Welcome to the Rotary Club of Redondo Beach,
 
We meet Wednesdays at 12:30 p.m. via Zoom.  Guests and speakers wishing to
attend should contact 
John Barnett via email to obtain instructions of how to attend.
 

Redondo Beach Rotary Club News

Our speaker this week was a special guest. He is a hibakusha, the Japanese word for a survivor of the atomic bomb the U.S. dropped seventy-five years ago,
 
Now 82 and living in Palos Verdes Estates, Howard Kakita, born in east Los Angeles, gave a highly moving story of the aftermath of that terrible day to a rapt audience of Rotarians.  His story was distinctly both a Japanese and American tale, one filled with tragedy, betrayal, heroism and eventual forgiveness.
 
The date was August 6, 1945. Howard described it as a “beautiful day, B-29s flew overhead from the southeast toward the city.”

Until about 8:15 a.m.  He was about 440 feet, approximately 0.8 mile, from the epicenter. He remembers standing on the roof “and my grandma shouted to us to get off the roof as an air raid siren sounded. ” When all of a sudden there was “a huge flash and a tremendous boom . . . I did not see it” and seven-year-old Howard was knocked out.

 
When he awoke sometime later an estimated 70,000 people had evaporated. “My brother came to me, and together with grandma we fled the city.”
 
When he returned home to Hiroshima “it was mostly flat. There were numerous bodies in the vicinity. The smell of cremation still bothers me to this day," he said.

Hiroshima had not been fire-bombed by the allies so it was a few weeks before he realized an atomic bomb had fallen on their city. “I was still in a survival mode with the Nagasaki bomb dropped.”
 
In 1948 he reluctantly returned to the country of his birth, the United States. When he came “I had no memories of my parents,” he said.
 
Many years later he graduated  from UCLA in engineering and went on to a career as a software engineer.
 
He exhibited no bitterness toward the U.S. during his talk. Though in conclusion he observed, :”The U.S. took great effort to hide the effect of the atomic bomb. We should learn from it, we should understand”
 
Howard Kakita later added, "The article (about me) was published electronically on August 5, 2020, and it was picked up by a number of other publications, including The New York Times.  Two days later, printed copies were available. See The Washington Post Article on August 5.
 
"We have an annual commemorative service at a Buddhist Temple at or around August 6th.  Because of the pandemic, the ASA group decided to do this as a webinar this year and we invited the mayor of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to participate.  We also had videos of some other hibakushas (i.e., survivors of the atomic bomb) presenting brief testimonials.  I presented a 5 minute version of my story with some concluding remarks. Click 75th Annual Commemoration Service.
 
"The Japanese American National Museum (JANM) videotaped an interview with me last November, to be viewed by the museum visitors.  I edited this video by incorporating some graphics and photos which are presented in this video.   It is similar to the presentation that I made at your meeting sans the Q&A session which I believe was very valuable. 
 
The theme of Russ Lesser’s talk may have been the growth of Body Glove, but it was a celebration of what he called the “American system.”  
 
He was described as an icon of the South Bay. Lesser has been a surfer since his youth and lifelong resident of the South Bay. He described his life’s journey in a luncheon speech to the Rotary Club of Redondo Beach, with a focus on Body Glove.
 
His journey began, he said, with an early family vacation to the East Coast visiting many of the historic sites of pre-and-early America, including Civil War sites.
 
Since 1990 Lesser has been the president of Body Glove International, a business of wetsuit, active outdoor apparel and equipment.
 
Later in his talk, Lesser segued from the early days of Dive N’ Surf to how the name Body Glove – now a worldwide brand – came into being. “It was during a discussion with a few other guys,” he said. He recounted starting a factory in Torrance, then Thailand, and in early 2000 he was “approached by three guys who asked for a license of the brand;” now, the company is valued at over $200 million.
 
He is the founder of the rock band "Thin Ice" and played with that group as a guitarist, song writer and vocalist. In fact, he recorded an album commemorating 100 years of surfing in the United States.
 
