Meeting Report: December 5, 2016

New Member Talk:  David Kline


David G. Kline gave his new member talk this past Monday. We already knew that David was a Neurosurgeon, but how he got there and the roads he traveled unraveled as he wound his way through his past.


Growing up in the rough neighborhood of Upper Darby, a suburb of Philadelphia,  he learned quickly his scrawny body was no match for the toughies prevalent in that area. They plotted to catch him while ice skating and took his pen knife from him.


This infuriated David, but being physically incapable (much of his childhood was spent in the hospital due to illnesses) of retaliation, he decided to join the Jr. High School wrestling team. He continued his pursuit of wrestling in high school and was named co-captain of the wrestling team.


About his same time his father received a promotion and his parents could now afford a larger home in a nicer neighborhood. Instead of being joyous about the move, David became infuriated and in his words threw a “hissy fit” because it meant that he would have to attend Haverford High School, a rival of Upper Darby. Around that time, David received news of a full scholarship to Penn. Not wanting to wrestle at  Upper Darby’s competitor, Haverford, David continued to go to Upper Darby. His excitement about the scholarship was short lived, however, when the school principal called him into his office. There in front of his parents, who had already been informed, he learned that his scholarship was being revoked because it was against the law to attend and participate in one school district while living in another. Eventually, however, he would receive a partial wrestling scholarship from the University of Pennsylvania. To defray the cost of attending college David took a variety of jobs working in the library and waiting tables at the Kappa Sigma fraternity. Then, unexpectedly, his father passed away that following March, putting an even harder burden on his family to provide funds for his college education. One of the members of that fraternity, Charles Assif a senior at Kappa, remembering David as a waiter, and after learning of David’s father’s passing, went to Dean Peters and insisted that Kline be given a full scholarship.

After medical school at Penn and as a resident in surgery at Michigan, he was drafted into the Army medical corps in 1962. David went to Washington, D.C. by train to see someone in the Surgeon General’s office to add surgical experience to his assignment in a Kansas field unit. He told his story to the Surgeon General, who was impressed by his fortitude and said he would dictate a letter of recommendation to the hospital where David wanted to work as part of his service to our country. As the S.G dictated this wonderful letter while David stood by, David noticed, much to his chagrin, the Dictaphone was never turned on.


Discouraged, but not defeated, he proceeded to walk from there to Walter Reed Hospital -a four hour jaunt- to seek an audience with the Head of Neurosurgery, Colonel Hayes. Upon being called into Hayes’ office, he saw a Dachshund on a gurney table and instead of hearing the normal questions one might expect, David was asked: “Do you know anything about dogs?” at which David replied he knew little about dogs but when asked if he knew what kind of dog this one is, David said he thought it to be a dachshund. The Doctor then asked David what he thought might be wrong with this dog. Many questions and answers went back and forth and David actually provided a correct analysis of the dog’s condition, which was partial paralysis in his rear legs, rendering the dog unable to walk. The doctor then asked David to pick up the dog and follow him. Upon arriving at the operating room David was told to place the dog on this particular operating table.


Much to David’s amazement, he looked down at a brass plate installed on the table. Inscribed were the words: “1949, General Dwight David Eisenhower was operated on this table.” As we know Eisenhower, became the 34th President of the United States, 1953 to 1961. The dachshund belonged to General Meroney who was in charge of the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and that is where David served for two years.I’m sure David could have talked for another hour and I’m sure we would have enjoyed listening, but time was at hand to close the meeting. Very interesting story David!

Meeting Report: November 21, 2016

Habitat for Humanity


Allison Jennings, Director of Development for Habitat for Humanity was the featured speaker at Monday’s meeting of Blowing Rock Rotary Club.

Habitat for Humanity is an organization that supports the community in a variety of ways. One way is building homes. There is a shortage of affordable housing in the Boone-Blowing Rock area, according to Allison, and that is where Habitat for Humanity comes into play. Allison said they just finished building a home for the Shook family in Foscoe and ground breaking is scheduled for a home in the Greenwood community for the Love family.

When a family applies for a home from Habitat for Humanity they must meet certain requirements, according to Allison. There are some income requirements, as well as, a decent credit history. They must pass a background check and agree to provide “sweat equity” as part of these requirements. Once they have met these criteria, Habitat for Humanity is ready to start building. All homes are built by volunteers and the family gets a zero interest loan. According to Allison, they have had one family pay off the entire mortgage.
“Plans are underway to build a barn where people can gather, hold events, and “just plain use” the new facility”, said Allison.
Allison stated, “We appreciate all the support we receive from our community. We are always looking for donations as well as boots on the ground in our building efforts”


Importance of Being a Rotarian

In many ways, there has never been a better time to be alive. Violence plagues some corners of the world. And too many still live under the grip of tyrannical regimes. And although all the world’s major faiths teach love, compassion and tolerance, unthinkable violence is being perpetrated in the name of religion.

