Rotary International Theme 2022-2023




Rotary Club of Durham

Rotary International President:

Jennifer E. Jones

Rotary District 5160 Governor:

Suzanne Bragdon

Durham Rotary President: Eric Hoiland


Editor: Phil Price

Publisher:  Jen Liu





April 4, 2023


 Harvest Festival


will be held on

September 17, 2023

2023                                       Calendar for Durham Rotary
2 3 4
Community Vocational Project by Paradise Rotary Club
(Jen Liu)
5 6 7 8
9 10 11
No Meeting
12 13 14 15
16 17

Heather Lowe, Durham HS alumni teaching in Chico at the BCCC.
(Steve Plume)

19 20 21 22
23 24 25
No Meeting
26 27 28 29
Rotary Visibility Day
  1 2
Garbage Talk by Butte County Solid Waste Dept.
(Mike Crump)
3 4 5 6
7 8 9
No Meeting
10 11 12 13
14 15 16
Meet the Students BBQ at Durham Park
(Eric Hoiland)
17 18 19 20
21 22

No Meeting

24 25 26 27
28 29 30
No Meeting

The Meeting Opening


The meeting was called to order by Eric Hoiland at the Butte Creek Country Club.  He asked Mike Crump, to lead the pledge, which he did.

He then asked Jim Patterson to present the invocation, which he did, mentioning Sue Jessen and Robert Olea.. 

He asked Larry Bradley to lead us in a song.  He led us in singing “Take Me Out To The Ball Game”

FUTURE MEETINGS: Meetings will be at the location noted, at 6:00 pm.


April 18th.  Steve Plume will present Heather Lowe, Durham HS alumni teaching in Chico at the BCCC.


April 29th:  Rotary Visibility Day


May 2nd:  Mike Crump will present a program about garbage, at the BCCC.


May 16th:  This will be the Scholarship Awards and Teacher of the Year, at the Durham Community Park.


June 6th:  President Eric will present a program.  Location undetermined.  Board Meeting at 5:00 pm





Board Meeting

President Eric reported that Glenn Pulliam will be president for 2023-2024 and Peggi Witman will be president for 2024-2025.

He also reported on future meeting programs.  See sidebar.  Note that the meeting of May 16th will be at the Durham Community Park.

Lastly, he noted that the Board discussed our participation in Rotary Visibility Day on April 29th.  This is a program to market Rotary.  Each club in the District is to do something to make them visible to the community.  Our Rise Against Hunger program would have been ideal, but unfortunately it has been cancelled.  One suggestion was participation in the Wildflower Century rest stop in Durham. Members are requested to make suggestions.


Durham Parade

The annual Durham Parade will be held in May 13th.  They need 7 volunteers for traffic control.  If you can help contact president Eric.  They are also adding something this year.  Fireworks in the evening and they are seeking funds to help with that.


Introduction of Visitors.


We had a lot of visitors.  Eight members of Paradise Rotary visited.  Ravi Saip introduced Brian Gray, Travis Barker, Jim Elloway and Chewne Luna.  Steve Plume introduced Pam Gray (Past District  Governor).  Ravi Saip introduced Sonny Vertimiglios, Kelli Gorden and Melissa Crick, who were also our program for the evening.


Mike Wacker was recognized for his birthday on April 7th.  He requested and received a song.  He contributed $50.

Next Meeting

The next meeting will be on April 18th at the Butte Creek Country Club.  Steve Plume will present Heather Lowe, Durham HS alumni currently teaching in Chico. She will talk about her receipt of a scholarship at Durham High



Bring guests who you think you can interest in becoming a member.  Think of business owners or managers to bring.  Your dinner and your guest’s dinner will be paid for by the Club.  Also, bring a guest to one of our occasional social gatherings in the Durham Park or a Pizza place (Monday Night Football).

Go to the following Rotary International web site for information on membership development: .  From this website there is access to membership development and other related information

Tonight’s Meeting Program



Sonny Vertimiglios, Kelli Gorden and Melissa Crick, of the Paradise Club, talked about Paradise Vocations, a program for creating bridges between students, educators, and businesses working to inspire the community to see the career potential in the local area (from their web page).


