Burlingame Rotary Club
Founded in 1925

High Gear Bulletin


Zoom Meeting - Wednesday, February 17, 2021

High Gear Editor:  Guy Smiley

President Emily Matthews called the meeting to order promptly at 12:15.
Emily Beach led us in the pledge with a “bouquet” of American flags.
Jim Shypertt delivered the invocation. He shared with us “The Train of Life,” a poem by John A Passaro. It provides a lovely and apt metaphor for our journeys—stations, changes, adventures, passengers coming on and off until we finally step off the train at the end of our ride. Jim noted that he had the opportunity to take photos around the world and locally during his journey, in particular of Rotarians. Many of his photos are of Rotarians who have left the train, but he believes they had pleasant memories of the ride. This editor would like to express gratitude for having Rotarians along for the ride. The poem is worth a read, whether you were able to attend the meeting or not. A link to it is here.
Guests of the Club
We did not have any guests of the Club, but were happy to see Ted Kruttschnitt, who Zoomed in from Palm Desert, where he’s been golfing regularly and playing tennis for two to three hours every day. Gooo Ted!
There were a few announcements and updates.
Happy hour will be Friday @ 5. You should take a minute to drop in and say “hi.” The regulars always welcome everyone. It’s a fun way to get a bit of fellowship with Rotarians and wind up the week. They’re usually on for about an hour. You can Zoom in anytime.
Our Spring Golf Tournament will be Monday, May 3. We’ll have a fund-a-need at registration, but not doing big sponsorships. The focus really is just getting people to come out and play. The Fiesta Cart will be roving the course with pre-Cinco de Mayo treats. Early registration is much appreciated. And, please spread the word to your friends and family.
Millbrae Rotary’s Chinese new year event will be Friday, February 26. They’ve put a lot of work into it, and it shows. If you’re free, you should consider joining for the celebration. You can find more info here.
Our community service team has been on a roll. We saw photos and thank you cards from the Boys and Girls Club (we gave them a contribution to buy holiday gifts for the kids). The Burlingame School District also sent us a very nice thank you note for the gift cards we sent to the District’s Title One families.
Next Week’s Speaker—#LocalCelebrity, #DoNotMissDeadline #InviteFriends
OK. Maybe he is not a celebrity to all of you, but he to many of us and is someone you should see. Whether you go to the Mid-peninsula Speaker Series or not, you do not want to miss next week’s speaker, Jim Weil. Jim is president of the Mid-peninsula Speaker Series and will briefly share a few tales about speakers he has hosted and his experience with the series. Your questions will make up the bulk of his program. He’s eager to answer your questions. For logistical reasons, we will need your questions in advance of next week’s lunch. Please get in touch with Fritz to submit your questions. Email him at fritz@braunercompany.com, or you can call him at (650) 678-1327. This is a meeting you should invite friends to attend.
Breakout rooms were used to cover for Emily’s issues with the video. Thank goodness Rotarians seem to enjoy those breakout rooms. She gave assurances that training will continue, but made no promises on the proficiency level that will be reached.
Without anything to provide perspective, Zoomer, appeared to be just a fluffy cat. Mike Heffernan, who, along with Jo Whitehouse, cohabitates with Zoomer, surprised us when he explained that this is no ordinary creature even by Maine Coon standards. According to kittencare.com, a full-grown Maine Coon is about 18 pounds. Zoomer Heffernan weighs in at a hefty 25 pounds and is more than 36 inches from nose to tail. As a reference point, the average male bobcat weighs 21 pounds. How did this creature get so big? His breed is a mix of cat and raccoon—oh Dios mío.
The second and final creature feature was Doug Person’s menagerie of fluffs. Since these characters were featured in the inaugural Pet-O-Rama, Doug gave a quick recap about them. Dixie, Pickle, Ginger, and Oliver were well-established residents when Doug came on the scene a few years ago. (Good for Doug, the creatures liked him as much as Robin did.) Fritz gave a shout-out to whoever arranged the “Creatures on the Red Carpet” photo shoot and the cuteness of the pack. Doug confessed that it was an older photo and that Dixie had since “boarded the train.”
Emily Matthews introduced Emily Beach, fellow Burlingame Rotarian and our speaker.
Most of us know Emily Beach as a Burlingame Council member and for her work with BCE and our schools. What many may not have known is that Emily is also a veteran. She attended college at the University of Notre Dame on an Army ROTC scholarship and went on to serve in the Air Defense Artillery as a PATRIOT missile officer. During her four years on active duty, Emily earned the rank of Captain, graduated from the U.S. Army Airborne Parachute School, and worked alongside service members in Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and Texas. Emily served from 1996 to 2000. After service got a job in Silicon Valley, but missing service, joined the nonprofit and civic service world.
Emily started with a shout-out to our veterans then framed the place of the military among other professions. According to a survey by Forbes, the military comes in at the top of chart, even above medical scientists. It is worth noting that members of congress come in last. When Emily asked the Club what words they associated with the military, the answers included: dedication to service, courage, bravery, dedication to country, and leadership.
This was a perfect segue into the next section of Emily’s talk, where she told us that everyone in the Army had to memorize the definition of leadership as well as embody it and share it. Along with the attributes noted by Rotarians, it is built into the culture of the Army and codified in the mantra “Be, Know, Do”—Be a person of character; Know your stuff and be tactically efficient; Do something good out there.
