Posted by Tom McLean on Oct 08, 2018
Rotary Club of Olympia
The Wheel
 
 Date: 10/8/2018
 
Today’s Program:   A Personal Immigration and Refugee Story
 
Meeting Called to order:   12:30 pm by Past President Christy Peters
 
  • Invocation by: Alan Miller
  • Pledge of Allegiance led by:  Gerald Pumphrey
  • Song:  Gloria Strait led us in America the Beautiful
  • 4 Way Test:  Led by Laurie Tebo
 
Visiting Rotarians
  • Jeff Reiner from Aberdeen
  • Former member Marv Reiner
 
Guests of Rotarians 
Mary Lynn Reiner, guest of Marv Reiner
 
Announcements
Community Grants
Mark Elliott announced that applications for grants from our Fred Balz Community Grants fund will be accepted during the month of October (The deadline for receipt of applications by the grant committee is 10/31.)  Eligible Non-Profit, 501-C3, local organizations will find the application forms on our web site: HERE.  If prospective applicants click on "Download files" (scroll down and look in the right column) followed by "Grant Forms & Guidelines," they will find the needed information to make a grant request.  If you know of an organization that needs a grant please let them know about this opportunity ASAP. 
 
Happy Bucks 
  • Jim Leonard - 35 fun things for our club to do were collected.  3 or 4 people in the audience needed to help clean the Nisqually Wildlife Trail.  At the edge of all the planks, there’s a lot of gunk.  As we are needed when most visitors are not present, the only day for us to help out are Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.  Contact Jim if interested.
  • Christy Peters – 51 birthday bucks.  Also, We will have a “Fun” meeting on Nov. 19.  We need pictures of your past self.  Send to Dan Lehuta or bring them to our weekly check-in desk.
  • Warren Carlson - check for $101. Celebrating 76 years of marriage and 25 years old???
  • Bill Fishburn - Birthday $$$$$ - 49 years old.
  • Marv Reiner - Story about our speaker.  He smashed his thumb years ago and he went to the new doctor; he reminded Marv he is a thoracic surgeon and not a first aid man.
  • Fred Adair - Happy to be back.  Has missed meetings because his wife has cancer.
  • Exchange student, Canela Silva Jeldres, from Chile - Her host family is away and she’s staying with her 2nd host family.
  • Laurie Tebo - Got a $500 prize from Twin Star Credit Union… and with that can pay her birthday dues.
  • Ralph Munro - This month’s Rotary magazine talks about polio and the 3 types.  Urges everyone to read.
  • Richard Hull -  Great fall rowing season.  90 middle and high school students.  Salmon and Seal Regatta: 25 middle school students had the first race of their lives.   Last weekend rowers went to Seattle for Sea of the Lake Regatta.  Men and women’s crews won the novice divisions.
  • Debra Stephens – Cool Jazz Clean Water volunteers needed.  CJCW event will be Saturday, Nov. 17 – the weekend before Thanksgiving.
    • Volunteer for the youth musicians.
    • Helping for 1 to 2 hours is a great assistance.  We will show you what to do.
    • Also need contributions of wine or other desirable items for the auctions at the event.
 
Announcments
Past President Christy announced that some cash had been found at the desk.  Please claim it if it was yours.  
 
Auction 
Jay Burney auctioned off a freshly baked loaf of bread from Bill Fishburn and 44 fresh steamer clams from Jim Leonard.  After spirited bidding between Richard Hull and Victoria Byerly (who needed something for dinner) Victoria was the winning bidder at $75.

Program:    Immigration and Refugees presented by Dr. Juris Macs 
 
From Chuck Fowler’s introduction:
 
“One of the most contentious, difficult challenges today as a nation is the refugee and immigration issue.  Through many of our lifetimes and before, we have seen wave after wave of refugees being displaced from their homelands because of war and other conflicts, political persecution, poverty, and other economic crises.  And for over two hundred years, millions of those who have fled the serious problems in their own countries dreamed of finding political and personal freedom in the United States.
 
