Posted by Bruce Cathcart on Jul 07, 2017
Doug, Robert and Jeff are greeted by Diane, Sandy, and Kevin
Newly installed President Baird called his first meeting to order at 12:15 and lead us in the pledge of allegiance. The now “double past” president Doug Motz gave the invocation.
We had one visiting Rotarian this day, our District 5330 Governor Elect Ricardo Loretta from the Palm Desert Noon Club.
Baird welcomed the club members and encouraged everyone to be on the lookout for potential new members for our club.  He shared with us all that for each new member inducted between now and the end of his term he would give a raffle ticket to both the sponsoring member and the new member for a drawing to be held at his demotion party to win a piece of jewelry that he will donate to the raffle valued in excess of $1,000.00!!!
Baird also shared with us all some of his plans for the new Rotary year. 
This year the theme is simply “Making a Difference”!  He and his board have big plans for this year’s fundraiser expanding on our successful Wine Event that will be replacing the Strut Your Mutt.  It is his vision to include efforts to help the homeless and to re-establish our relationship with the good folks at Olive Crest.  To be successful he will need every member’s help!
Governor Elect Ricardo made an announcement about the Coachella Valley Rotary Summer Aloha Mixer to be held at Roy’s in Rancho Mirage (across Highway 111 from the River) to be held on July 25 from 5:30 to 7:00 PM.  The cost will be $15.00 per person and appetizers will be served.  Those who arrive between 5:30 and 6:00 will receive a $20.00 gift card to be used at a future visit to Roy’s.  It promises to be a great night of Rotary Fellowship!  To make reservations go online to It should be noted that about half way through his announcement Ricardo’s phone went off… more on that later!
This coming Friday (7/14/17) our speaker will be our very own Health and Nutrition Expert Dr. Bruce Underwood who will speak to us on the topic of “Best Supplements and Sources as They Relate to the Aging Process”.  Dr. Bruce is an excellent speaker and this is a topic from which we can all benefit.  Please make plans to join us.
With about $175.50 in the raffle and a bag still heavily weighted in white marbles Allan Levin drew… well, actually a blue marble.  Since it was mostly clear and definitely not the coveted black marble he settled for the $5.00 consolation prize.
Riding his own personal high of just winning a fiver, our Fine Master Allan Levin started the day’s recognition by auctioning off the Fine Free Badge.  Doug Motz came in a close second to Baird’s proxy bid of $55.00 for Dr. Bruce.  With Baird now squarely in the spotlight Allan queried him on the incorrect spelling of Tom McDermott’s name on the Plaque and Gavel that was presented to him at the demotion party.  Apparently the good folks at the awards company thought Tom was more of a McDermoh than a McDermott or at least that’s the way the excuse went… but Baird has since had a new plaque made and at last McNomore McDermoh!  Doug chipped in $50 for several transgressions including his birthday this month, Arnie paid for a no makeup, and Immediate Past President Tom paid for his beloved UCLA to be the first to have 100,000 students apply for admission to their 2017-18 freshman class.  Sandy Lauer must have borrowed Dave Turner’s watch as she showed up late for the third meeting in a row and finally, Governor Elect Ricardo, whose phone went off disrupting his own announcement, donated $50.00 to our club.  He was immediately handed an application and made several offers to transfer his membership to the La Quinta Rotary Club.
Our speaker this day was Bob Wendler the West Coast Regional Director of Custom Canines.  Bob was accompanied by his service dog “Anika” and two other volunteers Allan Franks and “Kent”, and Leah Swarthout and her service dog “Dusty Rose”.  “Custom Canines is a nonprofit organization of volunteer professionals and individuals who embrace the endeavor of creating and supporting lasting partnerships between highly skilled service dogs and the community of mankind with diverse disabilities and impairments, thus greatly enhancing their quality of life.” (I stole that from their website so don’t blame me for the run on sentence!)  They do this by training service dogs for individuals with disabilities.  Such disabilities include PTSD, Autism, blindness, and mobility assistance.  Nicole Meadowcraft founded the nonprofit Custom Canines Service Dog Academy in 2011 after receiving a guide dog herself and sensing the need for service dogs for more than just those with vision problems.  Bob Wendler was a dog handler in Vietnam in 1968.  He worked with Guide Dogs of the Desert for many years and recently retired… only to volunteer his time now with Custom Canines.  He was diagnosed with PTSD and spoke freely about how his dog Anika helps him get through each day by sensing when he is anxious or distressed and can intervene as appropriate to help calm him by touch, by position (blocking) or just giving him a “hug”.
Leah Swarthout shared her story of having PTSD and how her dog “Dusty Rose” helps her get through the day.
Allan Franks shared his experiences as a trainer with Kent.
Custom Canines is run 100% by volunteers and now has 29 working on the West Coast.  They are completely funded by donations.  To learn more about Custom Canines please visit their website at
President Baird called the meeting to a close at 1:30 PM with the Four Way Test.
This newsletter was written by Bruce Cathcart