Posted by Dene Hadden
SPOKES VOL. LXV NO. 43                                                                               May 7, 2019
We were greeted by Scott Mark and Bob McAlear this morning..
President Odland opened the meeting with “America the Beautiful” and Art Ayers provided the invocation..
We welcomed back Larry Lewis into the land of the cold and wet today.
We had a whole passel of guests this morning, including our speaker, author Erin Miller.  Also joining us were Kim Mauck, Pam Ford, Carol Renner, Avery, Cam and Steve Daugherty and John Kucola.
No Spotlight this morning.
  • Blessings in a Backpack will be filling backpacks this Friday at 1:15 at Lincoln School
  • On Tuesday May 7th at 11:00 AM there will be a Pure Michigan Trail Town announcement at Riverfront Park followed by a lunch.
  • Our tree planting went very well and we received much publicity from this yearly event.
  • We still need volunteers for the Sesquicentennial Picnic this Friday, May 10th.
  • The next event in our speaker’s series will feature Peter Annin, author of Great Lakes Water Wars.  It will be held Thursday evening in the Integrated learning Center at SHHS.
  • The We Care Golf Outing will be held on June 3rd at Hawkshead.  They are also raffling a Taylor Made driver.  See Bob Straits for tickets and information.
  • There is an open house for Dr. Richard Allen at the Wellness Center this afternoon from 5 – 7 PM.
  • We received a very nice thank you from the History Club for our donation to their program.
It was a patriotic time during our songfest this morning.We began with the 1904 George M Cohan hit “I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy” from the play “Little Johnny Jones”.We followed that with another Cohan Broadway hit, “You’re a Grand Old Flag”.We finished with “All Hail to Rotary”.
Art Ayers had the lucky ticket this morning but drew the unlucky “7”, securing an even larger pot for our next winner.Don Hodgman took home the $2 prize.
  • We had one anniversary this week.
  • Tom Renner’s 10 year old granddaughter celebrated her birthday this week.
  • Tom Fleming celebrated the birthday of his 8 year old granddaughter this week.
  • It was an impressive Ludington Style birthday song this week.
  • Bob Copping introduced us to the DNA this week.
  • Dene Hadden enjoyed a weekend in Niagara Falls visiting his daughter Julie and her family.
  • Tom Renner was excited that the Cubs were in first place for a day.
  • Nick Tuit had three of his grandchildren on the winning team at the Forensic Science state championships this weekend.
  • Barry Winkel showed off his colorful wrist cast this morning.  “Thumbs Up!”
  • Art Ayers mentioned the very nice ceremony that Dale Lewis received at the City Council meeting last night.
  • Steve Miles announced that his daughter graduated from NMU with high honors this weekend.
Don Kitchin introduced our speaker, Erin Miller, author of Final Light Final Fight.
Erin grew up hearing stories of her grandmother who was a WASP (Women Air Force Service Pilots) she traveled with her grandmother to air shows, presentations and even Rotary meetings to tell her story.
In her book Erin describes her grandmother’s experiences from learning to fly with the Civilian Pilots Training Program in 1940, much to her mother’s chagrin.  She met her future husband at the University of Maryland and married in 1941, just before Pearl Harbor.
When the Army started the WASP program in 1944, she decided to volunteer and was one of 1102 women who were accepted into the program and went for training in Sweetwater, Texas.  This was the only army base that was totally female and often attracted male pilots that would suddenly develop engine problems.
The program ended in 1944 and her grandmother returned to her life in Maryland.  Thirty-eight of her fellow WASPS died during their service.
It now became a fight for benefits, from basic military budgets up to the right to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery.  Erin’s fight, aided by former fighter pilot and now congresswoman Martha McSally was for these women  - and it turns out members of 37 other similar groups – were given this permission in 2016 and she was able to bury her grandmother’s ashes shortly thereafter.
Our own South Haven High School History Club became involved with this project when two members, including our guest today, Avery Daugherty.  They were involved with Erin as she worked through the process of lobbying congressmen and senators (which she describes as trying to keep a bunch of squirrels focused) to get her bill passed.
Her book is available and you can find out how to order it by emailing Erin at
President Odland thanked Erin for this extraordinary presentation and presented her with one of our speaker’s gifts.
President Odland closed the meeting with the Four Way Test.
Next week’s program: Don Hodgman will introduce South Haven Police Chief Natalie Thompson
Greeters:  Jean Stein and Don Kitchin
Editarian:  Dene Hadden