Our Program on November 1st was Dr. Don Draayer speaking on “Life's Foundation Stones and What Rotary has added to my Life.”  Don gave our club an intimate look into his life of 87 years and his foundations of faith, family, education and leadership and built his presentation around stories of his life.  Don’s early life on the family truck farm in Hollandale of second generation Dutch heritage that set his path in life based on faith and family.  He was the first born of four siblings and parents were very faithful Christians and brought the family up in that manner.  At a young age he was very impressed by the visiting missionaries from China and even considered becoming a missionary.  He had many good influences including his Aunts and Uncles and the migrant workers that came to help farm and harvest the crops.  Working with the migrants brought about his awareness of humanity and understanding of diversity.  These associations of working right along with the migrant taught him that “there is no shame if you sweat for a living” and opened his eyes to accepting other different races, cultures and religions.  He related these experiences to his respect for Rotary and all of the projects they do worldwide and also for the past 49 years in Rotary has helped his mind connect to the world at large and challenged him to serve all of humanity.                                                                       
He returned often to reflections of his early family life and faith and how it made him the man he is today and his love of family.  Things like Sunday church- morning and evening, meals together, and Bible reading and stories in the evenings.  Don recounted his mother’s conversation with him when he was 16 year old when she asked him if he was listening to God’s call for his life and was he considering being a missionary, minister, teacher or maybe even a potato farmer to feed the people of the world.  He attended high school in Albert Lea and the importance of education.  With a big smile he told us about as a teenager he was speeding around town and his Uncle took him aside for a stern talking to about the consequences of reckless driving and how family is always there to help you cope with life.  Don had not thought a lot about college until his teachers urged him to develop his potential.  He visited Bethel College and his Dad paid for two year of tuition for him to attend and get his AA Degree.  He went on from there to get his BS Degree from the U of M, his MA from Western Michigan University and Doctorate from the University of Illinois.                                                                    
While teaching in Michigan he had his first introduction to Rotary.  He was invited to speak of the club of 80 members (all men) and they were all dressed in suits and found out that at the hour’s end members would just get up and leave which taught the lesson to stay on time and stay on task.  He was impressed with the Rotary and how people of varying religions, faith, nationalities and professions all worked together to serve others and their good works in the community, nation and world.  He is also pleased with how Rotary has morphed into an organization open to both genders, promoting diversity, friendships, business connections and leadership skills and service to others.  Don ended by saying “This is why I have been a Rotary member for 49 years!”