Gig Harbor Midday


We meet Tuesdays at 12:00 PM
Anthony's Homeport
8827 North Harborview Dr
Gig Harbor, WA 98332
United States of America

(202) 302-1574
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Send Mail To:
    Rotary Club of
    Gig Harbor Midday
    PO Box 611
    Gig Harbor, WA 98335
For more information about our club, please feel free to contact:
    Rick Offner
    Cell: 202-302-1574
Home Page Stories
From the Editor
As you will have seen in the last Bulletin, Midday Rotary has stopped "in person" meetings as of Mid-March.  Many members are donating the un-spent lunch fees to Gig Harbor Charities that we support.  We have started "meeting" bi-weekly on Zoom (along with most of the known World) until the Covid pandemic has cleared.  Meanwhile - we have a couple of initiatives we'd like all our Rotarians and Friends to be aware of: so please see below...
From President Rick,
At our Midday Rotary Zoom Meeting on April 7th, we heard from Jim Castino of the GH Morning Rotary Club about an initiative they have called “Rotary Supports the Harbor.” The concept is to ask our membership to support Gig Harbor businesses during the coronavirus crisis, especially (but not limited to) the restaurants. They are experiencing a true crisis now, as I am sure you can appreciate. Our members liked the idea and proposed that we do something similar for our Club’s supporters. I am pleased to announce that Rotary Supports the Harbor is now a collaboration of all three Gig Harbor Rotary Clubs. Each week, we will identify one or more local restaurants and a day/time when they are normally not overly busy, and you will receive an email notification.  Then Rotarians and friends will order out from that week's selected restaurant.  So far three favorite GH Restaurants have benefited from this program, and we hope to drum up support for many more in the coming weeks.  To date we have supported JP’s Hi Iu Hee HeeDevoted Kiss Cafe, and Moctezuma’s.   Stand by for more to come...
Here’s the plan:
1. Go to the restaurant website
2. Check out the menu
3. Call to place your order and tell them you are with Rotary
4. Pre-pay if possible
5. Pick up your takeout at the restaurant
6. Enjoy a delicious meal at home
Thank you for being part of Rotary Supports the Harbor! 
From the GH Film Festival
Midday Rotary is a supporter of our Gig Harbor Film Festival, and is happy to help them get the word out on a terrific new Initiative they have started:
Do you know any middle or high school students with stories to tell?
You probably do, and the Gig Harbor Film Festival Youth Initiative has a rewarding way
for them to channel their pent-up quarantine creativity and do just that.
We’re challenging the youth throughout the state of Washington to create and submit a
short, 3-minute film about their experience living through the COVID-19 Shelter-In-Place
order. All participants will have a chance to win cash prizes and the opportunity to have
their film shown at the 2020 Gig Harbor Film Festival this September at the Galaxy
We all have stories to tell right now. We’d like to provide a platform for the voices of our
future to be heard as a source of hope and optimism for all.
For more information, sample student video, registration and rules of the competition,
please visit our website:, and please share this information with
any and all interested participants and film buffs throughout the state!
As always, please feel free to contact them at (253) 851-3456 with any questions.
Deadline for film submission: April 30, 2020
From President Rick
On Tuesday, March 10, the Club’s speaker was Dr. Sherwin Shinn, Midday Rotary’s 2020 Star Award recipient. His message was about resilience of the human spirit, and a dedication to making a difference.
Sherwin found his calling in 1990 while trekking in Nepal when he came upon a young girl suffering from a severe infection from an abscessed tooth. Realizing that his dental training could save the girl’s life set in motion an effort to trek the girl miles through the mountains to a hospital where, using the only instrument available, his pocket knife, he would undertake extraction of the affected tooth. That was a life altering experience. He began to ask himself: What if dental disease could be prevented in places like the village where this little girl lived? What if an instrument as simple as a toothbrush could make that difference?
For the past 23 years, Sherwin has dedicated his life to providing oral healthcare to underserved people in some of the worlds most impoverished countries. This dedication was in response to his personal experience in Nepal in 1990 where he witnessed that children were dying every day from infections due to abscessed teeth. Local people had no idea what caused this condition, how to prevent it and how to treat it. Even the hospitals didn’t have access to the necessary basic treatment equipment and instruments, nor the expertise to treat emergencies and prevent ongoing problems.
In 2007, Sherwin moved to Uganda to establish the only free dental clinic in the country. This clinic is the only source of dental care for thousands of refugees who arrive in encampments with “nothing but the dirt they stand on” to support them. Mixing this dirt with water the villagers make blocks used to build primitive housing. Sherwin spoke of the determined human spirit, and unconditional love he observed in these people. Last year, Midday Rotary received a $3,500 District 5020 matching grant that enabled the Club to provide $7,000 that was used to purchase a dental chair for FWWS’s free dental clinic in Uganda.
