This Week at Rotary
 
We Meet at Noon on Thursday
June 10, 2021
HOLIDAY CENTER BALLROOM
(Also Via Zoom)
Plated Meal Served
(Zoom Meeting Opens at 11:45)
Kristi Stokes
President
Greater Downtown Council
 
Welcome Back to Downtown Duluth
The Downtown Business Community has been challenged in recent years both from the pandemic and street construction.  With both ending, come and learn how the Downtown is set to recover!
 
Highlights from Last Week’s Meeting
By Steve Yorde
 
President Dean Casperson welcomed all to our in-person and Zoom meeting by ringing the bell, leading us in the Pledge of Allegiance and the Four Way Test.  He then called on President Elect Chana Stocke for the Rotary Reflection. In light of a very long COVID year, Chana noted Albert Einstein’s quote, “in the midst of every crisis lies great opportunity.”  She learned several lessons.  Rotary needs me now more than ever. I need the fellowship of my weekly meetings and the interaction with my friends and peers. Our community needs us now more than ever, as do our non-profits who need our Rotary grants. Rotary International needs us to help serve those underserved in the world.  Rotary International’s theme this year is “Serve to Change Lives.”  Let’s make a special commitment to do just that. 
 
Today’s guests included Dr. Roxanna Esquerra who works with Dr. Doug Erickson and Harbortown Rotary’s Scott Soderberg.  Welcome!   
 
Fellowship Self-reports: Paul Helstrom added $9, one dollar each for his family members who are now living together in the former Alworth home on Hawthorne Road. Once everyone is fully moved in, including his father Rotarian Jon Helstrom, he promised “a Rotary soiree” to check out the arrangements. 
 
President Dean Casperson then introduced Past Assistant Governor Phil Strom who made a surprise presentation of a Paul Harris Fellowship pin with sapphire to Past President Elaine Hansen in recognition of her significant efforts! Thank you both, Phil and Elaine, for showing us what Service Above Self means!
 
Elaine Hansen with Dr. Roxanna Esquerra
 
Catherine Carter Huber then introduced today’s speaker, Dr. Nick Van Deelen, for an update on St. Luke’s response to COVID during the past year. Historically, he noted that St. Luke’s was the first hospital established here in 1881 in response to the typhoid epidemic. 

“When first identified, COVID was a new virus, the mode of transmission was unclear, there were no treatment options, no vaccine, it was highly contagious, but no one knew which PPE (personal protective equipment) to use or mode of cleaning and sanitizing that would work to keep staff and patients safe. Today, we know it’s highly contagious, spread by droplet and aerosol. It’s 10x more lethal than the flu, and high-risk populations are especially susceptible (e.g. the elderly, those with diabetes and heart disease, African, Native and Hispanic Americans). We realized how important surgeries were to our financial picture. Our surgical volumes went down, our patient “lengths of stay” increased, and the cost of medical supplies and labor was extreme. Our nurses were truly heroic during this time. But we recognized early on that there is a nursing staff shortage here and throughout Minnesota.” 

Following his presentation, Dr. Van Deelen fielded multiple questions regarding the increased use of Vitamin D, Telehealth, the importance of face-to-face visits with your physician, and the public’s view of getting vaccinated. “We’re all tired of the pandemic, but it will not disappear.  We can look for another vaccine available in the fall.”
 
Catherine Carter-Huber, Dr. Nick Van Deelen, President Dean Casperson