July 2021
So sorry to be a week late with the July bulletin for Chiang Mai International Rotary Club, but the last two weeks have been wild. 
We've been very busy, seemingly taking two steps forward and one step back, in the application process for the Chiang Mai Rotary Club Foundation.  But, as you'll read in the story, below, at last, the small Board of the gestating foundation trooped to Chiang Mai City Hall to launch the tall stack of application documents onto the path of approval, at the first of many government offices that need to, quite literally, put their stamp all over the documents.
On the Covid-19 front, conditions are deteriorating in Thailand, mostly around Bangkok, but Chiang Mai has issues as the case count steadily increases and vaccines are in short supply as they are diverted to areas more in need. 
When the Chiang Mai Health Department actually confirmed to me in writing that they are prioritizing vaccination of Thai people over that of foreign residents, even foreign residents who are older and with health problems, I forwarded this email to both the U.S. Chargé d’ Affaires in Bangkok and the Consul-General in Chiang Mai. 
Surprisingly, each called me to discuss this email and the U.S. position.  It became evident that as foreigners without Thai family, without home or condo ownership, Roger and I were going to be last in the vaccination queue and we couldn't count on the U.S. government for assistance, despite their donation of vaccines to Thailand. Realistically, we probably wouldn't be vaccinated until 2022 if we remained in Thailand.
And the Delta variant has arrived in Chiang Mai with a vengeance.
So a good chunk of my time during the past two weeks has be in researching the most logical place to receive immediate vaccination, making travel arrangements and taking a trip.  So, Greetings from Guam!  Where America's Day Starts!
Thus, the delay in sending this month's CMIRC Bulletin. 
President's Message for July 2021

I begin my first presidential message by thanking you, our Donors, Community Partners, Club Members, Board Members, and Club Leadership for what has proved to be, even in the age of COVID, your unabated commitment to improving Child Safety, Health, and Education here in Northern Thailand. 

Every year, Rotary International announces a new theme – this year’s theme being “Serve to Change Lives”. While each of us, as Rotarians, explore what that motto means to us individually and to our ongoing work in the community, I can think of no better objective to help frame our next twelve months together. After all, caring for and serving others has always been what Rotary has stood for and what our collective effort as the Chiang Mai International Rotary Club will continue to be about.

Last year, Past President Roger Lindley guided us through what might have been one of the most challenging times Rotary has ever seen. Despite the ongoing pandemic, and its horrific toll on the lives and livelihoods of so many, our club and its supporters managed to make some pretty significant contributions throughout RY 2020-2021. This included:

  • Donating 500,000+ Baht into several COVID-related emergency food initiatives throughout Northern Thailand, including the Work Kitchen Project here in Chiang Mai and the Koung Jor Shan Refugee Camp on the Myanmar border where we continue providing hot lunches for 125 nursery school students.
  • Supporting the BEAM Education Foundation’s GED Program through English language tutoring and thanks in no small part to beloved former member, Bob Carroll, who recently passed away, the establishment of an ongoing combined scholarship and internship program in collaboration with the Burma Children Medical Fund B.K. Kee Patient House. 
  • Managing our club’s Children’s Water Safety and Drowning Prevention Program by employing local Thai instructors to teach life-saving water skills to 4th-grade students at the Wat Suan Dok School, eleven municipal schools in Chiang Mai, and eleven local schools in Phrao.
  • Supporting the Burma Children Medical Fund’s B.K. Kee Patient House with programs that provide patients with safe interaction, English language, gardening, and sewing skills training. 
  • Managing the return of our club’s School Vision Screening Program that screened all 3rd and 5th grade students at the Wat Suan Dok School and eleven municipal schools here in Chiang Mai. Over 100 students received glasses.
  • Conducting our club’s annual Children’s Winter Clothing Appeal. Thanks in no small part to our fellow community members: Philanthropy Connections; Chiang Mai International SchoolUnity Concord International SchoolChiang Mai University-Satit School; and, Lanna International School, along with the Rimping and Makro supermarket chains, we collected and distributed over 10+ tons of winter clothes, shoes, school supplies, and toys to eleven remote and impoverished villages in three Northern Thai provinces.