It was in Uganda that Sherwin met and married Faria; a Ugandan with the “love and compassion for people that matched his own.” In 2008, Sherwin and Faria co-founded For World Wide Smiles. FWWS has worked to alleviate suffering from dental disease and facilitate disease prevention, education and practice, serving over 250,000 people in 16 countries. They now reside in Gig Harbor, with seven children and four grandchildren. Sherwin uses profits from his local Shinn Kids Dental practice to help support his cause.
At Tuesday’s meeting, Sherwin received his $2,000 Star Award contribution, plus an additional $1,500 allocated this year by the International Committee to FWWS. We can be assured that Sherwin and Faria will use these funds to continue their great work serving the dental needs of thousands of underserved people throughout the world.
FaceBook-using Midday Rotarians please note:
At the suggestion of PE Gunda, your Editor has created a FaceBook Group called Rotary Club of Gig Harbor Midday (note the creative title!).
Depending on how many of us are on FB, this could be an excellent communications tool.  If you're a FB user, please go to the Group (note that there is also a "page" for the Club - that's not the same thing) and ask to "join".  You'll be approved post-haste and we will see whether this works for us.
Editor Don
from the Ed
Chairman Dan swung the spotlight on Luellen Lucid this week.  Most of us remember her vivid description of her Rotary Exchange trip to Russia earlier this year.  So now we got a chance to learn more about our World Traveler.
Luellen has the distinction of having been born & raised in Palo Alto CA - BEFORE Silicon Valley.  It was a calm, rural area then (she says) not much unlike our own Gig Harbor is now - more or less. She was a big fan of swimming and horses growing up, and even once upon a time had a horse of her own - named "Sensations Shooting Star" on paper, but Ruger for short.  Her school included at least one very distinguished classmate who grew up to become director of the NY City Opera. Not surprisingly, he used to play opera music to entertain his classmates.  I guess pre-destination is a thing...
Luellen got away from horses and eventually earned a PhD in comparative literature at Yale, which surely puts many of us in the shade education-wise.  Along the way she developed a strong interest in International Relations, and became an important sponsor of our local Etta Project organization.  As Co-Chair of our International Service Committee Luellen is contributing much to the International side of our Club's Service above Self. We're mighty pleased to have you on board, Luellen! 
from your Editor
Our speaker this week was Cynthia Stuart, President of the League of Women Voters of Tacoma/Pierce Co.  She educated many of us on who the LWV are and exactly what they do.
Formed with participation of the Tacoma chapter exactly 100 years ago with the ratification of Women's Suffrage, the League's Mission is to educate voters, preserve and protect Democracy.  And they do that in a variety of ways.  The League stays non-political, focusing on education, information, and discussion in public forums and meetings.  They strongly encourage voter registration, and follow that up by encouraging all those registered to actually vote in every election.  They do NOT support individual candidates or Parties.
The Tacoma/Pierce Co League is organized in Units - our local GH/KeyPen Unit meets at Heron's Key on the third Saturday of every month at 10:30 AM.  And surprisingly - they have been offering membership to MEN for over 40 years.  Apparently, those men insist their membership shouldn't cause the name to be changed!  If you're interested in becoming a better informed voter, and in increasing the numbers of those voters among the population, you might want to look them up. 
From your Editor
Midday Rotary got a most interesting update this week on developments at the Gig Harbor Waterfront from one of it's principle advocats - Guy Hoppen.
Our members know Guy well from his selection as our "Star Awards" recipient in 2019 and as the Brother and BIL of two Notable GH Rotarians, Mark and Marilyn Hoppen.
Raised in the little brick house next to the Gig Harbor BoatShop, Guy is certainly one of the most knowledgeable Harborites when it comes to the development of our waterfront.  As an active commercial fisherman since 1980 and President and Director of the BoatShop, he certainly is a major stake holder in the future of Gig Harbor.  He points out that he is also living proof that your last name doesn't have to end in "ich" to be a GH Fisherman... 
Guy discussed the history of our waterfront and the concept of the "best use" of the few remaining public accesses to the water. Pointing out that one commercial fishing boat equals the revenue of 33 yachts, and that the shrinking availability of dock space for the 21 fishing boats now left puts that revenue, and the Heritage Tourism that they contribute to, at risk. He believes that one of those best uses would be to continue development of the Ancich pier for both human-powered craft and commercial fishermen as approved by the City with Resolution 949.  While the City is making progress on the kayak dock, it appears that funding for the fishing dock is still unidentified.
