Community Service

In 2018, club members Alan Brown and Carter Shuffler initiated a PLRC program called Veteran's Fishing Day (VFD). They chartered the Malihini (pictured left in 2021)−to take a boatload of veterans for a day of ocean fishing. The California Fish and Wildlife agency author- ized a free no-license day for the vets. V.V.S.D. brought these military vets to the pier. 
Donuts and Starbucks coffee were provided, when the veterans and PLRC volunteers first arrived at the pier. A trio of singers known as the Sweethearts of Swing, were dressed in period WAC outfits while singing World War II songs. Most of the veterans had never been fishing offshore. But these 40 inex- perienced anglers, fly-lining live bait for tuna aboard the deck of the rocking and rolling Malihini, enjoyed this exhilarating experience. A Malihini deckhand gave a brief seminar at the bait tank, plus hands-on training at the rails. This is now an annual event, supported by various organizational sponsors and PLRC volunteers. Click here for the local news video about their inaugural event. 

Alan and Carter offer this heart-warming summation about their 2023 VFD
journey, within the context of the support provided by their fellow PLRC mem-bers:

          "For the fifth year, veterans from Veterans Village of San Diego enjoy-             enjoyed a day of fishing sponsored by the Point Loma Rotary Club                   [PLRC]. In the depths of life's trials, when the weight of the world seems too heavy to
           bear, there shines a beacon of hope, a testament 
to the unwavering spirit of humanity.
           It is the PLRC, a community bound by a singular 
purpose: to leave no one behind.

                 In the tapestry of existence, there are moments when we find ourselves at our lowest,
            with our spirits dimmed by the challenges that life throws our way. But it is precisely.
            in these moments of despair that the Point Loma Rotary Club stands tall, a symbol of
            resilience, compassion, and the boundless capacity of the human heart. The annual
            PLRC Veteran’s Fishing Day event is a testament to this club’s generous spirit.   

                 When the shadows of adversity loom large, the members of this remarkable organiza-
            tion rally together, extending their hands in unity to uplift those in need. Theirs is a
            commitment that transcends boundaries, that defies the odds, and that leaves an in-
            delible mark on the lives they touch. It's a testament to the power of our community,
            whereby each individual becomes a pillar of support; where selflessness becomes the
            cornerstone of action; and where hope is not a distant dream but a tangible reality.
            The PLRC embodies the spirit of giving, proving that when we come together, we can
            overcome even the greatest of challenges.

             So, when life's trials have brought you to your knees, remember the PLRC, a shining. 
             example of what humanity can achieve when it rallies behind common causes like
             VFD. In our darkest hours, there is still a glimmer of hope; a helping hand extended to
             lift us up; and a promise that no one will be left behind. Our VFD veterans know this.
             embrace like no others. Together, we can rise above adversity. Together, we can con-
             quer the impossible. Together, we can make the world a better place, leaving no one.
             behind. Click here for the latest (2023) VFD video.
There is a pressing need to help people on the street, including both veterans and civilians. Rob Cenko and Doug Nau embraced that need in east county, by contacting social service groups. He amassed vari- ous resources to put together the PLRC's first east county mini-Stand Down. This PLRC event is modeled after the annual Veterans Village Stand Down. Veterans Village of San Diego (VVSD) has served all veterans since 1981. It is dedicated to the theme “Leave No One Behind.”
For over forty years, VVSD has sought to provide services and sup- port to our nation’s heroes. Each year, VVSD helps thousands of our most vulnerable veterans to reclaim their lives through programs offering transitional and permanent housing, mental health counseling, sub- stance use treatment, and employment and training services. Photo
by Ray Blavatt.
Rob coordinated the first east county version of VVSD’s annual Stand Down PLRC's Wellness Fair with co-organizer Doug Nau, CEO of My KoZee, Carl Reed at V.V.S.D. (both pictured right), with Shannon Os- borne, Community Service Director), other service groups, and some governmental agencies. The event was held on April 21, 2022, at the and some governmental VFW Hall, 136 Chambers Street, El Cajon, CA. Pictured left: Stand Down Family Health Medical Group. Pictured right: Stand Down Red Cross Blood Mobile Group. The group photo (below left) commemorates the providers who participated in the Stand Down.
This event facilitated the removal of three vets from off the streets. Participants saved a life-a suicidal vet with ulcers on his feet and leg's diabetic, and in critical condition who was taken to an ER. He would have likely died on the El Cajon streets. Another vet learned that he qualified for more benefits, due to his exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. He had no clue about his entitlement. 
The Stand Down offered haircuts and beard trims. Other student volun- teers canvased the general area, in search of vets, to give them notice of this event. That search also produced five vets from the recent Middle East conflicts and five civilians−all of whom expressed their deep apprecia- tion for services rendered.  

