Pride-A-Tarian: PolioPlus Chair Peg Johnston

 

At the Saturday, February 8th PolioPlus fundraiser, one of our esteemed colleagues, Peg Johnston, 27-year Club 31 Rotarian, was awarded a Paul Harris bust for her tireless work on Rotary’s 35-year campaign to eradicate polio from the planet. This is but one of Peg’s many awards for her varied forms of exemplary service to Rotary. This bust was originally awarded to Rotarians Grant and Marlene Wilkins in 1997 at an Arizona district conference for their legendary polio eradication work.  This award will be a traveling award that Marlene, the Rotary Club of Denver and our District 5450 have determined will periodically be granted to a Rotarian in the district who exemplifies the dedication to polio eradication that Grant and Marlene demonstrated for us to follow.  Congratulations Peg and thank you for your continued work to eradicate Polio! 

 

COMMENTS FOR PAUL HARRIS POLIO AWARD | Saturday, February 8, 2020
Read by Greg Podd, Past RI Vice President
Written by Seth Patterson, Past President, Rotary Club of Denver

I have the distinct honor this afternoon of presenting an award to a Rotarian in our District who, other than Grant and Marlene Wilkins, has probably done as much or more than any other to eradicate polio.  But first, a little preface about Grant and Marlene.

As you may recall, on May 19, 2018, the day that my District Conference opened, our dear friend and inspiring Rotary leader, Grant Wilkins passed.  Grant was a champion of eradicating polio from the very beginning, having contracted polio on a business trip as a young businessman with a wife and three young children at home.  Although Grant’s throat muscles became paralyzed, he was blessed and after months of therapy, he recovered his ability to eat solid food and speak and he lived a blessed life for the next 67 years.  Unfortunately, although his wife Diane only visited Grant after he was released from the polio isolation ward, she contracted polio and within 24 hours became paralyzed from the neck down.  Diane spent two and a half years in an iron lung in the hospital and another eleven years at home with a portable chest respirator, where she was an amazingly cheerful and very involved parent.

Several months later while calling on a Denver customer, Grant was truly blessed when Marlene Siems became a part of his life.  Grant noticed Marlene’s ever-present smile, asked her out and after several months, on Grant’s 39th birthday, they married and enjoyed over 50 wonderful years of marriage that included many personal and Rotary adventures around the world.

Grant and Marlene’s Rotary work, particularly their legendary work to eradicate polio is well-known, so I will not repeat it here, but rather get on with my purpose of addressing you this afternoon.

During one of PDG Abbas Rajabi’s last visits with Grant, he gave him a Paul Harris bust that he and Marlene had received in 1997 from an Arizona Rotary District for his District Conference keynote address about Rotary’s efforts to eradicate polio.  A Sedona Rotary Club produced the bronze casting for the Paul Harris bust often given to their Rotary keynote speakers.  Grant asked Abbas to use the bust to raise money for Polio Plus or honor a Rotarian for their extraordinary Polio Plus efforts.  After consulting with Marlene and the then leadership of Club 31, it was decided to award the bust, as a periodic traveling award, to a District 5450 Rotarian whose outstanding Polio Plus work is deserving of high recognition

The Rotarian who we will recognize today was a strong advocate along with Grant and Marlene in their constant efforts to eradicate polio from the planet and continues to be.  This 27-year Rotarian is highly accomplished in Rotary in many ways, including:

  • Supporting Rotary International (“RI”) and The Rotary Foundation (“TRF”) as a
    • Benefactor
    • Major Donor
    • Paul Harris Fellow and Society Member
    • White Hat Society Member
    • Recipient of the RI Service Award for a Polio-Free World
    • Recipient of TRF District Service Award for “outstanding service in promoting TRF and its goal of world understanding and peace”
  • In our District and this member’s Club and Club Foundation, offering further support as a:
    • Member of the Bequest Society
    • Club Foundation Gold Fellow
    • Club Rotarian of the Year
    • District Polio Chair from 2011 to 2015
    • Past Club Board Director (twice), past Chair of TRF Committee and others
    • Service on various Club committees, particularly Programs, Peach Sale, Membership and as the continuing Chair of the Club’s Polio Committee to name just a few
  • Lastly, and this fact will surely give away this member’s identity, this Rotarian Co-Chaired, with her son and the current President of the Rotary Club of Denver, a 91st birthday party for Grant with well over 100 people from our Rotary family on World Polio Day in 2017, which also raised over $175,000 for Polio Plus.

Yes, Peg Johnston, a 27-year member of the Rotary Club of Denver, is recognized today for her tireless work to eradicate polio.  Peg, please come up to accept this award.  As you walk up, it is my sincere hope that the importance of this award begins to fade soon, as we approach the final days of polio on our planet.

Club 31 Welcomes New Members!


