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).
No one can do it alone.
This theme inspired 40,000 Rotarians to action at the Rotary International Convention and the Presidential Peace Conference in Atlanta, GA, in June. Lawrence Central Rotarians Janis Bunker and Kate Campbell described their experiences at the event.
- Dr. Bernice A. King, CEO of The King Center, declared: We are interconnected, inter-related, and “caught in a network of mutuality.” For one to win, all must win.
- Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, spoke of the moral imperative: Serve humanity and make a difference through direct action for results in people’s lives. To achieve prosperity and peace, no one can be left behind.
- Philanthropist Bill Gates celebrated the successes of Rotary’s efforts to eradicate polio.
- James Quincey, CEO of Coca-Cola, described partnerships between corporations and organizations like Rotary aimed at bettering the world.
- Andrew Young, civil rights leader, congressman, and former mayor of Atlanta, described Rotary’s role: The glue to hold society together and the grease to help the world grow and change.
- Jack Nicklaus, champion golfer and Polio Ambassador for Rotary, believes that success comes from focus and concentration; knowing yourself; and taking personal responsibility.
In addition to the keynote presentations, numerous breakout sessions provided project ideas and resources to all who attended.
President Jim Peters inducted Kendra Kuhlman (right) into Lawrence Central Rotary on Wednesday, March 29. Kendra’s sponsor was Kate Campbell. Kendra works at Kansas Public Radio in sales and business underwriting.