News & Notices

News from the club and its members and notices.

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 https://www.donatelifenc.org/register 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.

Program Report: Raleigh Durham International Airport – Michael Landguth Director

Landguth WebMy introduction to RDU, and the Triangle for that matter, was a series of trips to visit the three ACC schools here in 1962 as a football recruit. I don’t remember much except, and I swear, each time, someone looking a lot like Ralph Rogers and his family were on the observation deck watching the planes land and take off. The airport didn’t look a whole lot different then, than it did in the photo shared from the thirties by Michael Landguth the RDU Director who began his tenure about 18 months ago.

Mr. Landguth began by joking about how unimpressed his teenage daughters where as he was preparing his presentation the evening before. I think we should invite them to come along next time. Dads are often heroes to their daughters but are often taken for granted too. On this day they would have been struck by the scope and importance of the organization their dad commands.

Indeed it is easy for us to take RDU for granted. Like a utility it quietly does its job and no one pays much attention until something goes wrong.  It is also a very good example of regional cooperation that is owned by the counties of Durham and Wake and the cities of Durham and Raleigh. It generates over $8 billion annually in economic impact and over 20,000 people are employed by the airport and the companies and services dependent on it.

We’re fortunate to be served here by 8 major airlines flying to 40 destinations with 107 daily departures. Unlike Charlotte which is dominated by Delta the competition helps with fares and availability.  Airports have several sets of customers that they serve the most obvious ones being business and pleasure travelers. However, the shops and other businesses at the airport also must be cultivated. Mr. Landguth noted that the airlines are also customers and there is a continual effort to work with them to secure new routes and market the Triangle as a destination. I was a little surprised that 43% of RDU’s revenues are derived from parking and another 16% from car rental companies.

Mr Landguth shared some insights about the airlines’ transformations of their business plans in the wake of years of massive losses post de-regulation. In short, they have shifted their primary metric from market share to return-on-investment. This has resulted in fewer routes, fewer planes and the a la carte pricing that seems to drive everybody nuts. This, of course, has an impact on the airport. Departing passengers peaked a few years ago at a little over 10 million and has been flat at about 9.2 million since then.

Mr. Landguth graciously took a few questions and Ralph Rogers, who has documented much of the area’s history, shared how in the early days of the airport families would gather on the observation deck to watch the planes take off. I can remember doing that as a kid myself in Richmond.  I also remember a few years ago helping RDU produce a video when the noise of takeoffs was briefly an issue. I stood with a video crew taping at the end of the runway as the jets barreled down towards us and then abruptly pulled their noses up and passed over us a couple of hundred feet in the air. This was the ultimate observation deck I suppose and a good way to appreciate logistical and engineering miracles that modern aircraft and airports are.

We are indeed fortunate to have had a well led international airport working in tandem with Research Triangle Park as such a powerful economic engine for the region.

Submitted by Jay Zenner

Emily K Scholarship Winner – Geraldo Cruz Garza

EmilyKBrownScholarshipwebGerardo Cruz Garza is holding the plaque Durham Rotary created for the Emily K Center to present to him and acknowledge his achievement at their year end celebration. Geraldo just graduated from Cedar Ridge High School.  He attended the Emily K Center’s Scholars to College program for four years, and will be matriculating at Guillford College.  He plans to double major in French and Spanish as well as complete pre-med courses to further his goals of becoming a physician.  He received the Brown Family Scholarship, which honors the memory of Fred (a former Durham Rotarian) and his wife Shirley, who believed in supporting the educational advancement of deserving economically challenged students in our community.

Geraldo is pictured with former District Judge Craig Brown representing the Brown Family and Meg Solera, Durham Rotary Vice President.

Program Report: Duke Baseball – Coach Chris Pollard

DukeCoachPollardWebSecond year Duke Baseball coach Chris Pollard is breathing excitement and heightened promise into a program whose fortunes have languished in the last few years.  Rob Everett laced his introduction of the coach with some impressive statistics of Pollard as player and coach.  It wasn’t just his prowess as a coach that led Duke to name Pollard, but what Athletic Director Kevin White cited as Pollard’s commitment to Duke’s “standards of excellence in the classroom and in the community.”

At his alma mater, Davidson, Pollard holds many records as a pitcher.  After serving as assistant coach at Davidson, Pollard resurrected the fortunes of Pfeiffer and Appalachian State.  Appointed baseball coach at Pfeiffer in 2000, Pollard turned around a program that had suffered three losing seasons.  In his final season at Pfeiffer, the Carolina Virginia Athletics Conference named him coach of the year.  Joining the Mountaineers of Appalachian State in 2004, Pollard again coached teams with winning seasons capped in 2012 with a Southern Conference championship and a bid to the NCAA championship series.  He lost count of the number of times “Omaha” came up in conversations with Duke officials during his whirlwind visit to campus that resulted in his hiring.

Pollard’s first year Blue Devil team got off to a fast start, beating Florida in Gainesville in the season opener.   The twenty-six games Duke won, including six against ranked teams, was a school record for a first year coach.  Prospects for the forthcoming season are good.  Most of last year’s players including the two top pitchers are returning.  Ten Duke players saw action this summer in the Cape Cod league regarded as the best amateur league in the country.

Pollard says the opening of school is the beginning of the new baseball season especially for recruiting.  Last year the recruiting class was in the top fifty, not where the coach wants to be.  His aim for 2014 is to be in the top twenty to twenty-five.  He praised the university’s support for the baseball program.  He is also excited about the expansion of the ACC.  The looming addition of Louisville, Pitt and Notre Dame—each with outstanding baseball programs—presents challenges but will make for even more exciting baseball in the ACC already the strongest baseball conference in the country.

Pollard takes pride in his athletes’ commitment to academics and community service.  Twenty Duke players maintained at least a 3.0 grade point average, earning them a spot on the ACC Academic Honor Roll, more than any other team in the conference.  Duke players also make time for community engagement.  Duke and Carolina partnered to fight pediatric cancer and to raise funds for the Vs. Cancer Foundation.  At the end of the last game of the Duke-Carolina series players from both teams shaved their heads to demonstrate their support for children battling cancer.  (For more information, visit http://vs-cancer.org )  Duke players are also involved in local youth baseball leagues including the traditional Little League; the Miracle League for special needs children with a dedicated park in Cary; and Long Ball, a program founded by Pat James to foster the baseball interests of boys aged 13 to 18 and to prepare them to live, work and play in a world of rules and regulations.

Pollard’s wife Stephanie is also a Davidson graduate.  They have two children in elementary school which keeps the Pollard family connected to the school system.

Submitted by Allen Cronenberg