dues to those projects, says Lack, the fellowship's vice chair.

The members also plan to approach major brewers on each continent to seek financial support for water projects, much as the nonprofit .

These projects have the potential to improve people's quality of life in several ways. Every day, 8,000 people die of waterborne disease. In addition, women in many parts of the world spend hours a day fetching water, time they could spend caring for their families, generating income, or making other contributions to society.

"We are very enthusiastic about the opportunities to work together," says F. Ronald Denham, a past chair of the Water and Sanitation Action Group and a member of the Rotary Club of Toronto Eglinton, in Ontario, Canada. "On our side, we can present and describe the projects. BREW will establish relationships with the breweries. And some of the members are senior executives in breweries. It's a wonderful synergy."

A blueprint for fundraising

Lack and Aryee founded the beer fellowship in 2014 after reaching the same conclusion at roughly the same time: Beer is fun and promotes fellowship, both of which make Rotary more appealing. And by bringing together people who share an interest in beer, you can unite them for the purpose of doing good.

"We're always talking about making Rotary fun," says Lack. "When people drink beer, they are socializing. It's one of those things that brings us together, that makes us equal."

In addition to working with the action group, the fellowship promotes the idea of good times and service by helping clubs organize beer festivals. These events appeal to younger people, raise money for club projects, and are easy to plan. According to Lack, all you need is to:

  • Approach a microbrewery or two to donate beer
  • Bring food or secure a food truck
  • Line up a band
  • Pitch a tent

"Microbrewing has become a huge industry, and this is definitely a way to capitalize on the popularity of that," notes Lack, who emphasizes that these fests aren't about getting drunk. The events typically last only a few hours and distribute small sampling cups that hold only four to six ounces. And standing in line limits the amount of time that people have to drink.

The State of Jefferson Brew Fest in Dunsmuir, California, attracts 1,500 people every August and last year netted $15,000 for club projects, says John Poston, a member of the Dunsmuir Rotary Club. It's been so successful, the club added a home-brew competition and cornhole tournament this year, and plans to expand the event to two days next year. Other growing festivals include the Weed Brew Fest in California and Brew on the Bay in Key Largo, Florida. The beer fellowship promotes a list of brew fests sponsored by Rotary clubs.

Good for club morale

When Lenny Jordan, president of the Rotary Club of Franklin, North Carolina, and part owner of his town's microbrewery, heard about the fellowship, he got 20 members of the club to sign up.

"It has been a point of interest for many of our members, and an opportunity to come together in a more casual environment," says Jordan. "I would attribute at least one new member to the fellowship. She attended one of our field trips and said she wanted to join. It's had a positive effect both on membership, and on general morale."

The fellowship's interest in beer gives members an opportunity to share insights and to learn on an international scale. For instance, members recently heard how the composition of water can determine the type of beer an area is famous for. According to All About Beer magazine, Dublin became known for its darker beers because of its water's high alkaline content. Since yeast doesn't perform as well with high alkalinity, brewers gradually discovered they got better results by roasting the barley, which both lowers the alkaline level and makes a darker beer. Similarly, the soft water in the Czech town of Pilsen made it ideal for the world's first pilsners.

Another useful fact: Beer has historically provided a safe drinking alternative when clean water is in short supply, because of the boiling step in the brewing process.

"We've all been to places where we wouldn't drink the water," says Lack, but where "they make a heck of a beer."

In May, more than 60 members of the fellowship, including beer lovers from Russia, South America, Australia, Japan, India, Europe, Africa, and North America, gathered at the Devil's Door Brew Pub in Seoul during Rotary's annual convention, to sample what was on tap and to socialize. Lack says plans are in the works for a brewery tour every night in Atlanta, Georgia, during Rotary's 2017 convention.

"There are all kinds of microbreweries around the city, some owned by Rotary members," he says. "We're also looking to be able to pour beer in our booth (in the House of Friendship). You lose some credibility as a beer fellowship if you aren't pouring beer."

Rotary News

24-Aug-2016
 

 
 
 
 
Hospice of Homer 2016 Volunteer Training
 
Dear Hospice Supporter--

Please consider becoming a Hospice direct care volunteer. If you have friends or family you think would be interested in making a positive difference in someone's life, tell them about the training.

Thanks.

Warm Regards,

Darlene
 
 
 
 

Drop-In Bereavement Group

The drop-in bereavement and grief group is available every Tuesday 3-4 pm at the Hospice of Homer office. 
 
2017 Zion Getaway Raffle Hospice Fundraiser. Includes: 7 day stay in 2 bedroom/2 bath house just outside of Zion National Park in Utah plus 500 air miles and the use of a car,

Tickets: $50 for one or $250 for 5 plus a free ticket. Only 250 tickets sold at the Hospice office or the Homer Bookstore.

