March 11, 2014 – Bhichai Rattakul Speech

Heart of America E-Club Program for March 11, 2014

Our Core Values and Vocational Service

Bhichai Rattakul Past RI President

The saying “To see the rainbow we must endure the rain” is very true. You are here not to see the rainbow. Yet you cannot avoid enduring the rain and the storm in order to seek ways and means to fulfill your dreams.

During the last six days, we have put our hands, our heads, and our hearts together, enduring the rain and the storm to try to make Rotary, in the words of President Ray, bigger, better, and bolder. But as we look to the future, our task becomes even bigger and bolder with the call from our President-elect Kalyan Banerjee to Reach Within to Embrace Humanity. Today, we embrace this challenge and reaffirm our belief in the core values through which so much has been accomplished — the lives that have been saved, the hearts that have been touched, and the future that shines brightly for Rotary, tomorrow and beyond.

But, after all, what indeed is Rotary? What indeed are our core values? Our core values are what have kept Rotary strong even after more than a hundred years: service, fellowship, diversity, integrity, and leadership.

As I stand here and look out upon the hundreds of white faces, dark faces, and yellow faces, intermingled like the waters of a river, I see only one face: I see you, the core of the Rotary movement, who will shape the future of Rotary for years to come. You are the diversity that builds our service, in fellowship, with integrity and leadership.

Service is of course our first core value: Service Above Self. Today, we embrace the world in which we serve. I think today the world needs Rotary far more than when the four men first met on that freezing night so long ago, because today Rotary offers a unique and precious light of hope in an already dim world with an ever-darkening horizon.

There is no doubt that the needs now are greater and more diverse than ever before. And the need for Rotary fellowship is ever growing, as it is through fellowship that Rotarians conquer the world’s challenges together. The challenges we face in making the world more equitable, over the broad range of human needs, amount indeed to a steep mountain to climb.

But we embrace the Rotary core value of leadership. And what is leadership? Leadership is rallying together the resources, the energy, the drive of many people, to see the job done — so that when it is done, the people will say, we did it ourselves.

After 10 long years of untiring efforts, the Land Mine Removal project in Cambodia, initiated by the Rotary Club of Tokyo, which later on became the project of all 34 districts in Japan, came to a successful conclusion on 5 February last year. From the project’s launch in October 1999 until its completion, 28 villages covering an area of 1.2 million square meters were cleared of land mines, enabling 56,500 people to settle down safely.

Does this not confirm our conviction that we must marshal our forces and take action on more acute problems that arise? Does it not show us that our Rotary leadership is sorely needed, and a potent force for change?

At the height of the political conflicts among the many countries in that region, I myself went to the locations of those land mines in 1976. Under the escort of the Khmer Rouge soldiers, who knew exactly where the land mines were buried, I went into Cambodia ona top-secret mission and without any arms escort for a dialogue with my counterpart, the then deputy prime minister and foreign minister of the Khmer Rouge, Ieng Sary, who is still very much alive today and standing on trial as a war criminal in Phnom Penh.

But I couldn’t do much. No one could do anything at all while the political situation was still uncertain and Pol Pot, the top Khmer Rouge leader, was still in power. I had no idea then and never dreamed that the very subject I discussed with the Khmer Rouge leader so long ago would one day, after 35 years, be a topic I am speaking to you about now and become a project — a challenge — that would involve so many Rotary clubs and Rotarians around the world.

I am now thinking of one poor Thai farmer who lives in a small village near the Cambodian border. In the late 1980s, he lost one of his legs by stepping on a land mine while he was looking for food in the forest. He had a wife and a baby daughter to support. But after the accident, his wife could not overcome her fear about what the future might bring — she left and was never heard from again! He was left with no leg, no wife, and the huge responsibility of supporting a child. Having some knowledge in carpentry, he built himself a crude artificial leg and got whatever job he could. His awful leg constantly plagued him and gave him much pain. But it was better than no leg at all!

When the local Rotary clubs in the area heard about the plight of this man and his misfor- tune, they reached within themselves and became involved and, with the support of

The Rotary Foundation and clubs around the world, provided him and other amputees with a high quality, properly fitting artificial limb. The new leg gave him new energy and new confidence. He got a better and steady job, and his daughter was able to go to school and graduated. A happy ending!

And it so happened that her graduation day was also his birthday, a triumphant day for both of them. They had struggled so hard together and come so far. To mark the occasion, the girl wanted to give her father a present. Being so poor, she had nothing but a picture of them when she was a little girl. But on the back of the picture, she wrote a note more precious to him than any expensive gift. She wrote: “Dad, we will now walk together.”