In closing, I would be remiss not to say that these types of investments are only possible and sustainable because of your personal commitment to the club’s mission and our community. Without you, Chiang Mai International Rotary isn’t possible, and I am deeply grateful to be working alongside you to accomplish our goals, help institute our vision, and be a part of, in essence, our collective force.

During the 2021-2022 Rotary Year, I would like to focus on

  1. Diversity; expanding our membership to include more Thai people, regional, and indigenous members;
  2. Emphasizing female empowerment and seeing more women taking up leadership roles;
  3. Promoting mental health awareness; developing a “CMIRC Buddy” program (more on this later);
  4. And, networking with Thai Rotary clubs, because together we can do so much more.

I’m looking forward to a productive and fun-filled Rotary year with you.

The Year Ahead for the Water Safety Program

Chiang Mai International Rotary Club (CMIRC)-Kru Payu  Children’s Water Safety and Drowning Prevention Program (CWSDPP) 

The new Rotary Year has begun, so a review of our CWSDPP goals for the coming year seems appropriate.

Goals for RY 2021-2022:

1. Continue our 7th year of CWSDPP at all eleven Chiang Mai Municipal Schools and Wat Suan Dok School (11 to 13 classes, depending on the possible combinations of classes for smaller schools).

2. Continue our Phrao CWSDPP at eleven Phrao elementary schools (seven classes, smaller schools combined).

3. When possible, continue our program at the Ban Ya Migrant Learning Centre (MLC) in Phuket Province, this program is currently on hold due to delays in Thai governmental permission for MLCs to reopen due to Covid-19 concerns. We have been informed that the Ban Ya MLC will reopen this month, so we should be able to start our CWSDPP there soon.

4. Expand to at least one other location through the Rotary Network; currently, there is great interest in adopting our program by the Rotary Club of Royal Hua Hin (RCRHH).

5. Add a lice eradication component to all project locations and classes. Lice problems prevent about 10 to 15% of the girls from participating in our CWSDPP, so this is an important addition to our program.

We cannot do any of the above without the generous support of our partners, sponsors and donors, so here is a list of these generous organizations!!

If you wish to help, please contact Project Champion John Schorr at for more information.

CMIRC Children’s Water Safety and Drowning Prevention Team and Sponsors:

The Thai Thaim Foundation

June Update on Two Work Kitchen Projects

Nicha and I had a three hour tour of two Work Kitchen projects at the Tan Ta Wan community and Wat Prasart. Multiple groups are working together around Chiang Mai through Chiang Mai Trust, The Chiang Mai Arts and Cultural Museum, Chiang Mai University, Community Gardens and community leaders, committed to improving the community. The Work Kitchen Project isn't just a food give-away. Instead, it helps poor families and others who may be disabled or homeless, to earn money (200 THB per day) by doing work in their community while providing lunch during work hours.

Our tour guides were Ajarn Fan, Chiangmai Trust Coordinator and Professor of Architecture at Rajamankala Technology University and Pharadon Phonamnuai (Opor) leader of Chiang Mai Trust. They provided great insight into two of the seventeen Work Kitchen projects.

The Tan Ta Wan community is located behind Toyota Rich on Route 11. The residents in the community have worked with the Thai government to obtain ownership of the land. They have a community kitchen set up and across the street they have permission to use land for a garden. Recently, they did a clean-up project on the land and we were able to see how they have put it to good use in starting a garden.

Then, we observed a meeting of about thirty people at Wat Prasart. They were formulating a plan to preserve the sacred fig tree planted 400 years ago to signify Wat Prasart. They plan to remove the pavement and establish a more natural environment for the tree and Wat to survive.

You can follow Chiang Mai Trust on Facebook

Status on the Formation of the Chiang Mai International Rotary Club Foundation

The team of Nick Dale, Bill Pierce, Bill Trempus, Nicha Trempus and Roger Lindley worked at setting up Room 208 at the Royal Peninsula Hotel as the foundation office. Formerly, it has been the storage room for the paraphernalia needed to conduct in-person Rotary meetings at the hotel. This small team succeeded, or so we thought, in making the outer room of the two room suite look like an office, one of the requirements for having a functioning foundation, and neatly organizing the paraphernalia in the inner room .

