What's New at Lansing Rotary
When:Friday, July 20th, 2018
Where:The Lansing Center, 2nd Floor
Speaker:Dr. James Pratt
Title:"The Good, The Bad, and The Beautiful of the 366th Infantry Regiment"
Chair of the Day:Helen Mickens
Invocator:Dick Ammons
Chair of the Month:Helen Mickens
Greeter:Mike Able
Remembrance:Irv Nichols
Microphone:Janet Lillie
Editarian:Linda Lynch
James Pratt was born and raised in Kalamazoo County. After serving four years with the USAF in the 60’s, he earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Kalamazoo College, a Master’s from Purdue, and a PhD from Michigan State, both in agricultural economics. He worked more that 30 years, 25 at Cornell University, with stints at Purdue and Virginia Tech, studying logistics, spatial economics, and manufacturing efficiency in the dairy industry and teaching statistics and mathematical programming to economists. He is retired and lives in Groton, New York with his wife Mildred, who is a professor of City and Regional Planning at Cornell University.
During WWI, the 366th Infantry Regiment was an organic part of the 92nd (Buffalo) division, serving with distinction in France. In WWII, the 366th was organized as a separate regiment at Fort Devens, Massachusetts in February 1941, 10 months before Pearl Harbor. The 366th was a “colored” and “separate” infantry regiment, deceptively misleading terms. Several books and articles have been written about the 366th and they all bandy about numerous conflicting facts and statistics. Dr. Pratt’s father, Charles, served in the 366th in WWII. Charles died in 1989 and it wasn’t until 2010 that James began research into the unit.
Of the approximately 16.1 million Americans serving in the military in WWII, 1.2 million were Blacks. About 125,000 Blacks served overseas. Very few were trained and allowed to participate in combat, but the 366th Infantry Regiment, a tiny, ‘Colored’, ‘Separate’, speck of approximately 3,000, was a combat unit. It spent 3.5 months in combat at the Gothic line in Italy in late 1944 and early 1945. During this period, nearly all of its combat deaths (214 of 267) occurred. In this presentation, we will take short glimpses of eight individual 366th soldiers (five from Michigan).  The picture to the left is of Dr. Pratt and two men of Barga, Italy who were young boys when the 366th Infantry was stationed in their village.
On this sunny, hot Friday the 13th, the entire club forgot about how cold they were in mid-January.
This inaugural meeting of new President Dennis Fliehman was called to order at 12:31 pm.
God of Heaven, time and eternity, help us look to the past with gratitude and to the future with hope. We remember this day those who have gone before us, who labored not for themselves but with a vision of building a brighter future for our world. Inspire in us a passionate vision, that we too may labor for things beyond ourselves, that our lives may be dedicated to higher pur-pose and the betterment of all people. Make us unafraid of hopes and dreams; release us from fear and despair. Teach us to never lose hope in our potential to transcend the barriers in front of us.
In the words of one of Rotary’s past district governors:
With our friends beside us, and no person beneath us,
With the bonds of Rotary between us and our goals set before us,
with the dream of a polio-free world,
and a world where every human has access to clean water and education…
we are thankful for our Rotary family who aspire to service above self.
Thank you for every member of our family and we ask that you would use us in a mighty way.
PATRIOTIC SONG: God Bless America
Today’s visitors included Theresa Brandell of the Delta Club, Tammy Lemmer of the Haslett Okemos Club, and Nathan Triplett, the East Lansing District Governor Nominee. Missy Lilje introduced Doug Crawford her best friend’s dad, who is a visiting Rotarian from Texas (36 years, 25 years of perfect attendance). Uma Umakanthan introduced two visitors, Girish Joshi and his wife, Ashwini Joshi. Both are ten year Rotarians in Kolaphur, India and both are incoming Presidents in their respective clubs.
HEALTH OF THE CLUB: Diane Sanborn stated that the health of the club is good.
ANNOUNCEMENTS: President Dennis Fliehman
President Fliehman talked about the Rotary International Convention in Toronto. His main take-away was how Rotary must begin doing things differently, thinking outside the box to attract more members. He said it was an incredible experience to be in setting with so many Rotarians, with materials translated into eight languages.
PAUL HARRIS AWARDS: Donna Gardner and District Governor Jim Cupper
First time awardees: Melanie Dart (who received her dad’s Paul Harris pin) and Dave Trumpie
Second time awardees: President Fliehmann, Linda Lynch, Tim Salisbury
Third time awardee: Melody Warzecha
Fourth time awardees: Kurt Guter, Paul Rathbun
Fifth time awardee: Karl Neumann
Tenth time awardee: Joel Hoffman (so unique that there is no pin to match this accomplishment)
Mark Hooper, 11 years
Curt Sonnenberg 9 years
Heidi McNaughton, 3 years
Diane Sanborn, 4 years
Duane Vernon, FIFTY-SIX YEARS!!!!!
