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Sergio, David, David, Brett, Tom, Corry and Jeff at the greeting table

President Sandy called the 9th meeting of the 27th year of La Quinta Rotary Club to order at 12:10.  Following the Flag salute by David Turner, Dick Anderson offered the invocation.  There were a large number of guests in attendance:  Merv introduced friend Sue and better friend Karen, Diane introduced Dee (prospective member), Dave introduced Sergio (water project partner), Greg Lane introduced his wife, Charlene.  Also present were representatives from Rabobank, including Chris, Cathy and Alicia.  Rabobank is potentially our first corporate member.  Visiting Rotarians included Bob Russell, Indio Sunrise, and Lee from Downtown LA 5.

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Sergio, our partner in the East Coachella Water Project

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Elisa, Cathy and Chris from Rabobank

There were plenty of announcements, all of which can be viewed on our website, www.laquintarotary.org.  For planning purposes, our next Board meeting will be next Wednesday at 5:30 at the office where Cory works.  Rotarian Bob Russell, our Area ADG, shared some information on upcoming District events.  As we are a friendly club, Bob was also a $5.00 winner in our raffle.

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Assistant District Governor Bob Russell (Indio Sunrise)

Lunch was then served by our great wait staff.  For those looking for dinner at lunch, there was a Cactus Grilled Penne.  For the light eaters, there was a great Chicken Caesar Salad and for the rabbits in the audience, there was a huge Wedge salad with Bleu cheese dressing.  As always, we were treated to the Cliff House’s ice cream pie (aka Hula Pie).

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Favorite Server Ray with Cactus Grilled Penne

While waiting for the arrival of our guest of honor, and with Merv sweating bullets, our Sergeant at Arms took the Podium.  As promised last week, Allan called out a few delinquent dues payers for attention.  If you were not here today and haven’t paid your dues, it would be a good idea to come with check in hand next week.  Joe LaMantia was recognized for his tardy arrival.  Celebrating anniversaries were the Hunters and Franklins.  Bruce F. related that the minimum fine at the Big Bear club is $10.00.  We may have a new standard!  Dick Jandt was celebrating his birthday today and generously donated a dollar for each year.  Happy 72nd Dick!  Happy dollars were offered by Mayor Don, David Turner and Rey Neufeld.  Good luck with your hip replacement surgery, Rey, and hurry, but don’t run, back.

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Our President Sandy with Congressman Ruiz

Right on cue, Allan finished and our guest of honor, Congressman Raul Ruiz, arrived.  It was a special treat to have the Congressman with us and to hear his story.  Congressman Ruiz grew up in a trailer park in Coachella.  His mother and father were farm workers.  He completed his undergraduate work at UCLA (there was no groan from the crowd) and went on to Harvard to receive three graduate degrees, his Medical degree plus Master degrees in Public Health and Public Policy. 

After completing seventeen years of training, he returned to the Coachella Valley to serve as an Emergency Room doctor at Eisenhower Medical Center.  He has worked diligently to bring medical services to the underserved communities in our area.  He has also responded to calls for help in disaster areas such as Serbia, El Salvador and Haiti. 

In 2012 he was elected to represent California’s 36th District.  He has proven an effective representative, resolving over 150 constituent issues in his short time in office and is currently working on 500 more!  His number one issue is the fight for Veterans rights.  He has co-sponsored a bill which will speed up the approval of veteran’s requests by electronically connecting the data bases of DOD and Veteran Affairs.  He has hosted local forums to hear from veterans about their needs.  He serves on the Veteran’s Affairs Committee, as well as the Natural Resources Committee. 

The Congressman was very complimentary to our club and congratulated us for our work to bring clean water to trailer parks in the East Valley.  He took several questions for the audience, providing thoughtful answers to questions on the Salton Sea, veteran’s services and the issues surrounding Syria. 

After thanking the Congressman for sharing his time with us, President Sandy closed the meeting with the recitation of the Four Way Test.