Wasilla Sunrise


Wasilla Sunrise Rotary

Wasilla Sunrise Rotary

Light Up Rotary

Tuesday's 7:00am - 8:00am
Jack White / Meridian Point Building
865 N Seward Meridian Parkway
PO Box 876972
Wasilla, AK  99687
United States
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July 14, 2015
Jul 13, 2015
July 7, 2015
Jul 06, 2015

Sunrise Projects


Wasilla Sunrise Rotary

 aka "The Pirate Club"...Arghh!
established July 2001

We welcome visitors to our meetings, pirate and non-pirate alike!
Contact President Garry Forrester with any questions 907-841-9490

Please join us for a continental breakfast and program $10



Tuesday, July 7, 2015
Pearl Lockwood
 Greeter, Mark Lee - Sgt At Arms, Jerry Moses - Pledge, Dr. Jim - Invocation, TBD
July 18, 2015 - Fireside at Debbie and Eric Bushnell's Lake Resort
Potluck and BYOB and Lake attire. See Events on page for details.
And a New Year Begins....
Outgoing President, Greg Brooker and 2015-16 President, Garry Forrester, Garry and Matt Stielstra, President Elect 2015-16

July 2015

Pay It Forward

K.R. Ravindran’s life was molded by family, country, and Rotary. Serving as Rotary president is his way of giving back to each of them.


Before he gives a speech, K.R. “Ravi” Ravindran doesn’t like flowery, adulatory introductions. They make him uncomfortable. The 2015-16 Rotary president would rather keep a low profile and share the credit. If it were up to him, you probably wouldn’t even be reading this article.

Negotiating Days of Tranquility during the Sri Lankan civil war so that health workers could administer drops of polio vaccine? Although it was on his desk that the agreement landed, he says, a lot of people worked to make that happen. Rebuilding 23 tsunami-damaged schools for 14,000 children? He merely led the committee. Taking a label-printing business from a small outfit operating in a space the size of a garage to a global powerhouse in the packaging business that has helped change the value-added tea industry in his country? Well, he simply happened to be in the right place at the right time.

“I’m sometimes introduced as a self-made man,” says Ravindran, a member of the Rotary Club of Colombo. “You’ve got to be utterly egocentric to believe you are self-made. Each one of us is made because so many people helped us become who we are.

One of the reasons I work so much for Rotary is that I have been helped by so many people, and often you never have a chance to reciprocate,” he explains. “The only way you can is by helping others. When the people I help ask me, ‘What can I do?’ I say, ‘Go and help someone else in return.’”

For Ravindran, paying it forward isn’t a fad, it’s a way of life. His theme for this Rotary year, Be a Gift to the World, also summarizes his personal philosophy.


This is heaven. A dizzying drive has led us up 5,000 feet, past rice paddies, gem mines, and the occasional elephant roaming in the fields, over a thundering waterfall, and down a bumpy cobblestone road to the tea estate of Ravindran’s family. Lush tea bushes blanket the rocky cliff sides. We’re at the edge of the world, above the clouds, in a scene from a movie come to life.

The property, called Kelburne, is mere miles from the fields where Thomas Lipton – yes, that Lipton – began growing Ceylon tea. Ravindran frequently takes his visitors to tour Lipton’s first factory, a long white building humming with conveyor belts, dryers, and fans.

Ravindran’s maternal grandfather grew tea at Kelburne in the 1950s; he was one of the first Sri Lankans to buy land from British plantation owners in that region. After Ravindran graduated from Loyola College in Chennai, India, with a degree in commerce, he came back here to learn the business side of the estate.

The long days began at 5:30 a.m., with assigning duties, surveying the fields on foot, and visiting the factory. For Ravindran, they reinforced the value of hard work and of treating others with kindness. “I realized that I related very well to people on the estate, and I started getting involved in their lives – finding ways of supplementing their income, improving housing,” he says.

Ravindran and his family thought his life would revolve around growing tea on the estate and later at their head office. But in 1972, Sri Lanka’s new socialist government enacted land reforms that nationalized tea plantations. His family’s estate shrank from thousands of acres to 50. Ravindran was soon out of a job.

