Friday Jan 24, 2020

"Australia Day, What is it and What does it mean to Aussies "

Leonard "Len" Reid

Australian Consulate General Emeritus / President Australia New Zealand America Society (ANZAS)

Introduced by: Brian Evison

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“Glory Days” President Brian Evison opened the Bellevue Breakfast Rotary meeting on Friday, January 24 after arriving on a flight from Miami at 2 AM this morning at Sea-Tac! Our meeting commenced with an inspirational thought from Past President Chuck Kimbrough, followed by the introduction of visiting Rotarians and guests by Robin Callan.

This morning we had two of our guests give brief presentations. Melissa deVita enlightened us about the Bellevue School District Capital Bond Election on February 11th, which aims to provide funding to address the needs of aging schools in Bellevue, improve school safety and add additional classrooms due to overcrowding. Kiersten Swanson is looking for volunteers from our membership and families to work in distributing forms for the upcoming Census – this is a paid position.

Interact President, Caitlin Delaney, and the Interact club’s Forest Ridge officers gave an overview of their activities for this coming year. They will also be volunteering in our All-In-For Autism event on Sunday, April 26. Remember, we need all Rotarians to step up and volunteer to help with this as it is our major annual fundraising event.

Larry May introduced our January 2020 Student of the Month from Eastside Prep, Adrian Leigh. Adrian is a worthy recipient with contributions to many activities in our community.

PP Kaj Pederson gave us an update on his exciting career, as we continue with our month of Vocational Service.

Our Acting Sergeant At Arms, PP John Martinka, fined some members, so watch out this week!

Our speaker was Len Reid, the former Australian Consul General in Washington State. As Australia Day was Sunday, January 26 (2 days after this meeting), Len gave us a history lesson on what Australia Day stands for and what is means today to all Aussies.

It was great to witness the return of President Desiree Yuzawa following her recent surgery and we pray she will continue with her rehab and improved health!

Thank you to Kevin Polzin of the Bellevue Pain Institute for your Speaker Sponsorship for the month of January!

Our thought for the day, “Australia is an outdoor country. People only go inside to use the toilet and that’s only a recent development!” Quote by comedian, Barry Humphries.

About the Speaker

Len was born and educated in the suburbs of Sydney Australia. He joined the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in 1962 at age 15 as an Apprentice Aircraft Engine Mechanic. He continued his education in the RAAF attaining a degree in Aeronautical Engineering and a Master of Science Degree in Aircraft Design from the College of Aeronautics in Cranfield, England in 1979.

As an Aeronautical Engineer in the Air Force he served in numerous appointments including Senior Engineering Officer of number 77 Fighter Squadron and head of the Air Force Airworthiness Section. He retired in 1987 after 25 years’ service when invited to join an aerospace company, Fatigue Technology Inc (FTI) in Seattle. At FTI he held various positions including Vice President, Engineering and Research & Development and worked for the company for 28 years.

In March 2002 Len was appointed Australian Honorary Consul for Washington State to represent the Australian Government in Trade and Foreign Affairs and supporting Australians visiting Washington and living in the State. He is married to wife Pat and has two sons living in the United States and has three grandchildren. Len and Pat and his two sons became American citizens in 2017. He is retired and works with his youngest son flipping homes and doing some technology consulting.