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KiwaniScope (Club NewsLetter)

August 2002

Click here for an index to previous Kiwaniscopes
News Items:
KiwaniScope Volume 3, Number 11 District Kiwanis's Award-Winning Bulletin
August, 2002

The Keel for the S. S. Serendipity Has Been Laid!

Remember when the S. S. Serendipity was just a gleam in Ray Skinner’s eye?  Remember when he made the above model because he couldn’t draw plans for a ship with playground equipment on the deck?  Remember when he was carting his model around to different organizations hoping to get some contributions to build his “dream boat?”
It took more time than he had predicted but there were extenuating circumstances.  Back in the spring when he was ready to break ground, the teachers at Beacon School went on strike.  We couldn’t cross the picket line to build the ship.

Then Ray thought he needed two telephone poles for the masts.  When the Electric Company turned down his request to put up the two poles and the Telephone Company recommended that he not use creosoted poles around children, he came up with another idea -- put a flagpole in the middle and hang the flags on lines to the flag pole.

That was the last hurdle to get started, so Ray invited one of our newest members, Luther Haseley, to go see where the ship would be built behind Beacon School.  Once he got him there he suggested that they stake out the site to show how the ship would fit in the area between the basketball court and the greenhouse.  (It must have been 100 degrees in the shade and there was no shade, but Luther started his first Kiwanis  Service Project with great enthusiasm. 

Ray’s next hurdle was digging the 40 postholes for the foundation of the ship.  He went to Bedrock Rental and the man showed him a one-man auger for digging postholes.  Since he wanted to involve more Kiwanians, he asked about the two-man auger.  It weighed a ton and he had just melted in the sun hammering in the stakes.  Then he asked about what it would cost to rent a tractor with a mechanical auger on the back.  $350 sounded out of reason, when he only has the $500 that the Board approved back in December, 2001.

That is when Luther came to the rescue; he asked his neighbor if he could borrow his tractor so we could rent just the auger and put it on his neighbor’s tractor.  Luther has some wonderful neighbors; they not only loaned us the tractor but also came along to do the augering for the 40 postholes.

We had reserved the auger from Bedrock Rental for Saturday morning, July 27, 2002.  Ray was going to meet Luther and his neighbors at Bedrock at 7:30 a.m. to beat the heat.  We beat the heat all right!  As soon as we arrived at Bedrock, it started to rain.  After much soul-searching, Luther made the decision, “Let’s do it!”

Ray went to Beacon School to mark where to drill the 40 postholes. When he arrived at Beacon School the gate to the parking lot was locked. Ray had told the maintenance man to make sure he left the gate open from the parking lot to the site for the ship to be built, but he must not have made it clear that he wanted to come through the parking lot to get there. 

Ray almost aborted the whole operation, but he thought he might be able to drive around the building on the Morrison School side.  He made it without slipping down the hill to the Morrison playground, but he wondered whether he could make it back after it rained steadily for three hours. He walked back to the front of Beacon School and directed Luther’s neighbors with the truck and tractor on a trailer along the crest of the hill to the building site with out much slipping. By this time Dave Redecker had arrived and we were ready to break ground.

The tractor with the 12” auger bit worked beautifully as Luther’s neighbors started to dig the postholes.  The rain made the footing very slippery, but Dave, Luther and Ray were able to place the two posts for the aft of the ship.  (You will have to learn the language of ship building as we complete this project -- aft is a technical term for the back of the ship.)
Dave wanted to measure all the dimensions for the ship and make sure the diagonals were equal.  Ray had lost the 50-foot tape measure that he had used to lay out the site for the ship, so we had to use a wet plastic tape that stretched when we pulled on it.  Finally, Ray found some clothes line in his truck and we were able to check the diagonals.  (They were right on the money, but Dave kept reassuring us that we had some leeway with the one foot holes.)
After three hours in the steady rain, everyone was soaked to the skin, but the 40 postholes are dug and we are ready to start shipbuilding at Beacon School. Come join us!

