Jeff Wells introduced our very own Lois Kercher to speak about her experiences in “Saving the Life of President Ronald Reagan” after the attempted assassination of his life on March 30, 1981.  Reagan had just assumed office on January 20, 1981, and was exiting a speech he had given at the Hilton Hotel when John Hinckley fired six shots at the President. Hinckley’s motivation was to impress the actress, Jodi Foster.  His six shots wounded 4 people, Press Secretary Jim Brady, Washington DC Police Officer Thomas Delahanty, Secret Service Agent Tim McCarthy, and unbeknownst to anybody at the time, President Reagan.
After being shoved into the presidential limousine, President Reagan was rushed away from the scene of the shooting en route to the White House. Secret Service Agent Jerry Parr thought that President Reagan was very pale and thought he might be having a heart attack. He directed the driver to take the President to George Washington Hospital. President Reagan insisted on walking into the Emergency Department. It was not until he was examined that it was determined that he had been shot under his left arm. He was immediately scheduled for surgery.
Lois was tapped by clinical administrator Dr. Dennis O’Leary, to take charge of OR logistics and communications. She was responsible for communicating the President’s status to the Hospital and White House leaders. She did share that immediately before being put under anesthesia, President Reagan said, “I hope you are all Republicans.”
President Reagan eventually recovered after a 12-day stay at George Washington Hospital. Some notable comments from Lois were that Nancy Reagan spent a lot of time at the President’s side but was challenging to interact with. On the other hand, President Reagan was “positively charming”. In fact, he presented Lois with a personal letter of thanks for her role in taking care of him during his stay in the hospital.
Thank you, Lois, for sharing this awesome event in your life! To learn more about this historic event and see Lois’s dramatic screen debut click the following link to see a docudrama that was filmed about a year after the incident.

Club Business

Vice President Jeff Wells called the meeting to order and Bob Healy led us in music, including a custom version of “RotaryVille”. (Hat tip to Mister Buffett). After the Pledge of Allegiance and Four Way Test, Marilyn Gowen gave the invocation which emphasized “Service”.

There was not a visitation report given. We did welcome fellow club Rotarian, Colin McKinnon, back from an extended absence due to health issues involving his daughter. He updated the club on the progress she is making and is grateful for the baby steps forward that she has achieved

There were several guests and a visiting Rotarian at the meeting. Mark Shaw had each Rotarian introduce their guest (s).

  • John Searing introduced his daughter, Noel. Noel will be participating in the upcoming Teal Exchange.
  • Jim Sell’s wife, Ellen Sell, was in attendance despite Jim’s absence. A sign that we have quality programs!
  • Rotarian Jennifer Priest joined us from the Norfolk Sunrise Club. Jennifer let us know that the Norfolk Sister City Organization was looking for hosts to house several mental health workers from Poland who would be attending workshops on dealing with PTSD from August 12-19. The workers are currently immersed in helping refugees from Ukraine.

Vice President Jeff Wells encouraged all members to sign up for a committee assignment.

Marty Raiss reminded us about the service project at PrimePlus on July 29th. Please sign up in advance so that Bob Batcher has an idea about the numbers to expect.

Jim Kitz commented on the success of John Miller’s Red Badge Service Project on July 16th. Five Rotarians help construct 8 raised bed gardens for the Downtown Norfolk Community Garden Project.

Fines and Happy Bucks

  • Jeff Wells confessed to being named as the Architect representative to Norfolk’s Architectural Review Board.
  • Chip Vogan has a gainfully employed son.
  • Marty Raiss’s 14-year-old grandson is in town for a visit.

Next Meeting

The next meeting will be held on August 2 at the Norfolk Yacht & Country Club. President Laurie Harrison will introduce the Committee Chairs and we will vote on a “new” permanent location.