Club Executives & Directors
President Elect
Vice President
Club Secretary
Past President
Rotary Foundation Chair

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Birthdays & Anniversaries
Member Birthdays:
  • Richard C. Shanks
    October 5
  • Margarita Hernandez
    October 16
  • Ronnie Hallenberger
    October 19
  • Alice Moore
    October 21
  • Charlie Deaton
    October 21
  • Judith Snively
    October 31
Spouse Birthdays:
  • Alan Brevard
    October 31
  • Elizabeth
    October 31
  • Don Raskin
    October 13
  • Greg Faldyn
    October 14
  • Honey Leveen
    Jim Goodale
    October 25
Join Date:
  • John Threet
    October 1, 1997
    19 years
  • Greg Faldyn
    October 17, 2002
    14 years
  • Ken Walker
    October 30, 2003
    13 years
Welcome to our Club!

Celebrating 22 years of service to our community and the world

West U

#1 Giver to The Rotary Foundation 2015-16, #1 Giver to Polio 2015-16, Best Large Club 2012-13

We meet Thursdays at 7:15 AM
The Merrill House
2502 Algerian Way
Houston, TX  77027
United States
Venue Map
Home Page Stories
I love being in Rotary yet never gave any thought to how that became possible.  Saturday night several of us West U Rotarians heard the firsthand account of Sylvia Whitlock of her journey to become one of the first women in Rotary.
On her application to RI, her club (Duarte, CA) opted to just use her initials but when RI found out, they insisted the club expel her.  Instead they chose to be a non-Rotary club, with their logo being the Rotary wheel with an "x" through it. (I love their chutzpah!) The issue ultimately was decided in the US Supreme Court in 1987.  About 150 people raised over $20,000 for Deepa Willingham's Pace Universal organization that educates girls in India, with West U Rotary being the first to pledge.  Thank you, Sylvia and the men of the Duarte Rotary Club for fighting for what was and is "good for all concerned". 

To mark the Rotary Foundation centennial, RI encourages members everywhere to do 100 acts of good throughout the year. Let others know by posting photos of yourself on social media, along with a brief description of the act, using #100actsofgood.
You will find blank cards on the table each week for you to record you Act of Good and place in the bowl for counting.   Our members do good every single day so getting to 100 would only take a day.   So how many could we do for the remained of this year?    There are 269 days left in the Rotary year from today to June 30, 2017.    If we each did one a day x 100 members (rounded) that would be 269 x 100 - 269,000.    Let's be conservative and set a goal of
250,000.   Did you put gas in your teens or spouse's car?  Put your neighbor's paper by the door?   Tell a soldier "thank you" in the airport?   Call your parent(s)?   We often don't think those small acts are anything but they are.

Let's get a little crazy at the last meeting of October by coming to the meeting in costume!   We did this a few years back (props to Wally) and it's time to do it again
Wear a complete costume or don crazy glasses, a hat, oversized glasses, a clown nose on Thursday, October 27th. You have 3 weeks to plan; I look forward to seeing what you come up with. 

The Visioning session results are ready to be shared with the entire club.  Mark your calendars now for Monday evening, October 24th at 6:30 p.m. for a Pizza Dinner and Visioning Report at the Southside Clubhouse at 3743 Farbar in Southside Place. Dress comfortably.

It is good to be us.  A leading club in the District, and our District a leader in the world!  We did a wonderful job of being welcoming and respectful to DG Eric and wife Sandra.  We showed off a little by inducting two new members, Margarita Hernandez and Frank Eggleston.  We gave out funds to Small Steps Nurturing Center for one student to go to pre-school for a year, and we gave the District Grant funds to Disaster Aid for a water filter in the Philippines.  We presented our 100th Anniversary of The Rotary Foundation check for $10,000 to Eric.  We streamed his presentation LIVE. 
We had many guests from foreign countries and some local visitors expressed a desire to join our fantastic club. Yes, it is good to be us.
Thank yous go out to Honey Leveen, Frank Parrilla, David Redford and Roger Martin for sponsoring and mentoring our new members. Thank you to Chad Spencer, for finding matching funds for our Small Steps donation, turning our $5K into $10K.  Thank you to Terry LeFebvre for hosting the Bolivian PDG Javier as he and his wife on numerous occasions when they came to Houston for cancer treatment.
Thank you to the Membership Committee, who are attacking the cause of growing membership with gusto.  Visitors seemed absolutely delighted to be at our meeting on Thursday.  Great job!

This morning we woke up to learn that a man was shooting at cars on Weslayan near Bissonnet around 6:20 a.m.  Right near where our club used to meet.  Right where we shop, where many members live.
It seems a miracle that no one was killed (though people are in the hospital in critical condition).  We pray the victims all fully recover.  But now we know that even in our cozy part of the world, insanity can happen. It seems particulary serendipitious then that this week our featured speaker will be HPD Officer Rick Retz who will speak about how to respond to an active shooter situation.   If you have any friends who you think would be interested in this talk, feel free to invite them.  I say this not as a promotion, but as a service to our friends who may be anxious at this time.  