A civic minded individual, Lesser served on the city council and two terms as mayor of Manhattan Beach, a board member of the Manhattan Beach Chamber of Commerce, and is the co-founder of the Manhattan Beach 10K Run in 1978 which is one of the to 100 road races in the country. In 1994, Russ and his wife, Charlotte,  received the South Bay Citizens of the Year award.

Jennifer E. Jones, a member of the Rotary Club of Windsor-Roseland, Ontario, Canada, has been nominated to become Rotary International’s president for 2022-23, a groundbreaking selection that will make her the first woman to hold that office in the organization’s 115-year history.

Jones will officially become president-nominee on 1 October if no other candidates challenge her.

Jones says she sees Rotary’s Action Plan as a catalyst for increasing Rotary’s impact.

“As we reflect upon our new strategic priorities, we could have never envisioned that our ability to adapt would become our North Star during what is inarguably the most profound time in recent history,” Jones said in her vision statement. “Silver linings rise out of the most challenging circumstances. Using metric-driven goals, I will harness this historic landscape to innovate, educate, and communicate opportunities that reflect today’s reality.”

As the first woman to be nominated to be president, Jones understands how important it is to follow through on Rotary’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Statement. “I believe that diversity, equity, and inclusion … begins at the top and for us to realize growth in female membership and members under the age of forty — these demographics need to see their own reflection in leadership,” Jones said. “I will champion double-digit growth in both categories while never losing sight of our entire family.”

Jones is founder and president of Media Street Productions Inc., an award-winning media company in Windsor. She was chair of the board of governors of the University of Windsor and chair of the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce. She has been recognized for her service with the YMCA Peace Medallion, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, and Wayne State University’s Peacemaker of the Year Award, a first for a Canadian. Jones holds a Doctor of Laws (LL.D.).

A current Rotary Foundation trustee, Jones has been a Rotary member since 1997 and has served Rotary as RI vice president, director, training leader, committee chair, moderator, and district governor. She played a lead role in Rotary’s rebranding effort by serving as chair of the Strengthening Rotary’s Advisory Group. She is the co-chair of the End Polio Now Countdown to History Campaign Committee, which aims to raise $150 million for polio eradication efforts.

Jones recently led the successful #RotaryResponds telethon, which raised critical funds for COVID-19 relief and was viewed by more than 65,000. Jones has also received Rotary International’s Service Above Self Award and The Rotary Foundation Citation for Meritorious Service. She and her husband, Nick Krayacich, are members of The Rotary Foundation’s Arch Klumph Society, Paul Harris Society, and the Bequest Society.

August 19, 2020:  This Wednesday meeting of the Rotary Club of Redondo Beach was the annual meeting of the club’s  Community Foundation. Jeff Weigel, president of the Rotary Club of Redondo Beach Community Foundation, gave this report:

Up until February the things were progressing on an even keel, said Weigel. We worked on our structure and disciplines, we moved online accounting and we started an Endowment Fund. Walter will talk more about Endowment later.
Then in February COVID hit hard. It brought the cancellation of our annual fund raiser – our source of charitable funds for the year.
 
Thanks to the efforts of Jim Stickler, Laurel Cameron, Amy Zimmerman, Karen and a whole group of club member – our sponsors and donors stood behind us as we moved to an on-line auction. Through these efforts we were able to generate over $50K – equal to what we’ve raised in previous years.
 
Faisal and the previous board responded quickly to new COVID challenges redirecting funds - as a new board followed a new procedural to develop and submit a budget – that the Foundation quickly approved.
 
Challenges still loom in front of us.
 
Nancy Langdon and her Club her service chairs face the challenges of executing on projects in new disruptive environments and on being both disciplined and nimble as new needs arise.
 
Being disciplined and nimble is best served by solid governance. I want to thank Club Governance committee members: Michael Carmical. Jean Scully, Nancy Weisel, Eli Gauna, James Jackman, Jim Sheehy, Gayle Bailey and Karen Weigel. From the Foundation side: Jim Stickler, Vicki Raidel, Bob Hockberger and Walter Campbell.
 
