Meeting of November 11, 2010

An influenza ward at Walter Reed Army Hospital in 1918.

Southern Rensselaer County Rotary Club
Minutes of November 11, 2010

Picture 4Attendance (13): Terry Brewer, Pat Bailey, Murray Forth, Len Leonidas, Jim Leyhane, Phil Egan, Rommel Tolentino, Charlie Foote, Doris Calamaris, Bill Dowd, Bill Kneissl, Russ Edberg, Dick Drumm.

Guests (1): Bill Nathan.


Dr. Len Leonidas presented a program titled “A Bird Named Enza: A historic and scientific puzzle,” a look at the calamitous influenza pandemic of 1918 that killed millions, and what we have learned about the disease since then.

The deadly virus was not known before it hit around the world beginning in September 1918. In the U.S., 28% of the population was estimated to have died. It became known as the “Spanish Flu” because the illness of the king of Spain brought world attention. It affected the young and the elderly first; many died in less than 48 hours. October was the deadliest month, with a dropoff of the death rate by the end of that year. Suspected causes were the World War, increased worldwide travel, lack of information about how disease is spread, and poor hygiene. Pneumonia often was the other killer due to weakened immune systems.

Could this occur again? Are we prepared? Len said yes, it can, and we may not really be ready for anything that severe. He advised us all to be sure to get the new flu vaccine.


• A membership meeting is scheduled for next week, Terry has letters on letterhead for those who need them to send to prospective member. The club will be paying the cost of dinner guests.

• We were reminded of the need to make reservations at Cohoes Music Hall for the December 8 Rotary Night performance of “A Christmas Carol: The Musical.”

• Assistant District Governor Bill Nathan spoke about the Rotary International Convention to be held New Orleans on May 21-25 next year at the Wyndham Historic Hotel. Check our website for more information.


• Jim Leyhane reported on the three Rotary Home Dinners planned as fundraisers for the next few weeks. Check with Jim for reservations.

• Doris Calamaris reported about the holiday silent auction baskets that will be brought by each member to the December 16 holiday party at the Brewer residence. She showed a sample basket and spoke about how to select a theme and carry it out while decorating and filling a basket. The baskets’ proceeds will go to the Gift of Life.

NEXT MEETING: 6:15 p.m. Thursday, November 18. Charlie Foote will introduce the guest speaker — Frank E. Wargo of the Rotary Leadership Institute. The meeting also has been designated a membership meeting.

[Go here for the Events Calendar.]



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