Paul Harris Fellowships – Two New Pluses

Foundation Chair Andy Esser awarded two “Plus” pins to Club members. Please congratulate Roz Grace and  Allen Cronenberg for their continued commitment to the Rotary Foundation.

Program Report: Honoring Past Presidents

Dave Ross (President, 1973-74) kicked off a celebration of the 33 past presidents of Durham Rotary.

Don Stanger (2012-13) recognized the 17 or so past presidents who were at the meeting.  He then gave us a summary history of our great club.  As we surely all know, the first Rotary Club was formed when attorney Paul P. Harris called together a meeting of three business acquaintances in downtown Chicago, at Harris’s friend Gustave Loehr’s office in the Unity Building on Dearborn Street on February 23, 1905.  They chose the name Rotary because they had been used to meeting in rotation in each other’s offices. Soon the club grew big enough to require a single meeting place.

Rotary soon spread across the US and Canada.  A London club was formed in 1912.  In 1922 the name was changed to Rotary International and the club is now worldwide.

Rules in the Durham Rotary, as in all others, were tough at first and indeed for many years: attendance was strictly enforced, with fines for no-showers.  But as people became busier and more mobile, some latitude was permitted.

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Rotary Minute: David Durack

Club member Dr. David Durack used his “Rotary Minute” not to talk about himself but about another soldier in the war on Polio, his cousin Robin Miller, known in Northern Territory of Australia as the Sugerbird Lady, for administering 37,000 doses of the Salk vaccine flying a single engine plane over the vast territory which is the second largest state in the world. She also flew countless Flying Doctor Service flights for emergencies, flew 9 aircraft from the USA to Australia and wrote two books about her experience.

The presentation was made with a PowerPoint that contained numerous photographs of her including the one below taken shorty before her tragically early death from cancer with her cousin, who, if you look closely, looks familiar.

The full Power Point can be downloaded by clicking here:

Implicit in Dr. Durack’s Minute is the suggestion that contributing a few dollars to continue the fight against polio to complete the legacy of folks like Robin Miller is certainly a worthy act by any Rotarian.

New Member: Scott Warren

Please introduce and welcome new member Scott Warren who was inducted by Membership Committee member Erik Benson on Monday. Scott was sponsored by Committee Chair Marge Nordstrom.

Scott recently relocated to Durham from Savannah, GA, and is VP Sales at Talbert Building Supplies.  He grew up in Tennessee, is married to Lynn Warren, and has two adult children—son Taylor, and daughter Bailey.  He is a long-time member of Rotary, both in Wilson, NC and in Savannah, GA.  He has held executive management positions with lumber and building supply dealers in North Carolina and Georgia.  His hobbies include golf, hunting, and fishing.  He and Lynn are in the process of selling their home in Savannah and purchasing one here.

Program Report: Ann Rebeck – Lakewood Scrap Exchange

The Lakewood Scrap Exchange, located since 2014 in the former Center Theater in the Lakewood Shopping Center, is the country’s largest “creative reuse” space according to Ann Rebeck, development director.  It aims to foment a creative reuse “revolution.”  Although the Exchange sells donated items in its Thrift Store and Scrap Store, it is “more than a store.”  It has classes and workshops in the creative arts, provides workspaces for artists and artisans, an exhibition space for artists using reclaimed materials including metal, wood, and fabric.  Glass blowing is on the horizon.  It hosts workshops, parties and outreach events.  It provides school classroom workshops and after-school activities as well as professional development for teachers and others in the creative reuse of materials.

The “mother ship” of the concept of creatively reusing materials that would probably otherwise find their way into solid waste facilities was in Australia.  There, it was called the Reverse Garbage Truck.  It served as the model for Durham’s Scrap Exchange that was founded in the early 1990s.   One of the founders of the Scrap Exchange had worked in the Reverse Garbage Truck and brought the idea back to Durham.   Experiencing significant growth over the years, retail sales in 2016 topped $700,000 providing about eighty-five percent of the cost of operations.  The number of full-time and part-time employees continues to rise.  About 200 shoppers a day come through the retail store.  With a vision of developing a Reuse Arts District, the Scrap Exchange acquired the northern end of Lakewood Shopping Center in 2016.

Items sold in the Exchange’s two stores are donated by individuals and by about 250 businesses and industries in a 100 mile radius of Durham.  Ann pulled three reusable items out of her show-and-tell bag: an industrial-size spool for thread on which kids can paint or paste; a decorated tin canister for storing wine corks or similar items; and bottle caps.  She pointed out that in Durham, at least, plastic bottles can be recycled, but the caps cannot.  And the caps can be turned into terrific art projects.  A unique service is short term rental of home health equipment such as wheel chairs.  For a sample listing of typical items available for purchase, see the Scrap Exchange’s website (  For frequent shoppers, the website has a “new arrivals” page.  Purchases can also be made on Ebay.

Submitted by Allen Cronenberg 

Rotary Minute: Shannon Leskin

Shannon Leskin attended her first Durham Rotary Club meeting in the fall of 2010 as a guest of Ken Lundstrom and joined the club shortly there after. She has lived in Durham for the past 24 years. She and her husband, Will, live in Trinity Park with their two dogs, Gracie and Murray. They have one son, Edwin, who resides in Asheville, NC.

When thinking about what being a member of Rotary means to her, the first ideal that comes to mind is the Rotary motto, “Service above Self”. Shannon likes to think of it as service above self (interest). She told the club about a time in her professional life when she had to make the choice to put service to another individual above what would have been her own best interest and that of the company.

32 years ago Shannon was producing professional regional theatre, think of Playmakers Rep in Chapel Hill, in the San Francisco Bay Area. It was a particularly scary and sad time as the AIDS crisis was reaching a pinnacle and devastating the arts community. The PR Manager at the theatre contracted AIDS. The theatre had employee health insurance and it was imperative that this gentleman remain on the insurance. As his condition deteriorated.,Shannon and the staff found jobs that he could do either from home or coming into the office.

When it came time for the annual budget review the health insurance quote came in 100% higher than the previous year. This was due to the employee with AIDS. The Board Finance Committee questioned the premium and urged the dismissal of the employee to save money. Shannon said “no”. The alternative for him would be isolating and devastating. Several days later a call came from the Board Chair that there would be an executive session meeting to discuss her decision. At the meeting it became clear that the Board wanted Shannon to fire the employee in order to save money.

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