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Rotary Happenings: Club inducts new member, hears about career history

By Staff | Sep 24, 2019

PHOTO PROVIDED Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club President Eldon Bohrofen and Bill Harkey.

Rotary International declared August as Membership Month. Well, we’re a little past August now but our club focus during the last couple of weeks in August was diverted toward helping those affected by Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas. The Sanibel-Captiva Rotary has to-date collected over $8,000 from Rotarians and Friends of Rotary that will be directed to the East Nassau Rotary Club for the Hurricane Dorian Rotary Relief. The East Nassau Rotary Club is the home of the immediate past president of Rotary International, Barry Rassin. As I stated in last week’s Rotary Happenings column, Rassin is leading Rotary’s efforts in the Bahamas.

A strong membership roster is important to Rotary International’s mission as an international service club. The collective force of our members brings strength to projects throughout the world that provide the ability to help people improve their lives. Rotary International is ranked in the top 10 charities changing the world. The list includes some of the largest and highest-rated charities that help women, children, the poor, and the environment throughout the world, according to Charity Navigator, and that maintain high standards of financial health, accountability, and transparency of reporting.

On Sept. 6, the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary inducted our newest club member, Bill Harkey. He has previously enjoyed connections and membership status in Rotary Clubs in West Point, New York, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and Gridley, California, and was somewhat of a permanent fixture at the San-Cap Rotary meetings during season. Now Harkey and his wife, Laurie, are year-round Sanibel residents and he is officially an active member of the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club. His classification for membership is retired Army officer.

Rotary classification distinctions serve as a basis for creating professional diversity in club membership. Paul Harris, the founder of Rotary, wanted a cross-section of the community’s business, vocational, and professional interests among members allowing the development of a pool of resources and expertise to successfully implement service projects.

On his first day of being a Sanibel-Captiva Rotarian, Ret. Army Public Affairs Officer Bill Harkey was asked to give a classification talk by club President Eldon Bohrofen. San-Cap Rotarians Plastic Engineer Chet Sadler and Ret. Rear Admiral United States Navy Roger Thriftshauser also spoke. Member classification talks give fellow club members insight into personal members professional experiences and highlights of those experiences.

After graduating from the University of Georgia You got mail, Bill “You’re in the Army now” well not just yet, but you are No. 73 in the draft for the Vietnam War. So, you might as well enlist and get the opportunity to attend the Army’s Officer Candidate School. Yes, Sir! Harkey was an Army career officer and spent 30 years in the Army as a public affairs officer reaching the rank of colonel. During his career, he got to spend two tours of duty as public affairs officer at the Pentagon. Harkey affectionally called the Pentagon the “Puzzle Palace.” Two actions that he mentioned that he was involved in while at the Pentagon was the investigation of Gulf War veteran Timothy McVeigh, an American domestic terrorist involved in the Oklahoma Bombing case, and the Army sexual assault and harassment scandals. According to the U.S. Army, “The Army Public Affairs Officer’s (PAO) primary responsibilities are to assess the public affairs situation, advise senior leaders on public affairs issues, and assist them in making well-informed decisions, and translate the decisions into effective public affairs operations.”

In the 1967 movie “The Graduate,” young Benjamin Braddock’s/Dustin Hoffman father’s friend gives him career advice, “I’ve got one word for you, Benjamin: plastics.” I don’t know if that is what motivated Chet Sadler to become an engineer, but he was smart enough to pursue a degree in plastic engineering from the University of Colorado and work involving the formulated use of the blow molding machine. He went to work for Goodyear with assignments in Sweden, Jamaica, and I think seven other countries and changed jobs 14 times. Although Sadler no longer works as a plastic engineer for large corporations, he owns Sadler and Associates, a head hunting firm that specializes in placement of engineering jobs, careers, employment, and opportunities for rubber, plastic, CNC engineers and managers at all levels in the injection molding, extrusion, and metal machining industries. He also has a side-gig with the Sanibel Taxi go figure. Sadler is known in the club as “Mr. Rotary.” He has held the position as chairman of the Arts & Crafts Fair, president of Sanibel-Captiva Rotary, position for life – secretary of the San-Cap Rotary Board of Directors, Trust Board officer, our club’s Rotary International Trust Foundation representative, Sanibel-Rotary’s District and International grant guru, and a plethora of chairmanships and leadership roles in all avenues of service for our club. Sadler has traveled the globe representing our club making connections worldwide and putting together grants that support our international projects. As he says, “You get from Rotary, as much as you put in.”

Once again, I’ve run out of space in this week’s column. I’ll write about Ret. Rear Admiral United States Navy Roger Thriftshauser next week.

For information about the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club, visit sanibelrotary.org or www.facebook.com/sancaprotary. The club meets every Friday at 7 a.m. at the Dunes Golf and Tennis Club, at 949 Sand Castle Road, Sanibel; visitors are welcome to attend.