Saturday, May 29, 2010

Meet New Rotarian Alan Paxton

Alan Paxton found Rotary through US Bank, his employer which encourages community service and club affiliation for the members of their management team. “I was actually looking into the Kiwanis Club when our Hurricane branch manager suggested I look into Rotary. He has been a Rotarian for several years and has loved it. He also said it has greatly aided in his position with the bank because, through Rotary he has been able to connect with prominent members of the community.”

Alan’s roots are deep in southern Utah (his ancestors helped settle Beaver / Fillmore areas), but it was not until he returned from an LDS mission in El Salvador and enrolled at Dixie State College that he actually lived in the Beehive State. Born in Fort Hood, Texas, he grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania ... a place he came to know as home. While living in the suburbs of Philadelphia (Valley Forge to be exact) he was driving with a friend when his car was hit by an oversize passenger van. The fire department had to remove the door to get him out of the vehicle, and then rushed him to the hospital in an ambulance. “When the shock began to wear off for me I remember the doctor stating it was nothing short of a miracle that I survived the crash since the impact of the accident was directly on the drivers door where I was sitting. Even more amazing, neither my friend nor I experienced only minor cuts from the windshield breaking. Days later my mother and I visited the junk yard to see the extent of the damage of my vehicle and were surprised to see how much damage there was - particularly to the drivers side. I tried to sit in the drivers seat and could not fit as it had been crushed and shrunk, much like a tin can, and was now significantly more narrow than I was.”

Alan’s two years in El Salvador gave him a second language skill; the great experience of living in another culture; and, the chance to experience life from a different perspective. “When I heard about our club's recent return from Guatemala I must admit I was quite jealous, as Guatemala and El Salvador are neighbors, and the cultures are very similar,” states the new Rotarian.

When Alan first moved to St. George, he took the first job he could find, working 4 12-hour night shifts at the Blue Bunny Ice Cream Factory on the Arizona Strip. He worked there for only a few short months before the schedule became too much to deal with while attending school full time. A friend suggested he look for a bank teller job. He found work at US Bank as a part time teller where he became friends with the bank’s loan officer. After 6 months of working for US Bank this loan officer was offered a branch management position at Deseret First Credit Union. He asked Alan to come with him, particularly because of his Spanish language skills. “I compromised with him that if he would train me to do new accounts and loans then I would move with him at the credit union. Shortly after making the transfer my manager made good on his promise and promoted me to be the new accounts specialist and trained me in processing loans. Meanwhile back at US Bank, another acquaintance I had made while working there had become the branch manager and had asked me to apply for their personal banker position. I applied and received the job and remained in it for 2 years at which point I was promoted to the branch manager. So in short, I kind of fell into banking by accident, but have found I love it.”

Monday, May 24, 2010

SGR Hears from the Speaker of the House

OPENING: Don Pendleton was in his usual place as Sergeant-at-arms noting the presence (or absence) of Rotarians at the 3782nd meeting of SGR. Ray Robinson opened the meeting with a spirited rendition of “My Country, Tis of Thee.” Tom McArthur invited members to follow him in the Pledge of Allegiance after which Allen Hilton asked for the blessings of heaven on the meeting and the meal. Bob Bramlage took the reins for a boisterous Horseplay while Jack Petersen collected fines on behalf of Polio Plus!

CLUB NEWS: President Ken Sizemore called Allen (Hilton) forward to spin the Rotary wheel in celebration of his birthday on May 28 and newly inducted member Alan (Paxton) also stepped up because his birthday is on the same day . . . and they were sitting side-by-side at the table. A case of "a small world."

Tom McArthur announced he and his wife will be leaving soon for a two year mission for the LDS Church to St. Petersburg, Russia.

Lowry Snow has been appointed to the board of the Utah Economic Development Council.