West U Rotary Club and West U Rotary Foundation are two separate entities run by two separate boards. The West U Rotary Foundation is a 501C3 entity that manages the funds that are raised for and spent on our charitable projects.  Flags and the golf tournament revenue contribute to the foundation budget. Backpacks, meals, scholarships, Books for the World, Challenger baseball and everything else we do as service comes from those funds.  Holiday parties, office supplies, mailbox fees, dinners, awards, equipment, etc. are club expenses funded by your dues.   
This year the foundation board of trustees for 2016-2017 is:
President:  Carl Stutts
Secretary:  Greg Faldyn
Treasurer:  David LeFevre
   Carol Gradziel
   Phil Mabry
   Janice Stooksberry
Club President-elect:   George Adams
Thank you, outgoing Trustees Russ Schulze (Pres.), Craig Friou, Max Hickerson and Mark Wright, for your years of service to the foundation.
All West U Rotarians are members of the foundation and can apply to serve on the board.  The foundation trustees elect their board officers each year.   A term is three years with two members rotating off the board each year.  The board meets quarterly and as needed to conduct business.  If you would like to serve on the board next year, contact George Adams in the spring.

The social committee once again scored a hit last week with a tour of the Rienzi Museum, part of the MFA collections.
Many members and some spouses followed as docents described the history of the home, it's occupants, and the artifacts inside. We learned too that the surrounding grounds are open every day and visitors can wander them at no cost. It is a gem in the heart of River Oaks few of us had seen. Thank you, Honey, for setting up the tour and meal at Local Foods that followed. 

On the recent Belize projects trip, Jack Wallace and others visited a school that serves children living in meager and violent conditions in Belize City.   Father Matt of St. Martin de Porres School leads a team of dedicated teachers trying to help 700+ children who are growing up under the most stressful conditions.  Many have family that are gang members and virtually all have been touched by gang violence, many having seen someone they knew killed.  A study by a visiting psychologist revealed many kids are suffering from PTSD.  In addition, food is often scarce at home. It's hard to hear the teacher when your stomach rumbles and hurts.  Fr. Matt asked us to help fund his school feeding program for this current academic year.  Jack has massaged his International budget to find the money to fund this program that will provide breakfast and lunch to pre-schools to teens.  
Jack will visit Belize again and welcomes anyone interested in coming along.   Only 2.5 hours away, it's a short trip to visit an area that needs our help.   

On Saturday, September 10, twenty members of our club came together to decide on the direction of the club for the next 3-5 years.   Assisted by open ended questions by lead facilitator PDG Lisa Faith Massey, we were challenged to come up with new ideas, evaluate existing programs, and rate them individually.   When the votes were tallied we could clearly see where the most support was and where to put our efforts to be more impactful.
Thank you to everyone who came out to serve West U Rotary.  The results of the meeting will be shared with the club within the next 30 days at a special club assembly.  Stay tuned for details.

A small committee of board members has stepped up to review the club's by-laws to correct some logistical changes, such as our venue change and fees.  In addition they will consider changes in methods of voting and meeting, recognizing that we live in a time where a lot of business is now done online.  They will also look at the committees listed in the by-laws and assess if they are still appropriate, structured properly and with proper responsibilities.  The committee consists of board members George Adams, Greg Faldyn, Bob Owens with Wally Kronzer advising. If you have suggestions or comments you can speak with one of them.   Any changes to the by-laws will be voted on by the entire club at a regular meeting, with proper advance notice to members.  

So were the words of Terry Ziegler in describing our rank in giving to The Rotary Foundation for 2015-16!   See the Foundation story for the details.
Nuff said.   

Last week for the first time ever our speaker was streamed Live on Facebook!   Thanks, WALLY, for bringing the latest technology to our club.  Now you won't have to lament missing a program as it stays on our Facebook page.  If you are on Facebook and have not "Liked" us yet, what are you waiting for?!  Help us spread the word by "liking" us and sharing our content regularly.  

Every year our club hopes to sponsor a Global Scholar through a Global Grant.   We rely on Clarence Miller to help us find that student from his position at Rice University.   Clarence indeed brought us a young man to consider.  Simulataneously we received a referral of a young woman at Baylor College of Medicine. What a wonderful dilemma. After Clarence, George Adams and I met with both scholars we made our choice. It was not easy. What made it possible at all was knowing that whomever we did not choose would have a sponsor in the Humble Club.  
So we have chosen Tim Tianbo Wang, a biochemistry major at Rice who plans to become a dentist and work on public policy as it relates to oral health.  If your oral health is poor, you don't eat a good diet.  If you don't eat right, you get weak or sick.  If you are sick you cannot work, if you can't work you can't support your family, etc. etc.   
The Baylor student, Annum, will be sponsored by Bill Davis's Humble Rotary Club.  She plans to devote her career to helping communities organize and push for better access to health care from their leaders. We will be pulling for her as well to be a grant recipient along with our nominee.
Sitting down with George after a day of interviewing the two scholars, he reflected that it was a good day.   A day that makes you happy to be a Rotarian because of what we do, and happy to be President-elect and in a position to meet these future leaders.  Rotary offers the same opportunities to all members to meet and affect people in a big way.  Find your passion so being a Rotarian is rewarding for you.

