Community Grant Funded Project Supported by Rotary Club Volunteers
Community Grant Funded Project Supported by Rotary Club Volunteers
In the blazing sun, on July 25th, Gratitude Generation (GG) volunteers -many of them from the Rotary Club of Northbrook including Past-President Gary and Bev Moriello;  Past District Governor Rick and Helen Rivkin; Larry and Sue Kanar; Ron and Roberta Knight; Ned Schechter and Padmini Malladi helped ensure hundreds of kids are set for success and treated to something sweet on their birthdays! 
Thank you to everyone who came out to pack at the Highwood Rec Center on Green Bay Road in Highwood. Volunteers packed 210 Gratitude Gifts and 250 Backpacks.  The supplies for packing school backpacks and birthday bags were funded by a community grant from the Rotary Club of Northbrook.
Gratitude Generation (GG), a 501c3, in Deerfield, Illinois plans various packing events to bring the community together in supplying backpacks for local low-income students and Gratitude Gifts (birthday supplies) for homeless and foster care youth. Even in during the Covid challenge – GG is working to get these items into the hands of the innocent by hosting masked, safe volunteer opportunities.
Sam Harris and Ned Schechter share their “why” at our Tuesday Meeting
Sam Harris and Ned Schechter share their “why” at our Tuesday Meeting
It’s always great to hear our fellow Rotarians share their personal stories. Last Tuesday we had the opportunity to hear from two of our club members, a 54 -year member, Sam Harris and a more recent one, Ned Schechter a 3 year one. Two very different stories, from visionaries with this interesting thing in common (besides Rotary) both happened to attend Grinnell Collage!
Here is my favorite take-away from the program – and although it applies to both speakers – it’s a Sam Harris quote.
“I stuck my neck out. When you want to do something, you stick your neck out, then you gotta do it.”
Sam Harris shared his life story. He has had an incredible life, one of challenge and inspiration. It may not have been evident, but Sam living is the result of this ‘stick your neck out’ lesson.
The youngest of seven children, Sam shared his vivid memories of being a four year old experiencing the beginning of WWII in his native Poland. He remembered the Nazi airplanes flying overhead shooting down the Polish planes and people. A couple of years later, Sam was saved by his father who in an act of heartbreaking bravery, pushed him to hide with his sister behind a pile of bricks. He was taken to a concentration camp and Sam never saw him again.
This was not the last time Sam’s life was saved.  A stranger ‘stuck his neck out’ to save Sam and a few other children from certain death at the camps. When the Nazi’s were separating the adults from the children, planning to shoot the children who were too young to work, a father who had received a letter from the Nazi’s to keep his own daughter with him, demanded to take all five of the children. This man told the soldiers “all or nothing” saving the four children which included Sam.
These children were brought into the camp giving hope to the adults there. They ‘cried tears of joy’ having not seen Jewish children in years, hugging and kissing Sam, something he will never forget.
After the war, and after moving around a bit, Sam found himself on the ship called Ernie Pyle headed to the USA, where after landing in New York City, then to Chicago by train, Sam was adopted by a family in Northbrook on April 10, 1948 on Hickory Lane where he excelled in school, joined scouts and graduated from college and on to a career in insurance.
In the late 1970s when he started sharing his account of the Holocaust, it came to his attention that there was a book by a Holocaust denier. Sam felt he must ‘stick his neck out’ so no one would forget. With the support and encouragement of his wife, Dede, his Rabbi, and the help from many of his Rotary connections Sam was on the path to spearheading the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center.
He ‘stuck his neck out’ going for advice and funding from the likes of people such as J.B. Pritzker founding a place that would be “A beacon of hope where we, our children and grandchildren will learn from the past and make sure that this or any kind of Holocaust does not happen in the future.”
One and a half million children were killed in the holocaust. Sam was a witness to the holocaust and didn’t just survive, he has made sure none of us ever forget.  
