News & Notices

News from the club and its members and notices.

New Members – More September Inductions

Please welcome these new members to the Durham Rotary.

new member1webCicely Mitchell, President of the Art of Cool non-profit here in Durham with her sponsor Deirdre Haj.

new member2webMartin W. Morris, Attorney and Retired Chief of Staff of US Senator Richard Lugar with his sponsor Bill Stokes.

Progressive Dinner – Save the Date – Sunday October 27


The Fifth Annual Progressive Dinner
This year, we move to a Sunday, change the appetizer location, change the menu and add a great surprise during dessert.  Curious?  Save the date and Sign-Up!

This is our Club’s premier Social/Fellowship event of the year.  Here is your opportunity to bring a spouse, partner or simply come alone to mingle, dine and meet new folks in a casual setting.  We meet up for appetizers, then are given an envelope with the dinner host’s name and address (with

a map) and split up to dine at one of eight catered dinners hosted at the homes of fellow Rotarians (within a ten minute drive of the appetizer location).  Following dinner, every host hands out envelopes giving directions to our dessert location which is always held at a Rotarian’s place of business (also no more than a ten minute drive) where we all meet back up to enjoy delicious goodies and beverages, and wrap up the event.  Starts promptly at 4:30pm and ends at 9pm.

This is a great opportunity for new and ‘seasoned’ members of our Club to meet people and socialize together. $30/person includes scrumptious appetizers, dinner with wine, and lovely dessert treats.

No one knows which home they will be assigned for dinner, but we mix it up annually and everyone has a great time.

No football conflicts (it’s Sunday), so jump on board and save the date.  Sign-ups will begin after Labor Day at our regular meetings and spots fill up quickly as we can only accommodate approximately 65 total guests (including hosts).

Many thanks to House Hosts: Newman & Ann-Louise Aguillar, Arthur & Caroline Rogers, Ellen & Ken Reckhow, Mark Higgins, Shannon & Wil Leskin, Harvey & Calla Sellner, Susan Ross & Tom Hadzor, Vandana Dake & John Warasila…………and Appetizer Host Nancy Gordon.

Questions?  Email Progressive Dinner Chairperson Meg Solera

New Members – September

newmembers2From left to right:

New member Alison Steele with her sponsor, President elect Vandana Dake.

Returning new member, Roz Grace with her sponsor, Meg Solera.

New member Craig Reed with his sponsor, Membership Chair Sheridan van Wagenberg.

Program Report: Donate Life -Tammy Dunne and Karen Devine

DonateLifeWibWe learned Monday that 18 people die every day waiting for an organ transplant.

Karen Devine might have been one of those people. The Durham resident shared her moving story of how the death of someone in Tennessee in January 2007 brought to an end decades of poor health.

She was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes as a child, which didn’t affect her too much until she went to college. During a physical doctors discovered she had dangerously high blood pressure, which later started to affect her eyesight. In fact, it was an eye doctor who told her, “Don’t you ever even think about getting pregnant.”

Karen and her husband moved to Durham in 1989 for his work and she was “thrilled to be this close to Duke.” She got on a blood pressure drug in 1994 that kept her health problems in check. But in 2004 she was told she had two years before she would either need to go on dialysis or get a transplant.

On Jan. 16, 2007, she got a call from Duke saying they had a kidney and pancreas for her. She rushed to the hospital – time is of the essence when it comes to transplants – and heard the helicopter land that brought her new organs from Tennessee.

Karen shared her gratitude and even some conflicting emotions after receiving a kidney and a pancreas from the anonymous person.

“I was completely alone in the pre-op area and for the first time I allowed myself to get excited,” said Karen, the wife and mother of two adopted boys. “But I also realized there was a family in the state of Tennessee that just had one of the most horrific days of their life. It’s a real mix of emotions, but I’m very, very thankful that someone was able to be generous, to see beyond themselves.”

Karen read from a letter – as yet unreturned – to the donor’s family, thanking the person and pledging to be a good steward.

“I want you to know I take this precious gift you’ve given me very seriously, and I’m forever grateful.”

Unfortunately, less than half of drivers in North Carolina are registered organ donors. If any of us are were in that number, I imagine they’ll be giving it a second thought after hearing Karen’s story.

Tammy Dunne, program director for Donate Life NC, told us before introducing Karen that many people worry they’re too old or have had too many health problems.

The truth, according to the Donate Life website, is that “Just about everyone is eligible to donate, regardless of age, medical history or health habits. Newborns as well as senior citizens have been organ donors.”

Go to to register as an organ donor today. You could be a lifesaver.

Submitted by Matt Dees

Todd Taylor in Singapore

P8192039Rotarian of the year, Chief Reading Ranger and Antarctic explorer Todd Taylor has been travelling again. Here’s a picture of him exchanging banners with Singapore’s Ranglin Rotary Club. According to Todd, their district governor spoke and it was an interesting speaker and an interesting meeting. YeeHaw!

Paul Harris Fellow – John Warasila

VandanaJohnWe inadvertently left out from our report about the celebration ending Don Stanger’s term in office one important presentation. There were several Rotarians that presented Paul Harris Fellowships to their spouses. One was 2014-2015 President Elect Vandana Dake’s presentation to her husband and business partner at Alliance Architecture,  John Warasila. Congratulations Vandana and John.