Santa Maria Sun / News
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 18
Hobnobbing With Helen
BY HELEN ANN THOMAS
Saturday, June 29, was a big night for Frank and Scottie Ortiz.
This popular couple “retired” from their year as district governor and first lady of Rotary District 5240, a big chunk of Central California. Their service was recognized and applauded at an annual awards ceremony held at the Radisson Hotel.
For the past year, these two have traveled all over Central California, visiting 74 Rotary Clubs in 38 California communities.
“It was wonderful,” Scottie said. “We met so many people and made so many new friends.”
To mark changes in leadership—on a local as well as district level—on June 29, more than 200 Rotarians from four counties came together at the Radisson. Visiting Rotarians came from as far away as Ridgecrest and Bakersfield. The four counties represented were Kern, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura.
The Santa Maria Rotary Breakfast Club was the host club. Members Wendy Foxen and Linda and Joe Maloney staffed the registration desk and checked in the guests. Breakfast clubbers Jim Bray and George Majoue stood sentry at the entrance and greeted all incoming Rotarians. These included former district governor Wade Nomura of Carpinteria, who drove to the event in a van with 10 of his club members, including wife Roxanne.
When I asked what it was like to travel all over Central California Rotary-land for a whole year, Mrs. Nomura said, “Oh, it was very exciting—a once-in-a lifetime experience.”
Also getting ready to leave office were Santa Maria club presidents Chris Hastert (breakfast club), Frank Culley (noontime club), and Jane Kokkinakis (Rotary South nighttime club), as well as the Nipomo club’s Mike Streator.
The event was officially called “District 5240 Awards and Recognition Celebration.”
What better way to kick off a celebration than with wine tasting in the lobby, orchestrated by Chris Slaughter, executive director of the Santa Maria Valley Wine Country Association? Chris garnered support from Cambria, Costo de Oro, and William James wineries, which sent reps to pour wine.
“Our wineries are so generous,” Chris told me as I sampled some mighty fine chardonnay.
There was a lot of spirited before-dinner conversation and socializing. Even though people came from a variety of locales, there seemed to be a lot of familiarity. Not a wallflower in sight.
Kirk Spry played the role of paparazzi with his camera, while Kate Ferguson wandered about with a basket and sold 50-50 raffle tickets. Proceeds from the raffle will be sent to two Rotary Clubs in Oklahoma for tornado relief assistance.
Among those greeting old and new friends in the lobby area before dinner were Martin and Debi Testa, Ken and Diane Parker, Radisson Hotel manager (and Breakfast Club member) Jean-luc Garon, James Peterson, incoming breakfast club president, and John Reinacher and Dawn Rust.
Alas, I was not able to attend the three-hour-long dinner and program, but I hear it was wonderful.
They did the usual: After an introduction of prior district governors and reflections on the past year, a slew of awards was given to clubs and to individuals.
The incoming district governor is Jack McClenahan from an Ojai club. Several years ago, his wife served in that position, so he has an idea what he is in for!
Rotarians of District 5240, Santa Maria loved having you here!
If you want to hobnob with Helen, you may contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.