Many thanks to Guy for the excellent presentation, and best wishes to him as he works toward completion of the approved Resolution 949 concept. 
from Editor Don
President Rick stood in for the Membership Chairs this week and turned the member spotlight on LONG-time Rotarian Dave Stave.  While he's a senior member of our Midday Club, Dave has been a Rotarian since 1982!  That surely must grant him special status among us.  Dave says it's not his love of Community Service or the fact that his son was once a Rotary Exchange Student to Germany which drives that dedication.  He claims it's really because he just likes a meal! 
Dave hails from Mount Vernon and majored in Journalism in college - then actually put that training to work.  He wrote for and edited Newspapers in Redmond and La Grande OR before returning to WA State with his wife Alberta, who he married in 1972.  Dave's claim to fame is that he once lunched with Ronald Reagan at the White House, and drank from Nancy Reagan's water glass - from which he promptly contracted the Flu! (Yikes).
Editor Don is thrilled to find that there is another (and MUCH more experienced) Editor in our Club. He'll be plotting to hand over this Bulletin soon... 
from the Ed
We got double-trouble this week as new Midday Rotarian and Executive Director of the Red Barn Kellie Bennett took the podium for her Classification talk, then segued into a presentation on the Red Barn - one of GH Midday's favorite community service venues. 
Kellie is a Fifth-Generation Oregonian who was raised on a "hobby farm" in Clackamas.  She was driving the tractor and farm truck by the time she was 7, when she wasn't up in a tree reading or drawing.  Her Engineer Dad was also a Pilot, and regularly flew their family to Missouri and Oklahoma for larger family events.
She married her High School Boyfriend Chad shortly after starting College, and went with him to Army assignments including two tours in Germany.  They came to WA in 1998 and to the Key Peninsula almost 4 years ago.  Their daughter lives with her Air Force husband and their 18 month old grandson in Alaska.  They also have a son who is an engineer in Albuquerque NM.  Their other dependents are two "semi-retired" pack mules who left their jobs in the Wallowa Wilderness to live with Kellie and Chad.
Kellie loves volunteering - so she's a perfect Rotarian! She's volunteered over the years in schools, local regional and state PTAs, churches, youth organizations including Junior Achievement, and museums.  She's certified in Museum Studies, with a BA in History and English, and she's on the Board of a Tacoma Museum in addition to working with a Seattle firm creating educational exhibits for museums.  All her volunteer work was the perfect glide slope to her current position at the Red Barn.  She enjoys traveling, reading, writing, playing games, hiking, kayaking and rock climbing.  This Editor wonders where she gets any spare time to do these things!
All of the above was a perfect lead-in to Kellie's status report on the Red Barn.  As Midday Rotarians know well, The Red Barn is a free after-school activities program for Middle School and High School students on the Key Peninsula. They provide homework assistance, hot meals, clothing, school supplies, activities and a safe place for teens to be after school. As Executive Director, Kellie manages the Barn's resources including numerous volunteers who teach, help, and oversee the 26 or so teenagers who show up to the Barn on an average day. The concept for a Youth Activities Center on the KP came out of a dinner conversation in 2004.  A steering committee was formed and hundreds of individuals consulted.  They spent almost 10 years finding a location, identifying funding and developing the program.  The Red Barn finally opened it's doors for the 2014-15 School year, and has been a great success ever since. Kellie told us that the Barn provided services to 123 individual teens, with over 4000 student visits during 2019. 
She was very grateful for the Basketball Court that our Club installed for the Barn last year. They are looking forward to an add-on project now in the works as a joint venture with the other GH Rotary Clubs, to erect a roof over that outdoor court so the enthusiastic teens can stay a tad dryer during their games.  Kellie's enthusiasm for volunteering, for middle school kids in particular, and for most everything she does was clear from her exceptional presentation.  Gig Harbor Midday Rotary and the Red Barn are both very fortunate to have her on our teams! 
From Ex-Pres Dan
The bright light shined this week on our very own Fire Chief, John Burgess.  John grew up in Sumner, picking berries for a summer job.  He shared his childhood dream of becoming a fireman, a dream that came true, thankfully for Gig Harbor and Midday Rotary.  John told about an early recollection of wearing his fireman boots on the classic J.P. Patches television show as he celebrated his birthday as a youngster.
John lived out his dream obtaining a technical education in firefighting, and later graduated from Washington State University (GO COUGS!).  His first job after graduating was as a resident firefighter, living at a fire station.  “Fired up” by that experience, John took a job as a fireman in Graham.