This event garnered Channel 10 TV exposure. That coverage prompt- ed the incoming Lakeside VFW Commander to drive to the event with a view toward hosting a like event at her local hall. The mayor met with every provider. He personally thanked them, and the PLRC for its participation. County Supervisor Joel Anderson prepared Certificates of Appreciation for all attendees.

Photos were taken by Paul Mitchell Barber School personnel. Pictured right are Darnisha Hunter (Region- al Taskforce for Homeless), Rob Cenko (PLRC Pres. Elect), Bill Wells (El Cajon Mayor), and Lili Patch (PLRC club member). For the County of San Diego Certificate of Recognition to the PLRC, click here
Fishing line is not biodegradable. It can remain in the environment for many years. If it is improperly disposed of, broken, or abandoned, it can entangle or kill wildlife, and cause boat damage. Wildlife suffers loss of limbs from line entanglement−and death from gangrenous infection, or line ingestion.
When discarded in our waterways, fishing line fouls boat propellers, and creates a serious litter problem around boat ramps and fishing areas. Even when we discard the lines in trash bins, it still goes to a landfill. That creates the same hazards for wildlife, unless it is cut into small pieces. One solution is to have recycling containers avail- able to boaters and fishermen to properly discard their used fishing lines.
The Point Loma Rotary Club (PLRC) has purchased parts and built fishing line recycling bins to benefit the San Diego community. The PLRC will install three bins at the San Diego Yacht Club. Twenty more will be installed along the San Diego waterfront. The PLRC does this project in partnership with the Califor- nia Coastal Commission. Pictured left is Doug Nau "making the cut," with supervisor Gus Goldau providing invaluable suggestions. All hands are pictured right, with a sampling of the finished product.  
If your business is interested in sup-
porting this project, or you want a
fishing line recycling bin in your

area, contact the Point Loma Rotary Club project manager at: <>.
Sarah Harron (pictured left with Debra) is the Point Loma resident who brought the discarded fishing lines issue to the PLRC’s attention. Sarah introduced Debra to the key people in local government, and the Surf Rider Foundation.
Debra’s assistant, Rocky (pictured kneeling at her feet), takes some much-needed rest, after watching the PLRC volunteers’ hot Saturday afternoon assembly project.                                                                                             
This event exemplifies the heartfelt sharing that PLRC members offer the local community, during the Christmas season−since 1989. PLRC member Dick Thorn has served on the Board of St. Paul’s Senior Homes and Services since 1992. The late Mifflin Ward, Dick’s mentor in Rotary and law, had been a resident at St. Paul’s senior living facility. Dick drove Mr. Ward to the weekly Rotary meetings.
Over the years, various PLRC members have been residents and patients at St. Paul’s. Our members have both sung, and been sung to, by other PLRC club members. As Dick describes this annual holi- day Sing Along:

          “It is our own ‘Circle of Life.’ It means a great deal to me. We             meet those we might have never met otherwise, to share a 
           most rewarding afternoon. We get so much from them. I
           wouldn’t trade that time for anything.” 