He moved to the country’s capital, Colombo, and began helping out at the family commercial printing business, which also produced stationery and ledgers for tea estates. But Ravindran was restless. He knew that Sri Lankan tea was being shipped out in bulk and packaged elsewhere for customers in places such as Europe, Australia, and the United States. He figured that if good packaging were available in Sri Lanka, the business would move to his country, with its lower costs. So he launched a new company to provide high-quality packaging for tea bags – tags, sachets, and boxes – a move that would help jump-start the value-added tea industry in his country.

There were many who placed their trust in him. His business partner (and now friend and mentor), the founder of Sri Lanka’s esteemed Dilmah tea, invested with him even though he barely knew him. A bank manager took a chance on him in his early days; they were members of the same Rotary club. Ravindran’s wife, Vanathy – whom he’d met in college and married in Colombo – and their son and daughter, Krishna and Prashanthi, supported him through the long hours and uncertain future of a fledgling business owner.

Today, the company is arguably one of the best-known suppliers of tea bag packaging in the world. Value-added tea – tea that’s packaged in Sri Lanka rather than shipped overseas in bulk – plays a significant role in the country’s economy.

On the sprawling factory floor at Printcare, ultra-modern printing and packaging machinery roars rhythmically, like a fast-moving train. A rainbow of packaging surrounds us: red boxes of Typhoo tea, destined for British grocery shelves; green Dilmah for Europe; blue Tetley for Australia. Other machines churn out nearly 100 million tea bag labels a day.

Ravindran jokes that he’s called the company’s “chief executive gardener” because of his delight in the fountains and lush landscaped grounds he’d had planted when he bought the land from a tire factory in 1994, transforming this industrial site into an unlikely 10-acre oasis.

Printcare does business all over the world with clients including Unilever, Target, Hallmark, and Twinings, with multiple factories in Sri Lanka and India. There’s a good chance that something in your cupboard right now was printed by his company.

“In regards to technology and managerial style, he’s a visionary,” says one of his general managers. “If he takes on a project, from plan to execution, it is done perfectly within the specified time. He has a charismatic leadership style. He also believes in sharing.”

Ravindran implemented a matching grants program, similar to that of The Rotary Foundation, through which his company helps the community. The company matches the combined contributions of its 700 workers on a mutually agreed-upon project, often with a focus on water and sanitation for area schools. Children of workers who earn less than a certain amount receive free books, funds for transportation, and shoes for school. (Education itself is free in Sri Lanka.)

In 2014, Printcare was named one of the top 15 businesses to work for in the country, and Ravindran was honored as one of the business leaders of the year. Treat people with love and respect, Ravindran says, and they usually will reciprocate. “He looks after people – he cares about them,” says another general manager.

“There’s no point in just coming and making money and going home,” Ravindran explains. “Anyone can do that. The community around us should benefit from our presence here.”

At the Rotary Club of Colombo’s first meeting of 2015, white Christmas trees line the hotel corridors and a buffet covers nearly one-third of the meeting room, which seems to be the norm in Sri Lanka. The club will soon celebrate its 86th year, and in that time, it has made its mark on the country. It founded the national organization for the prevention of tuberculosis; the nation’s first blood bank; the Sri Lanka Anti-Narcotics Association, which launched while Ravindran was club president; and most recently, the only national facility dedicated to the screening, early detection, and prevention of cancer. (In the past five years, more than 35,000 people have been screened free of charge, with more than 7,500 showing symptoms requiring further investigation. One of the club’s main partners for the project is the Rotary Club of Birmingham, Ala., of which Ravindran is an honorary member.)

In 1974, while working at the tea estate, Ravindran became a charter member of the Rotary Club of Bandarawela, one of the first clubs in the country’s remote highlands. His grandfather was a Rotarian, as was his father. But as a 21-year-old, Ravindran’s focus in Rotary was fun and friends, not service.

Even today, after many years of volunteer work benefiting thousands of people, one of his favorite parts of being a Rotarian is meeting individuals from around the world and chatting the night away. “His sense of fun is part of his DNA,” says Abbas Esufally, a close friend.

When Ravindran moved to Colombo, he joined his current club and began to take on more leadership roles. For Esufally, Rotary was one of dozens of extracurricular activities, but for Ravindran, it was a passion. “He had a focus, a single-minded focus, on Rotary and its fellowship and service to community,” Esufally says.

In 1983, war broke out between Sri Lankan security forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, a militant rebel group that wanted to create a separate state in the north and east of the country. (The group is known for pioneering the suicide bomb jacket.) In the more than quarter-century of fighting that followed before the war ended in May 2009, over 100,000 people were killed and hundreds of thousands displaced. As of 2014, 90,000 people still had not returned home.

