March 18 2021
Westwood Village Rotary Club
Coming up on March 25th: WVRC Club Assembly
Next Thursday's meeting will feature our first Club Assembly of 2021, in which a progress report on the initial phase of our Club's long-term strategic planning will be presented and discussed. Members are encouraged to make every effort to participate.
Westwood Virtual Rotary Club Meeting - March 18, 2021
Today, the 18th of March, 2021, the weekly meeting of the Rotary Club of Westwood Village, was opened promptly at 12:30 p.m. by President NANCY MCCREADY, with the familiar sound of the Rotary bell.

RICHARD THOMPSON led us in the Pledge of Allegiance to our flag and all joined in, although at varying speeds.  

President NANCY MCCREADY recited an Irish prayer in honor of St. Patrick’s Day as follows:
May the road rise up to meet you.
        May the wind be always at your back.
        May the sun shine warm upon your face,
        the rains fall soft upon your fields.
        Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of his hand.

To remember St. Patricks’s Day, Song Meister, Past President ED GAULD,  led everyone in a Rotary rendition of “When Irish Eyes are Smiling” with occasional follower(s).  Thank you, ED!

[Editor’s note: In the interest of time and space, we have omitted the many, “you’re muted and “can you hear me?” segments during the meeting.  You’ll have to tune in to catch those.]

President NANCY then introduced guests including, former and potential returning member, Tam Bailey; Chris, the speaker’s wife; and Bon Pitkin, friend and guest of the speaker.  Also welcomed were special guests Jeff Ebenstein (joining us again this week) and Sunda Croonquist.  [Post meeting announcement: Sunda has been approved for membership by our Board of Directors. Welcome SUNDA!]

President NANCY announced that the judging for or Club’s Pageant of the Arts contest was completed and the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners have been chosen in each of the five categories.  The first-place winners in each category are: Music/Instrumental, Bruno Cardenas-Bourges; Music/Vocal, Veronica Nycole; Speech, David Felipe; Dance, Lucie Hafteck; and Art, Monica Arroya.  These five winners have been invited to participate in the District 5280 pageant to be held on April 17th.  Thank you to PHIL GABRIEL and the 11 Rotarians who volunteered to judge the contests, a record number.   Special thanks to Past President RON LYSTER, for his invaluable technical support!

AARON DONAHUE, our Community Service Chair, discussed a new project our Club is working on with the Bandini Foundation on the local Veterans Administration site in Westwood.  Our Club has committed to helping the complete the installation of a recreation center on the Bandini Foundation’s managed property on the VA campus.  The project’s objective is to supplement the area with things like bocce ball, horseshoes, ping pong, chess boards, basketball, and a walking and exercise course, etc.  [BRIAN WHITNEY mentioned that his son’s Eagle Scout project is to do a bocce ball course there!]  We are also reaching out to other Rotary Clubs to see if others have interest in supporting this project or working with us.  The existing golf course on the VA property has worked as a jobs hub where veterans are employed, and which also has led to jobs for many of these veterans at other local country clubs.  There is an existing clubhouse and plenty of room outside for other opportunities. If you are interested in helping in any capacity, please contact AARON at                                                                                       
Next up was Past President TOM BARRON to introduce our program speaker, Tom Pickering.
"It is my pleasure to introduce my longtime friend,Tom Pickering. I first met Tom when I was working with his wife, Chris, while at Flying Tigers   So, what do you do with an advanced degree in Irish literature? Of course, you get a job in facilities management for Proctor & Gamble in Cincinnati. But having been raised in Southern California, he soon returned to L.A. and pursued a career in facility design and construction, which eventually included the responsibility for developing hotels in the far Pacific for Continental Airlines. He was then recruited by Hirsch Bedner Associates, the world’s largest hospitality design firm, as Executive Vice President. After five years he took a leave of absence to hike through Canada and visited pubs throughout Ireland. After running out of money, Tom returned to Hirsch Bedner for several years until he took a position as Corporate Vice President of Interior Design for Beckett Associates, a large international architectural design firm, where he managed projects, including the Great Wall Hotel project in China. He was at Beckett for four years until he met a man on a plane flight who offered him a job where, as Tom puts it, he could stay home, wear shorts and go surfing almost every day. Thus, began his freelance copywriting and editing career, and to this day, a man of words and stories, but mostly on paper.  Tom has two grown sons and three granddaughters. He and Chris have now retired to Napa Valley and walk among the vineyards each morning."
Tom, coming to us live from Napa, mainly talked about the book by Thomas Cahill, How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland’s Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe, along with some of his comments.  He said that the book is very funny, well written and informative.  In it, Cahill discusses the early history of Ireland and some current things as well; for example, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, and Norman Vincent Peale.   According to Tom, he takes a few shots at Episcopalians as well.  Tom advised listening to the audio book narrated by Liam Neeson since many of the Irish names are almost impossible to pronounce based on their spelling.