And yet, fewer among us are poor, fewer are hungry, fewer children are dying, and more men and women can read than ever before. In many countries, recognition of women’s and minority rights is now the norm. How strange, then, to see such anger and great discontent in some of the world’s richest nations. In the United States, Britain and across the European Continent, people are convulsed with political frustration and anxiety about the future. Refugees and migrants clamor for the chance to live in these safe, prosperous countries, but those who already live in those promised lands report great uneasiness about their own futures that seem to border on hopelessness. Why?

A small hint comes from interesting research about how people thrive. In on shocking experiment, researchers found that senior citizens who didn’t feel useful to others were nearly three times as likely to die prematurely as those who feel useful. This speaks to a broader human truth: we all need to be needed.

Being “needed” does not entail selfish pride or unhealthy attachment to the worldly esteem of others. Rather, it consists of a natural human hunger to serve our fellow men and women.

Virtually all the world’ major religions teach that diligent work in the service of others is our highest nature and thus lies at the center of a happy life. Scientific surveys and studies confirm shared tenets of our faiths. Americans who prioritize doing good for others are almost twice as likely to say they are very happy about their lives. In Germany, people who seek to serve society are five times likelier to say they are very happy than those who do not view service as important. Selflessness and joy are intertwined. The more we are one with the rest of humanity, the better we feel

What can we do to help? The first answer is not systematic. It is personal. Everyone has something valuable to share. We should start each day by consciously asking ourselves. “What can I do today to appreciate the gifts that others offer me?”

Editor note: The above is excerpted from an article written by Dalai Lama and provided by Virginia Vanstory.

Meeting Report: November 14, 2016

Student of the Month


The student of the month, Hailey Church, an eighth grader at Blowing Rock school, is pictured here accepting her certificate signifying her selection as Student of the Month, along with President Ray, Gary and Amy Church, her father and mother.
Hailey is the youngest of two girls in their family. Hailey likes to study science and that make sense in that she told us she would like to be a Marine Biologist when she gets out of school.
Hailey is active in school. In addition to her passion for science, she also plays a Viola and a Saxophone and is a member of the school band.


Happy 100th Birthday to the Rotary Foundation

Rotarians in attendance heard Virginia Vanstory tell all about the 100 years of the Rotary Foundation and the good it has done around the world. Polio, once epidemic is now down to less than 34 cases per year over the entire world. WOW! Virginia presented President Ray with two award banners for our club’s 100% participation. We had a party and sang happy birthday to the Rotary Foundation, complete with party favors and a birthday cake.


Board Meeting


Your Club Leadership (Board Members) met  Monday and voted to approve the following items:

  • A $2,000 grant to Blowing Rock C.A.R.E.S. for them to distribute Food Carts to needy families in the community.
  • To hold the Annual Holiday Party at Twigs restaurant on Valley Blvd., December 12th at 6:00 p.m.. Cost for members will be $23 (plus your regular meal charge) anf $40 for guests. Details and sign up sheets will be announced later. For the last several events like this the club used club funds to subsidize the extraneous costs , such as entertainment. Those costs will all come from the $40 amount.
  • There will be no meetings of our club December 19th, 26th and January 2nd.
  • Considered a request for a special project at the Middle Fork Greenway Trailhead. Similar to the signature project a couple of years ago for the park gazebo, but not nearly the magnitude of that effort.
  • The next meeting of the board is scheduled for January 9th.

Meeting Report: November 7, 2016

Rotary Foundation Birthday Party


Our guest speaker last Monday, a Rotarian himself, Jim Street, made a presentation about leadership. Fresh from a conference he recently attended, Jim said he was taking fresh new approaches to his classroom at  Appalachian State University where he teaches leadership. He said there are adaptive solutions and technical solutions to problems facing leadership.  He invoked the participation of Rotarians in attendance, asking each to write down what they felt were true aspects of leadership. Some of the responses were in line with what he learned at one of the conference sessions he attended. Some of these truths are: 1)You make a difference, 2) Creditability is the foundation of leadership, 3) Values drive commitment, 4) Focusing on the future sets leaders apart, 5) You can’t do it alone, 6) Trust rules, 7) Challenge is the crucible of greatness, 8) You either lead by example or you don’t lead at all, 9) The best leaders are learners,  10) Leadership is an affair of the heart. People support what they help create, said Jim .


November is Foundation Month. Throughout the month we will be commemorating this event with pictures and information about the Foundation. Today’s Program is to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Rotary Foundation. We are having a party and you are invited. We will be showing a film which tells how it started and the good it has done throughout the world, most notably, the near eradication of Polio.


Kitty Lumpkin

Kitty Lumpkin, member of our club, made an impassioned plea for  every female, especially those 40 and older, to have a mammogram each and every year. Kitty said that breast cancer is the most common cancer, except skin cancer, that women may face in their lifetime. It can occur at any age, but it’s much more likely after age 40, and the risk goes up as women get older. Kitty is a breast cancer survivor and had it not been for the discovery of suspect tissue during a routine mammogram, it would have gone undetected. Because she did detect it in time and because she took pre-emptive action, she survives today and has been declared cancer free.