An opening in the Gig Harbor Fire Department caught John’s eye, and he and his wife Beth decided Gig Harbor would be a great place to raise a family.  How fortunate that was for Gig Harbor, with John eventually becoming our Fire Chief.  And how fortunate for Midday Rotary to have such a great community leader and Rotarian as a member of our club.
from stand-in Editor Dan
Chris Wolpert, the founder and CEO of GBS Benefit Group, presented a very interesting program to help companies large and small manage and reduce their healthcare benefit costs.  With the cost of healthcare a major item of doing business, Chris gave us an overview of reducing those costs by removing high cost barriers between the individual and provider.
Insurance companies have seen significant increases in income and revenue in recent years.  United Health has had a 2,900 percent increase at the top end, with Humana 800 percent at the bottom.  A basket of generic medications can range from $66 through to $900 from CVS…for the same medications.
Chris’ company works with its clients to “deconstruct” each step in the health care process, bringing the strategies of large groups to small companies.  Using a phone app, the healthcare system that is constructed with GBS’ clients removes the costly “middlemen” to improve healthcare efficiency and reduce healthcare costs; leading to less risk, lower costs, and better outcomes.  You can learn more at
from Dan W
Midday Rotarian and District Foundation Chair Howard Svigals presented Paul Harris awards to four Midday Rotarians.  The Paul Harris Award, named after Rotary’s founder, is a recognition by The Rotary Foundation for contributions to the Foundation and the fight to end polio.  A Paul Harris Award is given for a cumulative donation of $1,000, and for each $1,000 donation after the initial award.
President Rick Offner and John Burgess received their first Paul Harris Awards.  Dan Wilson received a Paul Harris plus four pin, and Nathan Schlicher, our club Rotary Foundation Chair, received his Paul Harris plus six pin.
The Rotary Foundation contributions are unique in that the club benefits from the donations through District and Global Grants.  This year Midday Rotary has received $7,000 in District Community Grants to support our local community and international service projects.  Congratulations to the awardees, and THANK YOU! to the many Paul Harris members of our club.
from the Ed,
Membership Co-Chair Dan did the honors this week, and turned his spotlight on veteran member and Past President Andy Ritting.  Andy is not just a Midday member since 2002, but he's been a Rotarian since 1985, which must surely make him one of the senior Rotarians in our Club. 
Born in the village of Oriskany, NY (yes - the one the USS Oriskany was named after), Andy loved growing up with History.  Not only was his hometown famous for a Revolutionary War Battle, but his folks lived in a house that once served as a stop on the Underground Railroad that guided runaway slaves from the South to freedom before the Civil War.
Andy & his friends searched for the rumored tunnel that was used for that purpose, but never found it.  They did, however make use of an old local church building, playing basketball on the excellent hardwood floor in the sanctuary.
Andy moved West with his family, landing for a time in Bloomingdale IL, just outside Chicago.  He advises anyone passing though town to be VERY careful of their speed, as the town has a history of revenue enhancement thru traffic enforcement!
After arriving in Tacoma, he got involved with Accounting, which is his profession to this day.  He met his wife Jan while she was working for a client of his accounting business.  Andy got interested in making wine when he and some friends discovered that winemaking was a perfect excuse for annual parties.  He has since found that he can buy the already-finished wine in barrels and just bottle and label it himself, and he's been doing that for a number of years.  Your Editor is advised that Andy's wine is really excellent.  We're looking forward to the next tasting opportunity! 
from Editor Don,
Midday's speaker this week was Dr. Art Jarvis, Superintendent of the Peninsula School District, who began by discussing their construction program.  Thanks to the successful bond issue last year,  the District is well on it's way to satisfying an urgent need for more space, with 4 schools under construction at this time and expected to be online for the next school year.
He continued by explaining the District funding levy, ballots for which were very recently distributed to district voters.  It's understood that the State doesn't fully fund education programs for local public schools - rather they provide a basic budget which Districts augment through levies.  Prior to this year, Peninsula's levies have amounted to about 1/4 of the annual budget and were at one time an annual request to voters.  In recent years the levies have become quadrennial, so this measure will provide funding for the next four years.  And happily for local taxpayers, the State has recently increased schools funding so this levy only covers about 1/6 of the District budget.  In fact Peninsula District is in the happy situation of asking for the lowest levy funding rate of any District in our County.  School enrollment here, which had dropped during the recent recession has now rebounded dramatically, so the Superintendent encouraged all of us to be as proactive as possible in supporting this levy. 
Thanks to Dr Art Jarvis for a highly educational and extremely timely presentation! 
