Spokane North Notes
A weekly bulletin of the Spokane-North Rotary Club
December 21, 2015
Happy Holidays!
Editors: Chuck Rehberg and Sandy Fink
Photos: Jim Minkler and Eric Johnson
Program Coordinator: Brad Stark
          That’s a wrap!: The Dec. 22 luncheon was the final club meeting of the calendar year.  No meeting Dec. 28.  See you again Monday, Jan. 4.
          Another wrap!: Coordinator Melinda Keberle said club members picked up and bought presents for 31 gift-tag requests from needy Holmes Elementary students.  Since that’s more tags than we have members, great job!
An Army shares the true Christmas spirit
          Some of the holidays’ ubiquitous sights and sounds are The Salvation Army red kettles located in storefronts throughout the area.  Behind the bells and kettles looms a story of faith, hope, charity and help.
          Major Stephen A. Ball, who heads the Salvation Army efforts locally, described the agency’s programs at the Dec. 21 luncheon.
          Ball and his wife, Nancy, who also is a Salvation Army major, have been in Spokane two years.  Ball is a Tacoma native and Club 21 Rotarian.
          The organization is not a social services agency, but fosters “humanitarian action through faith.”  Ball quickly notes that those served need not belong to a religion or even be religious to be served.
          Ball said The Salvation Army was started in east London in 1865 – 150 years ago -- by Methodist minister William Booth.  Within 15 years, Ball said, the Army had a presence in 70 countries.  Now that is increased to 127 countries worldwide.
“Our programs are based on the word of God and motivated by the love of Christ,” he said.
          Spokane’s Salvation Army branch dates to 1891 and now is headquartered at its campus at 222 E. Indiana.  The agency has been expanding by buying up small business offices which have been vacated when the firms move, Ball said.
          The Spokane branch serves some 40,000 people a year and is part of a Northwest Division – Washington, North Idaho and Western Montana – which serves 600,000 people annually.
          Those red kettles, according to the Army’s web site, inspired the “Silver Bells,” Christmas song introduced by Bob Hope in the 1951 movie “The Lemon Drop Kid.”  Ball said Spokane-area red kettles netted $225,000 last year, including the annual gift of a South African Krugerrand wrapped in a $100 bill. (The one-troy-ounce coin can sell for $1,100, give or take fluctuating gold prices.)
          The Spokane Salvation Army office supervises warming centers, transitional apartments for the homeless, an emergency foster care facility and a “family reconciliation nurturing center,” Ball said.  There also is a summer camp on Deer Lake.
          Ball said when he arrived both the city and the Salvation Army warming centers were opened only when temperatures dropped to 20 degrees or lower.  They were closed at 21 degrees.  Ball said he changed that to 32 degrees and the previous night, when temperatures dropped to freezing levels, the local facility served 128 people.
          He noted that police and paramedics are frequently called to handle behavioral and health issues of drunks and drug addicts and those with anger management issues.
          The November wind storm, Ball said, “left the campus dark for three days and we had 200 people living on campus.”   
          The Spokane facilities, Ball said, “are a legacy of vision.  This place has always had something special.”
          Words to sip by…
                    As the calendar year meetings concluded, the club board of directors toasted the members with sparkling cider, compliments of director Brad Stark.  President Lenore Romney brought plastic glasses for the toast, but the fine staff, namely Ken, at The Lincoln Center, supplied  glass flutes for the toast.
                    Song leader Dave Hayward led the group in “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” and board member Chuck Rehberg set up the toast with “a new tradition,” a take-off on the 1823 Clement Moore poem, “The Night Before Christmas.”  To wit:
‘Twas four days before Christmas and all through the club
Not a member was stirring, or looking for grub.
The name tags were hung by the table with care
In hopes that new members soon would be there.
Rotarians were nestled all snug in their seats,
With visions of cookies and brownies and other good treats.
And Lenore with her gavel gave a big rap.
As we just settled down for a good noontime nap.
When up at the dais there arose such a clatter,
We sprang from our seats to see what was the matter.
 To the front of the room someone ran like a flash.
In horrors the members quickly counted their cash.
Was it the sergeant-at-arms with a grin so divine?
And what would come next?  A really steep fine?
When what to our wondering eyes should come in line.
But a miniature sleigh with some bottles of wine.
If it was a little old driver, so lively and quick,
We knew in a moment it must be a trick.
More rapid than eagles, he displayed his A-game,
While Chuck whistled, and shouted, and called us by name!
Now Boharski and Harland, Hayward and Cain,
On Stark and Hanson, and Malliard and Fink,
Come open those bottles
And let’s share a drink.
Let us toast Christmas holidays, present and past…
and end this darn poem as it runs out of gas.
          Merry Christmas everyone!
          Holmes holiday footnote…
                    Club Rotarians and guests were delightfully entertained by a 10-member Holmes choir at the Dec. 14 Christmas luncheon.  The students’ up-tempo selection of carols added energy and spirit to the occasion and President Lenore Romney said Holmes staff told her the following Friday that the kids said “it was the best lunch they ever had!” 
                    On Dec. 18 board member Chuck Rehberg represented the club in handing out more than a dozen “Holmes Heroes” awards.
                    For the last day before the holiday break, several faculty wore “ugly sweaters” and many younger students wore their pajamas. Past winners displayed their Rotary-sponsored heroes T-shirts.  On the back of the shirts the message was: “This is a big deal.”
                    Principal Stephanie Lundberg and staff did a fine job keeping the vacation-ready students (and faculty) in attentive order.
                   Rehberg said that the first line of Rotary’s 4-Way Test was “Is it the Truth?” and asked the packed cafeteria crowd for a show of hands: “Now, who has been naughty?”  A smattering of students and several of the 50 or so parents and grandparents in attendance raised their hands for the “naughty” response.
                   The followup question: “And who has been nice?” drew a nearly unanimous response.
                   After the awards for heroes and crossing guards, the assembly closed with a special “Innovate Music”treat.  A half dozen Spokane Symphony members, who have worked with the students for several weeks, joined about 15 students from the 5th and 6th grades with violins, cellos and other instruments for some classical pieces, ending with a fine version of “Ode to Joy.”  KREM-TV did a story on the mini-concert for its evening news.
                   Lundberg announced that the Symphony had located more instruments and would be able to provide music-minded 4th graders with equipment in the coming months. 
                   It was noted that Holmes was Spokane’s first elementary in this cooperative program and two other schools would also start similar programs.