Lee Harman was our program on February 11.  Lee has been a member of our club since 1985.  He served as president of our club for the 2004-05 year and was active at the district level serving as an Assistant District Governor starting in 2010.  He has attended Rotary International Conventions and is a member of the Arch C. Klumph Society for his generous gift to the Rotary Foundation.
Lee has traced his roots back to England. The Harmans came to America in 1635, and he would be eligible for membership in the Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution.  He was born in 1947 and the Harmans lived in Chillicothe, Ohio.  Lee showed a photo of the Harman home there that was built in 1837.  Lee's grandfather was one of the first physicians specializing in internal medicine.
 
Lee's father, as a Naval Aviator, became involved in the Apollo program with NASA and in 1963 he moved his family to Cape Canaveral (now Cape Kennedy), Florida.  Lee has a letter of appreciation to his father signed by all the original astronauts. 
 
While in Florida, Lee was active in the Boy Scouts and obtained the rank of Eagle Scout. In 1965 he became University of Florida Gator and became active in the Navy Reserve.  With a four year commitment to the Navy, the Navy sent him to medical school at the University of Miami starting in 1969, graduating in 1973.  Somewhere in there he fell in love with a Morgan automobile and when a nurse named Judy admired his Morgan, he admired her the two were married.
 
The Vietnam War was still in progress when Lee graduated and as a flight surgeon he was assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Okinawa where he was in charge of 5 physicians and a hospital with 200 beds.  He became a private pilot in 1978 and his love for aviation has continued to this day.
 
Lee decided that ophthalmology rather than Internal Medicine looked like a better course and he entered into a residency in 1979 at the Balboa Military Hospital.  Son Ben and daughter Meredith were born during his residency.  Two years after his residency he was given the task of starting an ophthalmology department at the Memphis Naval Hospital from scratch. For this Lee was presented with a Navy Commendation Medal.
 
When his commitment with the navy was complete, Lee searched for a practice location on the west coast.  His search brought him to Cascade Valley Hospital in Arlington, and its administrator, Joe Hopkins, and Chief of Staff Don Burks, both Rotarians. He was able to strike an arrangement with the hospital where, in exchange for a five year commitment, it loaned him the necessary funds to buy the equipment he needed to start his practice and do surgeries at the hospital. At the end of the five years the practice equipment became Lee’s and the surgical equipment became property of the hospital.
 
Since it was Lee’s goal to have the best ophthalmology practice north of Seattle, he became certified by the American Academy of Ophthalmology.  To further his goal he became a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons which involved the outcome of several years’ of his surgeries being scrutinized by top surgeons.  With excellent outcomes determined by the review, he had to go before the College Board of Surgeons for examination.  The board found him worthy of the title, FACS, bestowed on only about 10% of ophthalmologists.
 
In 1991 Lee brought in a new partner, Dennis Breanne, MD.  He also built a new office building east of the hospital which he dedicated to Joe Hopkins who died of cancer.  Satellite offices were also established in neighboring communities.  Following a big reduction in what Medicare paid for cataract surgeries, the other offices were closed and doctors Harman and Breanne ended their partnership in 1995.
 
Lee was able to work hard and rebuilt his practice to a point where he again took in a new partner in 1999.  With the Rotary Four Way Test as a guide, and experiencing the “perils of blue sky” and the litigation following the demise of earlier partnership, he became partners with Bruce Ballon, MD, under an arrangement where profits from the surgery center were used for the buy in.  Bruce Wietharn, MD was added as a partner under the same terms.
 
Following neck surgery in 2005, Lee was unable to continue doing eye surgeries but remained President/CEO until his retirement in 2012.  The arrangement that was fashioned allowed for a buyout of Lee’s interest.
 
Lee also touched on a real estate development that he and an Oak Harbor Rotarian, Karl Krieg, did on Camano Island. The subdivision is known as Brentwood and consists of 85 lots on the highest point on the north end of Camano.  Lee and Judy provided the property and Karl did the dirt work.  It worked out well with all the lots being sold prior to the recession that plummeted real estate prices for a few years.  Lee's comment: "Better to be lucky than good".
 
There was only time enough for Lee to mention a couple of his world wide ventures.  He likes speed!
 
Lee has had a passion for the Rotary Foundation and the Polio Plus effort which started the year he joined Rotary.  Besides his generous contributions to the Foundation, he taken a leadership role at the district level doing programs at several clubs.  He also joined a team that went to India to vaccinate children there.  He announced that there has not been a single reported case in 2016--"we are so so close to eradicating polio from the world!"  It would be the only disease other than smallpox to be totally eradicated.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
     
 
 
 
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