Visit our Website

View as Webpage

Windmill for April 27th, 2023

By PP Dwight Heikkila

After a tech yip or two, President (2-timer) Chris called us to Zoom order just after 12:30PM. 

PP Nancy McCready, our current Secretary, had the honor of introducing our speaker-a young Bruin with three degrees from UCLA, Shea Pitt.

Playing football is one pastime where nepotism is absent, though one could say that our young speaker, Shea Pitt, got a genetic boost from his family. Mom and Dad met while attending UCLA. Dad played defensive back in the NFL, as did his Grandfather.

Shea’s childhood dream was to play ball for and graduate from UCLA, but he ran into a terrible back injury as a high school (Junior) player. He made a remarkable recovery in rehab to play again in his senior year, but he wasn’t getting any offers to play for a major college, including UCLA. It seems that playing an undersized linebacker with a bad disc would be a big liability for a college team. 

To his surprise and relief, he was invited by UCLA to “walk on” the field for a tryout. This was no fancy courtship or even a scholarship offer, but a chance to show his mettle. By sophomore year, he was playing and had a scholarship. Having achieved his “impossible dream,” he’s still looking to try out for a pro team, but the UCLA experience and degrees are big-because UCLA is a huge BRAND in the US. To the people he cares about, he is already a success! 

So, this is not just about tackles and glory. Since Freshman year at UCLA, Shea has been mentoring children, starting with grade school kids from poor neighborhoods Many of them don’t have both parents or role models as he enjoyed. Many of these youths have real talents and drive, but don’t know how to get started.

  Staying in school, getting good grades, getting good career advice-these are critical. So, that’s his message, UCLA is his brand, and his second step was creating a mentorship program at Crenshaw High. After a year of effort, he was already confident that students would listen to him (and UCLA). They want to hear the real stories of the few neighborhood players who “made it” and the bigger number who don’t and are stuck in unlikeable jobs and lives. Even if you make it to the NFL, the average career there is 2.5 years. Without three active years, there is no pension. Each team has only 52 “active list” players, making a total work force of 1664 players. So, where is the solution? The solution is a degree and alternative careers-just like the ones that Shea is preparing himself for now. 

         One of his degrees is in the Transformational Coaching and Leadership Program at UCLA. He is coaching football during summer at Westlake in addition to continuing to work with high school students. Social media makes mentoring somewhat easier and multiplies his reach. 

Shea says he was blessed to achieve his childhood dream and he’s using his own story as a tool to mentor at-risk youth with a passion that will take him far in various careers.  So, the “student-athlete” is not extinct at UCLA, even though some of the athletic programs and new “pro” rules would have you think so. Shea would make a great Rotarian!!!

Big Shout out toVP Ben Fisher, who led us in the Flag Pledge. Next, our Peace Chair, PP Marsha Hunt, was summoned for the Thought of the Day. Marsha revealed that she had been depressed about having freckles as a young girl of 15 years. Her older sister showed her how to cover them up, and she is eternally grateful for this. Her quote was: The reason that some people are so kind is because the world has been so unkind to them that they don’t want others to feel the way they did. She added a bright spot about the War in Ukraine. Since the war began last year, more Ukranians have become Rotarians than ever before. God Bless them all!

Encouraged, President Chris shot for the Trifecta, calling up Admiral and Maestro PP Edwin Gauld to deliver a cringe-less song. Ed did justice to the “Happy Wanderer,” but I didn’t hear anyone singing along—had we all been muted? 

PP Ron Lyster, Esq. was called to report on last Saturday’s field trip to the Otto and Son’s Nursery in Fillmore, CA. last Saturday. Ron called the location delightful, as well as the restaurant meal they all enjoyed afterwards. This nursery sells 25,000 citrus trees each year and an amazing 250,000 rose bushes. With everything in bloom, it sounded wonderful.

PP Steve Scherer reported on last Monday’s Memorial for PP Bob Wessling. His mourners included many Rotarians and filled the Westwood United Methodist Church on Wilshire Blvd. Friends for over 40 years and a eulogist, Steve had much praise and many fun stories to share about Bob, including his motto: One life to live, soon will pass, only what’s done for others will last. Other eulogists included a colleague of 32 years at Latham and Watkins and Bob’s three daughters-two with stories and one with a song. It was a long and fine tribute to our Bob with many hundreds in attendance.



  • This Thursday's meeting will be back at Hillel at UCLA where nationally recognized authority on leadership, Adam Mendler will speak. Adam is also teaches a graduate level courses on leadership at UCLA and has a lot to share with us. You will not want to miss this!

  • May 4-7th is the District Conference at the beautiful Miramonte Indian Wells Resort & Spa. It is never too late to register for this wonderful event where you get to spend time with many Rotarians from the district.

  • May 20th is the District Assembly at the new and impressive Da Vinci High School in El Segundo from 8am to noon. Come learn what District 5280 has planned for the new year. You can register on the district website.

  • May 27-31st is the Rotary International Convention in Melbourne, a beautiful location if you are ready for a vacation. Go to Rotary International website to register.

  • SAVE THE DATE!! June 25th is the world-famous Westwood Village Rotary Club Demotion Party. This will be your opportunity to bring an awful joke to tell President Chris!! This event will once again be a Whiskey Red's in Marina Del Rey. Look for your invitation by email to RSVP real soon!!


May 4th: The Hillel with social hour at noon

May 11th: The Hillel with social hour at noon

May 18th: Persian Gulf on Westwood Blvd

May 25th: ZOOM

WVRC 2022/2023 Leadership Team

President: Chris Gaynor

President Elect: PP Steve Day

Vice President: Benjamin Fisher

Treasurer: Terry M. White

Youth/Vocational Service: Diane Good

Director/Peace: PP Marsha Hunt

Foundation: PP Steve Day

Global Scholarships: PP Chris Bradford

Webmaster: PP Ron Lyster

District Governor: Olivia Patterson Ryans

Immediate Past President: Nancy McCready

Secretary: PP Nancy McCready

Community Service: Aaron Donahue

International Service: Nevin Senkan

Director: PP Tom Barron

Membership: PP Mark Rogo

Director/Social Media: PP Aly Shoji

Windmill Editor: Teya McCockran