Jeff Mason

Partner/Associate Broker​​​​​​​
Benchmark Commercial, LLC​​​​​​​

Date Joined:  1/22/20
Rotary Sponsor:  Returning Member/Membership Team

 

Jeff brings more than 20 years in commercial furniture and over ten years as a real estate broker to his role as a Benchmark Commercial co-founder. Clients appreciate how this experience allows Jeff to quickly assess the space and layout needs of their businesses as well as his attention to detail and follow-up. Before Jeff’s five years at Rare Space, his previous experience includes work with Steelcase and OfficeScapes, where he was responsible for planning, ordering, delivery, installation, and overall project management and integration of the clients’ technology and business goals into each space through the use of furniture. Jeff has deep roots in the state of Colorado, beginning with his great-grandfather, who was a miner in Central City, Colo. True to that Wild West heritage, Jeff and his wife, Colleen, spend a portion of their free time on horseback. Jeff is a University of Colorado graduate with a degree in Finance, and he currently serves on the board of the CU Boulder Denver Area Alumni Association. Jeff is also an Eagle Scout and an avid outdoors-man, so not only are you in good hands working with Benchmark Commercial, the co-founders are likewise great to have around should you ever find yourself lost in the wild.


Mark Wipper

Director of Major Gifts
Regis University

Date Joined:  `1/22/20
Rotary Sponsor: Transferring Rotarian/Will Snider

 

Since joining Regis University in August, 2019, Mark’s enjoyed living in Lakewood with his wife Jane.  Together they have five children ranging in age from 43 to 26 and five grandchildren who range in age from 10 to four months.  Needless to say, they have quite a blended family who live near and now farther away.  After growing up in Cleveland, OH, Mark returned after receiving his BA in History from St. Lawrence University in way upstate New York.  For over 30 years, his career was spent in banking and investment management before joining Case Western Reserve University (where he received his MBA in 1990), as Director of Library Development.  Trading a big city for a really small town, Mark joined Ohio Northern University in Ada, OH (home of the Wilson Football Factory) as Director of Development for the Getty College of Arts and Sciences.

In addition, Mark has spent summers in Norther Michigan on a beautiful lake sailing, swimming and spending time with lifelong friends.  Having skied, hiked and camped for many years in Colorado, he is now enjoying being able to spend time in the mountains again.  Mark is looking forward to continuing his 30+ years as a Rotarian with the Rotary Club of Denver.

For additional information about new members, please log into our membership database at www.dacdb.com.

Congratulations and Welcome aBoard!

On January 16, 2020, members of the Rotary Club of Denver elected four Rotarians to serve as Directors on the Club’s Board for a three-year term beginning July 1, 2020.  Directors whose terms expire June 30, 2020 are Ben Allen, Melissa Bowen, Susan Brushaber and Chad Tyler.

 


Colleen Cozad
Realtor/Broker-Associate
Bradford Real Estate

 



Hassan Latif
Executive Director/Founder
Second Chance Center

 


Alison Oyler-Mitsch
Owner
Fresh Events & ReFresh Studios

 

 


Matt Isola
CEO & Founder
Generation Exchange

 


Our thanks to Brian Sweet, Louise Westfall, Harriet Downer, Rich Spong and Chuck Everill for serving on this year’s Board Nominating Committee.

 

 


Due to the resignation of former Club member and trustee Barb Ritchie, the board of trustees, at its October 9th meeting, appointed Sandy Purcell to fill this vacancy and was duly elected by members of the Denver Rotary Club Foundation at their January 16, 2020 meeting.

 


Sandy Purcell
Branch Manager
Raymond James Financial Services

Club 31 Welcomes New Members!

 

Rosie Gantos
Owner
Sola Salon Studios

Date Joined:  11/19/19
Rotary Sponsor:  Peg Johnston

 

Rosie Gantos was born in Quito, Ecuador in 1962. Her family immigrated to Columbus, Ohio in 1976. Her parents, Miguel and Elsa, achieved their American dream by opening their own small businesses in 1978 and having their four children graduate from university. Rosie and her husband, Joseph, met while studying at The Ohio State University in 1982. Rosie graduated from OSU with a BS in microbiology in 1985 and a BS in commercial interior architecture in 2010. Rosie and Joseph, also achieved their American dream by working, owning small businesses in Ohio, Colorado and New Mexico, and proudly cheering their kids on through college graduation, home ownership and marriage. Rosie is the proud mother of two wonderful and independent children, Gabrielle and David. Her many interests include travel, reading, sewing, ceramics and working out.


Matt Walsh

CEO & Founder
Green Stone

Date Joined:  11/19/19
Rotary Sponsor:  John Klug

 

Matt is the Founder and CEO of Green Stone, a Digital Experience Agency that strives to earn loyalty for their clients through the crafting of the most delightful, intelligent and effective products, experiences and journeys in the world. Six years in, the firm has already had the pleasure of delivering solutions for Twitter, American Express, Google, Logitech, Beats By Dre, and many other clients in Colorado and beyond.