In 2021, the PLRC’s Rotary Endowment Fund celebrated its 16th year of partnering with the San Diego Yacht Club and the San Diego Arm- ed Services YMCA for a very special program. The SDYC’s Holiday Helping Hand tradition helps military families cope with serious phys- ical, financial, and separation concerns.
Recipients are local military families, primarily lower-ranked enlisted personnel, who are decidedly in need of a helping hand during the holidays. Each family is carefully screened by the Armed Services YMCA for recent struggles with challenging financial difficulties.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                   DISTRICT's MEMBER RECOGNITION 
Congratulations to Point Loma Rotarian Mike Whitehurst on receiving the Citation for Meritorious Service from the Rotary Foundation Board of Trustees. 
Mike has served on the District Foundation Committee for many years−in the role of District Grants Chair, and now as Major Gifts/ Legacy Giv- ing Co-Chair. He has done a number of grants in India and has traveled to India as part of his involvement with these grants.  
The Point Loma Rotary Club co-hosted the inaugural Point Loma Meet & Greet, at the Liberty Station Light Box Theater, on August 29, 2022. The MC was PLRC member Dick Thorn (pictured left). The Liberty Station Arts District, Point Loma Association, and the Mockingbird Improv (refreshment provider) cohosted the event.
Richard Stakelum, Ed.D (pictured right) was honored with Supervisor Lawson-Remer’s Richard Stakelum Day Proclamation for his ongoing community service to the Point Loma community.

Richard is a Past President of the Point Loma Rotary Club, and volun- teer for many local non-profits, including the Point Loma Association, San Diego Bicycle Coalition, and the Point Loma Foundation.

As a Defense Senior Leadership Development Executive Fellow, he served in the Department of State’s Political-Military Bureau Office of Regional Security and Arms Transfers.
The Board of Supervisors’ Proclamation (pictured right), among other things, lauds Richard for his:
          “being the driving force behind the
           Jim Krause Memorial Ride the Point
           and Healthy Lifestyle Expo [see above

           RTP history], and having raised over
           $250,000.00 to support pancreatic.
           cancer research at UCSD’s Moores 
           Cancer Center. [Thus] Chair Fletcher
                                            and … all members of the County
                                             Board of Supervisors commend                                                       RICHARD STAKELEUM for his out-                                                     outstanding commitment….” 
A cohort of PLRC members were on hand, to help celebrate the surprise proclamation that Supervisor Lawson-Remer awarded to Richard. 
The Ocean Beach Veterans Park (at Abbott and Newport) was the site of the May 2022 PLRC, San Diego Blood Bank, and San Diego Voter Registration beach annual cleanup event. Also in attendance was Pt. Loma’s Warren Walker grade school, Caesar Chavez Jr. High, and the USD women's basketball team.
Surfrider Foundation of San Diego County is a community of people who protect the ocean and beaches for all to enjoy. Its members endeavor to promote clean water, coastal preservation, ocean protec- tion, beach access, and the reduction of plastic pollution.
The San Diego County Chapter is part of Surfrider’s national network of grassroots activists. Its members serve as the first response to local threats to the county’s 72 miles of coastline. They are the boots on the ground, who implement this mission through campaign, program, and educational initiatives in San Diego County’s communities. 
Operation Flags for Vets
Volunteering is an important part of everything
Rotarians do. The Rotary 5340 District Military Coordinating Committee (DMCC) was proud to sponsor the inaugural “Operation Flags for Vets” event, at Miramar National Cemetery on the 2024 Memorial Day weekend. PLRC’s DMCC Represent- ative Rob Cenko is pictured below, while working on the day-before flag preloading detail.   

In cooperation with the cemetery administration, members of Rotary District 5340 placed a small American flag at every gravesite to honor our fallen heroes. This effort is one for which Miramar National Cemetery has no funding or assignable personnel. The cemetery staff was delighted to welcome Rob, and several
hundred other flag placement volunteers. This event foreshadows the District's anticipated long-term commitment. 
San Diego County is home to more than 110,700 active-duty service members and 240,000 veter-  ans, making it one of the largest concentrations of military personnel in the country. San Diego is also the home to 118,300 military family mem- bers. This represents 7.6 percent of San Diego County’s total population. An estimated 60.7 percent (71,759) of military families in San Diego County are children.
* Last paragraph adapted from the Rotary District 5340 DMCC website.