Emily shared some of the things she loved the most about the Army. Highlights included:
  • Mission-driven, service organization
  • Premier leadership training
  • Big responsibility at a young, formative age—responsible for an incredible amount of equipment and soldiers in a combat zone
  • True instantiation of diversity—the military reflects diversity in action and has always been a leader in diversity and equality (e.g., including women, racial integration before rest of country caught up)
Now to the really cool stuff—what Emily did in the military. She was assigned to a PATRIOT missile unit. (Should have known that PATRIOT was an acronym—Phased Array Tracking Radar Intercept On Target.) Emily trained at Fort Bliss in Texas and ended up being a trainer for the PATRIOT system.
Fun facts about the PATRIOT weapon system:
  • It shoots down SCUD missiles
  • Missiles launch out of the tube at twice the speed of sound
  • It can intercept aircraft going up to Mach 4 (4x speed of sound)
  • Its radar covers 60 miles out
  • Missiles are $1-6 million each
When Emily arrived at her first duty station, she had the opportunity to attend Airborne School. Why would any sane person want to jump out of an airplane, we all thought? She explained that she volunteered to overcome fear—a lifelong fear of heights. Her thinking was that if she could conquer this fear by jumping out of a plane, she could do anything. And, as a woman, it felt important. According to Emily, that paratrooper badge got her instant respect, because it showed that she was strong and had guts, which made soldiers trust her despite her rank, age, and gender.
Not for the faint of heart, the video Emily showed about training took away any doubt about how intense Airborne School is. They descend from a C-130 cargo aircraft, at a speed that can break legs on impact, with 100 pounds of gear and a weapon. To keep things exciting, Emily was first to jump on test day, as she was lowest-ranked and newest. Well, she did it—about 40% of applicants at that time did not complete the program. And in addition to conquering fear, becoming an Army paratrooper instilled the importance of trust and teamwork.
Emily’s first overseas duty base was in at Suwon Air Base in Korea, about an hour south of Seoul. Their mission was to protect Seoul from missiles using the PATRIOT system. She went to the DMZ, which she said was “a very spooky place.” But she had time for fun stuff, including going to the Great Wall of China, Hong Kong, and Thailand. Those trips were neat, but nothing compared to buying a Harley Davidson with a generous discount offered to military personnel (way to go Harley Davidson).
The Harley fun did not extend to her next assignment in Saudi Arabia, where she had to wear an abaya whenever she left Prince Sultan Air Base south of Riyadh in Saudi Arabia. And, despite her rank, she was also required to sit in the back seat. This was not what made this Emily’s most difficult, albeit rewarding, deployment. With this PATRIOT mission, the unit had to be ready to pack up and move all PATRIOT gear to Riyad, more than 75 miles away on a road shared with camels. Unit readiness was made more challenging because the team was in disarray, felt like they didn’t have a purpose, and did not respect their leaders. Emily’s leadership team offered a reward to reinvigorate the unit. They enticed the unit with the deal that they could do a mobility exercise if they could get Table 8 Certification. The unit reached its goal and, after eight years, moved all of the PATRIOT equipment in convoy one 118F day. During the convoy, they gave Emily what would become her call signal—Xena after the show Xena Warrior Princess. Xena ended up doing more than helping to turn around a challenged base. After the mobility exercise, some real “problem-child soldiers” in her unit asked her to reenlist them.
Finishing up, Emily summarized the key lessons she learned in the military.
  • Rank different than leadership
  • Effective leaders earn respect
  • Trust is essential— build it, work at it, because lives depend on it, and so does our democracy
  • Be a person of character and stand for values
Emily closed by saying that her most valuable lesson was that our country is not perfect, but we are lucky to be Americans.
She was presented with a Polio Plus certificate for five vaccinations in her name.
The meeting adjourned at 1:20pm.
Link to Recording
Watch the recording of the Zoom meeting here.
Zoom Link:
Order a Home Flocking
The flocks have been flying! Below are photos of our first two flockings. Details about home flockings and order info on the website.
Feb 24, 2021 12:15 PM
Mid-Peninsula Speakers Series (MPSF)
Mid-Peninsula Speakers Series (MPSF)

DO NOT miss this program! Jim Weil, president and host of the MPSF Speaker Series, will give us a brief overview of the MPSF Speaker Series. Then, he will open things up for our questions. He’s happy to tell us about his experiences with speakers on and off stage.
For those who don’t know the MPSF Speaker Series, founded in 1990, is the largest community speaker series in the United States. It brings nationally recognized speakers to San Mateo, Marin, and Oakland. This season’s line up includes Jane Goodall, Wynton Marsalis, W. Kamau Bell, Kara Swisher, Rick Steve, Theresa May, and Michael Pollan. 


Mar 10, 2021 12:15 PM
The Business of Sports
Apr 14, 2021 12:15 PM
KCSM Jazz - What's going on with the jazz scene and program updates?
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Upcoming Events
Program Committee Meeting
Zoom Meeting contact Rotary@nolamarketing.com for access
Mar 02, 2021 8:00 AM
Program Committee Meeting
Zoom Meeting contact Rotary@nolamarketing.com for access
Apr 06, 2021 8:00 AM
View entire list
Member Birthdays
Mike Horwitz
February 3
Cheryl Fama
February 14
Paul Nieberding
February 22
Rosemary Rayburn
February 23
Marilyn Orr
Rich Orr
February 17