In the 4th and 5th centuries, Ireland was a tiny little place where nothing happened, while the rest of Europe was ruled by the Romans and the Catholic church. Presumably, the Europeans lost their books and libraries and many documents during the Dark Ages due to the pillaging and barbarism.    According to Cahill, St. Patrick was instrumental in the preservation of many of these historical records.

Patrick was born in Wales and was captured as a slave and taken to Ireland to work as a slave there for 6 years during which he learned Irish.  For unknown reasons, 15 years after he escaped, he went back to Ireland. In the interim, he had lived in England and France where he learned Latin and a little bit about the church. With his new education, when he returned to Ireland, he taught the Irish to read and write and most importantly, he taught them to copy.  So, the country therefore emerged from a period as a barbaric country with no cities and slavery.  It was referred to "red martyrdom" where people wore the heads of those they had  ”offed” tied around their waists to show off.  Patrick preached the abolishment of slavery and amazingly the Irish went along with it.  He also taught them to respect women.  

He greatly expanded the Christianity movement in Ireland, establishing a number of little missions.    Sixty missions were set up in other places as well starting in Scotland, Europe, and as far as Russia.  Ireland was becoming educated and gained a lot of recognition, which started attracting immigrants from Europe.  Nevertheless, the Roman Catholic Church, never to this day has made Patrick a saint.  He’s a Patron saint and the Irish consider him a saint. 

The Irish went from red martyrdom to green martyrdom and then later to white and then green martyrdom. They created private instead of public confessions, whereas before that confessions were made in front of the whole congregation.   As mentioned above, Patrick brought many documents and books back to Ireland and taught the Irish to copy them.  The Irish and English then proudly carried the books tied around their waists in the same way that skulls had been worn in years past.

In the Q&A, Tom explained that the red martyrdom was when the Celts came down and wiped everybody out and then the green martyrdom started when Columcille tried to follow Patrick. [Editor's note: Green Martyrs gave up their life to religion and following Christ]

BILL ROEN asked about the Vikings. The Vikings loved Patrick. Vikings came down and under Patrick they were able to capture a lot of people and turn them into slaves.  The Vikings built cities, Dublin and Limerick, for example.  

TOM BARRON: What about the copying?  The Irish copied whatever they could.  They sent people to Europe, including Rome to capture whatever they could because just before the Dark Ages and before Patrick there were only about 50 priests who could read and write.  Tom (Pickering) indicated that the Irish made some editorial changes in their copying.

In case you were wondering, our speaker also let us know that Patrick did not get rid of the snakes in Ireland, as there were never any snakes in Ireland.  Finally, he told us that Patrick did not take the shamrock and make it into the Holy Trinity. 

Next meeting will be Thursday, March 25th and will be a Club Assembly.

More information can be found on our website:

Editor of the Day, PP Gordon Fell

WVRC 2020/2021 Leadership Team
President: Nancy McCready
Treasurer: Terry M. White
Youth/Vocational Service: Phil Gabriel
Director/Peace: PP Marsha Hunt
Foundation: PP Steve Day
Global Scholarships: Chris Bradford
Webmaster: PP Ron Lyster
Director/Merchant Minute: PP Mark Rogo
District Governor: Bette Hall
Immediate Past President: Diane Good
Secretary: PP Diane Good
Community Service: Aaron Donahue
International Service: Nevin Senkan
Program Chair: PP Tom Barron
Membership: PP Mike Newman
Director/Social Media: PP Aly Shoji
Windmill Editor: P Nancy McCready
Assistant District Governor: Michael Lushing