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Burbank to San Jose West

The start of the decade of the 1980’s saw the affable Ray Ferrie as President … Ray had served as Secretary from 1969 to 1972 … five minute Rotary Information quizzes were conducted … Reynolds Potter upgraded the quality of programs … many social events such as football and baseball games, wine tasting and outdoor BBQs were well attended … Lu Scaletta conducted more Mystery Trips … to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Rotary our club sent 75 youngsters to Camp Campbell … Don Ryan was an active and successful Rotary Foundation Chairman … Jim Jeffery had past presidents as team captains to develop membership … the month of October saw us with perfect attendance … questions relating to a member’s business were asked, if you knew your business and gave the right answer, no fine, otherwise $5 … Ray collected a lot of $5 bills.

Robert D. ‘Bob’ Wenzel, a quiet, unassuming lawyer, was our President for 1981-82. Bob was a person who believed in lite fines … the club had a very successful wine tasting and soup fund raiser held at the Pinehurst Restaurant Garden area … we were threatened this year by a San Jos? Assistant Chief of Police, also a Rotarian, who said selling tickets for a wine raffle was illegal and he would take action if we continued … we continued, on the days ‘Ike’ didn’t make up at our club … this was also a very successful year at Camp Campbell … our 13th year … almost 100 children spent 5 days there as a result of San Jos? West’s contribution and 26 club members helped in the running of the camp … Bob Wenzel will also be remembered for his generous contribution to the initial San Jos? West Rotary Foundation.

Having the distinction of being the youngest President of San Jos? West, Gary Madden did a fine job with youthful vigor and enthusiasm … eleven Paul Harris Fellows were added, including six wives … we have donated over $16,000 to the Foundation so far … three of our members, Stan Gadway, Rex Osborn and Warren Gilbert were recognized by the YMCA of Santa Clara Valley … the club held a successful fund raising garden party under Don Zerwer … we were entertained royally by District Governor Rick King, who performed from the deck of a flatbed truck during a windstorm ….president Gary was recognized at the District Conference as an outstanding President … Ted Jenkel and wife Eileen attended a Rotary meeting in Northern India … Lu Scaletta’s Mystery Trip led us to the MGM in Reno … according to District Governor King our club is second in the District in Foundation giving, averaging $200 per member … we reached a membership of 83 this year …. we hosted the Area 8 Rotary Speech Contest finals in February.

Stan Gadway led San Jos? West in the 1983-84 year … Mike Kutsouris of the Hayward club, a past District Governor and recently elected as an International Director, spoke to us in November … Ray Sturges became a Paul Harris Fellow, the 35th in our club .. Ray Lee, a member, convinced one of his lady clients to donate $50,000 to our Rotary Foundation we had already donated $5400 this year according to Jim Jeffery, Foundation Chairman Bill Ellington, Treasurer, reported the club finances in good shape in April … Peter Ueberroth, a SJSU grad and 1984 Olympic Games Chairman spoke to the District Conference in Santa Clara … we experienced a net loss of 13 members this year, 83 down to 70 … the Christmas Party at La Rinconada CC was well attended.

Genial Ray Sturges presided during the 1984-85 Rotary year the usual projects, Camp Campbell, Camp RYLA, Speech Contest took place … the San Jos? West Foundation was developed by past President Bob Wenzel, who also made a generous initial donation … The Student-of-the-Month was initiated with Abraham Lincoln High School, the key student selected by the faculty and brought to a meeting to receive a plaque. President Ray and Mike Foster developed the idea … Two weekends were needed to upgrade the Food Bank facility, many members plus Bill Ellington Fred Meyer and Bob Murphy made big physical contributions … the first Casino Nite was held at the Saratoga Community Center, not a great money maker, but fun … President Ray cited Ray Ferrie Jun Jeffery, Jerry Scott, Dick Garland, Bill Ellington, Joe McTaggart, Wayne Kingsbury and Rennie Potter as having contributed more than the ordinary amount of help during the year … John Murphy was an excellent Camp RYLA representative and Lu Scaletta always provided us with an excellent Mystery Trip.

One of the most successful years in the history of San Jos? West was 1985-86 under Reynolds Potter as President … the year started in July with 83 members and by June, 1986 ended with 95, a net gain of 12 members … approximately $8000 was sent to the RI Foundation … also $1400 was donated to several worthy causes … 90 youngsters were sent to Camp Campbell near Ben Lomond for a week … money and man-hours were contributed to improving a senior citizen residence on Los Gatos Boulevard … 10 Students-of-the-Month, along with their faculty advisors, were honored … four high school seniors were sent to Camp RYLA, the Rotary Youth Leadership Camp … our first club directory with pictures was realized by Ray Sturges’ initiative and Paul Bacosa’s photos … the second year of Casino Nite raised $4200 for the club treasury … there were enough social events to satisfy all members … two students, Rachel Brand and Steve Blanton, who were sponsored by our club, were selected for Rotary Foundation scholarships in foreign countries.