This program is about the need for workforce education and developing workforce skills.  They noted that out of 10 jobs only one requires an advanced degree (doctor, lawyer, etc.), only 2 require even a Bachelor’s degree and 7 require trade school education.  There are plenty of jobs in the Paradise area, with the right education.


They were also promoting their upcoming job fair.  Employers as well as student are excited about this job fair.




The Rotary Foundation Donations

You can make a difference in this world by helping people in need. Your gift can do some great things, from supplying filters that clean people’s drinking water to empowering local entrepreneurs to grow through business development training.

The Rotary Foundation will use your gift to fund the life-changing work of Rotary members who provide sustainable solutions to their communities’ most pressing needs. But we need help from people like you who will take action and give the gift of Rotary to make these projects possible.

When every Rotarian gives every year, no challenge is too great for us to make a difference. The minimum gift to The Rotary Foundation is $25.00.   An annual $100.00 gift is a sustaining member.  Once your donations accumulate to $1,000 you become a Paul Harris Fellow.

It is possible to learn more about The Rotary Foundation on the Rotary web site. 

Your gift can be made online or by sending Jessica Thorpe a check made out to The Rotary Foundation to Durham Rotary, P.O. Box 383, Durham, California 95958.


From the District Governor

The Three-Hour Workshop

Participants are guided through the steps to Design Your Club's Membership Action Plan in this specially designed workshop, taught by Rotarians from Zone 26/27 and our own District Membership Chair Marsha Brown. Interactive break-outs further the opportunity to hear what other clubs are doing to increase their membership.

Two sessions of this three-hour online workshop are being offered.  Register for the session that works for you!

Option 1: April 5th and 12th - 6:15 pm to 7:45 pm (three-hour workshop spread over two nights). You only need to register once for this two-night event.
Register NOW 

Option 2: May 6th - 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (three-hour workshop on a Saturday)

Register NOW 

Questions? Contact District Membership Chair Marsha Brown at

Training Opportunities from the Comfort of Your Home - New Courses Added 3/29/23

The district has put together a series of training opportunities to expand our reach and increase our impact! In each training session, you will dive deeper into various Rotary topics to develop leadership skills and learn how to take yourself and your club to the next level.

Check out the listing of opportunities here. New courses will be added monthly, so check back regularly. 

RI Convention: Join DG Suzanne in Melbourne, May 27-31.




From Rotary International

A Peace Fellow and polio survivor focuses on accessibility

By Wen Huang

Ronald Kasule caught polio when he was 3 years old. The disease left him paralyzed. Seeing that the boy could neither walk nor feed himself, his father intended to end his son’s life before he became a burden to the family. “My parents had fierce arguments over me,” he recalls. “In the end, my mother prevailed. She made the tough decision of divorcing my father to save my life.”

The family lived in Kisubi, a village about 60 miles southwest of Uganda’s capital, Kampala. His mother sold practically everything the family owned to search for a cure. When treatment failed, she came up with many creative ways to train her son at home so he could live independently. But when Kasule reached school age, he had no means of attending the distant school. One day, he pleaded with his mother until she relented and allowed him to go.

“With a book in my hand, I went with my siblings,” Kasule says. “But they ran very fast, and I could only crawl slowly on a gravel road. Before long, a rain came down. I had to turn around and go home. The rain had damaged my book. From then on, I voluntarily gave up the idea of schooling.” 

In 1986, when Kasule was 7, rebel groups waged a civil war against the new Ugandan government. His village was under frequent attacks by rebel soldiers. “One night, before soldiers raided our village, my mother had to escape with my siblings without me because I was a big boy, and she wouldn’t be able to carry me. So, I was left alone in the house, with the door wide open.” Fortunately, the soldiers never entered the house.   