President Rick discussed Rotary's Youth Protection Awareness program at this week's meeting.  Only a few Midday Rotarians have completed this worthwhile course, and his goal was to have EVERY Midday Rotarian so qualified.  If you are among the substantial number who have NOT - would you please go to our website and click the link to YOUTH PROTECTION AWARENESS TRAINING?
The course takes little time, and is very important to Rotary's Youth Protection program.  Will you do it? 
from your Ed
This week Membership Chair Cheri turned her mike over to Gunda Meissner, our esteemed ex-Treasurer and current President Elect. 
Gunda was born near Frankfurt Germany before the end of WWII. Her father was killed and lost in action in the war and her family lived during her early years in a single house with 6 families, because there had been so much destruction during the war. Her Grandfather raised rabbits, which with the occasional chicken were the only sources of meat for her family.  So she ate a LOT of vegetables and potatoes - especially potatoes, and surprisingly enough she still loves them to this day.
Gunda met her husband Uwe at University in Germany, and they came to the US together in 1968 - for just one year for a job assignment, to the town of Parksville NY.   That year was extended, then extended, and as we know - hasn't ended yet! Besides potatoes, Gunda loves walking in the woods - which probably explains why she's now a resident of the beautiful Pacific NW.  We're clearly the beneficiaries of Gunda and Uwe's "extended year" and are very happy to have them as part of the Midday Rotary Family!
from the Editor
Our resident Dentist Phil Kiss was our presenter this week, with the tale of his adventurous trip to Bolivia to work on projects with Tacoma's Etta Projects organization.
Phil went with Etta to provide Dental work for impoverished Bolivians living in the far reaches of the country where essentially no services are available. 
As you may imagine, conditions there are rather spartan, infrastructure next to nil, and doing Dental work in those conditions a challenge.  But Phil and his team of 3 other Dentists and several assistants persevered, and were able to provide essential dental work to hundreds of Bolivians in two separate locals on 3 day visits to each location, thanks to the excellent support of the Etta Team. 
Phil entertained the Midday crew with a great slide show, and President Rick then presented Etta Staff members Kathryn and Penny with a check to help them continue their excellent work in Bolivia. 
Thanks for the show, Phil.  And thanks for all you do, Etta Projects! 
from your Editor Don and Prez Rick
On June 27th at the GH Yacht Club, outgoing President Dan Wilson honored Midday Rotarians who have served notably during his tenure, then turned over the "wheel" of Gig Harbor Midday Rotary to our incoming President, Rick Offner.
Rick and his wife Julie retired and moved to Gig Harbor in 2013, from the Washington DC area. This move was to be close to their son, Jared and his wife Erin, and the expectation of grand-kids. They now are proud grandparents to Hudson, age 5, and Jordan, age 3. Rick also has a daughter, Megan, who lives in Upstate New York. He joined Rotary and our Gig Harbor Midday Club in 2016. 
Rick has a Masters degree in school psychology and a Ph.D. in rehabilitation psychology from the University of Wisconsin. He has over 40 years’ experience as a clinician, researcher, manager, and consultant. 
Professionally, he has managed complex organizations, working extensively with local, state, national, and international government agencies, universities, and nonprofit organizations. He has been a board member and officer of numerous local, state and national non-profit organizations and professional associations. 
Rick served as a school psychologist in rural south-central Wisconsin. He was a research professor on the faculty of the University of Montana, where he directed the Rural Institute on Disability and established a public policy research center for government studies. He was a senior executive managing a diverse consulting practice in Washington DC, where he worked with Federal agencies in public health, mental health, substance abuse, education and housing to strategically plan, manage and evaluate Federal programs.
Since moving to Gig Harbor, Rick has been elected President of his HOA. He served two terms as a Gig Harbor Parks Commissioner, and a member of the GH Transportation Planning Steering Committee. Rick and Julie also have a boat and are members of the GH Yacht Club. In his spare time, Rick enjoys playing his guitar, and walking in the Harbor. 
Midday Rotary is excited to have a Rotarian of Rick's education and experience at the helm of our Club, and very much look forward to his tenure as our President. 
Welcome aboard, President Rick!
Club Executives & Directors
President Elect
Past President
Foundation Chair
Community Service Chair
Community Service Co-Chair
Membership Chair
Membership Co-Chair
International Service Chair
Youth Services Co-Chair
Youth Services Chair
Youth Exchange Chair
Interact Club - Gig Habor
Interact Club - Henderson Bay
Youth Protection Officer
Exchange Counselor
Club Service Chair
Club Service Co-Chair
Program Chair
Harbor Hounds Chair
Sunshine Chair
Midday Charity Foundation President
Midday Club Foundation President