July Programs

July 8, 2002: Mike Canterbury, Deputy County Engineer at the Athens County Engineer’s Office, has worked in the Engineer’s Office for 20 years and  loves his work.  He said the Engineer’s Office has a $3.4 million budget. They maintain over 370 miles of county roads and 335 bridges.  This compares with 500 miles of Township roads and 280 miles of state highways in Athens County.  Their current project involves renovating the three covered bridges that still exist in the County, which is funded with a federal grant.

July 15, 2002: Giles Lee discussed what goes on at the new $10 million Hocking College Recreation Center.  Giles is from London, England and has pursued many occupations before coming to Hocking College.  His first employment in this country was at the Logan Summer Camp where he worked for ten summers.  After completing his degree from Hocking College and Ohio University, he was hired to direct the recreation program in the new facility.  He initiated a new program for incoming students called, “Smart
Start.”  They participate in high ropes and low ropes courses, the climbing wall, SCUBA in the pool, and other workout facilities. “Smart Start”  has been very successful in improving the retention rate of students to almost 99%.

July 22, 2002: Doug Bentley, Chief of Operations for Athens County Emergency
Communications (911),  described life at the Athens County 911 Center.  The 13 full-time staff answers over 21,000 calls annually.  The round-the-clock service directs responses to law, fire and medical services.  There are 32,000 telephones in the county; the emergency service has information on each phone that enables the emergency service to locate the  home of the caller.

July 29, 2002: We met at the Athens County Fairgrounds to set up our booth for the Fair.  Millers’ Chicken was served for everyone’s delight.  Members were encouraged to sign up for more hours to work at the fair booth  from August 4-10, 2002.

August Programs

August 5, 2002: Grace Essex will describe a pre-school connection with a school in Italy.

August 12, 2002: Mary Abel will describe the Camp Invention program, which is being held in Athens for the first time.  We provided three scholarships for three students to attend the Camp.

August 19, 2002:  Ray and Marilyn Skinner will share some of their 500 slides taken on a recent tour of Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji.  (Ray went native in Fiji:  Bula!  Bula!)  Let’s make this a Spouse’s Night.

Plaque from Big Brothers Big Sisters
President Bob Roth displayed a plaque received from the Big Brothers Big Sisters  of Athens County for our contribution to the Annual Bowl for Kids Sake Campaign back in February.  Bob said he hopes that we will be able to support this organization in the future. The Athens Invitational Marching Band Festival Will Be Held on October 5 at the Athens Football Stadium.

We Applaud the Service Provided by the Athens High School Key Club During 2001-2002

Congratulations to Erin Bucher, President of the Key Club, and Kiwanian Dave Sager, Advisor of the Key Club, for a wonderful year of providing service for the Athens Community.  Some of this service helped our fund-raisers, starting with the 2001 Athens county Fair.       
On their own the Athens High School Key Club raised close to $800 during the school day and at a football game for the victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks. In December, 2002 they collected over $150 to donate to the Athens County United Appeal Campaign.  Over 300 students at Athens High School donated at least $.50 a piece to have their picture taken for the Messenger.

 Also in December, 2001 the Key club collected coats for the “Coats for Kids Campaign” and cans for the Christmas Canned Food Drive.  The coats were distributed by Bank One; one of its representatives praised the Key Club for collecting the coats and said, “If it had not been for the Key Club, Bank One would not be able to conduct this “Coats for Kids Campaign.”  The canned food was given to the local Food Bank and one of its representatives said, “This was one of the most successful drives ever,”

In February, 2002 the Key Club helped run the Athens High School Bloodmobile Drive for the American Red Cross.  The drive collected over 160 units of blood, exceeding their goal of 150 units.  This was one of the largest blood drives in the state of Ohio.  (Congratulations Key Clubbers, all  of our Kiwanis members are very proud of you.)
Also in February, 2002, many Key Clubbers came to our rescue at the Kiwanis Pancake Day when we had the largest turnout at Pancake Day in its history.  (We appreciated your help.)

