By Debbie Gross


Our program today, The Aleutian Islands, was presented by our own College Rotarian, Ron Inouye, who shared highlights and wonderful pictures of his June 20 – July 3, 2013, tour of the Aleutian Islands commemorating the 70th Anniversary or World War II. 



By Debbie Gross


Today’s meeting was led by President, Patty Meritt. 


At the desk were Carol Callahan and Michael Dunton.  Sathy Naidu greeted and sold 50/50 tickets.  The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Vonna Husby, and Karen Parr led us in song with the “America the Beautiful”.


Our guests included Peggy Pollen, our Immediate Past District Governor, and her father, Peter Van Horsen.  Additionally, we enjoyed a special visit from four youth exchange students who all seated themselves around the room at different tables to maximize visitation opportunities with College Rotarians.  Visiting students included: Clemens Heiden from Austria, Maria Petersen from Denmark (sponsored by College Rotary), Cigne Torres (A Fairbanks student who recently returned from Denmark), and Andrew Maxwell (a Fairbanks student who recently returned from Norway).


Peggy Pollen shared and distributed copies of a new pamphlet, “Your Paul Harris Explained”, she has designed for Paul Harris Fellow Award recipients.  Donors of $1,000 or more to Rotary Foundation’s Annual Programs Fund, PolioPlus, or the Humanitarian Grants Program, or people who have that amount contributed in their name, can be recognized as Paul Harris Fellows.  Peggy encouraged all Rotarians to consider giving a Paul Harris Fellow Award to a family member or friend.  Peggy immediately put her words into action by surprising her father with a Paul Harris Fellow Award which includes a $1,000 contribution in her father’s name to the Rotary Foundation.        


Jane Lanford thanked everyone who helped out with the senior games.


Visiting exchange student, Clemens Heiden from Austria, exchanged club flags with our President, Patty Meritt.


Patty Meritt announced that our September 16th meeting program will include “fun &  games”, a social time, and club business.   


Thank you to Julie Scott for volunteering to prepare a quilt square on behalf of College Rotary for the 2013 Rotary Zone Institute’s PolioPlus Promise Quilt fundraiser.  Watch for a picture of the completed square on College Rotary’s facebook page. 


Happy bucks were shared by Patty Meritt, Peggy Pollen, Paul Bauer, Glenn Potts, Julie Scott, Mary Nordale, and Jane Lanford.


Our program today, The Aleutian Islands, was presented by our own College Rotarian, Ron Inouye, who shared highlights and wonderful pictures of his June 20 – July 3, 2013, tour of the Aleutian Islands commemorating the 70th Anniversary or World War II.   The Aleutian Islands are about half ways between Anchorage and Japan, and from Japan’s perspective during WWII, was the beginning of the US.  The tour began with a plane ride from Anchorage to Adak.  Once a booming military town of nearly 15,000 people, Adak’s population has since declined to approximately 100 people currently, and the community is desperately trying to find a new economy.  From Adak, the tour continued with visits to Adak, Attu, Dutch Harbor, and Unalaska.   Ron and his 12 shipmates toured the Aleutian Islands in a cozy 52’ long vessel, Puk-Uk, which was captained by Billy Choate.  Ron was really glad some of his shipmates were women, as women do things differently than men, and per Ron, when you are in very limited space for two weeks, you need to do things differently!  Ron shared a list of WWII Aleutian events, including:

·        Japanese attack Pearl Harbor

·        Japanese bomb Dutch Harbor

·        100,000 US-Canadian/Japanese troops in Aleutian campaign

·        831 Aleuts evacuated from 7 Aleutian and 2 Pribilof villages

·        Battle of Attu

·        War end: Aleutian campaign is second to Iwo Jima in Pacific fatalities

·        The Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians recommends, and President Reagan offers, a national apology, and congress compensates both relocated groups.


During the group’s tour of Attu Island, Ron observed the memorial plague erected for those Attu Island villagers who were killed or captured by Japanese forces in WWII.  This memorial was spearheaded by the Alaska Veterans Museum, and the Anchorage International Rotary Club was also involved in this project.  The group saw lots of war remnants on Attu, which was “sort of frightening”, per Ron.  Additionally, they saw crashed planes and many derelict ships floating around, and visited the Attu landing field which is one mile long.  


Ron and his group experienced lots of rain, and saw an abundance of wildlife, sea critters, beautiful landscapes, flowers, and lots of volcanoes.  Surprisingly, they did not experience any mosquitoes. 


The trip concluded with a sailing to Unalaska and Dutch Harbor, both of which have wonderful museums which tell the story of the war.  Per Ron, “This was a wonderful, exciting time to see history”.


If you are interested in learning more about the Aleutian Islands and WWII, Ron recommends the following books:

·        Last Letters From Attu: The true story of Etta Jones, by Mary Breu

·        Alaska At War, by Fernand Chandonnet

·        Personal Justice Denied, by The Commission On Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians

·        The Forgotten War, by Stan Cohen


The 50/50 pot was $61, and was won by Debbie Gross.  Proceeds from the Club’s weekly 50/50 raffles are used to support College Rotary’s annual Children’s Shopping Spree and other service projects.  Thank you for your participation in this weekly activity! 


Patty closed out the meeting with a joke and adjourned the meeting. 




·        Next week’s program will be Fire and Ice: Alaska’s Changing Climate, presented by Nancy Fresco, Network Coordinator for the Scenarios Network for Alaska and Arctic Planning and UAF research professor in Natural Resources.


·        College Rotary’s Board of Directors will meet at 1pm, on Monday, August 26th following our lunch meeting.  Patty has set up an agenda and will try to be done in an hour's time. 


·        There will not be a meeting on Labor Day, September 2nd.


·        If you will be absent for extended periods of time this winter or within the next year, consider inviting a friend, neighbor, or co-worker to Rotary.  Our club needs more members to assist with our service programs, and as several College Rotarians tend to travel during the winter months when several service programs are scheduled, it is important to bring new members in this fall.  Patty has a collection of old Rotarian magazines that can be used to introduce others to Rotary.  Please contact her if you would like to have some of these to hand out.