Armed Services Day June 6th
Our next meeting will be Tuesday, June 6th (no meeting May 30th in observance of Memorial Day) at the Annunciation Church. It will be our annual Armed Services Day celebration of club members who have served our country in the military. And June 6th is also a very special day because of what happened 79 years ago, as our featured speaker, fellow Rotarian BRUCE HESTER, will tell you. (For additional details about the event and how you can help, please scroll down.)
“Team Sarah” Is a Homerun!
“Team Sarah,” a group of caring club members who are pitching in to provide a support system for fellow Rotarian SARAH HODGE in her personal fight against breast cancer, met for fellowship and fun Tuesday night at Sutter Health Park for the River Cats-Oklahoma City baseball game. They even used the ballpark’s message board to let Sarah know how much they care. (For highlights and photos, please scroll down.)
Recap of the May 23rd Meeting
Reported by Jim Culleton
She Won’t Be Bullied
By People or Cancer
Introduced by our Chair of the Day, retired Superior Court Judge BRIAN VAN CAMP (Owner/Van Camp ADR), U.S. Marshal Lasha Boyden shared her story of growing up in Alabama—not exactly an area that has welcomed diversity.
The first African American woman to hold the position of U.S. Marshal in California, Boyden described how, when she was in the seventh grade, a white woman pushed her while she was shopping at a local mall—then dared her to do something about it. She did. She gathered herself, memorized the description of the woman, then found a mall police officer and reported the assault. The bully was located and held accountable, and the incident ignited Boyden’s interest in a law enforcement career. Nowadays, she “does something about it” on behalf of all of us who reside in the more than 30 counties her office serves.
Boyden went on to recount a brief history of the U.S. Marshal Service, which was created in 1789 and was the first law-enforcement agency established in our country. President George Washington appointed 16 men who took orders from Congress and the Judiciary (and still do this today) and served at the pleasure of the President.
The U.S. Marshals are steeped in American history. The 1850 Fugitive Slave Act required the Marshals Service to return runaway slaves to their owners. Later, the adoption of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments allowed the Marshals to help integrate our schools. On November 14th of 1960, first-grader Ruby Bridges became the first Black student to integrate an all-white school in New Orleans. U.S. Marshals took her to and from school and protected her. The event was depicted in an iconic Normal Rockwell painting, The Problem We All Live With. Civil rights activist James Meredith received similar protection when he became the first Black student to enroll at Ole Miss.
An inspiration to Boyden is Frederick Douglass, who was born a slave in 1817. He escaped in 1838 and, as a runaway, began speaking out. He became educated and could read, write, and orate. He later was an author, a national leader, and, in 1877, was the first Black to be appointed a U.S. Marshal by the President. (Beverly Harvard, in 2010, became the first Black woman appointed a Marshal. That was in the Northern District of Georgia.) Boyden is the first in California and is one of only four Marshals in the entire state. (The title “U.S. Marshal” denotes the highest-ranking Marshals Service officer in a given district. California has four districts.)
As the U.S. Marshal for the Eastern District of California, Boyden’s responsibilities include judicial security, fugitive apprehensions, prisoner transportation, managing and selling seized assets, finding missing children and overseeing the federal witness protection program. She noted that last year when Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh‘s life was threatened, it was the Marshals Service that protected him, The witness protection program, she said, has encompassed 20,000 people since it was established in 1971 and no one under the Marshals’ watch has been hurt or injured.
Besides overcoming bullying, Boyden is a survivor in another sense: a breast cancer survivor. How has she managed to succeed and overcome? She offers five brief, but profound pieces of advice:
• Don’t hold grudges.
• Extend grace.
• Accept challenges.
• Turn enemies into allies.
• Leadership is relationships.
Thought for the Day
DICK NOONAN (Outreach & Recruiting/California State Railroad Museum) noted that while the U.S. Marshal Service is the oldest law-enforcement agency in the United States, these days it has a great many more duties than when it was created by George Washington in 1789. He suggested that Rotarians with high school-age family members should take the time to study its website and learn more about it.
