Let’s welcome Steve Springer into the family of Rotary, as he is our newest member. Past President Dee Menzies is Steve’s sponsor. Steve is the Associate Head of School and Principal of Carlthorp School.
Congratulations to Dr. Ken Waltzer, our President Elect, he was inducted this week into the Paul Harris Society by Past President Judy Neveau. (Ask Judy Neveau or Bret Carter how you can become a Paul Harris Society Member).
Our 2023 District Conference is a weekend of Recognition, Celebration and Fellowship. The theme this year is “it’s a Family Affair” and we are “Honoring the Past, Celebrating the Present and Generating the Future”. We appreciate those before us who have contributed to our clubs and for a precious moment, we want to “Honor” our Rotary loved ones who have passed away this year (since April 30, 2022). We have submitted the following Santa Monica Rotarians to be honored: Iao Katagiri, The Honorable Robert “Bob” Thomas, The Honorable RexMentor, Richard “Dick” Hart, John Dracup, and Jim Reidy.
Our program this week was Goran Milic, he was born in the former Yugoslavia, now Montenegro. Goran emigrated to the US and landed a job as a waiter within 2 weeks. That was the beginning of his career in the restaurant business. Since 1996, he has been the owner and chef at Divino, a fine Italian restaurant in Brentwood Village. He is married to Vanya and has two children, Sofiya and Luka. He told us about his love of food, people, and most importantly, paying it forward with the Goran Milic Culinary Academy.
Carole Stein asked questions and Goran’s responses took the shape of stories about his journey and passion to help people discover their own passions. He did not just talk about the many young people he mentored through his Culinary Academy, but he brought along Melinda Silver, a former student at his Academy who now works at Divino. Goran says being prepared, and consistent has proven the success of his work. We were all truly inspired to hear his stories of success through serving others above himself. He mentioned that this spirit comes from his father who was a deep-sea diver and his mother who worked at an orphanage, and now he passes it onto his children.
He talked about the disabled young people he has mentored and now they are successful chefs. He truly pays it forward. He allows his personal experiences to teach him as when the pandemic struck our community, he made it possible to deliver meals to his customers. We experienced this generosity of spirit in our meeting when he offered a young man, Danny, Bill Dawson’s soon to be son-in-law, who is planning on re-opening The OP Cafe on Ocean Park, an opportunity to consult with Milic. Goran says he sees everything as an opportunity to learn, just show your heart and show up.
Our meeting this week will be on Zoom only and V.P. Pam Brady will be presiding while I’m in Belize on the District’s Humanitarian Trip with others from our club and the District.