We continued to work with the lawyer on creation of documents required by the Thai government in the forming of a foundation. The officers for the foundation have been identified: President – Roger Lindley, Vice President – Bill Trempus, Secretary – Bill Pierce and Treasurer – Nancy Lindley. We had a document signing "party" in our new office, with each page of a stack of documents over a foot tall being signed by at least one member of the committee. 

The lawyer deemed that the office didn't look professional enough to pass government inspection and thus Roger and Nancy made an emergency trip to several stores to locate suitable office furniture that could be delivered the next day in time for a photo opportunity, so that the photos could join the foot tall stack of documents.  This furniture cost over 13,500 baht (donated by Roger and Nancy) -- money that could have been put to better use to help people in Northern Thailand. 

Signage and legal stamps have been created in line with requirements of the Thai government. Now we can stamp documents with our official seal. No document is official in Thailand without at least one stamp.

So, we were ready to go to present our bundle of documents to the first government office needed to approve our foundation application.

Two days after the document signing party and a day after the office furniture delivery, the four person team met the lawyer and his staff at the local Amphur, or district office to submit the stack of documents to the mayor's assistant in charge of digesting foundation applications.  We all showed appropriate respect, i.e. the guys wore long pants and real shoes.  Bill T even wore a tie.

We knew we had one little shortcoming, described in the next paragraph, and as she carefully looked through the stack of documents, actually knowing what she was seeing, she provided some valuable advice.

The little shortcoming was with our criminal background checks, i.e. FBI reports. No problem with the actual FBI reports, but according to "the rules", the FBI report should have been deemed authentic by the U.S. State Department in Washington D.C. and then legalized by the Thai Embassy in the U.S.  The problem was that our FBI Reports hadn't been authenticated by the U.S. State Department, but rather had received an Apostille stamp from that same Department.  Somehow we thought these were the same, but the Thai Embassy doesn't and clearly states so on their website.  The Thai Embassy had refused our legalization requests.  And it meant that we were going to have to start from the very beginning since the U.S. State Dept's Apostille process puts a big binding ring in the FBI report. We couldn't reuse the original FBI reports. 

The nice lady at the Amphur office said we could simply go to the U.S. Consulate in Chiang Mai and swear an Affidavit that we don't have criminal records, attach it to the flawed FBI reports with the Apostille stamp and they'd accept the U.S. Consulate's notary stamp.  Voila!  She even showed us an example of an American who had done this recently and let us take a copy of his U.S. Consulate Affidavit, with identifying information blanked out.  Whew. The earliest Consulate appointments are for the end of July.  Meanwhile the nice lady at the Amphur office can digest our application and let the Mayor know if he should approve it. That's the first step in the many government agencies that have to approve the application.

Why are we forming a foundation, anyway?  It's not as if we like paperwork and frantic trips to buy office furniture just before the stores close.  In the eyes of the Thai government, Rotary clubs are social clubs and, as such, the banks don't permit us to have bank accounts in the name of the club, just individual members.  We've encountered problems where donors or sponsors have been reluctant to contribute money because we don't have a bank account in the name of the club.  Also, since we're not a legal entity, it's not possible for CMIRC to be remembered in someone's Final Will or named as a beneficiary in a Life Insurance policy.  All that will change once we have a foundation for the club.

The Teddy Trekkers

The end of last year, 2020, CMIRC presented the patients at Burma Children Medical Fund B.K.Kee Patient House with Teddy Trekkers in hand painted, ribbon tied bags (right). There were some teddies still looking for a home, some in need of someone to cuddle them at night. Since no new patients were coming into the B.K.Kee Patient House due to Covid restrictions, we decided to send them to Mae Sot where they would be loved by young patients there.

All the patients at the Chiang Mai B.K.Kee Patient House were involved with the goal of giving the Teddies a proper send-off to Mae Sot. Paper carrier bags were handed out for the patients to paint a picture and personalize, together art paper to paint an individual picture. 

