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Rotary Happenings: Rotary has add-on and update on ‘Gift of Life’

By Staff | Jul 29, 2015

Every once in a while, a Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club Friday morning meeting speaker comes across a conflict in their professional life that makes it impossible for them to attend our meeting to present their topic.

This past week, Stuart Spoede from Fish and Wildlife had one of those conflicts and he had to reschedule.

Therefore, our new club President, Chris DeCosta, had to do some magical thinking and pull a rabbit out of a hat to keep us Rotarians engaged for more than 15 minutes.

Of course, we always have about 15 minutes of club rituals after breakfast, from introductions to happy bucks – sort of our own club laugh-therapy session – and then proceed with the business portion of the meeting.

Luckily, an important mission report from Gift of Life in Haiti had just come out, which gave Rotarian, Past Club President, Sanibel-Captiva Rotary’s RI Trust Foundation representative, Chet Sadler, the opportunity to bring us up-to-date on the Gift of Life program as a whole.

This program was designed to identify and qualify young children from impoverished areas of the world in need of heart surgery the chance to receive this surgery here in the United States giving thousands of children the Gift of Life.

Each of these surgeries cost between $5,000 to $10,000, even with doctors and other medical professionals donating their time and talent.

Although this program was highly successful, it was evident that the cost of these life-saving surgeries and money spent to bring these children and their families to the United States could be better used if facilities and medical training for doctors and other medical professionals were available closer to areas in need where more children could be helped through Gift of Life.

The report for Haiti Gift of Life is an outstanding example. Rotary International encouraged Rotary Clubs to financially fund the Gift of Life mission at St. Damien Hospital, Haiti supporting seven medical missions treating 76 children along with one screening mission in 2014, where an additional 91 children were evaluated and placed on a National Cardiac Waiting List.

Sanibel-Captiva Rotary proudly contributed to the funding of this project along with a dozen or more Rotary Clubs and these contributions were then graciously matched by Rotary International.

Thanks also, for Rotary’s partnering organizations on the Gift of Life Haiti mission: OPEN HEARTS HAITI, HAITI CARDIAC ALLIANCE, and AKRON CHILDREN?S HOSPITAL.

Now with a few more minutes to fill, DeCosta convinced one of our newer members, Eldon Bohrofen, to rise to the occasion and tell us something about himself that maybe we didn’t know.

Well, he started off in the usual fashion identifying himself as an attorney sort of downplaying what exactly that meant.

But the interesting part was exactly what road he traveled to become a lawyer and a pretty good one at that. Eldon’s family owned a farm in Iowa, but this farm boy had a big problem he was allergic to grain.

So, his father pretty much summed up the situation, Eldon was not meant to be a farmer.

He better go to college. Not just any college but Drake University, where his first foray into networking happened when he joined a fraternity.

His fraternity brought in speakers on many topics including -How to Grow Yourself.

One of the speakers owned a clothing business and somehow zeroed in on Eldon and his tie- clasp. He told him to remove it and proceeded to tell him why.

You don’t want someone look down at your shiny tie clasp, you want them looking straight at you. You want to be able to look them in the eye and sell yourself.

It was a lesson Eldon never forgot.

Still after graduating from Drake, he still wasn’t really sure about what he wanted to do but he knew he wanted to continue his education and decided to attend Duke Law School.

Eldon probably was a pretty good student, but after turning in one of his papers to his law professor and friend, Eldon got a strong wake-up call.

You probably know your content of the law well but you are extremely weak at writing articulate conclusions on your topic. His mentor brought him around and that was soon corrected.

After graduation from Law School, Eldon taught Law for a while at Wisconsin and again through networking began a career in Banking and Trusts.

Success with his Trust clients led him to join one of them in business as the fourth largest auto parts suppliers to the Ford Motor Company.

When that company was sold, he went back into trust management and law eventually becoming senior partner at RohdeDales LLP, Wisconsin.

Sanibel-Captiva Rotary meets at 7 a.m., Friday mornings at the Dunes Golf & Tennis Club Pavilion, Sanibel. Guests are always welcomed.