Well over a hundred hours have gone into this effort. The foundation team reviewed, modified or generated seven policies and procedures and made our recommendations to the Club Governance Committee. Our board approved these documents and our recommendation. The documents, along with our financials posted in a public documents area. The club governance committee has made their recommendations to their board which is up for consideration tonight.
 
These policies and procedures not only document how we do things for new board members -they also provide the information Michael DeSantis needs as he works on how our foundation is viewed by independent rating services. A little later Bob Hockberger will go through the documents and how to find our Public Documents page. Michael DeSantis will talk about the rating services.
 
Right after this meeting Laurel started to generate an Annual Report targeted at potential donors and sponsors. In it, we will lay out in writing the case for “Why Rotary.”
 
This is what the Foundation is doing so far in support of Nancy Weisel, next year’s club president, in her search for ways of raising money in this upcoming challenging year.
 
Jim Stickler reported the extra funds we’ve held in reserve in case of fundraising downfalls.
 
Vicki Radel  talked about the Membership Annual Report distributed to each of you before this meeting.
 
It is a challenging year and all working together we will rise to the challenge.
 
click below to read the annual report:
This week our speaker was Redondo Beach Fire Chief Robert Metzger.  As part of his role, Metzger also serves as the city's harbormaster, overseeing King Harbor. He has professional experience in fire administration, water rescue, paramedic programs and heavy rescue, according to the city.
 
Prior to his current job in Redondo Beach, Metzger served as the fire chief in Golden Gate, Fla. for five years. He previously was a deputy fire chief in Toledo, Ohio. He received his bachelor of science degree in fire safety and engineering from the University of Cincinnati and a master's degree in public administration from Florida Gulf Coast University, according to the news release. He is a graduate of the executive fire officer program at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Md.
 
He spoke about issues facing the Redondo Beach Fire Department and how the  local department is working with Los Angeles County fire officials. He gave a detailed background of the negotiations between the Redondo Beach City Council and county fire officials. He said that despite the current Covid-19  pandemic, the department has developed protocols permitting firemen to continue providing service to area residents.
 
"Firemen in our department are required to wear masks at all times they are in the firehouse," he said. "Even I have to wear a mask on premises"
 
During a Q&A period he was asked what effect the concept of defunding police was having in Redondo Beach.  "Surprisingly, it has little traction," he said. When asked about the wildfire season, he said, "We are part of a state compact that requires us to cooperate with other departments. Our people have been as far as the Oregon border and down to San Diego. It is a very effective system."
 
Bootlegger Auction Sponsors
 Humanitarian Projects
   We Do As a Club
 
Vision to Learn – free eyeglasses to all schoolchildren who need them
Music Mends Minds – Song therapy for dementia and memory patients
Free dental exams to families in need
Free school supplies and shoes to children in need
College scholarships for Redondo Union students
Project ECHO high school entrepreneurship and leadership training
Rotary Youth Exchange international high school exchange
Girls' hygiene initiative in Kenya
School uniforms for orphans in Africa
Literacy initiative in Guatemala
Meals on Wheels
The Redondo Beach Police Reserves
Education and female empowerment in Bangladesh
Life-saving neonatal equipment for hospitals in Mexico
Clean water initiatives on Fiji and around the world
Peace and conflict resolution initiatives throughout the community
Community gardens and healthy cooking classes in a local "food desert"
Worldwide Polio eradication
 
Come join us!
Needham Talks Polio to Rotary 
The speaker at the club’s Wednesday luncheon was Craig Needham, a veteran trial lawyer.
The focus of Needham’s highly emotional talk was polio, where he described his mother’s twelve-year battle with the disease.

 
Needham was born and raised in the San Jose area. When he was three years old, his mother contracted polio while on a vacation to the Lake
Tahoe area with her family.  She was rushed home and was diagnosed with a polio that resulted in her total incapacitation. She was put in an iron lung.