Like Sam, we must all remember “When you want to do something, you stick your neck out, then you gotta do it.”  
# # #
Our second speaker of the day was Ned Schecter. Ned is an interior designer - as we all know. What many learned was he is also an artist.
At a meeting once, Ned and I chatted about something I was wearing, and our conversation led to the wardrobe of a fellow Rotarian! He mentioned how elegant it was – the style, fabric and construction- with the perspective of someone familiar with couture.  Having been in a career that began in art and fashion I knew Ned was the real deal.  While many interior designers are simply decorators, Ned was clearly an artist who had a eye for quality and beauty in details.  
That came out in his talk on Tuesday. Ned's passion is ‘rooted in classical architecture and fine art, although he is also inspired by couture fashion which brings a fresh and unique perspective to his design work. He works closely with each client to create functional and beautiful spaces. Although not grounded in one particular style, he layers vibrant color palettes and thoughtful details to create comfortable and sophisticated spaces.’
Ned has worked with high-end clients – creating a plan for a beautiful apartment in Dubai, and for many clients across the greater Chicagoland area among other places. But one thing he stresses is his ability to take just about any ‘budget’ and create something special.  It is his knowledge and love of art that is in each design, and clearly inspires him.
He walked us through a particularly interesting project based on a piece of art.
One client loved a painting by Martin Johnson Heade. It’s a lovely painting of orchids and hummingbirds. Ned created an oasis inspired by this painting without obvious reference by keeping the sophistication and colors in check. The walls featured a muted mural of the paintings background in soft taupes – while the painting’s orchids were brought out in ranges of subtle lavender colors for the seating and bedding. Even more subtle are the accents of blue, green and red that round out this beautiful respite.
Another project was based upon function and versatility. For an Evanston client, the owner of a six flat apartment building, Ned transformed a former coal-room in the 1920’s building to create a studio apartment. This was to be offered as a temporary rental. This space was in the rear of the building and was originally where they received the coal necessary for the boilers to heat the building in that era. Upgraded long ago to a modern HVAC system, the room was used for several purposes until it finally was filled with storage. After Ned’s renovation and design, it became an elegant and valuable space for the owner.
Ned Schechter is an artist, art collector and the principal of Ned Schechter Interior Design, a Chicago based full service interior design firm. For his design projects, he maintains a stunning collection of one of a kind items, historically used to style his projects. His collection featureless vintage and antique pieces from Holland, England, France, Belgium, Cambodia and Africa. His work reflects his eye for these one of a kind touches that can transform and elevate a design.
As these two visionaries have bios on their respective websites – I have included them as well. Enjoy. But please take the time to listen again to each of their stories on our Facebook live as well. Each week we will post them so you can check them out. We encourage you to attend our meetings. Although you never know who might be speaking – we can guarantee it will be interesting, and often life changing.  
Below please find bios of both Sam Harris and Ned Schechter from their respective websites.
Samuel R. Harris was four years old in 1939 when Hitler overran the town in which he lived, Demblin, Poland. Hitler destroyed Mr. Harris’ large family. He spent three and a half years in two concentration camps: Demblin and Czestochowa. At age nine and a half, he was miraculously liberated by the Russian Army on January 17, 1945.
Sam Harris is a 1958 graduate of Grinnell College, Grinnell, Iowa, where he received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science. He joined the Equitable Life Assurance Society in 1960 and became a member of the exclusive Equitable Hall of Fame. Sam served on the Chicago Board of Life Underwriters and President of the General Agency Managers Association. As an agent, he became a Life Member of the Million Dollar Round Table.
Sam Harris has been very active in community and scholastic affairs. He is a former board member of Spertus College of Judaica. He served on the Board of Directors for Forest Hospital. He is currently on the Board of Directors of South-Central Bank in Chicago. Sam Harris has been a member (and former officer) of The Rotary Club of Northbrook, Illinois for 45 years. He is a former President of Northbrook United Way.