Time went by and soon the teddies had been packed into their gift bags with a signed picture and sealed with a colourful ribbon (right). As there is no regular patient transfer between the B.K.Kee Patient House and Mae Sot at this time, large boxes were packed with Teddies and posted to Mae Sot. 

The Thai postal system is brilliant. Thirty hours after being posted from San Sai, Chiang Mai they arrived in Mae Sot, near a war-torn border with Burma where other delivery services fear to go. Bill Pierce, the project champion for the B.K. Kee Patient House and myself received messages of excitement and true appreciation for the Teddies; in fact their warmth and excitement was overwhelming.

This is not the end of the story of the Teddy Trekkers. They originally immigrated from Australia, having been made by loving ladies there who brought them to Thailand in their luggage. The days of Aussies visiting Thailand on holiday are long gone, but our mission is to continue with the project of giving Teddies to patients who are alone, separated from their parents, family, and loved ones. The process of hand painted signed bags, with individual pictures painted by B.K.Kee patients will continue.

So, where do the teddies of the future come from?  This becomes a plea, a reach out for support for you to donate to CMIRC Teddy Trekkers, for Bill and Nick’s attention, a Teddy, or more. You can ask other Rotary Clubs to add their support. Please bear in mind, from a safety aspect, these are predominately going to children. In sending to CMIRC for customs, it’s a gift or of nominal value. It's better to send Teddies via the postal system rather than using DHL/FedEx/UPS.  Somehow Thai Post is kinder about packages of nominal value when it comes to collecting customs duty.  Our postal address is:

Chiang Mai International Rotary Club
P O Box 76, Phrasingh Post Office 
Chiang Mai, 50200 Thailand

Below are some photos of the individual pictures painted by B.K.Kee patients and the presentation of Teddies in December, 2020. Please help us in making someone’s good night a happy one.

Ann's Fund Established

Dear CMIRC Bulletin readers, this is a request that you support a memorial fund that has just been established within CMIRC with a $6,500 founding gift from the Gfeller-Clark family. We have already received another $500 donation from CMIRC Rtn. Raphael and others have made donations as well.

Ann Gfeller Clark was an amazing person and many of us in CMIRC were fortunate enough to have known her when Rtn. Craig Clark and Ann were in Chiang Mai. They spent many years serving the poor in SE Asia. Ann was a farm girl, and she inherited the Gfeller farm and used the funds from the sale of that farm for the Thai Thaim Foundation. The Thai Thaim Foundation has been a major donor to CMIRC for many years.  The Foundation has provided support for the Children's Water Safety & Drowning Prevention Project, The Food Initiative, a village water reservoir project, and the Avocado Garden Project, now in progress.

Thai Thaim and the CMIRC are creating a comprehensive economic development, sustainable agriculture and training program for three Red Lahu villages on the Thai-Burma Border. The project includes avocado trees, which are a cash crop, tea bushes, which are “passing on the gift” from an earlier economic development project, black bone chickens and a variety of pigs that has very lean meat and very large litters--12 per litter. 

For those of you who knew Ann and for those of you who can appreciate what a great giving person Ann was, we ask that you contribute to the Ann Gfeller Clark Memorial Sustainable Agriculture in Thailand Fund in her memory. Funds will be used to build much needed sustainable agriculture projects and training programs in poor villages/communities. The resulting sustainable agro-economy and healthier produce will benefit everyone. So, help if you can.

June at the B.K.Kee Patient House

Due to the outbreak of Covid cases around Thailand we have had to pause our regular visits to the Burma Children Medical Fund B.K.Kee Patient House. CMIRC member Nick and I continue making supply drops every other week.

This past Sunday, in addition to snacks and laundry powder, we brought some fabric and men’s shirts in good condition that had been stored in room 208, the club's storage at the hotel where we meet. In addition, we brought some review materials for the color and animal English Language Learning we had begun working on in cooperation with the student volunteers from Chiang Mai International School. We also had a large supply of travel soaps and toothbrush/toothpaste kits to give everyone as well. 