PROGRAM: Linda Baker introduced Dave Clark, Speaker of the Utah House of Representatives and a member of SGR who shared some of the details of the recent legislative session. Clark stated, “Utah is considered the #1 state in the union for the possibility of a quick rebound from the current economic situation in the nation and the only state with an A rating in the Pugh survey. As a legislature, we try very hard to go after problems before they become catastrophic! We know we can’t tax ourselves to prosperity, so we need to look for ways to build our infrastructure of strong businesses.”

The Speaker expressed his concerns over the current situation in Washington DC, noting “I have never seen so much confiscation of state’s rights, including health care, gun control . . . our government needs to slow down and consider what’s best for America.” He also noted the overhaul of the state retirement program and expressed his concerns over the future of Social Security and Medicare. “By 2014, we will be required to cover everyone up to 200% of Medicaid and insurance providers will not be able to take into consideration any pre-existing conditions. Regardless of what we have been told, it is my belief we are going to see costs go up dramatically!”

Monday, May 17, 2010

SGR Hears from Band of Brothers

OPENING: Sergeant-at-arms Don Pendleton was on duty greeting members and visitors to St. George Rotary. Ray Robinson led the SGR Choir in a rousing rendition of "Let There Be Peace on Earth." June McAfee invited members to follow her in the Pledge of Allegiance. West Martin asked for the blessings of heaven on the meeting and the meal. Jim Coleman stirred members into a frenzy of donations on behalf of the upcoming Utah Rotary District Conference with Nancy Neff collecting the filthy lucre for Polio Plus.

Grant Carter conducted the meeting in the absence of President Ken Sizemore. The Prez-elect had high praise for the content and presenters at the recent Uah Rotary District Conference. Jeff Morby reported the URDC golf tournament raised $2200 for Polio Plus.

New members will be inducted next week. Keep recruiting!

PROGRAM: Dan Strobell shared his enthusiasm for the people of Guatemala. He noted they are changing the circumstances for - particularly - children, but placing stoves in homes where women have traditionally cooked over an open fire. Girls in these homes are required to leave school in the early grades to look for wood and water every day. Jim Coleman, Reed Noble, Sam McArthur, Dan McArthur and Lowry Snow, who traveled with Dan spoke of the life-changing adventure they shared with Dan.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

District Conference a Success

The general consensus among more than 200 attendees at the Utah Rotary District Conference is that the "Rendezvous at the Confluence" was "awesome," "wonderful," a rousing success and well worth the time to attend! The weather was perfect, presenters were outstanding, and food was plentiful and tasty!

Highlights for Rotarians from 44 clubs around the state most certainly included a magnificent morning of challenging golf at Sunbrook; a visit by the 6-member District 4845 GSE team from Northern Argentina and Paraguay; the high energy enthusiasm of six youth exchange students from all corners of the world (including South Korea, Argentina, Belgium, Germany and Japan); in depth presentations on such topics as Rotary 101, recruiting younger members using social media; and impressive international service projects.

Governor Gil Trujillo gave out numerous awards:

- Drew Stroberg (Vernal Rotary Club) as "Small Club Rookie of the Year"
- Ruth Urcinole (Salt Lake Rotary Club) "Large Club Rookie of the Year"
- West Jordan Club took home both the "Project of the Year" and "Club of the Year" recognition for their fabulous "Field of Dreams"
- PDG Wally Brown was named District 5420's Rotarian of the Year
- Ray and Ruby Robinson were recognized with the Governor’s Award "for dedication and service to the Youth of District 5420"

Congratulations to Jerry Summerhays selected after intensive interviews among all candidates as the District Governor Nominee for service in 2012-13!

During the Friday luncheon session, Governor Gil and PDG Wally Brown presented District Literacy Awards to the Rotary Clubs of Richfield, Red Rock Morning, Ogden, Vernal, Heber Valley, Draper/Riverton and Dixie Sunrise. Zone Literacy Awards went to the Rotary clubs of HispaƱo-Latinos of Salt Lake City, Provo, South Salt Lake, Sugar House, and West Jordan.

