This Week’s Program: Veterans Recognition

Week of November 4, 2019
Notes from last Friday’s meeting:
Sharon Risser provided our opening prayer, and Doug Wogoman led our singing of “The Star Spangled Banner,” “Vive le Rotary,” and “Smile.”
Everett Thomas introduced visiting Rotarians and guests.  Doug Risser was our only visiting Rotarian.  David Patuzzi was on hand as a guest. 
Student Rotarians from Goshen High School were introduced.  This month’s group included the following students with a notation as to their high school highlight:
            Name:                                      High School Highlight
            Simon Hertzler Gascho             Youth caucus and environmental resolution
            Sophie Kirkton                         Visiting and assisting a poverty community
            Sydney Penner                         Marine biology trip
            Joseph Narayan                        Hoosier Boys State
            Zoe Eichorn                             Youth caucus, City Council
            Conrad Liechty                        Cross-country team dinner
Reminders: November 22 will be Pancake Day; there will be no meeting on November 29th; and bell-ringing for the Salvation Army will be on December 6.  Please be sure to sign up for our service day activities. 
Our Foundation Chair, Sharon Risser, announced that the District has Paul Harris matching funds available now through January 21.  The minimum contribution is $100.  As long as funds remain available, the District will match Rotary Foundation payments to help achieve your next level of Paul Harris Fellowship.  To become a Paul Harris Fellow or the next level requires a total of a $1,000 contribution.
Our program was provided by Jamie Stickel about Keystone Pullman Rail Tours, LLC.  In 2017, Jamie and his brother purchased an antique railcar from an Arizona retired physician who had restored the car and used it for personal trips.  The railcar was one of seven observation cars ordered by the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1949.  This specific car was and is known as the “Frank Thomson.”  Jamie was able to display a black and white photo of the car being delivered in Chicago in 1949.  He also had a color picture of the car when it was in use in 1955 in Indianapolis.  The car, when it was in regular operation in the 1960s, was many times on the New York City to St. Louis run.  Four of the seven original cars were scrapped in the 1970s with now only two remaining.  Only the Frank Thomson is up to standards for regular use on the rail system.  The Frank Thomson was left to rot until it was salvaged in the late 1980s when the Arizona doctor purchased it and invested a significant amount of money into its restoration.  The car will sleep 10 and accommodate up to 25 passengers.  It contains four bedrooms, a kitchen, and a large lounge area.  The original observation cars were named after Pennsylvania Railroad presidents.  Frank Thomson was the president of the Pennsylvania Railroad that grew the company into one of the largest companies in the world at the time.
After Jamie and his brother purchased the car in 2017, they continued with its updating and restoration to include period furniture and restoration of the original color scheme and naming.  It is currently up-to-date to meet the Amtrak standards for private passenger cars to be pulled by Amtrak.  It is required to have annual inspections, an in-depth ten-year inspection, and an even more comprehensive forty-year inspection.  Jamie and his brother have used the railcar for fundraisers, an advocacy day, and for chartering.  His family took a trip last summer out East and have traveled in Indiana and to Chicago using the car.  Jamie indicated that the Frank Thomson was originally built in Chicago and that there are now only about 28 private cars remaining active in the United States.  If you are interested, more information is available on Facebook at Keystone Pullman.  Thank you to Jamie Stickel and Everett Thomas for a look at the interesting and unique railcar charter business that the Stickels have established. 
Quote for the week: “Passengers want options, and when they have options, like passenger rail, they choose them.” – Anthony Foxx
                                                                                    Until next time.
Russell Hampton
ClubRunner Mobile