 
 
 
 

 

About 40 Rotarians and their spouses attended Mike and Shelli Gordon's annual Labor Day Picnic Sunday at their cabin in Halibut Cove.  We met at the boat launch ramp at 12:30 PM and traveled across the bay in four boats among sea otters, whales, and calm seas.  Many thanks to Steve Yoshida, Curt Olson, Bob Hartley and Tom Early for providing the boat transportation.  Also enjoying the good food and fellowship were Rotarians Jane Little, past District Governor from the Downtown Club, and Past District Governor Carolyn Jones.  Clem Tillion, resident of Halibut Cove and past Alaska State Senate President, also boated over to join us.  Despite occasional rain showers, we ate our fill and wandered through the beautiful gardens and grounds of the Gordon's property.  We are extremely grateful to Mike and Shellie Gordon for their hospitality.

 
 
Labor Day Party--Most of the attendees!
 
Five PDG'g plus a former State Senator!
 
Cllem Tillion named Honorary Rotarian
 
Bob and Sherrie
 
Karen and Bryan
 
Bryan and Steve
 
Clyde and Clem
 
Don and Clyde
 
Brenda and Don
Inside
 
Getting Pleasantly Stuffed!
 
The Front Porch
 
Honey and Patrick
 
Jane and Carolyne
 
Lorna and Jim
 
Louise and Iris
 
Michelle and Vivian
 
Milli and Karen
 
 
 
Patrick all ready for boating.
 
Tom and Sandy
 
Honey, Patrick, and Christi head home after a wonderful day!
 
 
 

 
 
An unsolicited letter from one of our past Exchange Students, Lily Westphal!
 
 
 
 
Speakers
Sep 29, 2016
Mako Hagerty
Friends of Kachemak Bay State Park
Oct 06, 2016
Linda Rienhart
Paul Banks Preludes
Oct 13, 2016
Tom Early
Club Assembly
Oct 20, 2016
Louise Delmas
Inbound Exchange Student
Oct 27, 2016
Cinda Martin
Visioning Results
Nov 03, 2016
Nov 10, 2016
Nov 17, 2016
Dec 01, 2016
Dec 08, 2016
Dec 15, 2016
Dec 22, 2016
Dec 29, 2016
Jan 05, 2017
Jan 12, 2017
Tom Early
Club Assembly
Jan 19, 2017
Michelle O'Brian
District Governor Visit
Jan 26, 2017
Feb 02, 2017
Feb 09, 2017
Feb 09, 2017
Feb 16, 2017
Feb 23, 2017
Mar 02, 2017
Doug Waclawski
The State of Homer High School
Mar 09, 2017
Mar 16, 2017
Mar 23, 2017
 
RSS
Rotary recognized on public television's 'American Graduate Day'
Rotary was recognized on 17 September on public television's fifth annual American Graduate Day program for its work with San Diego-based Monarch School, a K-12 school for homeless youth. The Rotary Club of San Diego, California, USA, was applauded for its work mentoring Monarch's students, keeping them on track to graduate, and helping the school to continue thriving during tough economic times. Monarch School CEO Erin Spiewak appeared as one of the show's guests, along with Monarch Alumnus Cynthia Valenzuela, who attested to the positive, life-changing experience Monarch School gave her and...
Practicing peace
Nations around the world will observe the International Day of Peace on 21 September, a date designated by the United Nations in 2001 as "a day of global ceasefire and nonviolence." Rotary's commitment to building peace and resolving conflict is rooted in the Rotary Peace Centers program, formed in 2002. Each year, the program prepares up to 100 fellows to work for peace through a two-year master's degree program or a three-month professional certificate program at university partners worldwide. Today, nearly 1,000 peace centers alumni are applying their skills — negotiating peace in conflict...
Charity Navigator upgrades Rotary Foundation’s rating
The Rotary Foundation has received the highest possible score from Charity Navigator, an independent evaluator of charities in the U.S. In the most recent ratings, released on 1 September, The Rotary Foundation earned the maximum 100 points for both financial health and accountability and transparency. The ratings reflect how efficiently Charity Navigator believes the Foundation will use donations, how well it has sustained programs and services, and its level of commitment to good governance and openness. In the previous rating, the Foundation had received 97 points.
eBay Live Auctions that benefit Rotary
Each month, eBay, the world’s largest auction website, selects a set of upcoming Live Auction events and donates a portion of all sales proceeds to Rotary. Only U.S. auction sales are eligible. See the schedule of September auctions.
Rotary district collecting relief funds for Louisiana flood victims
Rotary clubs of District 6200 are collecting relief funds to help thousands of victims after record flooding devastated communities in southern Louisiana, USA, earlier this month. Torrential rains caused rivers, streams, and bayous to swell, damaging or destroying more than 60,000 homes and killing at least 13 people. The U.S. Coast Guard and emergency responders helped rescue more than 30,000 residents from the rising flood waters. As of 25 August, more than 3,000 residents were still in emergency shelters even after the water receded. Donate to District 6200 disaster relief fund.