Three of the newest members of Lawrence Central Rotary shared the spotlight in a recent panel interview. All are excited about how Rotary can expand their networks of friendship and opportunity for community service in Lawrence.
Lee Anne Thompson (left) is AVP and Employee Benefit Officer at The Trust Company of Kansas (TCK). Lee Anne grew up in Hayes. After earning a degree in finance at Kansas State, she moved to Wichita to work for TCK for a number of years. She spend eight years as IT manager at another Wichita business before returning to TCK in 2012 at the Lawrence office. Lee Anne serves on the board of the Lawrence Community Orchestra and has been active in the music ministry at her church. She has been a foster parent and has a passion for serving neighbors, clients, friends and others that may be in need. To see her smile, ask her about her dogs. Lee Anne relished the childhood freedom to ride her bike or her horse all over small-town Hayes. A favorite memory is the laughter when her family played card games together.
Gena Dellett (center) grew up in Concordia, KS. Although her father was a dairy farmer, she considered herself more of a town girl. She was active in Rotary programs even during high school and helped to start a Rotoract Club while attending University of Rochester, NY. She was living in Alamosa, CO, when she joined a Rotary club in 2014. Gena moved to Lawrence in recent months with her husband and two young children. Professionally, she specializes in communications and in relationships, working remotely as an account manager for Wanna Pixel, a technology company. Gena tried hot air ballooning while living in Colorado and loves it. She believes that purpose is key to leading a successful life; she values family over career and believes that earning money is a means, not an end.
Leticia Cole (right) has worked with Paul Werner Architects for the past 11 years. Although she lived in Lawrence in grade school, she graduated from high school in Topeka. After earning a degree in Architecture at KU, she spent professional time in Phoenix and in St. Louis before returning to Lawrence. Leticia is a graduate of Leadership Lawrence and serves on the board of Catch-A-Break. She thinks our Club will be a good fit for her as she enjoys doing anything outdoors—biking, yard work, camping. A favorite adventure was a raft trip through the Grand Canyon with her husband.
Kevin Kressig and Chip LaClair are new members of Lawrence Central Rotary. President Fred Atchison inducted the two during the November 30 club meeting. Sponsors Steve Lane and Jim Evers participated in the ceremony.
Standing left to right in the photograph: Atchison, Lane, Kressig, LaClair, and Evers
Bob Ramsdell (left) and Kade Meyer (right) were inducted into Lawrence Central Rotary on Wednesday, November 15. After the brief ceremony, President Fred Atchison asked both men to tell the group more about themselves.
Bob Ramsdell said that before earning a law degree at KU, he spent 21 years as an artillery officer in the Army. He then worked eighteen years in a local law partnership. In July 2017, Bob set up a solo law practice in Lawrence focusing on estate planning, probate, trusts, wills, and elder law. He and his wife are originally from Maryland; they have two adult children who live in the area. Bob was drawn to Rotary because he has many friends who have been involved in the organization. He selected Lawrence Central Rotary Club because it is small enough for friendships and big enough to get things done. In his free time Bob likes to read history and biography and enjoys photography.
After a six-year stint in the Army Reserves, Kade Meyer returned to Topeka where he and his two siblings had grown up. He followed his father’s lead into the insurance industry and currently works as an insurance account representative in Lawrence, specializing in life insurance. As Kade launches himself professionally, he knows he needs to connect to the community. Joining a Rotary club has been an ideal way to do so, but he has also gotten involved with a number of other groups and initiatives in both Lawrence and Topeka. Kade chuckles as he acknowledges he chose Lawrence Central Rotary because of our reputation as “the fun group.” In his free time, Kade enjoys listening to podcasts and to a variety of other media.
In the late 1960s, POW/MIA wives bucked government protocol and broke public silence to demand accounting for their husbands and to pursue their safe return after years of imprisonment and torture by the North Vietnamese. Audrey McKanna Coleman, Senior Curator at the Dole Institute of Politics and member of Lawrence Central Rotary, highlighted how these women worked with Congress and the Nixon administration to challenge the traditional role of “military wife.” Senator Robert Dole helped them to gather a coalition in Congress and to sponsor the 1970 May Day event when they stepped forward publically as advocates for their husbands.
The story of these courageous women is chronicled at the Dole Institute of Politics in “The League of Wives: Vietnam’s POW/MIA Allies and Advocates.” The display is the most recent of a series of exhibits conceived by Coleman that highlight the people and events with whom Senator Robert Dole interacted during his career. Past exhibits included one in 2015 on Dole’s leadership in enacting the Americans with Disabilities Act and one in 2017 commemorating Dole’s nomination in 1976 at Kemper Arena to run for the Vice Presidency on the Republican ticket with Gerald Ford.
Curated by 2017 Dole Archives Curatorial Fellow Heath Hardage Lee, the current exhibition features 200 items that tell the story: documents, photos, oral histories and memorabilia from the Dole Archives, personal collections of POW/MIA families, and other institutions. Lee has written a book on the subject: The League of Wives: a True Story of Survival and Rescue from the Homefront (2019, St. Martin’s Press).