There were 31 members and one guest at the Feb 12 meeting. The guest was ”M” Lavin, the wife of Robert Mardirossian who is a military veteran and came to hear our speaker, also a veteran. 
John Ford told us of “Operation Walk-Chicago,” a medical mission to supply knee and hip replacement equipment that will be taken to Hanoi, Viet Nam to provide replacement joints for the impoverished in that country.  John’s wife, Mary, is part of the mission trip and is helping to gather contributions for this effort.  If you are so interested in support this effort you can make a contribution online at or drop off a check at Dr. Ford’s office.
Heidi Sibert announced that her committee is organizing 400 ‘goody bags’ to hand out to the participants of our food-packing program for Kids Against Hunger.  She is encouraging sponsors to provide handouts and small promotional items to advertise their organization.  The youth of the WYO will be putting the bags together just before our event on March 21st.
Patti Van Cleave reminded the club that if members want to add their personal gifts to any of the agencies that are receiving grants this year the club will match the personal gifts up to the $2000 the club has designated for this purpose.  If you are so inclined to add to the grant write a check to the Winnetka-Northfield Rotary Club Foundation and place the name of the organization you are supporting in the memo section. The recipients of this year’s Community Grants are listed at the end of the recap.  This check should be submitted to the club at least a week before the Grant Presentation program on March 12.
Gina Sich and John Stone celebrated their Rotary anniversaries this week, 7th and 34th respectively.
Happy Buck$ were contributed by Gina Sich and Ned Meisner.
Connie Berman introduced the day’s speaker, Paul Baffico, a Vietnam combat veteran and a former president at Sears Roebuck and Co.  Paul told his story of dealing with PTSD, primarily after his retirement from Sears.  He told of his return from Viet Nam to San Francisco, where many angry protesters met the disembarking vets.  He had served in the 101st Airborne Division and lost five close buddies while in Vietnam.  He managed to suppress his feelings and did not talk about his experiences, not even with family members, while he successfully climbed the corporate ladder.
Paul said that when he retired he had time to rethink his war experiences, as he was not busy with all of the trappings and pressures of the corporate world.  It was then that his battlefield experiences came back to life.  His wife convinced him to visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in D.C. and when he touched the names of his lost buddies on the Wall the vivid sights, sounds and odors of the war came flooding back to him.  He met a docent who planted the seed of serving as a docent at the Wall and with the encouragement of his wife he has become a docent.  Once a month he goes to Washington and serves in that capacity.
Paul’s wife also encouraged him to go to the VA after his retirement where the therapy has enabled him to deal with the problems that had surfaced from PTSD.  He feels the VA has done a good job and he began writing about his experiences.  All of his writings, with the assistance from his wife, have resulted in a book “Last Mission for a Reluctant Patriot” which is available on Amazon.  He has dedicated his retirement years to veterans and started a foundation, “The Lake County Veterans & Family Services Foundation.  
Paul mentioned that in WW II approximately 12% of the population served overseas but virtually all American lives were affected by the war as rationing for everyone.  In the Vietnam War only 5.6% of the country served in the military, while in the recent wars it is only 0.45% are serving.  As fewer Americans have a connection to the wars there is less attention given to the veterans of those conflicts.  The U.S. military is now serving in 153 countries around the world.  Paul has dedicated his life to assisting veterans through his foundation.  Our club was privileged to hear his very interesting and inspiring story.