Iowa City Noon Rotary

Ann Wright, Veterans for Peace
Longtime Iowa Citian Ed Flaherty introduced Ann Wright for today’s program.
“Ignorance is a menace to peace.” – Paul Harris
Veterans for Peace is a global organization of Military Veterans and allies whose collective efforts are to build a culture of peace by using their experiences and lifting their voices. They inform the public of the true causes of war and the enormous costs of wars, with an obligation to heal the wounds of wars. Their network is comprised of over 140 chapters worldwide whose work includes: educating the public, advocating for a dismantling of the war economy, providing services that assist veterans and victims of war, and most significantly, working to end all wars. To achieve their goals, members of Veterans for Peace pledge to use non-violent means and to maintain an organization that is both democratic and open with the understanding that all members are trusted to act in the best interests of the group for the larger purpose of world peace.
Ann Wright won the State Department Award for Heroism for her assistance in helping thousands of refugees escape the civil war in Sierra Leone, though she resigned from the State Department, after serving 16 years as a U.S. Diplomat, in protest over the U.S. invasion of Iraq. She has been a long time peace activist and was aboard Challenger 1 as part of the Gaza Flotilla. Raised in Arkansas, she received a masters and law degree from the University of Arkansas and later was awarded a Master's Degree from the U.S. Naval War College. Wright was stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, from 1982 to 1984. Wright went on to serve 13 years in active duty and 16 years in the Army Reserves, rising to the rank of colonel.  Wright is a member of Veterans For Peace, and is on the Veterans for Peace Advisory Board.
Wright believes that our country is on a path of too much war. She has traveled extensively to places around the world where U.S. policies have had an impact. Recent trips to Greece and Germany were highlighted in a slide show during our meeting. Currently, there are 1 million refugees in Germany alone. Middle class families have been forced to sell their homes and possessions in order to raise money to pay smugglers to assist them in escaping the violence in their home countries. Many volunteers are constantly needed to help in the refugee camps in a variety of capacities such as serving meals, sorting clothing and shoes, playing with kids to give their parents a break and trying to bring a semblance of normal life in these trying times. Many organizations are assisting in these efforts including Doctors Without Borders, Hot Meals Idomeni, and Lutheran & Catholic Relief Services.
She strongly believes that we must open our doors….not close our doors to refugees who need to be taken into the United States.
For more information, please visit:
Singing:  Bob Crane led singing of America the Beautiful and Vive Le Rotary with Jim Conard on the piano.
Ride the Goat: The club heard from two goat riders, Jeff Portman and Kingsley Botchway.
Brad Baldes had the following announcement:
The annual “Fore the House” golf outing is coming up on Monday, June 6 at Finkbine Golf Course. Tickets are  $200 per person or $800 per team. There are 4-6 foursomes left to fill. Please consider registering for this great event. In just 14 years, Fore the House has raised more than $625,000 for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Eastern Iowa & Western Illinois and is co-sponsored by our club. For more information, contact Brad Baldes at: or Bruce Kout at:
Usha Balakrishnan had the following announcement:
Please consider attending the Iowa Women’s Foundation Ovation Magazine release party on Monday, May 9 from 5-7 p.m. at The Hotel at Kirkwood Center. Dawn Oliver Wiand is still taking RSVP’s at: This is the 2nd year that our club has sponsored a “Women in Rotary”page in the Ovation Magazine and the 3rd year that the magazine has been published. Each year, the publication contains personal tributes to amazing women and girls from around the state, sponsored by family members, friends, colleagues, or community members who value the impact of the profiled woman or girl. The publication of tributes also serves as a critical part of the IWF’s annual operating funds and helps IWF to accomplish its mission of improving the lives of Iowa’s women and girls. You don’t want to miss the 2016 Ovation unveiling!
Please forward any newsworthy items and/or photos to Casey Kidwell to include in the weekly presentation. You can send information to: or to: The pre-meeting PowerPoint is a great way to reach fellow Rotarians who may not be at the weekly meeting. 
For questions related to Club administration, please contact us at
Reminder: It is our policy to have all members silence their cell phones before the meeting and refrain from answering their cell phones during the meeting out of respect to the speaker and fellow members.
Guests and Visiting Rotarians
Sean McIntyre introduced Visiting Rotarians Marilee Fowler (Cedar Rapids Downtown), Salma Igram (Cedar Rapids Downtown), Jill Olsen PDG (Marion-East Cedar Rapids) as well as guests Carole & Bob Winkleblack (Thais Winkleblack), Sara Sedlacek (Eric Weiler), Ronald Ettinger (Art Nowak), Brent Bonner (Joe Hughes), Travis Brockett (Christina Kimerle), Richard Campagna (Joseph Dobrian).
Program: Tom Cilek; Attendance: Nancy Droll; May 12 – Paul Pressler and Rives Bird, May 19 – David Davis and Janice Baldes, and May 26 – Anna Moyers Stone and John Bay.