The girl went on to become a nurse, to marry and have a child of her own. Now, she is able to support her father, and they do indeed walk together. My friends, because of the desire to serve that is within us, we also walk with this man and thousands of others like him.

Thoughtfulness of and helpfulness to others is indeed the noble ideal of Rotary. And we do not need to be wealthy, we do not need to be famous, to be able to achieve this ideal. We need only to reach within.

Years ago, when I first ran for public service in my country, my campaign duties included delivering speeches from the back of a truck. One night, very late, we were at a stop in a poor slum. We had quite a crowd there who were still waiting at that late hour to hear from us. I had to shout to be heard. At the conclusion of my speech, I was shaking hands with the people when a youngster gently pushed his way to the front of the crowd, calling to me, “Uncle, Uncle.” He was holding a little paper cone filled with bits of sugar cane. He offered it to me, saying, “After so much talking, you must be very thirsty.” I was indeed very thirsty!

Now, to think that child had so little, and yet he found an opportunity to serve. He had the means to soothe the scratchy throat of a tired politician, and he offered it, freely and gladly. This small act of thoughtfulness planted a seed in my heart that has grown over the years. I think of this boy and his simple gesture, and I am inspired to ask myself, “Can I be this thoughtful?” How many of us who have chosen to be a part of this great service organization are as kind as this in our daily lives? How many of us remember to think of others first and to think of ourselves in terms of what we can do for others? Only you can tell!

My dear friends, Rotary certainly is not a spectacular organization because it works from man to man, and its achievements are not always recognized by contemporaries. But I think that Rotary has in its possession one of the most precious commodities, of which we have failed to see the uniqueness and which we have failed to utilize and practice. Yes, I am referring to Vocational Service, through which I sincerely believe that we as Rotarians can act best and contribute most, to improve not only ourselves but the society in which we live.

Indeed, Rotary can pride itself on how it has weathered the storms with distinction through many humanitarian and educational programs. And yet, it is important to recognize that although we have made significant progress in the many areas of human activity, many corrupt practices continue to prevail in our business and professional lives as they did at the beginning of the last century when Rotary was created.

Amorality, shady business, illegal profits, and legal and ethical infractions unfortunately are spreading rapidly across society in spite of being fought against and reproached. How can we divert this trend, or at least do something to prevent it from spreading out further in society and even in Rotary? Through our final core value, integrity.

Remind your clubs that professional relations are founded upon the individual; upon his or her understanding of the importance that he or she personally assumes as someone able to unleash useful action proven to benefit others; upon the honesty of his or her goals and the value that a person gives to ethics; upon the sanctity of the promised word and the manifestation of a cooperative and united attitude in relations among people.

Remind your clubs that in this contradictory world in which the majority of people are more concerned with having than with being, that this great challenge is entrusted upon Rotary and upon each one of us!

From what I have said, you will see what Rotary has been proposing throughout its exis- tence: developing a person’s potential and working with a sense of dignity and honesty in all useful occupations.

Perhaps the first difficulty in this challenge to surmount is to help the Rotarians in your district to clearly understand what vocational service means in Rotary. At least tell them that They Profit Most Who Serve Best is not simply a slogan. It is the most practical answer that we have to ennoble the behavior that the ideal of service dictates to us.

Vocational service is, without doubt, the foundation of all Rotary — an activity that can only be demonstrated through the example that each one of us can give through our behavior, and our conviction that is a guiding principle in one’s life.

And with that conviction I have come to see that Rotary should address itself both in thought and in action, because unless the ideals we profess and exemplify can become flesh of our flesh, can become bone of our bone, can become life, can become action, and can become power, there is truly no hope for us!

Let me say without hesitation: Membership is the greatest asset of our organization, and this has been the work of Rotarians. Having said this, we must always keep in mind that the most important element is qualified members. The qualifications of a prospective member must be beyond any doubt. My fellow Rotarians, the fact that our membership is made up of such diverse professions and business classifications ensures us a many-sided approach to any given problem.

It was in the late 1960s that I had the privilege of visiting for the first time the old RI Sec- retariat on Ridge Avenue in Evanston, not far from the present headquarters. George R. Means was then the general secretary and a very, very efficient one. Everywhere in that building was the feeling of action — not just busy work but meaningful action — new plans, new hopes, and new possibilities for service. But nowhere was this feeling stronger than when I was admitted to the Paul Harris Room! This is the office that has been carefully reproduced to the point that every picture on the wall has been hung to within 1.6 millimeters of where it had been in Paul Harris’s original office in downtown Chicago. Even then, in the quiet solitude of what almost seemed to be a chapel, I felt the great power of the Rotary ideal of service in action.

