The Surf Beat: January 15th, 2019

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January 15th, 2019 

President Kevin Quinn called the meeting to order in the Verandah Room of La Valencia Hotel, and welcomed Rotarians and guests.

Inspiration: Claude Rosinsky shared the following by Maya Angelou: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Pledge: Chuck Dick, a strict constructionist, reminded us that recitation of the Pledge often is compromised by the unauthorized insertion of commas. Chuck’s tutelage seemed to have the intended effect, and our recitation of the Pledge met with his approval.

Song: Aaron Hoffman led us in singing “You Are My Sunshine.”  Before starting, Aaron presented Betty Dow (she being a quintessentially bright ray of sunshine) with a bouquet of flowers.

 Rotary Welcomed…

No visiting Rotarians attended, but the following three guests joined us: Lloyd Boucher, guest of Femie Cupit. He is a CPA and financial advisor to Femie’s Foundation and treasurer of his American Legion Post in Tustin. Vlassi Kouris was a guest of Aaron Hoffman. Janice Vasquez, who is in the process of establishing an insurance agency in La Jolla, announced she has applied for Club membership.

Eulogy for Burton Housman

President Kevin, noting the recent passing of Club member Burton Housman (age 91) and affectionately describing Burton as a “unique, delightful individual,” invited Bill Burch to the podium to share thoughts about Burton. This Bill did, capably and eloquently. Bill had known Burton for over 30 years, having first met him in Toastmasters. Bill described Burton as a superb speaker whose baritone voice always filled any room without amplification, a principled man, a Quaker, a lover of peace, and a man dedicated to the service of others. Among other things, Burton, a pacifist, spent countless hours at Naval Hospital helping servicemen and servicewomen, who were wounded in the Middle East. Burton played a significant role in establishing and sustaining our Club’s STRIVE Scholarship Program for graduates of Garfield High School, which provides scholarship assistance each year for graduates, who otherwise might have no opportunity to continue their education. Burton was Bill’s sponsor in joining La Jolla Rotary. In Bill’s description he and Burton were political opposites and wonderful friends. They respected each other tremendously, and were united in their commitment to serve others.

International Service Committee Update

Susan Rutan, Chairperson of our Club’s International Service Committee, provided a report on this Rotary year’s Committee activities to date. As part of our Club’s International Service activities, we contributed $250 to the Tijuana Rotary Club’s recent Dia de Reyes (Day of Kings) celebration. Susan soon will take the training required for her to lead a team of local high school students in participating in the annual Model United Nations program.

For our Club’s major International Service project, Susan suggested a humanitarian project in Puerto Rico. Our Club would partner with SBP, a nationally recognized non-profit disaster and recovery organization (, to adopt a family in need and provide home repair and assistance to help that family get back to a “normal” life following the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria in 2017. SBP would provide the designated family, direction and logistics, all supplies and a translator, if needed. Our Club members would provide the cost of all travel and accommodations (estimated to be around $1,500 per person.)  While there, we would try to partner with the San Juan (Puerto Rico) Rotary Club and attend a San Juan Rotary meeting. Susan proposed the week of April 8 (for 5-6 nights) for the trip. All interested are encouraged to contact Susan at 858-361-4436 or email at

President’s Announcements:

Mark your calendars for these Rotary events:

  • January 26 – Imperial Valley District Council dinner
  • March 1-3 – Rotary District (5340) Conference
  • April 14 – 3pm La Jolla Music Society concert (George Li, piano) at The Conrad (the Music Society’s new concert hall on Fay Ave.), tickets for La Jolla Rotarians $38, see Sally Fuller
  • April 29 – Rotary International Foundation Gala

Other Announcements:

Pat Stouffer reported on this Saturday’s Alison Brown Quintet concert at The Athenaeum, the net proceeds from which will benefit La Jolla Rotary. Tickets are sold out. The doors open at 7pm and the music starts at 7:30pm.

From Cindy Goodman we learned that our Club has approved a donation to Oasis, an organization in which Cindy is involved that helps military combat veterans with PTSD. Cindy praised our late Club member Burton Housman for getting her involved in this worthy organization.

From President Elect Charles Hartford we learned that the Rotary International motto for the 2019-2020 Rotary year will be “Rotary Connects The World.” (Editorial note:  during his Presidency, no doubt Charles from time to time will strive to segue seamlessly from “Rotary Connects The World” to “Army Beats Navy In Football” . . . how successfully Charles pulls this off will be fascinating indeed.)

Judy Nelson reminded us that April 27 is “Rotarians at Work” day.  Our Club is looking for a hands-on local project. Suggestions are welcome.  Please see Judy or her Committee members (which include Chuck Dick and John Donaldson.) She also informed us that the annual La Jolla Half Marathon will be held April 28, and that our Club will be responsible for staffing an aid station. Past La Jolla Rotary volunteers have included Judy, John Donaldson, Bill Burch, Dave Brockett, Susan Stevens and Dave Weston. . . all of whom have thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Speaker: Roger Liles, author

President Elect Charles Hartford introduced Roger Liles, who spoke about his recently published book, an historical novel entitled The Berlin Tunnel, A Cold War Thriller.  Mr. Liles was an Air Force Signals Intelligence Officer, who was stationed in Turkey and Germany in the 1960s. The Berlin Tunnel is based upon extensive research concerning Berlin, and his personal experience during that time.  Mr. Liles now is retired, having worked for 40 years as senior engineering manager and consultant with a number of aerospace companies.

The setting of The Berlin Tunnel is Berlin in 1960-61, during the Cold War and after the U.S.S.R. had closed the Berlin Wall, leaving 19 million people without freedom behind the Iron Curtain. In Eastern Europe generally, and Berlin specifically, the Americans and Soviets spied on each other continuously, each striving to steal valuable classified information from the other. The Berlin Tunnel is the fictional account of an American tunnel built under the Berlin Wall, with the purpose of gathering Soviet classified information of such importance that the prevention of World War III potentially hangs in the balance. Thickening the plot is a love interest that develops between the American spy responsible for this tunnel and his East German counterpart spy.

So there you have it:  the Cold War; the nasty Soviets scheming to bring America to its knees; the American hero concocting an ingenious plan to thwart the Soviets; and, the American hero’s plan being compromised by his love interest in the wrong woman. Or was she the wrong woman after all? And does World War III devastate our planet? Better read the book to find out!  Hardcover, paperback and e-book editions are available from Barnes & Noble and Amazon.

President’s Closing Quote:

Dispensing with his prepared quote, and adlibbing brilliantly, Kevin looked out at us, told us he would now deliver the closing quote, and said simply:

“I don’t need a microphone.”

What a masterfully poignant, respectful and brilliant way to pay homage to our much admired, now deceased member Burton Housman!


Surf Beat:

 Reported by Dave Westin & Susan Stevens. Photos By Diane Salisbury, Susan Rutan and Susan Stevens.  Edited by Diane Salisbury.

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Club Meetings Unless otherwise noted, all club meetings are Tuesday, 12:00 noon – 1:30 p.m. at La Valencia Hotel, 1132 Prospect St., La Jolla (Map)  Check out the Upcoming Guest Speakers on the Club Calendar

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