This Week at Rotary
 
We Meet at Noon
In Person – With Box Lunch - RSVP
(Three Persons per Table)
- OR -
By Zoom 
Thursday, September 17, 2020
Holiday Inn and Suites - Downtown Duluth
Ballroom
 
Karl Everett
 
A Grand Adventure in Bolivia
Rotarians recently traveled to Bolivia for the completed Tocopilla Medical Clinic Thanks to area Clubs, including Duluth, the matching funds are now available to complete the Laguna Sulti water wells.  The next project is located at 13,000 feet on the highland plateau.  Karl will update us on past, present, and future journeys of a grand adventure to Bolivia high in the Andes and in the depths of the Amazon jungle.
 
 
Karl Everett at the Medical Clinic in Bolivia
 
 
Highlights from Last Week
By Marc Siegar
 
Socially distanced and masked up Rotarians gathered in the Great Lakes Ballroom and over Zoom for another meeting of fellowship. President Dean Casperson called the meeting to order with the pledge of allegiance and the Rotary Four-Way Test. The Rotary Reflection was given by Dan Bergeland, who focused on the need to heal the divisions in our country and within families.
 
President Dean Casperson introduced visiting Rotarian, Jim Dwyer from the Saint Cloud Rotary Club.  He also introduced a guest and potential new member, Vinod Gupta.  Past Assistant Governor Phil Strom welcomed his first great grandchild into the world on September 4th. Past District Governor Earl Rogers is in the Chris Jensen rehabilitation unit getting stronger and hopes to return home soon.
 
Chair of the Day, Zack Walters, introduced our speaker, Dustin Heckman.  Dustin Heckman has been active with various historical societies for 15 years.  In November of 2019 he was named the Executive Director of the Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Society
 
Dustin spoke about Major Dick Bong and other heroes from the Northland (Northeastern Minnesota, Northern Wisconsin and the Michigan Upper Peninsula).  He focused on how the Bong Center celebrates the stories of the veterans who have served in wars since World War II.
 
Major Richard Bong in his P-38 Lightning
 
The Bong Center was founded in 2002 in Superior to honor Major Bong.  His P38 Lightning (named Marge) is on exhibit in the Center.  Dick Bong enlisted in the Army Airforce when WWII broke out.  He shot down 40 enemy planes, a record that still stands.  Being the Ace of Aces made him a target for enemy fire.  He was taken from combat duty and sent on a publicity tour to sell war bonds. He died in a plane crash while flying a colleague’s plane during a test mission on the same day that the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. He was 25 years old.
 
The Bong Center consists of exhibits, events, tours and collections.  A new exhibit on Korea and Vietnam will open this fall.  Events typically focus on getting new people in the door of the center, and every January they have an event for children.  Over 39,000 people attended tours in 2019.  Their collections consist of over 15,000 artifacts and 700 recorded veteran histories.
 
Their future is focused on youth programs, such as the Junior Curator Program for middle school students who create an exhibit over the course of a week, and the Bong Squad Program where high school students conduct specialty tours.
 
You can help the Center if you know of or if you are a veteran because they need veterans who are willing to tell their stories.  You can donate or join their membership program.  Recently, the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation gave the Center a grant to help them through the COVID-19 pandemic as attendance in 2020 is down 60%.  Their annual auction will be a virtual event this year and it will be held on December 4th.  So, any way you think you can help would truly benefit the Bong Center.  And of course, do not forget to visit them, especially if you have not been for a while.  It truly is an amazing place to see.
 
Chair of the Day, Zack Walters, Dustin Heckman, President Dean Casperson