I was told that it would be permissible for me to pull out the chair and sit at Paul Harris’s desk! I looked very hard at the desk. I looked very hard at the chair. I looked very hard on the wall behind the desk that says: “If a man has a thousand friends, he has not one to spare.” My eye looked at this unique organization of members from so many lands, com- mitted all to the ideal of answering the call to serve. I then thought of the many times in my own life when I had refused to answer that call. I thought of that little lad in the slum who had so little, yet he had the desire to serve a tired politician. I am thinking now of the Thai Rotarian Yongchai Surapantanakorn, who lost his life on his way home from an NID [National Immunization Day], saving the other passengers when their boat capsized.

No, I could not sit in that chair!

My fellow Rotarians, in just a few hours from now, the final curtain of this International Assembly will descend, and like all good things they are limited in supply and parting is al- ways a sad experience. Looking back to the 53 long years of my Rotary service, and now at 85, I am now at the end of my long Rotary journey. Without knowing how many years are left, I hope my health will permit me to continue to serve until it hurts! However that may be, and whatever may befall, I am sure that I shall never forget the emotions of this day or be able to express my gratitude to you and to those colleagues of mine who have all gone before me, with whom I have lived my life.

When you return home, you will have many stories to tell your friends. But whatever the story you may want to tell them, please tell them this: In San Diego, California, there is a church with a statue of Jesus outside. Thirty years ago, the hands of that statue were broken off by vandals. Instead of repairing the statue and replacing the hands, the church decided to add a plaque. It bears the words, “I have no hands but yours.”

My dear friends, you are the hands of Rotary. I now leave you, not knowing when our paths will cross again, but with all my heart I wish you a successful and reward- ing year as you Reach Within to Embrace Humanity!

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Darlene Ganub

I am a member of the small team that develops e-learning for the Rotary Club of Cebu North serving the underpriviledged in the Philippines.

I work with a team that provides leadership in the strategy, research, design and development of delightful learning experiences using mobile technology; identifying and addressing e-learning design opportunities.

My studies in Management provided me with the skills to create and develop sustainable high-impact projects in environments with limited resources. I have specialized in the creation of programs addressed to basic education and literacy using technology.

I am a researcher, a project manager in the making, and a strong believer in sustainable development and collaborative learning through e-learning. My goal is to mix all of these things together to create social impact and empower communities in the Philippines.

Jerry Chang




Born in Eastern China and majoring in the English language and linguistics, Mr. Chang taught English for a few years before becoming a tour guide at China International Travel Service’s (CITS’s) Nanjing branch in 1978. In 1987 he immigrated to the US.

After more than 20 years of hard work and devotion, Mr. Chang has built JC Pacific Trading Co. and Pacific Holidays from scratch to their current status. JC Pacific Trading Co is a key import/wholesale company for material handling industry based in New Jersey. Pacific Holidays is a major US tour operator for travel to Asia, the South Pacific and Latin America based in New York City.

Having lived through China’s tumultuous years in the ’60s and ’70s, Mr. Chang steadfastly pushes his businesses through the down times and ensures that it thrives during the good times. By now both of his businesses enjoy customer’s satisfaction and industry recognition. His philosophy is: “Putting principles ahead of profits.”



Bridgette Proffitt


Bridgette Proffitt

Bridgette Proffitt is the Manager of Physical Power and Natural Gas for INTL FCStone, Inc. With a background in electricity trading, she is now a procurement consultant and advises companies on how to manage their commodity risk in electricity and natural gas spends. She holds a BBA from Washburn University in Topeka, KS. She resides in Topeka, KS with her eleven year old daughter, Peyton.

Jose Rafael Ferreros



Member, RC Cebu North 2011-Present
Past President, RC Mandaue East RY 1999-2000

Past Subcommittee Grants Chair, D 3860, RY 2004-2010

Past Senior Assistant Governor,
D 3860, RY 2001-03

Business Consultant (Retired)

*Change Management Manager, STRADCOM for LTO IT Project during roll-out of project throughout the 7,106 provinces of the Philippines 2002-2007

*Participated in several other BOT projects in the Philippines and Indonesia

RI President Ron D. Burton


Becoming a Polio Ambassador by Archie Panjabi


Doing Good in Japan


Doing Good in Seattle


Doing Good in Ukraine


Mark Hooper



Mark A. Hooper

Senior Station Manager

 American Red Cross

Service to the Armed Forces

Mr. Mark A. Hooper has worked for the American Red Cross for over 14 years. Since joining the Red Cross, he has served around the world. His first assignment was in Fort Eustis, VA as an Assistant Station Manager in 2000. Subsequently, Mr. Hooper served as Asst. Station Manager in Heidelberg and Schweinfurt Germany. In 2004, Mark was promoted to Red Cross Station Manager and was assigned to Camp Red Cloud, Korea; Darmstadt, Germany and Fort Drum, NY. During his time in Fort Drum, Mr. Hooper worked with the Northern New York Chapter in creating volunteer opportunities for Fort Drum volunteers at an off post hospital in Watertown NY. Also he took the role as Casework trainer for the surrounding Chapter offices in Watertown and Potsdam NY.