To add an historical and personal perspective to this topic, we asked Dr. Juris Macs, a University of Puget Sound and University of Washington graduate, widely known Grays Harbor surgeon, and regional emergency medical service pioneer, to tell us his own refugee story.”
 
Notes from Dr. Macs’ talk:
 
Dr. Juris Macs came to Tacoma in 1949 from Latvia.  He went to medical school and became a surgeon.  He attended University of Puget South and then medical school at the University of Washington.  He worked in Aberdeen for 50 years.  He was an early advocate of emergency medical services for rural areas.
 
Dr. Macs benefitted from our country taking him in as an immigrant and is living proof of how much immigrants can give back to our country. 
 
Dr. Macs shared how the big port in Nisqually did not happen due to people coming together to protect the area for clean water and avian concerns.
 
He was 5 years old, living on his maternal grandparents' farm.  He didn’t notice at first when the Russians invaded Latvia.  Gradually, bad things began to happen.  People began to disappear.  In 1940, the Russians took 40,000 Latvians, put them on cattle cars and sent them to concentration camps in Siberia.  Soldiers came to his grandparents’ farm in the early hours one morning.  They were in their night clothes and were taken to Siberia.  Conditions were brutal.  Two weeks after his grandparents were taken, they were at his paternal grandparent’s home.  Soldiers again came very early in the morning.  They escaped out the back door went and hid in the farm rows. 
 
The Germans pushed the Russians back, but this lasted a short time.  The Russians started coming back in 1944.  Many Latvians did not want to live under Russian rule.  Dr. Macs' family took a boat to Germany, then took a train to Dresden.  During the time Dresden was being bombed with napalm.  The city burned for days.  Luckily, they were in a railroad car on the railroad tracks and didn’t get hit.  He was 10 and went looking around.  They found a bag of raw potatoes.  They survived on the raw potatoes for several days.
 
In Biberach there were marches for several days.  They were singing “Deutschland über alles" (Germany over all!) even in the midst of Germany crumbling.  Given how it was clearly evident that this German was in ruins he thought it ironic that people still fervently clung to the Nazi propaganda.  Then the French came to Biberach.  A French POW in Biberach stayed around and talked with his father and shared that the Russians were coming to round up all the Latvians and take them back to Latvia.
 
Many Latvians did not want to go back to Russian occupied territories.  In February 1945 at the Yalta Conference, Stalin demanded to keep all the territories the Russians were occupying.  With little resistance from Churchill or Roosevelt, Russia appropriated much of eastern Europe. 
 
Dr. Macs and his family were placed in a “Displaced Person Camp.”  These people were refugees.  They did not want to go home to Russian occupied Latvia.  However, there were not many places to go.  A few people found new homes and some stayed in Germany.  He lived in Essing, Germany from age 10 to 14.  There was lots of elbow macaroni and potatoes so thin you could see through them. 
 
They did get some occasional care packages which included chocolate and cigarettes (which they found they could trade to get other things they needed).  His parents were successful in getting permission to come to the United States.  The Lutheran World Federation were very helpful in facilitating their move.  They guaranteed them employment for the first year and got them jobs at a dairy farm in Washington.  His father was a minister at a Lutheran Church in Tacoma. 
 
Dr. Macs had an internship in Minnesota and there fell in love with surgery.  He hated the traffic in Chicago, Seattle, and Minnesota so he decided he wanted to live somewhere with more trees than cars.  There were not many surgeons in rural areas at that time.  He did his residency in Bakersfield, CA.  There were lots of accidents and so he got a lot of experience. 
 
He found emergency/trauma medicine had almost no infrastructure in rural areas.  There were many preventable deaths.  There was money from the federal government to start EMS programs around the country.  Motivation came in part from Vietnam veterans that were used to medics coming in to help whenever they were wounded.  Dr. Macs worked to establish trauma and emergency care in Aberdeen and rural Washington.
 
Mr. Snappy:   Bill Fishburn won tickets to Regal Cinemas
 
Meeting adjourned: by Past President Christy Peters @ 1:30 pm