Sam Harris spearheaded the building of the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center. He currently serves as President Emeritus of the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Skokie, Illinois. He speaks frequently to schools, churches and community groups throughout the country about his childhood experiences during the Holocaust, lessons he learned during the time he spent hiding in concentration camps, and his experience and role in the building of the Holocaust Museum in Illinois.
A Holocaust Museum is in the process of being organized in the Phoenix area and Mr. Harris is currently serving on it’s Board of Directors.
In 2001 Mr. Harris wrote his autobiography, Sammy, Child Survivor of the Holocaust and in 2005 and 2010 the second and third edition were published. Spanish, Japanese, Russian and Polish editions are now available.
  • In 2005, Sam Harris was awarded “The State of Illinois Human Rights Award for Distinguished Leadership for Protecting the Human Rights of the People of Illinois.”
  • Grinnell College awarded Mr. Harris the coveted Alumni Award.
  • Sam Harris received from Temple Chai in Long Grove, Illinois their first Tikkun Olum Award, “Repairing the World”
  • Northbrook Rotary Club awarded Sam Harris The “Service Above Self” award.
  • He was awarded by Chicago Magazine,” Chicagoan of the Year, 2009”
  • The Forward Newspaper named Sam Harris one of the most influential Jewish People in America in 2009.
  • In 2011, New Trier High School named Sam Harris one of the ten outstanding graduates of all time.
  • In 2013, The Boy Scouts of America awarded Sam Harris The Distinguished Citizenship Award.
  • In 2014, Recipient of the coveted Ellis Island Medal of Honor.
  • On April 12, 2015, Sam will be The Chicago Jewish Federation Honoree and Speaker at Temple Chai, in Long Grove.
  • On May 16, 2015, Sam will be the keynote speaker at the Tri-State Rotary in Appleton, Wisconsin.
A documentary has been produced about Sam Harris by Eric Cosh and Ellen Palestrant, titled: SAMMY THE JOURNEY.
The documentary has been accepted by the Jewish Film Festival in the following cities:
  • Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • St. Augustine, Florida
  • Chicago, Illinois
Sam Harris resides with his wife Dede in the northern suburbs of Chicago, Illinois and winters in Scottsdale, Arizona. Their children include daughter Julie and her husband Jeff and their two children Jeremy and Jessica. Their son David is recently deceased.


Knowing the late Gene Siskel, famed reviewer of movies along with Roger Ebert, Gene’s favorite question was: “WHAT DO YOU KNOW, FOR SURE?”  My answer to him: “I KNOW WHAT IS BEAUTIFUL.
HOW DOES HE APPROACH INTERIOR DESIGN?  “My work is meaningless unless I know exactly what aesthetics truly move, excite and give comfort to my client.”
WHAT IS NED’S PROCESS OF WORKING WITH CLIENTS?  “Once we understand each other and are on the same aesthetic page, we can begin the design process — taking your visions, adding mine, using existing furnishings—furnishing new pieces, moving, shaping, reworking, adding, stripping away, until all that remains is breathtaking, emotionally moving and “simply beautiful.
  • This talented artist was drawing detailed images of horses at eight years old. His parents bought him a book called “How To Draw,” which broke down the anatomy of a horse. They took the book away when he discovered the section on drawing the nude female.
  • He knew in 6th grade that his future would be in residential design, when he observed that the dust and dirt that collected at the base of the wall and floor would be easier to clean if the base moldings were curved.
  • He began his love of fine art when, in seventh grade during a school trip to The Art Institute of Chicago, he was overwhelmed by a painting entitled “The Rock, by Russian painter, Peter Blume, that a teacher had to search for him long after the class had moved on.
  • During his senior year in high school Ned, was singularly invited by the architect/owner of the Usonian Frank Lloyd Wright “Lloyd Lewis House” in Libertyville, IL for a tour and afternoon discussion about the unique design elements that the house incorporated.
