The Rotary Club of Excelsior Board of Directors and Club Meetings were held on Tuesday, February 2nd at Noon by Zoom and featuring Jean Gray’s Bio and introduction to Padee Yang our Club’s sponsored Global Scholar.
The Board met at 11:00 and listed below are updates and actions by the Board:
  1. We will continue on Zoom for February and March.
  2. We will have an in person masked meeting on April 6th at MCEC on Vinehill Road.  The Board will meet at 11:00 and the Club Meeting at 12:00 but no meal will be served.
  3. The Speaker schedule is filling up so let President Kate if you have a potential speaker in mind.
  4. Golf Fundraiser in Limbo!  The AM Club does not want to do the golf fundraiser this year and want to re-start their regular fundraisers.  However they have booked Burl Oaks for June 9th for just a fun golf event with members bringing friends and our club is invited.  President Kate will keep the gate open with the AM Club in the interim and Lou Graber has volunteered to pull a group together to discuss our club’s options. 
  5. Several names of possible President-Elect-Elect were suggested and contacts will be made.
  6. Our Club’s funds and Foundation funds are excellent.
  7. Paul Harris Awards will be awarded at our February 16th meeting.
  8. Joe Froehling is having a difficult recovery after surgery and if you have contact information let Karen Frazier know so that we can contact him on behalf of the Club.
  9. Our Global Scholar Padee Yang has passed her interview with District 5950 and has been voted by the District Board to be our Global Candidate.
The Rotary Club of Excelsior was called to order at noon by President Kate and reviewed the above actions of the Board of Directors Meeting.  Steve Frazier introduced our club’s sponsored Global Scholar Padee Yang and she gave a short introduction to herself to the Club. 
Our Speaker was member Jean Gray giving his Bio and it was amazing!  Jean’s family moved to the Excelsior arear in 1930 (now Greenwood) and attended Excelsior Public Schools k-12 grades.  He attended St. Thomas College in St. Paul and also enlisted in the ROTC and served in the Airforce in the Office of Special Investigations at the rank of a 2nd Lieutenant.   He returned to Excelsior 1953 and ran and was elected as Constable of the Excelsior Township and held that position for two years.  During that period of time he also worked in the family business GrayCo for a year but said “That was not my thing.”
His life’s work started in 1955 when he joined the FBI and worked in many locations and capacities for the next 25 years when he retired in 1980.  What was fascinating about Jean’s presentation was the stories that went along with each of his assignments and even more impressive was his proclivity for details of names, dates and events surrounding each story.  One can see why he was valuable to the FBI with his recall of details, mastery of the Spanish language, being single and able to move on a moment’s notice and his calm and personal manner.  We hear about his first assignment to North Carolina and when he got there they didn’t even know he was coming so they immediately sent him to Hot Springs, South Carolina to work on a bank robbery.  Then in San Diego, California to the Defense Institute for Spanish.  In the Martin Luther King assignation we heard about his trip to Porta Viarta to follow leads of the whereabouts of James Earl Ray and Jeans contact there to find him.  He was Assistant Legal Attaché in Mexico 1965-71 and also Australia, New Zealand, and the Philippines from 1972-74.  He really liked working in Chicago on lots of interesting cases from 1975-77.  He was then assigned back to FBI HQ Section of Intelligence Division and headed that from 1977-79.  Then it was off to South Africa as Acting Legal Attaché in Buenos Aries in 1979.  The next 5 years were spent in SAC Divisions in Richmond, VA in automation1979-80 and the New York office in Foreign Counter Intelligence on the Soviets from 1980 until 1984 when he retired from the FBI.  As you can guess he has remained active in Rotary, Little Brothers and Sisters Orphanage, President of Father Wasson Legacy Endowment which is now at 16 million dollars, NPHI – USA Vice President and President from 2014-2019 and host of other leadership positions.  And guess what – he still shoots at the target range at 90%!  Jean went on in Q&A and members had both praise for his service and lots of interesting questions.  Great job Jean!
To acquaint our members better about Padee Yang we will highlight several of her qualifying application essays over the next several bulletins so that we get to know her and why our Club has chosen to be her sponsor in the United States.  This week we will start with her Autobiography.
“Since I was a child, I have been interested in people, the fundamental aspects that make them human, and how their behavior affects society as a whole. Violence and the effect it has on society and daily living are extensions of that interest, impacting millions of people on a global scale. Conflict, an instigator of violence, is of particular interest to me because my extended family and parents were refugees who fled from conflict. They have all played an important role in shaping my identity and the values I hold. In addition, as a child of refugees, my experience has allowed me to better empathize with individuals who have faced extreme adversity, and it has encouraged my passion and commitment to support underserved people. 
            I received my Bachelors of Science in Psychology and minor in Anthropology at the University of Minnesota to build upon my aspirations to create better opportunities for underrepresented communities and people affected by conflict. I actively addressed this outside of the classroom through the Underserved Mental Health Association (UMHA), a student group promoting awareness on mental health disparities in the Twin Cities. As the President of UMHA, I advocated for mental health awareness initiatives by using my skills to organize and collaborate with board members and multicultural student groups to engage students and stakeholders. The role also came with its own challenges which helped to further develop my capabilities in public speaking and facilitation through leading board meetings and larger general meetings with students from diverse backgrounds. 
            This leadership experience prompted me to further seek out opportunities where I could continue advocating and serving others in a sustainable way. After graduating from the University of Minnesota, I became a Community Health Specialist for the United States Peace Corps and Ministry of Health in Malawi. During my service, I engaged with influential chiefs, community leaders, and community members to improve the overall health of my community through education, home visits, and health interventions. In addition, as a Gender and Development Committee Member for Peace Corps Malawi, I promoted gender equality through gender programming and training in alignment with policy put forth by Peace Corps Headquarters for Peace Corps Volunteers and host country nationals. My time in Malawi, though cut short due to the pandemic, confirmed my commitment to improving conditions for underserved and vulnerable populations. Furthermore, it showed me the importance of policy research and implementation as avenues to dramatically improve peoplesquality of life. 
            These experiences have taught me the value of advocacy and policy to create sustainable change. Therefore, after the completion of my master’s degree, I intend to use the tools gained through the program to reduce the gap between policy and practice through advocacy and research with a focus on refugee and other vulnerable populations. To do this, I plan to gain more field experience with international nongovernmental organizations such as the International Rescue Committee or UNHCR to ultimately lessen the inequalities that exist among the most vulnerable populations.”