The Presidential Citation was awarded to clubs which met District goals for the year. Recipients were Cedar City, Heber Valley, Hurricane Valley, Kaysville, Park City, South Salt Lake, Sugarhouse, Utah Valley Sunrise and Vernal Clubs. Interact clubs at Davis High School and Wasatch High School, as well as Rotaract Clubs on the campuses of BYU, Utah State University and Salt Lake Community College also received the Presidential Citation.

In a "Service Above Self" conference project, Rotarians gave 21 pints of blood (10 were first time donors).

And, who will soon forget the touching presentation by Friday night’s keynote speaker Bryce Payne, recently returned from post-earthquake recovery efforts in Haiti . . . the extemporaneous and offtune Rotary "choir" singing "Are You From Dixie?" in the opening session . . . or the instant connection, good humor and harmony of Rick Tinucci, the RI President’s Representative and his charming wife, Diane?

During the URDC, approximately 65 RYLA students, youth exchange students and Interact members participating in a simultaneous district youth conference, hosted a great breakfast on a perfect morning at the Town Square. It took time to encourage people out of the fresh air and sunshine and into the restored 3rd floor of the St. George Art Center (original home of Dixie College); but in the end everyone admitted, the transition was well worth the effort for an outstanding presentation on Peace and Conflict Resolution by Brian Farr, one of about 500 Rotary International Peace Scholars.

"I was very happy with the content, the weather, the presenters and the attendance - particularly having 15 PDG’s taking part - in the District Conference. We also had great representation from nearly every club," noted Governor Gil as he passed along the Richard L. Evans Rotary pin to incoming District Governor Penny Atkinson.

Monday, May 3, 2010

SGR Introduces Rotary to Prospective Members

OPENING: Sergeant-at-Arms Don Pendleton was at his usual post meeting and greeting Rotarians and guests to the 3780th meeting of the Rotary Club of St. George. Ray Robinson lead the Rotary choir - including more than a dozen prospective members - in a touching version of "America." Jim Coleman invited citizen Rotarians to follow him in the Pledge of Allegiance. Steve Radmall asked for the blessings of heaven on the meeting and the meal. Dave Clark guided those in attendance in a spirited Horseplay while Chris Coons collected the filthy lucre on behalf of Polio Plus.

PROGRAM: President Ken reminded board members of their upcoming meeting - on Monday, May 10 (rather than Tuesday, May 11) at the Holiday Inn, since there will be no regular club meeting.

President Ken also shared a letter of thanks from Chad Clayton, Snow Canyon High School Sterling Scholar in General Scholarship. "This program has been a tremendous blessing in my life and at its foundation lies the support of donations like yours . . . which shows an interest in and committment to the rising generation and pushes us to work harder to bevome true scholars."

Jeff Morby reminded members and guests there is still time to sign up for the Rotary golf tournament on Thursday, May 13.

In a meeting devoted entirely to educating prospective members in attendance, Dan Strobell spoke of his most recent trip to Guatemala - which also included Reed Noble, Jim Coleman, Lowry Snow, Dan McArthur and Sam McArthur - who left as Rotarian friends but returned as brothers. In the poorest country in the world, according to Strobell, women and children have an extremely high death rate due to longterm smoke inhalation and burns resulting from cooking over open fires. Strobell, supported in part by members of SGR, have no placed more than 500 cinder block stoves . . . thus saving hundreds of lives.

Sam McArthur bore testimony of the power of Rotary to do good in the world - particularly in countries where governments are in turmoil.

Glade Hamilton, Asst. District Governor in Region 10, shared his belief Rotary can make a difference - a fact he did not know until he studied and immersed himself in its concepts.

Ken Seefeld shared the details of Rotary finance - how much, how often and for what?

The meeting ended with cake being shared while answering questions for prospective members.