On Tuesday, I was honored to attend with DGN Gerry Kosanovic, PDG Bill and Linda Grile, several other visiting club presidents and assistant governors, the Rotary Club of Coosbay/Northbend where Club President Eva Shimotakahara invited Dr. Sylvia Whitlock, the first woman Rotary President to be their guest speaker.

Dr. Whitlock spoke to her love of Rotary and her experience in Duarte, California when she was invited to join that Rotary club back in the late 70’s. At the time, Rotary did not admit women as members and the club lost its charter as a result of inviting women to join. However, the club decided to continue to meet and do charitable work independently.

They called themselves the Ex-Rotary Club of Duarte, California. The Ex club fought the dismissal in the California Supreme court and lost, but eventually won their case in the US Supreme Court in 1987. The incredible journey of Sylvia and her club was an inspiration to everyone in the room.

Thank you, President Eva and Dr. Whitlock, for bringing such a great program to your club. We all can learn from the example of why it is important to follow your dream. (Pictured is DG Rick Olson with Sylvia Whitlock, first woman Club President in Rotary).