JEANNE REAVES (President & CEO/Jeanne Reaves Consulting) donated her three minutes as Meeting Sponsor to Delta Pick Mello, Executive Director of the Sacramento History Alliance. She highlighted an exhibit at the Sacramento History Museum that revolves around 12-year-old May Woolsey, who died of encephalitis in 1879 at her E Street home and is buried in the Old City Cemetery on Broadway. In 1979, 100 years after her death, the current owners of the home discovered a trunk sealed behind a wall. It was filled with hundreds of items such as marbles, China dolls, shoes, a hand fan, infant clothing, long locks of hair, photos, drawings and writings, schoolbooks and certificates, all presumably belonging to May, and telling a story of life in 1870s Sacramento as seen through a child’s eye. On loan from the Center for Sacramento History, May’s trunk is popular with museum visitors of all ages. She said Sacramento’s history is filled with stories like this, of people – young and old – from a variety of backgrounds and ethnicities – people who prospered through perseverance, innovation, and sacrifice, or those who managed to thrive despite being oppressed, disregarded, and discriminated against. “When we understand who we WERE, we can appreciate who we ARE,” she said. “That’s empathy.” She also told the audience that the 35-year-old museum, which closed its doors and went virtual in 2020 due to the pandemic, used the experience it gained to thrive in the social media environment and now has more than 800,000 subscribers on YouTube and 2.4 million TikTok followers, making it the most “followed” museum in the world. She said that now the museum has reopened, it is working with community partners and cultural organizations on collaborations to spotlight their stories. She said that this month, with support from the Sacramento Pioneers Association and a grant from the National Association for the Blind, an interactive component to May Woolsey’s exhibit is being installed that will bring it to life for the visually impaired—using audio clips in both English and Spanish and tactile images of May, the trunk and some of her items, so that people feel the curls of her hair, the latches on the trunk and the feathers of her fan. She urged attendees to visit the museum soon to see all that it has in store.
• As indicated above, our next Rotary meeting will be on June 6th and it will be our annual Armed Services Day celebration of club members who have served our country in the military. RICK DAVIS (Colonel/U.S. Air Force retired) is heading up planning for the event. Our featured speaker will be our club’s unofficial Historian Laureate, BRUCE HESTER (Senior Vice President/Colliers International), who will remind all of us why June 6th is such an important date. You won’t want to miss this special program—especially if you or a loved one have served, or are serving now. Be sure to register right away when you get the meeting invitation in your email—and bring a friend or family member who is a veteran. Also, you are invited to bring some memorabilia of your service, or a family member’s service, to share that day. If you would like to do that, please contact event chair Rick Davis right away (just click on his name). And if you haven’t already done so, please make sure Rick has information regarding your service branch, rank, and years of service.
• Past President SUSAN SHERIDAN (Retired Owner/Sheridan Law Corporation) showcased the 2023 Sacramento Century Challenge jerseys. She also recognized Ari Johnson of Capitol Technology Solutions for her help keeping the Sac Century website up to date. The 10th annual event, which benefits the Crisis Nursery program at Sacramento Children’s Home, will be held on September 30th. Registration will open on June 1st.
• Past President SUSAN also announced the formation of “Team Sarah,” a group of club members providing physical and emotional support for SARAH HODGE (Regional Affairs Representative/Association of California Water Agencies), who is undergoing cancer treatment. Susan and other team members wore pink t-shirts and tiaras during the meeting. For more information regarding “Team Sarah,” please scroll down.
• JOHN SWENTOWSKY (Owner/Swentowsky Photography) and VIRGINIA WADE (Retired Vice President/SAFE Credit Union) are seeking volunteers to work in the kitchen at Loaves & Fishes on June 29th. Workers are needed for both the a.m. and p.m. shifts. If you’re interested in helping out, please let Virginia know by clicking on her name.
ELFRENA FOORD (Arata Brothers Trust) and Past President DIANE WOODRUFF (Retired Chancellor/California Community Colleges) tag-teamed our weekly Rotarian Spotlight presentation, highlighting three club members. Elfrena and Diane told us:
• “THERESA WHEELER has been a member of our club for 5 years. She is the CEO and owner of Prevail Public Affairs and has more than 30 years of experience managing statewide ballot campaigns and legislative advocacy efforts. I was so impressed with the fact that she has been part of 12 winning statewide ballot measure campaigns on a wide range of issues including health care, education, taxation, and government. She has used her wonderful PR talents for the last five years to help our club publicize our Sac Century fundraiser and tell the community what our club is doing to support children in the Sacramento area. So, thank you, Theresa, for your help with publicizing our major fundraiser. One interesting story about Theresa: She once worked with a group of recording artists to make changes in entertainment contract law. She was thrilled to meet with her long-time idol, Carole King, as well as Stevie Nicks and Don Henley of the Eagles. Outside of work and Rotary, Theresa loves to travel the world with her husband. She just returned from Vietnam and Thailand. She also is in the process of writing a book which will be a collection of humorous essays. She says she hopes she has the guts to publish it someday. A fun fact about Theresa: she loves all dogs, especially her new rescue puppy, CeCe, despite the fact that her sneaky new puppy just ate her slippers, the TV remote and a pair of reading glasses. She can’t wait to see what’s next!”
