CROW’S CALL – March 7, 2019
By: Dr. Bill
We were honored when Kathy Gailey (“African Queen”) took time off safari to serve as our president in the absence of Militch Man.  Our Greeter, Hermann Welm, shared an inspirational Thought and led the Salute.  A Patriotic Song followed.  We were joined by Melanie, the membership director at Crow Canyon Country Club.  Hermann shared that since San Ramon Regional Medical was no longer doing neurosurgery, he was switching over to orthopedics for his volunteer specialty.  The squirrels are breathing a sigh of relief.
Gary Sloan, filling in for Dennis Harvey, introduced our newest member, Julie  McKinney .  She and her family have lived in the Valley for many years.  Her main claim to fame is that she is eight days older than Chris Gallagher, who is her sponsor.  She has to deal with two teenagers….three if you count Chris.  The members welcomed her.
The San Ramon Chamber is holding a Business Expo on March 21, from 5 – 7 p.m., preceded by a Networking Session at 4:00.  Dennis Harvey can use a few more volunteers for the event at Bridges.
We heard a short report from Jessica Wong who won a scholarship from Rotary last year and now attends University of Pennsylvania.  She is doing well and is very active in clubs.
Guy Greco urged those interested to sign up for bocce ball on May 11 in Martinez in order to uphold the honor of San Ramon Rotary.  Guy will personally drill finger holes in your balls for the big event.
Julie Disch is in hospice and a prayer vigil was held for her at St. Joan of Arc Church on Friday.  All our thoughts go out to the Disch family.
Julie Fielder is being treated for cancer of the eye.
Karen McNamara presented the program on the work of Amigos de Zacualpa, a program sponsored by the Rotary clubs of Cloverdale and Groveland, designed to help students in the Guatemalan city of Zacualpa.  Karen volunteered to go down last year with a small group.  They worked repairing roofs on the school and equipping a computer lab.  They distributed dictionaries to third graders, brought medical supplies and worked with scholarship winners and their families.  Karen tutored English with selected students before and after school.
Zacualpa is about 50 miles from Guatemala City, the capital.  It is at about 5,000 feet elevation, so the climate is mild.  The people, mainly descendants of Mayan Indians, are short and friendly.  They wear colorful costumes which identify which village they are from.  They live simple lives in homes often without electricity or sewers. Karen was called “the tallest blonde Amazon,” towering above them.  Market days were held twice a week when residents can buy produce and animals from villagers.  The people and livestock ride to and from the town in decorated buses and wear their colorful outfits.
The computers the group installed in the schools ran programs from Khan Academy and Wikipedia. They open up links to the outside world for Zacualpa kids.  The average family makes about $600 – 700 a year, but the school fees range from $400 for middle school to $800 for high school.  Amigos de Zacualpa sponsors scholarships for students and held a lunch for them and their families.  Karen sponsored a 14 year-old boy named Genson Tino Toj on behalf of our club.  He sent a thank-you letter to us, which Edgardo Carillo translated in which he thanked us, said he was going to make his family proud of him with good grades and told us that God would bless us for our generosity.  That brightened our day!
Karen’s wonderful slide show revealed many personal touches, like the kids next to her hotel who played drums made of plastic cans and a woman who wove a special wrap for her.  The most fun was watching the ever-conscientious former city employee wrestle with numerous code violations she encountered.  What a great program!
The raffle was won by John Tatum, who tried to get his $20 shifted to next year’s taxes, and Don Bierman, who drew blue and complained that he had only made $8 on the deal.