 
Meanwhile his father left the family and as Needham explained “split from the country.” Needham, a toddler of three at the time of his mother’s onset of the disease, and his two older sisters were sent to foster homes.
 
He said his mother eventually won back custody of the children and moved the family to a house in San Jose. There, she required nurses to care for her around the clock.
 
When Needham was in sixth grade, his mother authored a book about living with polio. She lived for twelve years in the iron lung before passing away peacefully.
 
Needham then turned his attention to Rotary’s decade long effort to eradicate polio worldwide. “I had no idea what you’ve done, but I am impressed.”
 
He talked about Rotary’s Polio Plus program. It is an effort by Rotarians started in 1987 to eradicate polio worldwide. When Rotary International took on this project there were nearly 400,000 new cases of polio worldwide annually. Now, all countries except two, Pakistan and Afghanistan, are polio free and the incidence of polio has declined to the low double digits. “’I want to thank Rotary for saving millions of people from polio,” he said, adding, “and you are still doing inoculations.”
 
He said, “Rotary’s Polio Plus program is the best kept secret in America."
September 2020
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Upcoming Events
Birthdays & Anniversaries
Member Birthdays:
  • DP Agarwal
    September 3
  • George Schane
    September 3
  • Laurel Cameron
    September 12
Spouse/Partner Birthdays:
  • Stacy Hashimoto
    September 12
Anniversaries:
  • Vera Jimenez
    Brian Herlihy
    September 29
  • Karen Weigel
    Jeff Weigel
    September 30
Join Date:
  • Chris Hutson
    September 1, 1993
    27 years
  • Mike Stark
    September 11, 2013
    7 years
  • Sylvia Hill
    September 11, 2010
    10 years
  • DP Agarwal
    September 21, 1998
    22 years

Redondo Beach Rotary Club News

Our speaker this week was a special guest. He is a hibakusha, the Japanese word for a survivor of the atomic bomb the U.S. dropped seventy-five years ago,
 
Now 82 and living in Palos Verdes Estates, Howard Kakita, born in east Los Angeles, gave a highly moving story of the aftermath of that terrible day to a rapt audience of Rotarians.  His story was distinctly both a Japanese and American tale, one filled with tragedy, betrayal, heroism and eventual forgiveness.
 
The date was August 6, 1945. Howard described it as a “beautiful day, B-29s flew overhead from the southeast toward the city.”

Until about 8:15 a.m.  He was about 440 feet, approximately 0.8 mile, from the epicenter. He remembers standing on the roof “and my grandma shouted to us to get off the roof as an air raid siren sounded. ” When all of a sudden there was “a huge flash and a tremendous boom . . . I did not see it” and seven-year-old Howard was knocked out.

 
When he awoke sometime later an estimated 70,000 people had evaporated. “My brother came to me, and together with grandma we fled the city.”
 
When he returned home to Hiroshima “it was mostly flat. There were numerous bodies in the vicinity. The smell of cremation still bothers me to this day," he said.

Hiroshima had not been fire-bombed by the allies so it was a few weeks before he realized an atomic bomb had fallen on their city. “I was still in a survival mode with the Nagasaki bomb dropped.”
 
In 1948 he reluctantly returned to the country of his birth, the United States. When he came “I had no memories of my parents,” he said.
 
Many years later he graduated  from UCLA in engineering and went on to a career as a software engineer.
 
He exhibited no bitterness toward the U.S. during his talk. Though in conclusion he observed, :”The U.S. took great effort to hide the effect of the atomic bomb. We should learn from it, we should understand”
 
Howard Kakita later added, "The article (about me) was published electronically on August 5, 2020, and it was picked up by a number of other publications, including The New York Times.  Two days later, printed copies were available. See The Washington Post Article on August 5.
 
"We have an annual commemorative service at a Buddhist Temple at or around August 6th.  Because of the pandemic, the ASA group decided to do this as a webinar this year and we invited the mayor of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to participate.  We also had videos of some other hibakushas (i.e., survivors of the atomic bomb) presenting brief testimonials.  I presented a 5 minute version of my story with some concluding remarks. Click 75th Annual Commemoration Service.
 