• “LATIF YUSUFI is Assistant Vice President and Sacramento Branch Manager of Golden Pacific Bank. He has been a member of our club for seven months, and we are so lucky to have a member who has had such an interesting international career. Latif’s first job, in 1977, was with Thomas Cook, the world’s largest foreign exchange, tourism, and travel company. His job? To establish the company in countries like Mauritius, the Maldives Islands, the Seychelles, and Bangladesh. Exactly 28 years later, he decided to make a career change. But he had visited 24 countries in the world, thanks to Thomas Cook Airlines. He immigrated to the U.S. in 2007, working with a big bank for 11 years. Still searching for more job fulfillment, he found a job opening in Sacramento with a community bank, Golden Pacific, and moved here. Latif’s previous job, with Thomas Cook, necessitated him to travel to London. At Heathrow Airport, Latif met Ozzy Osbourne and Alice Cooper. He shook hands with them and realized that they were already flying ‘high’ without even being on a flight! In 1972, he met Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, who had dropped in at the Slip Disc, a discotheque in Bombay managed by Latif’s uncle. For some unknown reason, Page advised Latif to learn to drum. And he did. Fun Fact: Three friends and Latif formed a band. They named it “The Bronze Axe.” Their very first gig was a talent contest. They played Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” and rocked it. They got a standing ovation from the three-member judging panel. The judges came on stage, shook their hands, hugged them, and told them (very softly), ‘Please, never play again.’ They had had their 5 minutes of fame. And of course, being obedient lads, they did quit. They knew they sucked.”
• “JEANNE REAVES was the CEO of River City Bank for a decade and has been a member of our club for 10 years. Under Jeanne’s leadership, the bank’s assets grew to one billion dollars, making River City the largest locally-owned bank in the Central Valley. Equally adept in the boardroom and the breakroom, Jeanne fostered a familial company culture. She personally demonstrated that every employee, regardless of position, was valued as a contributor. At her company now, Jeanne Reaves Consulting, she specializes in coaching executives in a variety of industries. As a certified Personality Consultant, Jeanne employs technology to help clients understand their executive teams’ unique abilities, maximize their productivity and manage more effectively to enhance earnings. Jeanne has proven over and over how to lead companies to overcome huge business hurdles. When asked what her hobbies were, she just said, ‘My hobby is the community.’ She has served on so many boards and chaired so many events that they are just too numerous to mention. Her accomplishments and prominence in the corporate and nonprofit sectors have been widely recognized and honored. Named one of Sacramento Magazine’s “Fifty Most Powerful People” and honored by the Sacramento Metro Chamber as “Sacramentan of the Year” in 2009, Jeanne draws upon her vast business talents to help many organizations succeed. Interesting Fact: Jeanne worked in banking and lending decades ago, when few women were in that industry. To be a real estate loan officer, she just had to sign one agreement: that she wouldn’t have children for two years!”
Gems for Giving
SARAH HODGE thanked “Team Sarah” for their time, generosity and thoughtfulness. RICK DAVIS and THERESA WHEELER gave in Sarah’s honor. PAUL KEEFER (Executive Director/Pacific Charter Institute) gave in honor of the Rotary Youth Exchange program and our current visiting student, Luca Merurio, who was also at the meeting. DAVID BRANDENBURGER (Managing Director/Newmark) gave in honor of Luca and thanked DICK OSEN (Retired Attorney) for supplying tickets to a recent Sacramento Symphony performance.
We Had Visitors
Sergeant-at-Arms KATHE NATHAN introduced our visitors. They included prospective Rotarian Bhavnesh Makin, guest of JOHN FRISCH (Senior Managing Director/Newmark); Delta Pick Mello, guest of JEANNE REAVES; Ari Johnson, guest of Past President SUSAN SHERIDAN; Luca Mercurio, guest of DAVID BRANDENBURGER; and Paris Dye, who accompanied Lasha Boyden.
Thanks to Our Helpers
President LINDA GEERY (CFO/California Lawyers Association) called the meeting to order and quickly thanked Greeters JON SNYDER (Broker/Snyder Commercial Real Estate), NANCY SMITH-FAGAN (Executive Directors of Development/YMCA of Superior California), and LEN SIMPSON (Partner/2020 Financial Advisors of Sacramento. Also thanked from the podium were JOHN SWENTOWSKY for handling photography duties, JIM CULLETON (President/Strong & Associates) for being the Pulse reporter, and DAVE MCKIE for hosting the wine reception. JOHN WOOD (Principal/McGee & Thielen Insurance) sent everyone on their way with the Smile for the Day.
“Team Sarah” Is a Homerun!
“Team Sarah,” a group of club members who are pitching in to provide a support system for board member SARAH HODGE in her personal fight against breast cancer. Team members do chores, run errands, prepare meals, and help in any other way Sarah needs it. The Team met for fellowship and fun Tuesday night at Sutter Health Park, enjoying the River Cats-Oklahoma City baseball game. The River Cats didn’t do so well, falling to OKC, 7-4, but Team Sarah had a great time, anyway-and even got to meet River Cats mascot Dinger. And Team Sarah’s efforts on behalf of Sarah obviously struck a chord with U.S. Marshal Lasha Boyden, too, when she visited the club as a guest speaker earlier that day.
(Snapshots of Tuesday’s Meeting, Courtesy of John Swentowsky)