Ronald Kasule with his mother

Courtesy of Ronald Kasule

When soldiers terrorized the community during the day, his mother would carry him to the nearby woods and hide him behind a bush. “She would say, ‘Ronald, if I survive, I will come back to get you, but if I don’t, God will keep you,’” says Kasule. “I would lie quietly, in fear until my mother came at night.” 

These traumatic experiences motivated him in later years to apply for a Rotary Peace Fellowship. “A person with a disability cannot survive without peace,” he says.

As the civil war continued, Kasule and his family deserted their home and slept in the woods. They later moved to another region and stayed with an uncle, a schoolteacher who lived on campus. The relocation enabled Kasule to fulfill his childhood dream of attending school. 

Kasule studied hard and excelled in his class. The charity organization ActionAid gave him his first wheelchair and sent him to study at Kampala School for the Physically Handicapped. 

For Kasule, the path to education after the war was paved with frustration. Even though he achieved the best scores in the district, he was denied access to his secondary school of choice after the school found out that he was disabled. “The school insisted that I could not manage without support, yet there was no support available for me,” he says. 

Having dropped out of school, he tried to learn shoemaking. At Nkokonjeru Providence Cheshire Home, which provides vocational training to people with disabilities, staff members learned about his academic prowess and encouraged him to resume his studies, later sponsoring his college education. 

“I view peace in terms of development,” says Ronald Kasule, pictured here at the Rotary Peace Center in Kampala in 2021.

Image credit: Tobin Jones

“After college, I went back and tried to help people like me in my community to fight for equal access to education and jobs so we can fully participate in social, economic, and political life,” he explains.

Since people with disabilities in Uganda often lack access to reproductive health education, Kasule says that many of them are sterilized without their knowledge because some people believe that people with disabilities should not have children. So after graduation, Kasule co-founded Access for Action Uganda, an organization advocating for inclusive policies to aid people with disabilities and other marginalized groups. He later served as the honorary council representative in a district government to advocate for the rights of constituents with disabilities. 

Making up for his lost educational opportunities, Kasule earned a master’s degree and completed several certificate programs, including one in sustainable development and global justice from the University of Antwerp in Belgium and another in social protection and inclusion of people with disabilities from Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences in Germany. 

In 2018, Kasule was selected for a U.S. State Department-sponsored fellowship in inclusive disability employment. He traveled to Washington, D.C., to visit private and public initiatives that promote employment for people with disabilities.

“When I came back, I was supposed to implement what I had learned,” he says. “I had many ideas but did not know how to start.” While figuring out solutions, he came across news about the new Rotary Peace Center in Kampala. 

In February 2021, Kasule joined the inaugural class of 15 peace fellows from 11 countries at the Rotary Peace Center at Makerere University to study peacebuilding and conflict resolution. The program strengthened his peacemaking skills, allowing him to traverse Uganda, where he met with social service providers and other peacemakers. 

Ronald Kasule

“During my research, I noticed that more people are now attending universities to gain various skills for supporting persons with disabilities, but after graduation there is no work for them,” he says. “Meanwhile, I have talked to many local companies, but most of them told me that they are not against employing people with disabilities. The challenge is that they do not have the resources.” 

In the summer of 2021, Kasule launched an online platform, Diversity Ability Support Network System, that provides information about disability resources, connecting Ugandans with disabilities with social agencies and service providers, such as home care workers, personal aides, and sign language interpreters. At present, he and his colleagues are redesigning the Dasuns platform, incorporating additional web and mobile-based applications and features to make it accessible to more users. Kasule’s goal is to scale Dasuns across Africa. 

“We often talk about peace in terms of conflicts,” he says. “But for me, I view peace in terms of development — you cannot be at peace with yourself if you are hungry, you cannot be peaceful when you have no access to the support and resources available within your community. You’ll feel sidelined.”  

This story originally appeared in the April 2023 issue of Rotary magazine.


The Rotary International web site is:


District 5160 is:


The Durham Rotary Club site is:


The Rowel Editor may be contacted at:


The deadline for the Rowel 6:30 am on Wednesdays.


The Editor’s photographs published in the Rowel are available, upon request, in their original file size.  Those published were substantially reduced in file size.