"The Japanese American National Museum (JANM) videotaped an interview with me last November, to be viewed by the museum visitors.  I edited this video by incorporating some graphics and photos which are presented in this video.   It is similar to the presentation that I made at your meeting sans the Q&A session which I believe was very valuable. 
 
The theme of Russ Lesser’s talk may have been the growth of Body Glove, but it was a celebration of what he called the “American system.”  
 
He was described as an icon of the South Bay. Lesser has been a surfer since his youth and lifelong resident of the South Bay. He described his life’s journey in a luncheon speech to the Rotary Club of Redondo Beach, with a focus on Body Glove.
 
His journey began, he said, with an early family vacation to the East Coast visiting many of the historic sites of pre-and-early America, including Civil War sites.
 
Since 1990 Lesser has been the president of Body Glove International, a business of wetsuit, active outdoor apparel and equipment.
 
Later in his talk, Lesser segued from the early days of Dive N’ Surf to how the name Body Glove – now a worldwide brand – came into being. “It was during a discussion with a few other guys,” he said. He recounted starting a factory in Torrance, then Thailand, and in early 2000 he was “approached by three guys who asked for a license of the brand;” now, the company is valued at over $200 million.
 
He is the founder of the rock band "Thin Ice" and played with that group as a guitarist, song writer and vocalist. In fact, he recorded an album commemorating 100 years of surfing in the United States.
 
A civic minded individual, Lesser served on the city council and two terms as mayor of Manhattan Beach, a board member of the Manhattan Beach Chamber of Commerce, and is the co-founder of the Manhattan Beach 10K Run in 1978 which is one of the to 100 road races in the country. In 1994, Russ and his wife, Charlotte,  received the South Bay Citizens of the Year award.

Jennifer E. Jones, a member of the Rotary Club of Windsor-Roseland, Ontario, Canada, has been nominated to become Rotary International’s president for 2022-23, a groundbreaking selection that will make her the first woman to hold that office in the organization’s 115-year history.

Jones will officially become president-nominee on 1 October if no other candidates challenge her.

Jones says she sees Rotary’s Action Plan as a catalyst for increasing Rotary’s impact.

“As we reflect upon our new strategic priorities, we could have never envisioned that our ability to adapt would become our North Star during what is inarguably the most profound time in recent history,” Jones said in her vision statement. “Silver linings rise out of the most challenging circumstances. Using metric-driven goals, I will harness this historic landscape to innovate, educate, and communicate opportunities that reflect today’s reality.”

As the first woman to be nominated to be president, Jones understands how important it is to follow through on Rotary’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Statement. “I believe that diversity, equity, and inclusion … begins at the top and for us to realize growth in female membership and members under the age of forty — these demographics need to see their own reflection in leadership,” Jones said. “I will champion double-digit growth in both categories while never losing sight of our entire family.”

Jones is founder and president of Media Street Productions Inc., an award-winning media company in Windsor. She was chair of the board of governors of the University of Windsor and chair of the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce. She has been recognized for her service with the YMCA Peace Medallion, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, and Wayne State University’s Peacemaker of the Year Award, a first for a Canadian. Jones holds a Doctor of Laws (LL.D.).

A current Rotary Foundation trustee, Jones has been a Rotary member since 1997 and has served Rotary as RI vice president, director, training leader, committee chair, moderator, and district governor. She played a lead role in Rotary’s rebranding effort by serving as chair of the Strengthening Rotary’s Advisory Group. She is the co-chair of the End Polio Now Countdown to History Campaign Committee, which aims to raise $150 million for polio eradication efforts.

Jones recently led the successful #RotaryResponds telethon, which raised critical funds for COVID-19 relief and was viewed by more than 65,000. Jones has also received Rotary International’s Service Above Self Award and The Rotary Foundation Citation for Meritorious Service. She and her husband, Nick Krayacich, are members of The Rotary Foundation’s Arch Klumph Society, Paul Harris Society, and the Bequest Society.

