VP of Programs Laurie Harrison introduced Rotarian of the day – Bill Eisenbeiss. Bill has been a Rotarian for 52 years, of which five were spent in Roanoke, those meetings were held at the very elegant Hotel Roanoke; Laurie joked “it's just as elegant as Scope.” Bill loves the camaraderie and community services of Rotary. A fun fact about Bill is that he has a very unique laugh, according to his wife. 
Bill introduced the speakers of the day Dr. Patricia Turner and the Honorable Randy Wright. Bill remembers the time of 1958-1959 when the City of Norfolk was going through the integration of public schools. During this time, his parents sent him off to military school to get away from it all. Several other Rotarians encountered the same. 
Dr. Turner is a true civil rights pioneer. She was honored by the Hampton Roads Black Caucus for her courageous journey. She and her brother James "Skip" Turner were part of the Norfolk 17 that broke the color barriers in Norfolk. She was in the 8th grade and her brother was in the 7th grade. Skip was in the same class as the Honorable Randy Wright; they became fast friends during a time when interracial friendship was frowned on by whites and blacks.
Randy and Skip adopted one another. When Skip passed away 15 years ago, Dr. Turner asked Randy to come to her Church to honor Skip. She told the congregation, "I thank God for her brother Skip, and then thanked God for giving her another brother in Randy." She called him her blue-eyed brother. They have genuinely been brother and sister for 50 years.  
Dr. Turner told us, it was a very hard time, she can only speak to her and Skip’s experiences, she cannot speak to the other 15 of the Norfolk 17 students. It was tough being a black girl and a black boy during this time. When she entered Norview Middle School, it was a horrible experience, not only in the school but also in the neighborhood. People called her terrible-mean things from tar baby to words we pray we never hear used again. She was often told, she "wasn't good enough," not good enough to sing (smiling, she says "I still can't sing") or wasn't good enough to play an instrument or wasn’t good enough to be in the Honors math class, but she has always been gifted in math. 
Dr. Turner recalls that every day in history class, the classmates showed her African dancers on the classroom screen; she was told, "don't worry, with your light-black complexion you’ll be good enough to be your master's foot warmer." The white kids were taught to hate her, and she knew she had to change that, and she did, through her grades, her friendliness, openness, and love of all people. Even in her black neighborhood, she had to endure being called a white girl and a traitor, which she is still called today.   
Randy chimed in to share his story; he remembers seeing Patricia holding Skip's hand all-the-way into the building. The white students lined the entrance of the school to curse and spit upon them as they entered. It was a travesty. Randy and Skip have been friends since 7th grade. Skip was the first person to call Randy to congratulate him when he was elected to Norfolk City Council, and he said, "You’re the first graduate from Norview HS to service on Norfolk Council," his advice to Randy was "Randy, just be yourself." 
Randy shared a story about Patricia attending his holiday party and holding his hand in public; she told the guests how happy she was to be able to hold a white boy's hand in public because you couldn’t do that 60 years ago. Randy said it wasn't easy having an interracial friendship, but it has been a blessing.  
Dr. Turner explained how she became part of Norfolk 17; her mother took Skip and Patricia to get them signed up, and then they had a lot of hurdles to go through, including interviews with the School Board, Doctor Appointments, and more. She attributes the strength to persevere through the hardness of that time to her mother's strong character.   
Dr. Turner asks that we buy, and pass it along to others, the book that was written about her - Today I Met a Rainbow: The Story of Patricia Turner.
A book will be donated in honor of Dr. Turner to our school of the week Oceanair Elementary School.
The Meeting:  
Jim rang the bell to begin the meeting at 12:32 pm. Chuck Spence sang us in music with R-O-T-A-R-Y and “Grand Old Flag”. Jim led "The Four-Way Test," followed by the Pledge of Allegiance. Julie Keesling gave the invocation. 
Visitation Report: Ann Sullivan's daughter Bryn is in a Washington DC hospital with bad lung issues. Please keep Ann’s family in your prayers. 
Introduction of Guest: No guests except for our speaker. 
Announcement and Club Business:   
Sigur announced that Pam Tubbs will receive a Paul Harris +8. Pam’s passion for Rotary’s work in Polio is exemplary. Pam said, “Thank you, it’s a great honor to wear this pin. It’s easy to do, just set up an automatic payment – set it up and forget it – it’s easy to give your support through automatic donation”.  
Jim had a few announcements: 
-Thanks to the 11 Rotarians that came out on Saturday, 1/29 for Lafayette Park Clean. 
-The next Board Meeting is Monday, 2/8, and reminded new members are welcome to attend. 
-The next volunteer opportunity is on 2/11 at the Food Bank. 
Jim introduced the February members with birthdays and anniversaries and reminded everyone the fines are $5 or $1 per year. 
Rotary Birthday 
  • Bill Lehew - Feb 01                                                          
  • Bill Eisenbeiss - Feb 08                                 
  • Kay Kemper - Feb 13                                                   
  • Fred Walker - Feb 13 
  • Michael Richardson - Feb 16                                        
  • John Cameron - Feb 22                   
  • Stephen Jones - Feb 22 
  • Rick Coradi - Feb 24 
Wedding Anniversaries 
  • Brian & Kyra McGuire - 2 years 
  • Ann Burgess & Stephen Sullivan - 37 years 
  • Steve & Wanda Jones - 65 years 
Rotary Anniversaries 
  • Joe New - 46 years           
  • Collins Gooch - 19 years                 
  • Marilyn Gowen - 4 years                                
  • Bernie Cohen - 11 years                  
  • Robert Batcher - 1 year      
Jeff updated the club on District RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership) 2/13 and 2/14, there is still room for a local HS student interested in leadership opportunity.
Our next meeting will be Feb 9th and our guest speaker will be Terrance Afer-Anderson, President and CEO of TerraVizion Entertainment Network. 
Happy Bucks/Fines    
  • Brian McGuire- gave happy bucks for his 2nd wedding anniversary  
  • Sally Harman – gave happy bucks for our speaker of the day, Dr. Turner. She was Sally’s son’s 6th-grade math teacher at Blair. Sally also gave happy bucks for Luke’s new job. He was furloughed in March from his Los Angeles music industry job, but he has landed on his feet in Salt Lake City working with Key Financial Officers. 
  • Michael Desplaines gave happy bucks for his recent two-week vacation in the Caribbean. He said the way you can travel is to get the vaccine shot or get COVID-19 (he had COVID-19) 
  • Julie Keesling – gave happy bucks for new wheels – cost $5 per wheel 
  • Chris Bugg – gave happy bucks for a new job and successful injection in his back 
  • Barbara – gave happy bucks for the 11 cold warriors that went out in the cold last weekend and also for a new vehicle.  
  • Jim Kitz gave happy bucks for the 60th wedding anniversary of his parents
  • Joe New gave Happy Bucks for Virginia Tech Hokies win 
President-Elect, Michael Desplaines– warned everyone that in the future, an extra-fine will be given if your new car purchase is not electric. Combustion, combustion, combustion equals extra fine.
Meeting adjourned at 1:29 pm.