Meeting Report: October 31, 2016



Jane Blackburn, Executive Director, Appalachian Regional Library System presented to Rotary last Monday an interesting review of the Regional System. A regional library in North Carolina, according to Jane, is an interlocal governmental agency formed by two or more counties and/or town or city governments agreeing to fund a regional library system. County commissioners appoint a local advisory board and a regional governing board. The governing board appoints a director and a finance officer.

The region controls the money receives all funding, pays for all expenditures, is audited yearly and provides that audit to the board, to all local funders, and to the State Library. The region controls all library staff-the library staff reports to the County Librarian; the County Librarian reports to the Director. This region includes Watauga County Public Library, Western Watauga Branch Library, Wilkes County Public Library, Traphill Branch Library, and Ashe County Public Library.

In this region there are over 76,000 cardholders, over 400,000 visits, 1,871 programs offered, which 34,882 persons attended. There were 78,741 computer uses. For the most part Watauga County accounted for more than one third of these figures.

Jane said they are in their second year of a five year plan. Some new things they are doing include Story Walks where individuals can improve their literacy and have fun at the same time, and a Tot Lot in Blowing Rock’s Park, placed 14 Little Free Libraries throughout the region.

Little Free Libraries are boxes like the one shown here where patrons can take a book (usually paperback) and place a book in the unlocked box. Sometimes patrons do not bring a new book to place in the box, so if the box becomes depleted, the local library replenishes it. This effort encourages reading by conveniently placing boxes in residential neighborhoods. The regional system also have a program in conjunction with the High Country Workforce Development Board to help individuals write resumes’ and seek job opportunities.

RESEARCH Research is a useful tool now offered in the regional. Begin any research project at the Library! The first stop — either online or in person — is the online catalog. See what materials you can check out or access to enrich your research.
NC Live can be accessed anywhere you have an internet connection, from within our libraries, at home or on your mobile devices. All you need is your FREE Appalachian Regional Library card number! (If you don’t have one yet, stop by one of the libraries soon.)
With content and indexing from more than 50,000 newspapers, journals, magazines, encyclopedias, ebooks, e-audio, and streaming video titles, NC Live offers users the highest quality, most authoritative, subscription resources in the information marketplace. Students, faculty, and staff from any of North Carolina’s community colleges, independent colleges and universities, and public universities, as well as patrons from the state’s public libraries, can access all of NC Live’s content at no cost.

Meeting Report: October 24, 2016



Last Monday we heard from Andy Sicard, Park Ranger, with Grandfather State Park who told us all about the park we have right here in our own backyard. Growing up in the eastern part of the state of North Carolina, Andy always dreamed of a job where he would be paid to play-in-the-dirt. His first job with the park system was in Goldsboro for his first two years. The heat there was too unbearable for Andy who loves the outdoors, so he transferred to this area where he started the park at Elk Knob, just north of Boone off highway 194. It was when the state purchased 2500 acres of Grandfather Mountain in 2009 from the Morton family, that Andy transferred there to assume his current position. Andy loves to talk about this unique park system and quite an enlightened talk he gave to those in attendance. According to Andy the park exists to provide trails and parks for the public. Trails may be accessed at several locations. East Side Trails: visitors may park at the Boone Fork parking area at mile 299.9 on the Blue Ridge Parkway or the Parkway’s Asutsi Trail, which begins on US 221 (the only winter access when the Parkway is closed). Hikers can follow the Parkway’s Tanawha Trail to reach the Nuwati or Daniel Boone Scout trailheads. West Side Trails: visitors may park at the Profile Trail parking area off Hwy 105 S. Ridgeline Trails: visitors may park at the private Grandfather Mountain attraction (with mile-high bridge and zoo). Note: fees do apply if entering via the private attraction. To contact the attraction, please call (828) 733-4337.

There are 73 endangered species within the park-32 of which are erratically imperiled. In 1992 Grandfather Mountain was recognized as an International Biosphere Reserve, of which there are only 600 in the world. A biosphere is a place on or near the
Earth’s surface that contains and supports living organisms. There are three parts to a biosphere, according to Andy: Lithoshphere (the solid surface of the Earth), Atmosphere (the layer of air that stretches above the lithosphere), and the Hydrosphere (the Earth’s water: on the surface, in the ground, and in the air). A biosphere reserve is an area of land or water that is protected by law in order to save the ecosystem, as well as the impact on the environment by humans. There are three main parts to a reserve: Core Zone (which is strongly protected, such as plants and animals), Buffer Zone (which surrounds the core zone and designed to allow viewing and touching plants and animals without destroying them by trampling, etc.), and the Transition Zone. A transition zone is an area for the local communities to have a hand in managing the resources through farming, fisheries, and other governmental activities.

Grandfather Mountain State Park has three of the five worldwide G1 occurrences. They are: The Spruce Fir Moss Spider (about the size of a pinhead), the Blue Ridge Golden Rod, and the FrullianIa Appalachiana (a liverwort).

Andy noted the reason the S.R 105 has not been widened as originally planned is because of the Eastern Small-footed Bat which migrates from Grandfather Mountain to Diamond Creek and to Beech Mountain. “To widen the road, Andy said, would disrupt the migratory pattern of this rare species”. This bat species is in the G3 category of which, species are only 21 to 100 occurrences worldwide.