Rotary District 5240 Governor Loretta Butts (far right, seated) honored Santa Paula Rotarians for their service in the armed forces May 18 by presenting them with special commemorative coins.

Service Above Self for Rotarians
honored for service to country

May 29, 2015
Santa Paula News

Rotary 5240 District Governor Loretta Butts stopped by the Santa Paula Rotary Club just in time for Memorial Day…and she brought special commemorative coins for each Rotarian who served in the military.

Butts visited the club May 18 and noted her personal theme for her term leading the wide-ranging Rotary district is “Honoring Service…and our Rotary motto is Service Above Self. Rotary does so much in our communities for children,” and other causes.

Butts said she believes Rotary could do more by also honoring “the service of our veterans,” who often feel uncomfortable being acknowledged. 

Each Rotarian present at the meeting received the commemorative coin and noted their branch and years of service.

Gary Nasalroad said he entered the Army on November 22, 1963 and was told by his commanding officer that the United States was in complete meltdown: “He said the president had been assassinated, the vice president assassinated, the governor Texas killed…except for Kennedy it was completely false but I thought I sure had picked the wrong time to be in the Army!”

Also recognized were John Freeman (Air Force 25 years), Ben Curtis (Navy, Korean War), Dave Stegman, MD (Army Medical Corps, served in Vietnam and met his wife, Linda, an Army RN), Phil Snow (Air Force), Dave Romney (Army, Vietnam), Ike Ikerd (Navy, 22 years), Chris Bartelson, (Navy), Pete Fallini (Army, Vietnam), Elias Valdes (Army), Bob Russell (Air Force, Korea), Mike Kelley (Air Force, numerous missions in Vietnam), Dr. David Gomez (24 years Army) and Bob Orlando (Coast Guard, Vietnam) who noted that during his time of service his brother was reported as missing in action.

Among those Rotarian armed services veterans not present at the meeting was Nils Rueckert (retired from a Naval career), but Butts said commemorative coins would be presented to them at a later date.

Her own family has a long history in service with Butts’ father serving in World War II and her husband in Vietnam.

“In my mind,” said Butts, “there is no greater service above self,” than the service and sacrifices of our nation’s veterans.

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