The conflict was rooted in tensions between the Sinhalese majority and the Tamil minority. But in Rotary, ethnicity didn’t matter. Although most members came from the majority Sinhalese population, clubs in Sri Lanka have elected as their leaders members from the Sinhalese, Tamil, and Muslim communities – including Ravindran, who is Tamil. “In Rotary, there was no place for religion nor caste nor language. Everyone was just a Sri Lankan, and they picked the best potential leadership that was available,” Ravindran says. “You often wondered, why can’t the rest of the country act like Rotarians do?”

The conflict also didn’t stop Rotary members from trying to help all of Sri Lanka’s children. In 1995, the government had planned to carry out a National Immunization Day only in areas unaffected by the war, which would have excluded about a third of the country’s children from the polio vaccination effort. Rotary leaders, including Ravindran, then the national PolioPlus committee chair, worked closely with UNICEF to establish contact with the rebel party and negotiate Days of Tranquility. As a result, nearly all of the nation’s children were vaccinated. And after the 2004 tsunami, Sri Lankan Rotarians, led by Ravindran, made a point to diversify the locations of the schools built through a nearly US$12 million project so they would serve children of all ethnic communities.

Fellow members of the Colombo club say Ravindran has high standards that he expects people to meet – and they do. “He has the attitude, ‘Don’t tell me why you can’t do it,’” says Derek de S Wijeyeratne. Adds Ruzly Hussain: “He has the innate ability of making his dream and his vision also your dream and your vision. It’s not ‘I did it,’ it’s ‘We all did it together.’”

If Ravindran has any regrets about becoming Rotary president, they can be summed up in his ear-to-ear smile as he cradles his first grandchild, Raika, who was born in October. Living in Evanston, Ill., where Rotary headquarters is located, he’ll miss the early moments of her life that he otherwise would have been involved in. (Ravindran and Vanathy live in the same home as Krishna; his wife, Neesha; and now Raika. Prashanthi and her husband, Nicolas Mathier, live in Singapore.) “Vanathy and I would have loved to have been in Sri Lanka for her first two years,” he says. “But I guess there’s lots more time to reconnect with her and spoil her.”

With the civil war in the past, Sri Lanka is blossoming. Investment in infrastructure is up, and in downtown Colombo, barricades and checkpoints have given way to parks, playgrounds, and upscale malls. The landscape is dominated by cranes amid the construction of luxury hotels; even the historic Galle Face Hotel, where the Colombo club held its first meeting in 1929, is getting a facelift. The smooth transition of power in January, after a presidential election in which the incumbent lost, reinforces optimism for a peaceful future. The country’s pristine beaches, jungles, and cultural sites, which led Marco Polo to call it “the finest island in the world” and Forbes to list it as one of the top 10 coolest places to visit in 2015, are luring tourists once again. “We are all excited about the future of Sri Lanka,” Ravindran says.

As Rotary president, he’ll help put his tiny island nation on the global map. “My national anthem will be played in every country that I visit. My flag will fly wherever I go. The flag of this country will fly outside Rotary headquarters,” he says. “What more can I do for my country than this?”

Ravindran says he doesn’t expect to leave a legacy as Rotary president, but he hopes to use his skills to leave the organization better than he found it – and pay forward his debts to all the people who got him where he is today. “Rotary molded me,” he says. “Rotary changed me, and that is why what I do for Rotary now is a hundredth of what I’ve gotten out of Rotary.” — by Diana Schoberg, photography by Alyce Henson


Sunrise Rotarians Donation of $2500 to the Salvation Army specifically for the people who lost their homes in the Sockeye Fire 2015. Checks were presented to Jeff Josephson of the Salvation Army. Thanks to all who donated and to all who support our fundraisers
throughout the year!!