A special treat was getting a chance to briefly meet David, one of the three nursing students who are sharing a nursing school scholarship from the funds which have been recently been allocated from our BEAM/ BCMF-B.K. Kee Patient House partnership. As a condition of receiving the funds, each of the three students will be doing three months of internship work at the BCMF B.K. Kee Patient House.

David was at the house on the day we dropped off supplies getting a basic orientation from BCMF employee Klao. 

Also, we got a quick look at how the garden beds are coming along and were pleased to see that they are doing quite well and providing some nutritious fruits and vegetables. 

At this time, as previously mentioned, we are no longer making regular visits to the house; only supply drops. As soon as the situation improves and we are instructed that visits may resume, I’ll be sure to let members know.

The Year Ahead for the School Vision Screening Project

The school year recently started in Chiang Mai, and as we plan our CMIRC School Vision Screening Program, we recognize we will not be able to start our screenings until many more CMIRC volunteers have had the chance to be vaccinated against Covid-19. Once we have sufficient volunteers fully vaccinated and new volunteers have been trained, we plan to continue the project in the Chiang Mai Municipal Schools and the Wat Suan Dok School in partnership with Optician Khun One at Chom Jun Optic, the Rotary Club of Chiang Mai Wattana, and, if pediatric ophthalmological surgery is needed, the Rotary Club of Chiang Mai North.

Goals for 2021-2022:

Provide vision screening and free glasses for all 3rd and 5th grade students who need them at the eleven Chiang Mai Municipal Schools and the Wat Suan Dok School beginning in the second term of the school year and continuing through the remainder of the 2021-2022 school year (November, December, January, February). We expect to screen approximately 800 children this year.

At each school, we will also rescreen and reevaluate all students who received glasses through our CMIRC SVSP during the 2020-2021 school year. We prescribed and delivered 147 glasses last year.

Finally, while our plans are coming together for the 2021-2022 Rotary Year, we have not yet found full funding for the project. The program cost per prescription including the optician’s fees, frames, and lenses this past year was about 600 Baht (US$20); the glasses are provided for free to the children. The total program budget for this year is estimated at about $3,000 US dollars.

If you wish to learn how you can help, please contact Project Champion John Schorr at or tel.: 66 (0)8 5030 2143

Our 2021-2022 School Vision Screening Donor Team:


The Thai Thaim Foundation, Park Rapids, MN  

Eyewear Designs, Bethpage, NY

July is New Leadership Month
In Rotary Year 2021-2022, the month of July is designated as New Leadership Month.  As we enter into a new Rotary Year, our Leadership Team has been identified:
  • President – Dylan Thomason
  • President Elect – Viki Thomason
  • Secretary – Nick Dale
  • Treasurer – Nancy Lindley
  • Membership Chair – Viki Thomason
  • Foundation Chair – Roger Lindley
  • Youth Services – To be identified
Our Project Champions have been identified:
  • BEAM Education Foundation – Nick Dale
  • Burma Children Medical Fund B.K.Kee Patient House – Bill Pierce
  • Children’s Water Safety & Drowning Prevention Program – John Schorr
  • School Vision Screening Project – John Schorr
  • Annual Winter Clothing Appeal – Dylan Thomason
Our Food Initiative champions have been identified – Bill and Nicha Trempus
Our Service Projects budget has been finalized – Dylan Thomason
Rotary Central Club Goals have been input – Dylan Thomason

What You May Have Missed in June 2021
CMIRC members were not able to have their regular every other Sunday morning visits to the patients and their families at Burma Children Medical Fund B.K. Kee Patient House here in Chiang Mai where members socialize, play games, bring food and engage in craft projects with the patients and their families during May because the Patient House was closed to visitors during the upsurge in Covid-19 cases in Chiang Mai.
The first and third Fridays of the month Chiang Mai Expats Club breakfasts, where we promote CMIRC and swap "Change for Children" owl banks, were cancelled due for May to the upsurge in the Covid-19 cases in Chiang Mai.
Tuesday, June 1, first regular club meeting of the month was held on ZOOM. Evelind Schecter spoke to the club on the topic "Warm Heart Foundation".