We mourn the passing of Laney Littlejohn.   However, with no services held, we feel no closure.  What can we do with our grief?  Laney’s family has asked that anyone wishing to honor Laney’s life, make a contribution to The Rotary Foundation.   Terry Z and Wally figured out a way to do that in the biggest possible way and in a manner Laney would surely approve. 
Alejo from Argentina arrived early Tuesday morning, August 16, to a small but enthusiastic crowd of Rotarians and his first host family, the Eushers.  
International Chair Jack Wallace led a group of four West U Rotarians to Belize City to look at projects for our consideration.
Did you know that you can support Rotary projects without spending any extra dollars? How?  When you shop at Target, Starbucks, Amazon, Gap, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Neiman Marcus, Macy's, Saks, Sephora, airbnb, and hundreds of other stores, you can download their offer to Give Back a percentage of your sale.
Discounts offers are also available with Hertz, Avis, Office Depot, Candlewood Suites, AMC theaters and many more vendors.   

Go to and login to My Rotary to see the hundreds of offers available.   You can even use your smartphone or tablet. So next time you are about to check-out either online or in person at some national vendor, remember to check for a Give Back offer or Discount.  

Website Sponsors
Oct 27, 2016
Dr. F. B. Willis
Right Size Weight Loss or how not to gain the holiday 15
Nov 03, 2016
Trudi Smith
Buffalo Bayou Partnership
Nov 10, 2016
Sheri Suarez Foreman
Houston Center for LIteracy - The Center addresses adult illiteracy
Nov 17, 2016
Nov 17, 2016
Bob Charlet
Houston Business Journal - bringing the HBJ into the digital age
Jan 12, 2017
Bruce Serbin
Publicity and Media Training
Jan 26, 2017
Quincy Allen
Texas Department of Transportation - Houston Mobility
Virtual reality films bring new dimension to polio fight
At this year’s World Polio Day celebration in Atlanta, Rotary is harnessing the power of virtual reality technology to build empathy and inspire action in our fight to eradicate polio. Rotary, with support from the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, produced a virtual reality film that tells the story of Alokita, a young adult who suffered paralysis from polio as a child growing up in India, which has been polio-free since 2011. “When you open your eyes and see a different environment around you, you relate to the subject on a visceral, personal level,” says Vincent Vernet, direct of digital and...
Rotary Day at UN highlights role of business in building a better world
From the United Nations’ earliest days in the aftermath of World War II, the organization’s humanitarian mission has always dovetailed with Rotary’s efforts to administer aid and build peace. This year’s Rotary Day at the United Nations, 12 November, will highlight the role businesses can play in that collaboration as we work toward a more just and equitable world. The theme of this year’s gathering at UN headquarters in New York City, “Responsible Business, Resilient Societies,” recognizes Rotary’s role at the intersection of commerce and cause. As leaders in their professions and...
ShelterBox prepares for Mosul refugees
Today marked the start of the battle to take control of Mosul back from the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS. The city is the group's last major stronghold in Iraq. But humanitarian aid agencies have known about the military offensive, giving them an unusual opportunity to prepare for the crisis. "It is rare for the world to get early warning of a vast human catastrophe," says Chris Warham, chief executive of ShelterBox. "The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees issued a paper in July saying this would likely be the biggest humanitarian crisis of the year — and we better get...
Skydivers raise thousands for polio eradication
The first time Noel Jackson jumped out of a plane at 14,000 feet, it had nothing to do with raising money for polio eradication. The Michigan dentist had received a gift certificate to go skydiving from his staff because they knew he was into adventure. “It is definitely a defining moment,” says Jackson, a member of the Rotary Club of Trenton, Michigan, USA, of that first jump, done in tandem strapped to a professional skydiver. “The rush of the free fall is beyond anything I have ever experienced before. Just the speed and acceleration is unbelievable. You don’t even have time to figure out...
Rotary and ShelterBox on the ground in Haiti
Even as parts of Haiti were still recovering from a catastrophic 2010 earthquake, Hurricane Matthew tore through the impoverished island country 4 October, leaving hundreds dead and many more homeless. The Category 4 storm affected an estimated 330,000 people in Haiti, including 6,400 who were moved to temporary shelters. Extensive damage to main bridges and other transportation networks have left some areas cut off and vulnerable. Torrential rains have resulted in flooding and landslides. And contaminated water supplies threaten to lead to a surge in cholera cases and other waterborne...