In 2010, Mr. Hooper was promoted to Senior Station Manger and assigned to USAG Bavaria. His current duties include direct responsibility for offices in Rose Barracks, Tower Barracks, Hohenfels and oversees the Garmisch area. He also provides management support to the offices of Ansbach and Wiesbaden Germany.

Mr. Hooper has completed numerous conflict deployments which began with a forward deployment in Bosnia in 2001. In 2003, Mr. Hooper was part of the initial American Red Cross Team that deployed into Iraq attached to 3rd Infantry Division. He made a return trip to Iraq in 2004. In 2007-08, he deployed to the Red Cross Bagram Afghanistan office as team lead and returned to Bagram in 2012.

Mr. Hooper has participated in other special American Red Cross assignments. Most notable was his participation in the management teamed assigned in 2010 to the USNS Comfort in support of Operation Unified Response, Haiti.

Mark has been recognized by the US Para-Olympics for his work with the 3-10 Infantry Division (WTB) and their adaptive sports program; received the Commander’s Award for Civilian Service and the NATO Medal.








David Arnoldy







Born: April 4, 1944 in San Diego California

Raised on a farm in north central Kansas.


Work experience includes:


Credentials include:


Contact Information:


Grace Bigcas



Grace Bigcas is involved in philanthropic work in the Philippines founded by Mr. Keith Hooper. She never expected that one day she would be given this wonderful opportunity to help improve the quality of life among Filipino families. Her work experience in McDonalds contributed to her operation management skills, and her ability to develop financial/accounting system. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Xavier University, Ateneo de Cagayan, and earned her Master’s in Business Administration at Fort Hays State University in Hays Kansas.

Karol Finch


Karol Finch is a retired elementary teacher. She taught for thirty-three years, primarily in first and second grade. She was born in Colby, Kansas and raised in Smith Center, Kansas. She graduated from Kansas State University with a degree in elementary education and received a master’s degree from Colorado College in teaching. Karol enjoys reading, travel and genealogy among many other things (and is adding Rotary to the list).

James Cunningham

Jim Cunningham

James is originally from Scotland but has had an illustrious career in production management with a number of companies worldwide. Jim currently lives part of the year in Talakag, Bukidnon, Philippines and the rest of the year in the United Kingdom. He is married to the former Lulu Santiago and they have 2 adult children.

Ben Finch


Ben Finch is a retired pharmacist. He was born in Winterset, Iowa and grew-up in Missouri. He graduated from Kansas State University with a degree in business and the University of Kansas with a degree in pharmacy. Ben does volunteer pharmacy relief work at a local clinic in Colorado Springs. His spare time activities include genealogy, travel, and “farming”.

Brandy Veatch


Brandy Veatch, Manhattan, Kansas, USA –

I am a married to Laird Veatch and a full-time mom of 4 beautiful kids.  Three daughters and one son.  I have a Bachelor of Science in Social Work from Kansas State University and a Master of Science in Social work from the University of Texas.  I work as an on-call Medical Social Worker at Mercy Regional Health Center in Manhattan, Kansas.  Most of my hospital work includes: crisis intervention and counseling along with death and dying support.

I am very involved in an organization in Kansas City, Missouri called The Global Orphan Project.  It is a group that assists local churches in third world countries in sponsoring orphanages and small local self-sustaining businesses.  I am currently on the advisory board for the GO Exchange ( which is a global marketplace that creates jobs, cares for orphans and changes lives.  With this organization I travel to Haiti and in the near future will travel to Uganda as well.

The welfare and safety of children has always been my passion.  Either close to home or far away.  I am dedicated to the care of orphans and widows and the sustainability of businesses in third world countries.  I believe my true talents lie in assisting families in grief support and crisis management. I am motivated and excited to join the Rotary family and the challenge to make a difference in the lives of others.