The San Jos? West Rotary with Bill Ellington as President, started the year with 101 members, the most the club ever had. Here are some accomplishments for the year … 40 Rotarians and guests met at Camp Campbell where 100 disadvantaged children were sponsored by San Jos? West … we supported the Camp RYLA project by attending an Oakland A’s game … Gary Madden chaired a successful Casino Nite and raised over $4000 for club projects … celebrated San Jos? West’s 40th anniversary with a special lunch Jim Jeffery chairman, Ray Ferrie, MC … successfully raised $10,500 for our club’s Foundation … Ann Hurst, an associate editor at the Mercury News became the first woman Rotarian in District 517, inducted on January 13 … In 1987 our member, Greg Gray, opened the first successful nite club seen in downtown San Jos? in many years … landscaping the Bill Wilson Center plus painting at a battered woman’s shelter .. successful tailgate party at Stanford – San Jos? State game … 60 Rotarians and guests, chaired by Ray Ferris and Art Plank … the Polio Plus Campaign was launched by Rotary International.

Rex Osborn presided in the Rotary Year 1987-88, a very eventful year … the club took in several women members, pending a decision by the California Supreme Court over whether or not Rotary was a business. Some older members of the club had an adverse reaction to women joining and several members resigned in protest by the end of the 1987-88 Rotary year … Our new women members were, from the beginning, outstanding and contributed greatly to the success of the club … Rotary International caused an ordeal with the Polio Plus program which required raising $120,000,000 world wide to immunize all the children in the world against polio and childhood diseases … Our club goal, as required by RI, was $35,000 or about $400 per member (above any other funding that the club or Rotary might want) … Fortunately, this contribution could be made over a three year period … major fund raisers consisted of a Casino Nite and a gourmet dinner … we had four friendship social evenings to get better acquainted … our big community service project was the construction of a new stage and the rebuilding of the seats in the campfire amphitheater at YMCA Camp Campbell … about a dozen members swung hammers … The year ended on June 28, 1988 and Rex was debunked in a very hot bear suit! Remember Rex’s bears?

1988-89 … Tony Sapienza, an exceedingly meticulous accountant, proposed a most adventurous undertaking. Tony saw a photograph of 10,000 little rubber duckies which had been sold, in a very small town in either Manitoba or Moldavia or Montana, for $5 each to a bunch of riverbank gamblers … they couldn’t afford a boat, so they gamboled and gambled on the river bank … Tony’s mellifluous mind, interpolating from the size of the 9th largest city in the country, came up with a fund raising total somewhere north of $5 million dollars for the Board of Directors, in a rare display of unanimity, said, “You’re crazy!” and Tony probably was, but he was also enthusiastic and won them over it was decided to go ahead jointly with Good Samaritan Hospital AJ Jones, our member, represented Good Sam a Duck Board was organized consisting of Ann Collins of Good Sam, AJ Jones, John Masterman, Ellsworth Rowinaki, Rex Osborn and Tony several thousands of dollars of club money was laid out before nickel one came back amid the worrying, dozens of meetings were held and 15 com mittees were appointed the big day was June .17th, 1989 -.. thou sands of ducks had been sold for $5 each … most club members contributed assistance in one form or another to make the race a huge suc cess . -. technical difficulties were worked out, the weather was CAVU and the ducks raced on Vasona Park Lake … grossed about $30,000 and cleared after expenses about $15,000, which we split with Good Sam we had promoted our first Rubber Duck Race Tony was unceremoniously debunked shortly thereafter.

Rick Rolando, a Certified Public Accountant led us in 1989-90 … would we be luckier with another accountant? … in September our club had an excellent attendance at an Oakland A’s game for the benefit of Camp RYLA, Rotary Youth Leadership Assembly … the club lost an influential member, Stan Schember, in December. Stan had been a member since 1969 .. a tremendous amount of planning and effort went into the Second Annual Rubber Duck Race, to be held at Vasona Park Lake Masterman, Meyer, Fenton, Pfaftle, Grabau, Osborn, Alesch, AJ Jones, John Murphy, Bacosa and McTaggart were the leaders who made the day a success.

Unfortunately in May, 1990, President Rolando died suddenly of an aneurism, leaving a wife and two children Dick Alesch, the President-Elect, immediately took over to fill the gap. Dick Alesch, scheduled to be President for the Rotary year 1990-91, started six weeks early when Rick Rolando died … also the Secretary and the Treasurer both had to be replaced because of job transfers … Dick and his wife, Barbara, hosted the club on two occasions at their home, a crab-feed which attracted 51 people and 739 starving neighborhood cats, and in December, the Christmas party … John Masterman organized a project to build emergency earthquake supplies storage in the Santa Cruz mountains … Linda James had the club do improvement work at Camp Campbell … Jim Parks organized a Mystery Trip to a wine tasting and dinner in the Santa Cruz mountains – we did not eat the emergency food … another Rubber Duck Race was the big fund raiser for the year. Duck races take a tremendous amount of time and organization … we moved to a park in downtown San Jos? and Rex Osborn reactivated his old business, The Carpathian Waterfall Company, to actually build a river across the meadow … special thanks should be given to John Murphy, George Amarandos, and AJ Jones for their heroic efforts in making the race a success … we ran this race jointly with AJ’s Good Samaritan Hospital Foundation.

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