Dear Club President Ken Miller,
Hello again from Rotary International! I am writing to let you know since your video was one of the best videos that illustrated how your club has improved your community, we have published your work on several of our media outlets here are Rotary International.
I am pleased to let you know, your video was promoted in the following areas:
3.      And published on the digital version of the Rotarian here: http://therotarianmagazine.com/video/share-your-story/
Also make sure to keep your eye out on the Rotary Facebook page and the Rotary Twitter page, as we will be featuring your video there as well in the upcoming weeks.
Again, we sincerely thank you for your participation in our campaign. Thank you for all that you do to support membership growth in Rotary!
Kind Regards,
Sheena Lilly
Coordinator, Regional Membership Plans | Membership Development | Programs and Member Services
Tel 1.847.866.3000


It was an honor for Dan Kennedy to present the Wasilla Sunrise Rotary Club's "Teacher of the Year" award to Mr. Blake Livingston of Wasilla High School. He has greatly helped our Rotary exchange students with academic success for over a decade. Also in the picture is Dr. Deena Paramo (Rotarian), Superintendent and the School Board President of the Mat-Su Borough. Oorah Blake!



 A Domestic Violence Awareness Summit 

KTVA coverage of No More Summit - http://www.ktva.com/mat-su-valley-gathers-to-help-end-domestic-violence-and-sexual-abuse-947/#.VTc6ufSr2wI.facebook

Domestic Violence can happen to anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion or gender 
and affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels. 
No More seeks to bring domestic violence & sexual assault into the national spotlight 
to generate more attention, more resources and 
more action to prevent them. 


Like us on Facebook -  No More Mat-Su



Rotaract, Interact, and RYLA

Leadership is an essential aspect of Rotary—and we offer both clubs and programs to help emerging leaders develop their skills. Through these groups, participants strengthen their leadership skills, serve their communities, increase their world understanding, build friendships, and more.


Rotaract brings together people ages 18-30 in universities and communities worldwide to organize service activities, develop leadership and professional skills, and have fun. Rotary clubs sponsor them, but Rotaract members manage and fund their clubs independently. Rotaract members work closely with their local Rotary club, and may join after their Rotaract membership ends.

How can I participate in Rotaract? - Facebook - Mat-Su Valley Rotaract

Follow Rotaract on , , , and to see what Rotaract clubs are doing around the world.

To find a Rotaract club in your area, .

Interact - Facebook - Mat-Su Valley Interact

Interact is a club for youth ages 12-18 who want to connect with others in their community or school. Interact club members have fun while carrying out service projects and learning about the world. Interact clubs organize at least two service projects a year: one that benefits their community and one that encourages international understanding. While Interact clubs receive guidance from individual Rotary clubs, they govern and support themselves.

How can I participate in Interact?

Follow Interact on and visit Interact’s to see what Interact clubs are doing around the world.

To find an Interact club in your area, .

​RYLA - Rotary District 5010  - www.wasillasunriserotary.com - Debbie Bushnell

RYLA 5010 will be held in April 2015 in the Mat-Su Valley

Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) is a leadership development program run by Rotary. While participants can be any age, most events focus on secondary school students, university students, or young professionals. RYLA events are typically 3–10 days long and include presentations, activities, and workshops that cover a variety of topics, including:

  • Leadership fundamentals and ethics
  • Communication skills
  • Problem solving and conflict management
  • Community and global citizenship

How can I participate in RYLA? - Facebook District 5010 RYLA - Are you a 10th or 11th grade High Student who would like a chance to attend RYLA 2015? Click on RYLA Registration on our home page under upcoming events. http://wasillasunriserotary.com/

Follow RYLA on to learn about inspirational events happening around the globe. Facebook Mat-Su Valley Rotaract



The Rotary 4-Way Test Speech Contest 2015 was held this month at Wasilla High School.
Special thanks for WHS Teacher Ed Ripley and the WHS staff for helping put this event together. 
 Thanks to Andy Faiks for coordinating this years event and for our judges,
Greg Brooker, Jerry Moses, Garry Forrester, Andy Faiks and Trish Keown.

The winners this year are: 
1st Place - Miriam Farley
2nd Place - Chase Hammer
3rd Place - Cory Stubbs
4th - Tie - Logan Whitlatch and Deborah Polk


This is RotaryEN from Rotary International on Vimeo.What would it take to change the world? Rotary's 1.2 million members believe it starts with a commitment to Service Above Self.


ImageThank You Thank You Thank You 
2015 Rose Sale is a Success!!
Thank you to all who supported our fundraiser! We sold 450 dozen Roses and proceeds are used in our community! 







Playground Upgrades

Members of the Wasilla Sunrise Rotary recently gathered to install much needed benches

at the inclusive playground at Wasilla Lake.