  • After one year at Grinnell College. Ned felt there was a better way to achieve his goal. He worked at John M. Smyth Company as a staff interior designer for three years, at a private, private residential design firm for four years. Confident that he was ready, Ned Schechter Interior Design was then founded 1971.
  • Sitting with degreed students of design school, he passed the two day board exam given by the National Council For Interior Design Qualifications in 1983.
  • He was inducted in to the American Society of Interior Designers as a full professional member in 1984. Ned has subsequently earned many awards for service and contributions made to the ASID
Keeping Your Project On Track And On Budget
Ned is the general contractor and project manager for all of his design work. He is an experienced project manager whose job it is to manage all the work involved in bringing your project to life regardless of location, (the latest of which was in Scottsdale, AZ).  Delivering your project on time, to cost and to the highest quality in an efficient manner and with minimal disruptions to your day-to-day life is a tall order.  Between concept and completion, there’s a lot of activity taking place that needs to be tightly managed so that your project runs smoothly and results in a successful outcome.   The key to making sure everything comes together is a project management approach that is rigid when it needs to be but flexible enough to adapt to unexpected events. There will be several.  Perfection doesn’t exist…And trust us – they occur in every project.
At Ned Schechter – Interior Design, your project will be personally managed by Ned who is an experienced project manager whose job it is to manage all the work involved in bringing your project to life. That takes a variety of skills and talents that include the following characteristics:
  • Effective communicator both verbally and in writing
  • People manager
  • Good negotiator
  • Very organized
  • Strong technical knowledge of interior design
  • Self-motivated
  • Good decision maker
  • Personal professionalism
  • Sense of humor
  • Psychologist – shoulder to cry on
Attention to detail is everything.  Through regular site meetings, proper co-ordination of product orders, managing tradespeople and effective troubleshooting of any issues that may arise during your interior design project, we ensure and on time and on budget outcome.
Some of our responsibilities include:
  • Overall project coordination and planning with specific focus on time, cost and performance targets
  • Organizing, scheduling and checking deliveries of materials (timber, bathroom fittings, flooring etc)
  • Organizing and managing the schedule of work—ensuring the right people are on site in the right order, thus minimizing stress, down time and improve efficiency.
  • Sourcing furniture, appliances, tradespeople, and obtaining estimates for work you want done.
  • Manage tradespeople (builders, specialist kitchen and bathroom fitters, gardeners etc).
  • Being on site regularly to oversee and manage tradespeople and make sure they are doing what was in the plan.
To learn more about all the ways we can lower your anxiety and exceed your expectations on your interior design project, call us today at 847-281-7161 to arrange for an in-home consultation.
Items to Note  + Committee Volunteer Opportunity
Please take a minute to visit our website! Items to note: our mission statement is up. You will notice a new video of RI President Holger Knaack as he wishes ShelterBox a Happy 20th Birthday. Thank you Donna Gulley for this news item. Also - thank you Rick Rivkin for the news about the July 25th Volunteer Opportunity. That article is now posted. If you would like to help on the Public Image committee please let me know. We need photographers, social / media  posters and 'reporters' and more. 
Jul 28, 2020
Northbrook Caucus/Political Innovation
Aug 04, 2020
History of the United States Coast Guard
Aug 11, 2020
History of Northbrook
Aug 18, 2020
Army presence in our area
Aug 25, 2020
The History of Chicago's Hot Dog
Sep 08, 2020
Northbook Library
Sep 15, 2020
Sep 22, 2020
What's Happening at the Book Bin
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Member Birthdays
Andy Vass
July 5
Kellie Allgauer
July 10
Peter Herman
July 14
Jon Jay Miller
July 23
Join Date
Daniel Craig
July 1, 1994
26 years
Elke Friedman
July 1, 2003
17 years
Judy Warchol
July 16, 1991
29 years
Brian Rieger
July 27, 2006
14 years
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