Prior to Green Stone, Matt spent eight years founding, building and leading a team of 25 Experience Designers at Crispin Porter + Bogusky in Boulder as well as a couple of years in at R/GA on the Nike account where he helped craft a number of influential platforms including NikeID and Nike+.  Through that journey, his projects have won many marquee industry awards, but he gets far more excited about winning the hearts and minds of the people he designs for.

For additional information about new members, please log into our membership database at www.dacdb.com

Rotary Club of Denver Board of Directors Nominees


January 8, 2020

 The following members have been nominated to serve on the Rotary Club of Denver Board of Directors for a three-year term beginning July 1, 2020.

  • Colleen Cozad
  • Hassan Latif
  • Alison Oyler-Mitsch
  • Matt Isola

Their names will be presented for election at our Club’s Annual Meeting which has been rescheduled to next Thursday, January 16 and will take place during our regular Club meeting. Additional nominations for Directors may be made in writing and signed by six members and filed with the Executive Director prior to the Annual Meeting.

Directors whose terms expire June 30, 2020 Ben Allen, Melissa Bowen, Susan Brushaber and Chad Tyler.

Our thanks to Brian Sweet, Louise Westfall, Harriett Downer, Rich Spong and Chuck Everill for serving on this year’s Board Nominating Committee.

PolioPlus Update – December 2019

Another not pretty week:  two (2) in Afghanistan and seven (7) in Pakistan bringing this year’s total to 125 vs. 29 last year at this time.  Of this year’s total, 24 are in Afghanistan and 101 in Pakistan, illustrating the magnitude of the problem we have in the latter (almost assuredly attributable to the interruption in vaccination campaign occurring earlier in the year).

The cVDPV cases are also of concern, as we’ve seen sporadic outbreaks in various countries as detailed below.  Remember that these cases aren’t caused by the vaccine, but are caused when the weakened virus sheds from those who have been immunized (and in turn providing some inoculation to unvaccinated individuals) but circulates in a relatively unvaccinated community long enough that the virus mutates back to a virulent form which causes paralysis.

Why don’t we just use the monovalent inactivated vaccination which would prevent cVDPV cases (the type of injected vaccination we use in the United States)?  There are at least three good reasons:  (1) the weakened live virus used in the drops does provide some additional “halo” vaccination effect – as long as it doesn’t circulate long enough and mutate; (2) the distribution chain difficulties (maintaining cold storage long enough, volume of material being transported) isn’t robust enough to allow distribution of the injectable; and (3) cost and skill …. Almost anyone can squeeze a couple of drops of the weakened live virus vaccination; providing training sufficient to allow use of the injectable, along with the significant added cost of the vaccine, syringe, needles, sterile supplies and cleaning agents – is simply not possible.  There are other reasons, to be sure, but these are the primary ones.

The solution for now is to maintain immunization efforts even in those areas without endemic wild polio virus cases to assure that the community “herd immunity” is enough to prevent the circulation of the weakened live virus.  While the primary focus of our efforts are in Pakistan and Afghanistan to eliminate the endemic polio, we must remain vigilant elsewhere, too.  This is why we must continue to raise funds and awareness for the eradication of polio.

Pakistan still remains problematic for carrying out the government’s freshly-renewed mandate of vaccination campaigns:  it was reported yesterday that gunmen shot and killed two police officers escorting a polio vaccination team.  The campaign has been temporarily suspended in the Peshawar, Lower Dir district area.  While fortunately none of the vaccination team were injured, the loss of the policeman is tragic.

Please share with your clubs and districts the importance of continuing this fight until it is complete.  For those looking to make year end donations, this is a good topic to raise.

While it is easy to focus on the difficulties of Pakistan and Afghanistan and become discouraged, remember that we have successfully eliminated polio everywhere else in the world except for these two countries.  It was long thought that the African continent would never be polio free, and yet we know it has not been declared polio-free.  Our will, commitment and fortitude has led directly to that result.  And I’m confident that with your continued help, we’ll have the same result in due course in Pakistan and Afghanistan!

I wish you the best of the holiday season (including Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Las Posadas, Winter Solstice and of course Festivus for everyone else!).

–Ken

Ken Howell
PDG District 5400 ’15-16, Zone 27 End Polio Now Coordinator

2019 DCIS Travel & Language Fair

Join Club 31’s Adopt-A-School at the 2019 DCIS Travel & Language Fair

ARE YOU LOOKING FOR AN OPPORTUNITY TO TALK DIRECTLY TO PARENTS, STUDENTS AND TEACHERS ABOUT THE STUDENT AND COMMUNITY OPPORTUNITIES YOUR ORGANIZATION OFFERS?  Look no further!