Cynthia Elliott


Cynthia Elliott is Assistant Provost for Strategic Partnerships and Dean of Distance Learning at Fort Hays State University (FHSU) in Hays, Kansas. She focuses on policy making, program and partnership development, and maintenance of university, community college, corporate, military and international partnerships. Through these efforts and the hard work of others, the number of enrollments for FHSU has nearly tripled over the past decade. One of her significant achievements has been the establishment of the first jointly run, bachelor’s degree program in mainland China in the year 2000. Today, FHSU has 3,600 Chinese students at two partner universities in China offering five different bachelor’s programs and is expanding with additional partners for study abroad. FHSU was the first American University to be approved by the Minister of Education of the People’s Republic of China to offer a dual bachelor’s degree. Cynthia in active in expanding similar partnership relationships in other parts of the world. Cynthia has her educational background with Southern Illinois University for her bachelor’s degree; Florida International University for her master’s degree; and Harvard University for Management of Lifelong Education program. Prior to this role, Cynthia was Dean of FHSU’s Virtual College; Director of Distance Learning at Florida International University, Miami, Florida; and Manager of Product Development and Distribution at Miami-Dade Community College, Miami, Florida.

From Child Soldier to Peace Soldier by Emmanuel Jal


Raise a Village Project


"Reasons for Hope" by Jane Goodall


Haiyan or Yolanda - Be Happy


Philippines Relief


Haiyan or Yolanda


Paterna (Pat) Bigcas Hooper



Paterna (Pat) Bigcas Hooper was born and raised in the Philippines. Although
her family was poor, she was able to receive a number of academic scholarships
that enabled her to achieve her goal of becoming a teacher. She taught several
years in both private and public schools in the Philippines. In 1968 she married
Keith Hooper and immigrated to the USA where she continued to teach until their
daughter Melanie, was born. In addition to raising three children, she worked in
numerous accounting jobs while her husband was in the military. Throughout
her life, she could not forget the poverty that she experienced as a child. By her
words alone – “there are so many kids that have the “ability” but not the
“opportunity”. She was the driving force behind establishing “The HELP
Melanie Williams


Melanie is currently a stay-at-home mother but her background has been in Hotel/Restaurant
Management and non-profit organizations. She last worked with the American Red Cross in
various places around the world. Currently she is very active in the Spouses Club on Camp
Humphreys which raises money for scholarships and welfare grants. She is also active in the
Community Theater as a music assistant and in the Church.

Matthew Williams


Matthew is a LTC in the US Army currently stationed in Seoul, South Korea. Matt is a logistics officer and been in the military for 27 years and recently commanded a battalion in Korea. He has been stationed in Asia, Europe, various bases around the US, and been deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan. He originates from Vidalia, GA and plans to retire soon in Huntsville, AL

Keith Hooper


Keith was born in Smith County, Kansas and still lives part time on the farm that
his great grandfather homesteaded in the late 1800’s. After college at Kansas
State University, he served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Philippines where
he met and married his wife of 46 years, Paterna. After several successful careers
as a teacher, Army officer, magistrate judge, and rancher, Keith decided to
dedicate the remainder of his life to helping the poor in the Philippines. In 2004,
he and his wife founded The HELP Foundation, which has provided assistance to
thousands of poor Filipinos. Keith has been an active member of Rotary since
1996 and has served in a number of leadership positions, including District
Governor. He has received many military awards including the Army Bronze Star
and the Legion of Merit but his most coveted honor was receiving the Rotary
“Service Above Self” award.

Cindy Tuxhorn


My name is Cindy Tuxhorn I live in Reamsville Kansas, I was born and raised in Brownsville, Pa., a coal miners’ daughter ,the middle child of five. I met my husband, Bret of 26 years come July, in Glenwood Springs Co., where I was a camp cook for an outfitter. I currently own The Curiosity Shop in beautiful, downtown Smith Center, antique & collectable, as well as gifts and floral shop. I have mostly local venders. I enjoy all outdoor activities as well as traveling to historic sites and antique shopping


Michael Hooper


Shelter Box
Katrina Lewis


Katrina Lewis received her Bachelor of Interior Architecture in 1998 and Master of Regional and Community Planning in 2001 from Kansas State University. She has taught design studios at the college level since 1998: at Kansas State University in the Department of Interior Architecture and Product Design, at Chongqing Jinazhu University in the People’s Republic of China for one year, in Afghanistan at Kabul University for two summers, and humanities courses in Bangladesh at the Asian University for Women for a year. Katrina received the honor of being selected as a Rotary Peace Fellowship for professional studies in peace and conflict resolution at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand from June – August 2012. She earned her Rotary Professional Development Certificate after studies in theories of peace and conflict resolution, analysis and intervention strategies, and application to stakeholders and society. This was a life-changing experience, influencing Katrina’s aspiration to create a strong link between design and peace.