2015-12-02, Paul Harris Fellow Presentations

President Alex called the meeting to order at 12:04 p.m.  Bill Wheeler led the prayer and President Alex led us in the Pledge of Allegiance. Ross Ramsey kicked off the holiday season by leading the club in “White Christmas” and “O Little Town of Bethlehem.” After the club sang "Happy Birthday" for those born in December, President Alex recognized the December wedding anniversaries and club anniversaries. In order to keep the meeting on time, the club greeted each other with a wave.

THE PROGRAM – Paul Harris Fellow Awards

President Alex turned the program over to Bill Harty, co-chair of the Paul Harris/ Rotary Foundation Committee. Bill recognized his co-chair Jim Bullock who regretted that he could not attend today’s program. Six club members were recognized for their “service above self.” Being selected for this award by the club is indeed a real honor. The club donated $1,000 for each Fellow to the Rotary Foundation where half supports the World Fund and half goes to the District Designated Fund. The Foundation has six focus areas; promoting peace, fighting disease, providing clean water, saving mothers and children, supporting education, and growing local communities. Since its inception, over $395,000 has been donated to the Foundation from our club.

Two of our six awardees are Multiple Paul Harris Fellows. The first to be recognized was Jodie Brdecko. Detailed biographies were presented in the program, so Richelle introduced Jodie with a story on how powerful an unexpected gift can be and what a gift Jodie is to the club. She is always enthusiastic and makes all feel welcomed. Everyone loves a Jodie hug. She introduced her husband Tommy. Our second Multiple Paul Harris Fellow recognition was Bob Seaton. A retired doctor, Richelle shared that he always had a word of encouragement and that he had delivered 10,000 babies during his medical career. Displaying uncharacteristic restraint, she passed on the opportunity for an inappropriate joke! A good call since Bob is a Southern gentleman. She also recognized his wife, Linda.  

Richelle Ponder with Jodie and Tommy Brdecko  Richelle Ponder with Bob and Linda Seaton

Kristi Granados, Sue Groth, Patty GrothOur next two fellows, Patti Groth & Kristi Granados, were introduced by Sue Groth. Patti and Kristi have been a dynamic duo in the club, so Sue took the opportunity to make sure everyone could tell them apart since she sponsored both of them. For example, Sue has known Kristi for five years (her accountant) and Patti since she was born (her daughter). Kristi has four girls and six grandchildren – Patti needs a date! Kristi introduced her youngest daughter Ashley. Patti introduced her youngest sister Valerie as well as friends, Judy Jones and Mary Overpeck.

Our fifth honoree was Cornell Menking. Cornell was introduced by Greg Fant, who happened to chair the committee that recommended his selection as New Mexico State’s Associate Provost for International Programs. Growing international education at NMSU has been his focus and is his passion. Greg shared that one of Cornell’s best decisions was marrying Mona and invited her to join him as he shared the work they had done to help Ecuadorian teachers learn English. Our final honoree was David Yaryan who was introduced by Jim Parks. David is a second generation Paul Harris Fellow who was born in Las Cruces, attended NMSU, served in the Army, and worked in Dallas before coming home to start several businesses. A great supporter of the Aggie Women’s volleyball and basketball teams, his work ethic and great heart always puts service before self.  

Cornell and Mona Menking with Greg Fant   David Yaryan and Jim Parks

As he wrapped up the program, Bill shared that there are currently 70 members in the club and 63 are Paul Harris Fellows.

Paul Harris Honorees 2015-12-02


Ross reminded the club that the LCHS Choir would be here next week and we should help defray the cost of their bus rental. A social hour is planned for Thursday December 3 at the Azul Lounge. President Alex shared a letter from the Rotary Foundation recognizing our club for being in the “Top Three Highest in Per Capita Annual Giving” for our district, one of 1428 clubs worldwide to attain “100% Rotary Foundation Sustaining Member Club”, and one of only 3112 clubs worldwide to become an “Every Rotarian, Every Year Club”. The can was up to $82 and Les won the opportunity to draw. He missed the joker so the pot continues to grow! President Alex closed the meeting with the four-way test.  

<prior week   following week>

Guests of Rotarians



Judy Jones

Patty Groth

Mary Overpeck

Patty Groth

June Briggs

Dinus Briggs

Dina Schroeder

Steve Loman

Jacque Parks

Jim Parks

Mona Menking

Cornell Menking

Daniel Payne

Kim Hakes

Steve Beardsley

Gary Aschbacher

Juan Colquit

David Yaryan

Nora Yaryan

David Yaryan

Ashley Bianchini

Kristi Granados

Tommy Brdecko

Jodie Brdecko

Valerie Pickett

Patty Groth

Linda Seaton

Robert Seaton

Visiting Rotarians


Home Club

Maria Small

Anacortes, WA

Student Guests









Jim Maxon


El Paso

Submitted by Greg FantGreg Fant