August 19, 2020:  This Wednesday meeting of the Rotary Club of Redondo Beach was the annual meeting of the club’s  Community Foundation. Jeff Weigel, president of the Rotary Club of Redondo Beach Community Foundation, gave this report:

Up until February the things were progressing on an even keel, said Weigel. We worked on our structure and disciplines, we moved online accounting and we started an Endowment Fund. Walter will talk more about Endowment later.
Then in February COVID hit hard. It brought the cancellation of our annual fund raiser – our source of charitable funds for the year.
 
Thanks to the efforts of Jim Stickler, Laurel Cameron, Amy Zimmerman, Karen and a whole group of club member – our sponsors and donors stood behind us as we moved to an on-line auction. Through these efforts we were able to generate over $50K – equal to what we’ve raised in previous years.
 
Faisal and the previous board responded quickly to new COVID challenges redirecting funds - as a new board followed a new procedural to develop and submit a budget – that the Foundation quickly approved.
 
Challenges still loom in front of us.
 
Nancy Langdon and her Club her service chairs face the challenges of executing on projects in new disruptive environments and on being both disciplined and nimble as new needs arise.
 
Being disciplined and nimble is best served by solid governance. I want to thank Club Governance committee members: Michael Carmical. Jean Scully, Nancy Weisel, Eli Gauna, James Jackman, Jim Sheehy, Gayle Bailey and Karen Weigel. From the Foundation side: Jim Stickler, Vicki Raidel, Bob Hockberger and Walter Campbell.
 
Well over a hundred hours have gone into this effort. The foundation team reviewed, modified or generated seven policies and procedures and made our recommendations to the Club Governance Committee. Our board approved these documents and our recommendation. The documents, along with our financials posted in a public documents area. The club governance committee has made their recommendations to their board which is up for consideration tonight.
 
These policies and procedures not only document how we do things for new board members -they also provide the information Michael DeSantis needs as he works on how our foundation is viewed by independent rating services. A little later Bob Hockberger will go through the documents and how to find our Public Documents page. Michael DeSantis will talk about the rating services.
 
Right after this meeting Laurel started to generate an Annual Report targeted at potential donors and sponsors. In it, we will lay out in writing the case for “Why Rotary.”
 
This is what the Foundation is doing so far in support of Nancy Weisel, next year’s club president, in her search for ways of raising money in this upcoming challenging year.
 
Jim Stickler reported the extra funds we’ve held in reserve in case of fundraising downfalls.
 
Vicki Radel  talked about the Membership Annual Report distributed to each of you before this meeting.
 
It is a challenging year and all working together we will rise to the challenge.
 
click below to read the annual report:
This week our speaker was Redondo Beach Fire Chief Robert Metzger.  As part of his role, Metzger also serves as the city's harbormaster, overseeing King Harbor. He has professional experience in fire administration, water rescue, paramedic programs and heavy rescue, according to the city.
 
Prior to his current job in Redondo Beach, Metzger served as the fire chief in Golden Gate, Fla. for five years. He previously was a deputy fire chief in Toledo, Ohio. He received his bachelor of science degree in fire safety and engineering from the University of Cincinnati and a master's degree in public administration from Florida Gulf Coast University, according to the news release. He is a graduate of the executive fire officer program at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Md.
 
He spoke about issues facing the Redondo Beach Fire Department and how the  local department is working with Los Angeles County fire officials. He gave a detailed background of the negotiations between the Redondo Beach City Council and county fire officials. He said that despite the current Covid-19  pandemic, the department has developed protocols permitting firemen to continue providing service to area residents.
 
"Firemen in our department are required to wear masks at all times they are in the firehouse," he said. "Even I have to wear a mask on premises"
 
During a Q&A period he was asked what effect the concept of defunding police was having in Redondo Beach.  "Surprisingly, it has little traction," he said. When asked about the wildfire season, he said, "We are part of a state compact that requires us to cooperate with other departments. Our people have been as far as the Oregon border and down to San Diego. It is a very effective system."