Playground 1Playground 2



MYHouse Appliances and Mat-Su Valley Rotary Clubs
by Kaplan, Sondra

A great big thank you to the Rotary Clubs of Palmer, Wasilla, Sunrise, and Susitna for 

taking part in the MYHouse Appliance Grant. Wsilla Sunrise Donated $300 to the project.






MyHouse celebrated their grand opening on August 8th at their new Gathering Center off of Herning and Lucille

in Wasilla (the old Husky Building).  For more information go to http://myhousematsu.org .

 Thank you to the Palmer Rotary and the Wasilla Noon Rotary for purchasing a washer and dryer from Allen and Peterson for our Gathering Place. 




The WSRC appropriated $500 toward the Honor Flights

in support of John Warner and John Glass’ efforts for the WWII Vets

and in memory of so many of the fathers of Club members.  Great work John, John and Ron. 



Dear Dan, and Wasilla Sunrise Rotary Club,

On behalf of the City of Wasilla, and our Honorable Mayor Verne Rupright, we that thank YOU for your dedication of time, and talent to persevere in sometimes inclement conditions to ‘serve’ in a capacity that truly holds credence to your motto,  ‘service above self’.  Thank you for making this year’s Mayor’s Picnic a wonderful success, as we have appreciated your long- standing commitment to serving our community.

On a personal note….HUGE THANKS to all of you for helping me coordinate these efforts.  I couldn’t have done it without you!! I’m looking forward to working with you next year!

Joan Klapperich

Event Production & Facility Supervisor

Curtis D. Menard Memorial Sports Center

City of Wasilla

1001 S. Mack Drive



Choose Respect

parnell collage

Many thanks to Governor Parnell for joining us for breakfast this morning and sharing his vision on the administration's "Choose Respect" initiative.

Speaking to a full house this morning the governor challenged groups like ours to continue our efforts to keep the conversation about domestic violence going.  Remember, sometimes a victim only needs someone they can trust to take a step towards getting help.  Our children need to hear that abusing someone else is never acceptable.



Thanks to Andy Faiks our Community Service Chairperson

for organizing our first Road Cleanup of 2014. 
Mile 3 to 4 of Knik Goose Bay Road is Looking Good! 

(not everyone who picked up trash is pictured, missing are Matt Stielstra, Jackie & Jason Marve and Norm Harris)
Thanks to Matt Stielstra who volunteered his time to load up all the trash in his truck and haul away!!



This is what Greg and Dan were doing while trash was being gathered



Thanks to All Rotarians who helped Paint the Deck at the Hatcher Pass Visitor Center on July 15th 2013 and Thanks to James Hastings for organizing!

ImageImage ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage


As part of our Literacy program, Wasilla Sunrise donate's a library book in recognition of each of our weekly speakers.
Set's of books are given to selected Valley Elementary Schools each Rotary year. Pictured are Valley Elementary Principal's 2014


Aimee Bushnell

Graduating Senior of Wasilla High

Aimee was awarded a scholarship from WSRC President Dan Kennedy Tuesday night, 5/13/14. 

We are very proud of all she has accomplished with Rotary and the community at large.

Congratulations from all of us at the Wasilla Sunrise Rotary Club!!!






The Wasilla Sunrise Rotary Club enjoys sharing our careers with the 8th graders at Teeland MS, a STEM school.  Our presenters were, from left to right are:  John Warner, Dan Kennedy, Garry Forrester, Dr. Martin, Jake Libbey and Matt Ketchum.   Al Haynes and Norm Harris (not pictured) .


Dan & Ricky on "Operation Sandbox"ImageImageImageImageImage


Jason Marvel

The most common reaction to today's presentation was "Wow!"  Jason gave us an overview of the Freedom Writers program, training, goals, and achievements.  A confident and inspirational speaker, it is easy to see Jason is one of the better teachers out there and we are lucky to have him teaching the children of the valley.

His presentation hit upon the difference between Tolerance and Understanding.  It also tied into a discussion on domestic abuse, a large and sensitive problem in the valley.  Jason challenged us to tap into our creativity as Rotary to come up with an action plan for tackling this issue - a thought seconded by our President, Dan Kennedy.

So, fellow Rotarians, what can we do?  How can we help our community address not only the after effects of domestic violence, but more importantly prevent it from occurring?  Very tough questions with difficult answers.  Talk about it, think about, and let's see what we can do to make a difference to fight something that touches too many of us!




Club Executives & Directors

President Elect
Past President
Youth Exchange Officer
New Generations