Please join us at the 2019 DCIS Travel and Language Fair where you, along with other exhibitors representing Gap Year, Student Travel, Study Abroad, Cultural Exchange, Language Immersion, Language Learning, Nonprofits, Service, and Volunteer Opportunities (national as well as international), will interact in person with members of the entire DPS community and beyond.


WHEN AND WHERE?
This “Showcase of Opportunities for Students 4th to 12th grade” is FREE and Open to the PUBLIC on Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019 from 5 – 8 PM at the Denver Center for International Studies (574 W 6th Ave. Denver, CO 80204), Denver Rotary’s ‘Adopt-A-School”, public middle and high school with a global focus and an unique curriculum with double social studies and the opportunity to learn French, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Spanish, and Lakota.


WANT TO EXHIBIT?
If you would like to exhibit and use this opportunity to interact in person with members of the entire DPS community and beyond, especially students from elementary to high school and their families, the Registration Form is here or contact Marie if you have any questions or comments.  Students and Teachers can register for free to have a table at the Travel & Language Fair (we especially encourage food sales and travel and language fundraisers).  Community Service and Event credits available to student volunteers. Vendors and exhibitors pay a $100 participation fee or $50 for nonprofits, and we will provide a table and chairs; no electricity available.  Please be in compliance with the relevant tax regulations.

WHO IS INVITED?
All teachers, students, and parents from DCIS, other schools in Denver Public Schools, and our neighboring communities are welcome.

The Travel & Language Fair will be a lot of fun for everyone. Please get ready learn and explore at the Travel & Language Fair on December 12th this year – see you there!

Help Denver Kids, Inc. win $166,000!

 


Help Denver Kids, Inc. win $166,000!
Denver Kids is a finalist in the 2020 Chick-fil-A True Inspiration Awards and the Opus Foundation’s Gerry Rauenhorst Building Community Award!

 

 

2020 Chick-fil-A True Inspiration Awards
Help us win $100,000 by voting between September 9 and 30!

      Vote for Denver Kids, Inc. in the West Region at:
www.chick-fil-afoundation.org/vote-for-true-inspiration-awards

      You can also vote by using the Chick-fil-A app:

  • Download the Chick-fil-A app on your smartphone
  • Create an account
  • Open the app and click “Rewards” at the bottom of the screen
  • Click “News” at the top of the next screen and tap “Vote Now”
  • Select the “West Region” and cast your vote for Denver Kids!


Opus Foundation’s Gerry Rauenhorst Building Community Award
Help us win $66,000 by voting between September 24 and October 4!

      Vote for Denver Kids, Inc. at:
      www.opus-group.com/Company/Giving/Building-Community-Award

Learn more about Denver Kids at https://denverkidsinc.org/

DMHR: Champion for a District Grant to Provide BrainWise Training for Denver Kids’ Counselors

Denver Kids is a jewel in Rotary’s community programs.  Rotary Club 31 of Denver helped found Denver Kids after World War II to help at-risk youth in third through 12th grade graduate from high school.  Club 31 Rotarians continue to serve on the organization’s Board of Directors and help fund operations that include twenty full-time counselors.  Rotarians also recruit volunteer mentors who work one-on-one with students from third grade through high school, provide YRYLA and RYLA scholarships and offer numerous educational, career, and recreational activities.

Last year, Denver Kids served more than 900 students in 160 schools who participate for an average of seven years.  The children are recommended by school counselors and may qualify for free reduced lunches and in addition to family, social, educational, and behavioral health challenges.  This combination of strikes belies the 83 percent graduate rate Denver Kids achieve compared with the 65 percent rate of DPS students.  These successful outcomes are a hallmark of Denver Kids.

In 2018, following a training for their counselors in Social and Emotional Learning (SEL), Denver Kids’ administrators sought a curriculum they could use with students and families.  After a review of programs, they selected BrainWise, unaware that the curriculum had been developed by DMHR Rotarian Pat Gorman Barry.  Neither did they know that BrainWise was being taught in Denver, Jefferson County, Weld County, and Aurora public schools, as well as in Rotary projects at Eagleton Elementary and CEC.

This connection opened an opportunity to seek a District Grant that would cover the training expenses.  In addition, the project would make a wider range of Rotarians aware of mentoring opportunities with Denver Kids.  Denver Mile High Rotary members Tom Cella and Diane Messamore stepped up to be co-champions of the District Grant with Club 31, Denver SouthEast and Castle Pines Rotary as partners.  The grant was approved and Denver Kids’ counselors and administrators were trained in BrainWise in January, 2019.

The recent merger of Denver Kids and Denver Urban Scholars will provide additional opportunities for DPS students to learn SEL and the executive function skills needed to make positive life choices and decisions – with Rotarians and other volunteers serving as mentors.