Wednesday, June 9, at 9 PM we had our 9@9 ZOOM meeting to stay in touch with our club members wherever they may be in the world.

Tuesday, June 15, a regular club meeting was held on ZOOM. The program was presented by the Sarah Dodoo who spoke to the club on the topic "BEAM's Community Youth Leadership Development (CYLD) Program" (left).

Tuesday, June 22, the CMIRC Board Meeting on ZOOM.

Saturday, June 26, D3350 English language Grant Management Seminar on ZOOM.

Saturday, June 26, Chiang Mai area club President Installation on ZOOM.

Tuesday, June 29, end of Rotary Year 2021-2022 Club Assembly on ZOOM (right).


Save the Dates, July and Beyond

The needed protection measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic have caused the cancellation of many events. Others are being conducted online and others have been postponed. Below is a list of events and their status, as we currently understand them. Please remember the situation is extremely fluid and things change daily. Some of our scheduled speakers may be willing to participate in online meetings. The latest news for CMIRC events is at:

Here are just a few of the important dates for members of Chiang Mai International Rotary Club (CMIRC). These are opportunities to meet some of us and to meet other Rotarians from around the world!

Every other Sunday visits by club members to Burma Children Medical Fund's  (BCMF) B. K. Kee Patient House to socialize, play games, do crafts with the patients and their families has been put on hold due to Covid-19 restrictions.  Interested for the future? Contact Rotarian Bill Pierce.

6 July 2021 CMIRC Club Meeting Meeting, 7 pm., with social time at 6:30 pm via ZOOM. The program will be presented by new club President Dylan Thomason, "A Look Forward to Rotary Year 2021-2022".  Access to the meeting is meeting ID and password controlled. If interested in attending this meeting please contact

9 July 2021 CMIRC "9 at 9" 9 pm Thai time.  A ZOOM social meeting for members in and out of Thailand.  Contact CP. Roger

20 July 2021 CMIRC Club Meeting Meeting, 7 pm., with social time at 6:30 pm via ZOOM.  Guest Speaker is: Dave McComas, President of the Chiang Mai Expats Club Access to the meeting is meeting ID and password controlled. If interested in attending this meeting please contact 

20 July 2021 Anne Dawson's Birthday

27 July 2021 CMIRC Board Meeting via Zoom 1:00 - 3:00 pm  Contact CP. Roger

4 – 8 June 2022 - Rotary International Convention, Houston, Texas, USA

Thank You to Our Sponsors
 Rotary is not free; we give our hearts, we give our time and to some extent we give our money. Most of our heart, most of our time and most of our money goes to support our children’s projects. Yet we have operational expenses, for example, our website with its powerful tools such as this bulletin. We ask that you consider our sponsors for your needs.
The Lila Thai Massage Ex-Inmate Employment and Skill Development Center was established in 2014 by "Naowarat Thanasrisutharat" to help and support women being released from prison. The ladies receive a massage training course from certified massage instructors (ex-inmates who work for Lila Thai Massage); these programs are endorsed by and meet the requirements of the Chiang Mai Public Health Department. This project reduces the women conviction rates in Chiang Mai and helps to solve the societal problems that perpetuate the situation, bringing about our long-cherished dream for a better community. The quality of massage at Lila Thai Massage is consistently superb.
Royal Peninsula Hotel is an excellent international standard hotel located in the heart of Chiang Mai. They have 150 guest rooms with all amenities including free wi-fi. There is ample onsite, covered parking. The outdoor swimming pool and Jacuzzi are available to guests. There is both an indoor restaurant, featuring Thai cuisine and outdoor beer garden next to the swimming pool. The Royal Peninsula Hotel has two conference and banquet rooms, well decorated, with good acoustics. The staff at Royal Peninsula are very accommodating. The Chiang Mai International Rotary Club meets at the Royal Peninsula at 7:00 PM on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month, with many members and guests gathering about an hour before the meeting in the hotel's restaurant for fellowship and an optional meal, ordering from the restaurant's menu of reasonably-priced Thai food.
Our sponsors donate money that supports our operational expenses, freeing funds for the projects we love. Please give them your support. 
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