Today’s wonderful piano music was delivered by Ken Beachler’s great nephew, Cameron Beachler of Grand Rapids. Cameron is 16 years old, a junior at Grand Rapids Catholic Central, a multiple sport athlete, a 4.0 student, a model son, and an accomplished musician. He played very well!
TODAY’S SPEAKER: District Governor Jim Cupper
Topic: Congratulations
Mr. Cupper gave an inspiring talk about all the reasons why Rotarians should be congratulated for being Rotarians. After all, they are dedicated to making the world better every day, they are held to the highest ethical standards, and they will settle for nothing less. Rotarians foster world peace and cultural understanding, they train adults and young people to avoid conflict, they help refugees, they participate in conflict resolution, they help those at risk of violence and persecution, and they help children who have been orphaned, injured or traumatized by conflict.
In an effort to emphasize why what we as Rotarians do matters, he went on to state dozens of startling statistics, including:
51 million people are currently displaced around the world
90% of casualties of conflict are civilians (half of these are children)
Thanks to Rotary, only 11 new cases of polio have been diagnosed worldwide so far this year
One billion people annually suffer from diseases like dengue fever, leprosy etc.
100 million people are pushed into poverty each year due to medical costs they cannot afford
One in six across the globe cannot afford medical care
2.5 billion people lack access to improved sanitation
4,100 children die every day due to poor sanitation
748 people throughout the world do not have access to clean drinking water
There is a 1 in 39 lifetime risk of dying during pregnancy or childbirth in Sub-Saharan African, 84% of the above women could be saved with better care
57 million children worldwide are not in school
1.7 million additional teachers are needed worldwide
1.4 million people live on $1.25 or less per day
Rotary is working hard to address the above issues through a number of initiatives. Nevertheless, Rotarians must actively begin doing more. In particular:
1. More Rotarians are needed to step up and provide life changing experiences through the Rotary youth exchange programs, Rotoract clubs and Interact clubs.
2. More need to get involved in campaigns that support health and disease prevention education, good nutrition, breast feeding, prevention of HIV transmission, literacy and basic education, vocational training opportunities, micro lending programs.
3. Domestically, we need to do more to support our local non-profits.
4. Rotarians must do a better job telling the world about Rotary! What can each club do to increase its own membership? (For the last two years, membership has declined by 2% and the downward trend continues.)
Mr. Cupper’s charge to us is to increase our Lansing Rotary membership by 5% by the end of the year. This means a net increase of 11 new members. To help, Tammy Lemmer of the District Office will be scheduling a meeting to help make this happen. In particular, she will help us to create professional quality ads for social media and local print publications. We must all do what we can to circulate these ads. In particular, we need to tout the valuable experience that comes from being a Rotarian, that helps in our professional lives, too.
In closing, Mr. Cupper inspired us by saying that Rotarians see a world where people unite and take action to make lasting changes across our community, nation and the globe. Let’s make sure it is still here for our children and grandchildren to enjoy, and for the benefit of the whole world.
Finally, Mr. Cupper encouraged today’s attendees to sign up soon for the district conference that will take place at Mission Point on Mackinac Island next May 16-19. Special room rates of $159 will be available three days before and three days after the conference, so make it a family trip. There will be a speaker from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a speaker on environ-mental issues and their impact on our health, a diversity panel, plus all that Mackinac Island has to offer. There will also be plenty of time to enjoy the island, so come!
In lieu of a speaker’s gift, money has been donated in Mr. Cupper’s name to the Bio Sand Filter Water project to provide pure water to developing communities in the Dominican Republic.
NEXT WEEK: We will meet at the Lansing Center and our speaker will be Dr. James Pratt, telling us about the 366th "All Colored" Army Infantry in WWII.
Pam Miklavcic's email is:  pam@thedaviesproject.org
Upcoming Speakers
Helen Mickens
Jul 27, 2018
Family History at the Lansing Center
Dan Quisenberry, Pres. MAPSA
Aug 03, 2018
"Charter School Impact Across the Mitten: Parents, Politics and Outcomes"
Joshua Cowen, Assoc. Professor of Education Policy
Aug 10, 2018
Education Policy Innovation Collaborative
New Member Presentation
Aug 17, 2018
at the Lansing Center
Justin Sheehan
Aug 24, 2018
Lansing Promise
Club Information

Welcome to the Rotary Club of Lansing



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333 E. Michigan Avenue
Lansing, MI  48923
United States
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