Service Club Blood Drive

Being the present holder of the revolving trophy signifying that we brought in the most blood among the service clubs last December, 2001, the following challenge was mailed to each service club last week: “The Athens Kiwanis Club would like to challenge all members of other Civic and Service Clubs in Athens to "GIVE BLOOD FOR A SERVICE CLUB" at the next Athens Blood Drive on AUGUST 13-14, 2002.   You may call 593-5273 for an appointment; walk-ins are always welcome.  On August 13 the Bloodmobile will be at the First Baptist Church at 336 East State Street and on August 14
you may give blood at the Christ the King Parish Hall at 75 Stewart Street in Athens.  The hours both days will be 12:00 noon to 6:00 p.m. We would like to see how many units of blood we can give on these two days.  To encourage Civic and Service Clubs to adopt this as a service project, recognition will be given to the Club, which recruits the most blood donations on AUGUST 13-14.  A rotating trophy will be given to the Service
Club who recruits the most donors on these two days.  Each club may recruit family and friends to give blood for its total donations.  New donors are encouraged to give blood during this time of acute shortage of blood donations.

Please call Ray Skinner at 593-5153 to register your Civic or Service Club for this challenge.  A sheet for each Club will be placed at the check-in tables at the Bloodmobiles on AUGUST 13-14.  Tell your member and their friends to sign the sheet for your Club when they make their donations.  Presently the Kiwanis Club of Athens holds the trophy for having the most people donate blood in their name at the last Give Blood for a Service Club Contest.”

Subject: Pledge of Allegiance to our Flag


As you may know, I spent five and one half  years as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War. In the early years of our  imprisonment, the NVA kept us in solitary confinement or two or three to a  cell.  In 1971 the NVA moved us from these conditions of isolation into  large rooms with as many as 30 to 40 men to a room. This was, as you can  imagine, a wonderful change and was a direct result of the efforts of millions  of Americans on behalf of a few hundred POWs 10,000 miles from home.
One of the men who moved into my room was a young man named Mike Christian.  Mike came from a small town near Selma, Alabama. He didn't wear a pair of shoes until  he was 13 years old.  At 17, he enlisted in the US Navy. He later earned a  commission by going to Officer Training School. Then he became a Naval Flight  Officer and was shot down and captured in 1967.
Mike had a keen and deep  appreciation of the opportunities this country-and our military-provide for people who want to work and want to succeed. As part of the change in treatment,  the Vietnamese allowed some prisoners to receive packages from home. In some of  these packages were handkerchiefs, scarves and other items of clothing. Mike got  himself a bamboo needle. Over a period of a couple of months, he created an  American flag and sewed it on the inside of his shirt.
Every afternoon,  before we had a bowl of soup, we would hang Mike's shirt on the wall of the cell  and say the Pledge of Allegiance. I know the Pledge of Allegiance may not seem  the most important part of our day now, but I can assure you that in that stark  cell it was indeed the most important and meaningful event.
One day the  Vietnamese searched our cell, as they did periodically, and discovered Mike's  shirt with the flag sewn inside, and removed it. That evening they returned,  opened the door of the cell, and for the benefit of all us, beat Mike Christian  severely for the next couple of hours. Then, they opened the door of the cell  and threw him in. We cleaned him up as well as we could.
The cell in  which we lived had a concrete slab in the middle on which we slept. Four naked  light bulbs hung in each corner of the room. As said, we tried to clean up Mike  as well as we could. After the excitement died down, I looked in the corner of  the room, and sitting there beneath that dim light bulb with a piece of red  cloth, another shirt and his bamboo needle, was my friend, Mike Christian. He  was sitting there with his eyes
almost shut from the beating he had received, making another American flag. He was not making the flag because it made  Mike Christian feel better. He was making that flag because he knew how important it was to us to be able to pledge allegiance to our flag and our  country. So the next time you say the Pledge of Allegiance, you must never forget the sacrifice and courage that thousands of Americans have made to build  our nation and promote freedom around the world. You must remember our duty, our  honor, and our country.

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United  States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God,  indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Newsletter Editors:
Ray Skinner
John Biddle

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