Program Report: Dr. Frank Neelon

A Candle for the Path: How Poems can illuminate the Doctor’s Job

Inspired by Dr. Frank Neelon’s spellbinding presentation on poetry’s ability to aid in, of all things, weight loss, I thought I’d give it a shot. Here goes…

Bacon is red

Pinot is too

I should lose weight

On the other hand, bacon

I think I’m doing it wrong. But seriously, folks, I shouldn’t be flip about my own health or that of our fattening society. It’s a real problem, of course, and an imminently preventable one. Something Dr. Neelon said at the outset of his talk rang true: Medicine has taught us nearly all it’s going to about preventing obesity and its attendant health crises. Eat right. Eat less. Exercise more. Everyone knows that, but many – including yours truly – find it difficult to actually follow through with those simple steps. Which is where poetry comes in. Dr. Neelon has used select poems to motivate, encourage and comfort his patients at the Durham-based Rice Diet Program, where he’s worked for 15 years.

He mesmerized us with from-memory recitations of four poems that, while varied in theme and tone, contained a common message: be patient, steadfast and, yes, joyful. Dr. Neelon noted that the word “diet” is from the Greek for “way of life.” Thought of in those terms, it’d be odd, Dr. Neelon observed, “to say, ‘I’m going on a four-week way of life.’”

I particularly liked “Ithaca” by Constantine Cavafy and “Postscript” by Seamus Heaney.

From “Ithaca”:

When you set out for Ithaca

ask that your way be long,
full of adventure, full of instruction …

Have Ithaca always in your mind.
Your arrival there is what you are destined for.
But don’t in the least hurry the journey.
Better it last for years…

From “Postscript”:

You are neither here nor there,

A hurry through which known and strange things pass
As big soft buffetings come at the car sideways
And catch the heart off guard and blow it open.

It really was powerful stuff, and I believe many of us left inspired to live better, to smell the roses and skip the bacon.

– submitted by Matt Dees

Program Reports: Dr. Paul Feldman – GlaxoSmithKline & Drug Discovery

Dr. Paul Feldman has lectured and published extensively across the global pharmaceutical industry.  As a senior vice president at GlaxoSmithKline’s RTP campus and site head, a spotlight comes with the turf.  But he conceded to being “especially nervous” after President Don introduced him as featured speaker at this week’s luncheon.  The Durham Rotary event, Feldman said, was the first time that his mother had seen him speak in public.  She was one of several guests presented by members at a nearly packed house.

At the end of Feldman’s presentation, both mom and club had a keen understanding of the enormous risks, challenges and opportunities facing GSK and the entire industry, and an equally keen understanding of the ways the industry improves life for people across the globe.

Locally, with more than 4,000 people employed, many of the company’s people are working in projects and partnerships aimed at improving education and health, as well as bolstering arts and culture and community affairs.  “We do write checks,” he said. “But we put our people into action, too.” [Read more…]

Rotary Minutes: Ralph Rogers

It’s becoming clear that the five minutes that we established for the “Rotary Minutes” is not enough to summarize the lives and careers of some of our members. Even younger members like myself…I’m only 67…have found that limitation constraining.  For senior members like Ralph Rogers,  who is 20 years older, it should hardly get him through high school (Durham High, 1943), military service (the Big One, WW II) and college (Duke undergraduate and pharmacy school at Carolina.)

President Don has been reluctant to use the hook. Fortunately, I was saved from that embarrassment after I went well beyond that arbitrary limit and made it impossible for Don to try to rein in much more interesting and accomplished Rotarians than I, like Ralph.

Ralph’s professional career is notable enough. He took over the pharmacy that his father established in Durham at Mangum and Parrish Streets and ran it until the early 60’s when he sold it to go and found Mutual Drug Company, which for sixty years now has been providing services to independent pharmacies around the state.

However, one of the most fascinating things that Ralph reported on was the project he undertook in the late 50’s. As one of the organizers of an early effort to revitalize Downtown Durham he began documenting improvements with before and after pictures. One of my earliest memories of a Rotary presentation occurred in the late 80’s and was a slide show that Ralph put together of some of these photographs.

Another significant contribution to his home town was Ralph’s involvement in the establishment of mental health services in the community. However, the documentation of Downtown’s early transformation will likely cement his place in history. Fortunately, Ralph has collaborated with the folks at the Durham County Library to make the photographs available to the public along with his audio descriptions of what the pictures are showing.

Anybody interested in the history of Durham will find this indispensable. They are available here on the library’s website.

http://www.durhamcountylibrary.org/ncc/landscape/rr002.php

 

submitted by Jay Zenner

Past President Newman Aguiar to be District Governor

Several weeks ago President Don submitted paperwork to the District 7710 Nominations Committee nominating our own Past President Newman Aguiar for District Governor.  In Current District Governor Rick’s  October newsletter the announcement was made that Newman would serve as the 2015-16 District Governor.

When he is inducted in 2015, Newman will become the eighth member of our club during our 97 year history to be named a District 7710 Governor. In his message to the club announcing the good news President Don noted “How appropriate that he will District Governor as we celebrate our club’s centennial! Please join me in congratulating Newman on this distinct honor.”

Service above Self guides Newman’s involvement in the club and the Durham Community. In 2006 the club recognized him as the Rotarian of the Year. Newman is a graduate of the Rotary Leadership Institute and has served on and led various committees, including Group Study Exchange and Membership. He is a multiple Paul Harris Fellow and is passionate about supporting the Peace Fellows at the Duke-UNC Rotary Peace Center and Rotary’s efforts to end Polio. Of course, he was our club president in 2010-2012 and has served on the Board of Directors. In July, he began serving as an Assistant District Governor for Rotary District 7710.

Click to District Governor Rick’s newsletter to see the announcement authored by Past District Governor Mack Parker.

Program Report: David Reese – The East Durham Children’s Initiative

This was not your average Rotarian lunch! We wiped the chili from our mouths, enjoying the hospitality of the Holton Center and Joe’s diner, and turned our focus to Dr. Phail Wynn. He had the pleasure of reminding us that when the East Durham Children’s Initiative was conceived and modeled after the Harlem Children’s Zone, the task to find a leader with diverse qualifications was set: someone with 20 years minimum of not-for-profit work, experience in eradicating poverty, someone who had worked with disaffected youth and had ties to the Bronx.

David Reese had all of these. [Read more…]

Reading Rangers in the Voice

Recently we were contacted by Hayley Paytes, a journalism student at UNC who wanted to do a story on the Reading Rangers for the Voice. Voice is an online project of the UNC and NCCU Journalism schools and community leaders to create a hyper-local source of news for the Northeast Central Durham community. Stories are posted online at durhamvoice.org with neighborhood news, information, photos, videos and features provided by NCCU and UNC journalism students and local teens mentored by students and faculty.

Rotarian and founder of the Reading Rangers, Todd Taylor, responded and Hayley did a very nice write up that you can see here. While you are there take a few minutes to look at some of the other stories.  The link in the article in the Voice to our website is the first official “pingback” that we’ve received and is much appreciated.

I’m sure Todd would also want to let everybody to know that everyone should consider joining the Reading Rangers. It is a huge challenge and we need all hands on deck. Specifics can be found  here on the Rotary website.

Yeah doggies!