Category Archives: 7. More

Fred Mohs Tells His Father’s Story

–submitted by Rich Leffler; photo by Loretta Himmelsbach

Fred MohsA 11 18 15As a three-time beneficiary of the Mohs surgical procedure at the Mohs Clinic of UW Hospital, this reporter was especially interested to hear Fred Mohs talk about his father, Dr. Frederic Mohs, Sr. Born in 1910, Dr. Mohs was a medical pioneer. Although he intended to be a radio engineer when radio was the popular technological rage, he got a college job at Birge Hall at the UW. A prominent cancer researcher introduced Dr. Mohs to the work being done in the 1930s on cancer: what exactly was it and how could it be treated? His mentor changed the trajectory of young Fred’s career. He went to medical school.

Dr. Mohs was an admirer of Thomas A. Edison, and he used Edison’s technique of intensive experimentation until he found that zinc chloride in a paste could kill cancer cells while still preserving cellular structure. Much of Dr. Mohs’s work was funded by WARF’s first research grants. He applied this compound to tumors of the skin to kill the cancer, while allowing a pathologist to determine whether the cells on the periphery were cancerous or normal. Very large and invasive tumors, which other surgeons were unable to excise, were now susceptible to treatment.

Dr. Mohs early-on learned the difficulty of communicating medical science to the general public. An interview with the Wisconsin State Journal about his technique resulted in a headline: “Cancer Cure Discovered.” Colleagues were outraged. His license to practice medicine was threatened. Eventually, especially after Dr. Mohs successfully treated a prominent Madison physician for a very large neck tumor, the value of the Mohs procedure was generally recognized.

Today, the Mohs procedure is widely used. In combination with an onsite pathologist, and working closely with plastic surgeons when needed, Mohs clinics allow surgeons to remove skin cancer with a minimally invasive and disfiguring procedure. Thank you Dr. Mohs, and thanks to Fred for telling us the story.

Did you miss our meeting this week?  CLICK to watch the video.

Melanie Ramey Receives Joseph G. Werner Meritorious Service Award

–presented by Carol Toussaint, June 4, 2014


Club President Renee Moe (left) pictured here with Melanie Ramey

Club President Renee Moe (left) pictured here with Melanie Ramey

The 2014 Joseph G. Werner Meritorious Service Award is presented to Melanie Ramey for her extensive service to Rotary.

Joining the club in 1991, Melanie immediately signed on for committees, especially those that called for a tireless volunteer.   She brought humor and hard work to every task and seemed always ready for the next assignment.  She became a Rotary News reporter, managed the Sergeant at Arms position and was elected to the board of directors, then vice-president, president in 1998-99, followed by more service on the board of the Madison Rotary Foundation.  Her Rotary reach extended to leading the Ethics Symposium Committee and helping organize the first Ethics Symposium for high school students.  She is a mentor for Rotary scholars, an advocate for UW and Edgewood College students in Rotaract, helped secure funding from Rotary International Foundation to launch CECADE, the club’s signature international project, is active on the Orientation, Visitor Hospitality, Member Development Committees, and on and on.

There is also something special about Melanie and money.  There was a club auction held in 1994 to raise funds for community grants and youth awards.  President Alan Orenberg used words such as brash, forceful, persuasive to describe her auctioneering style, but he also praised Melanie for the $8000 added to the fund.  In 1998 at the start of her term as president, she inaugurated the system to pay forward on your birthday with the suggestion that each celebrant make a gift of one dollar for each year of age, rounded up to 100.  Succeeding presidents have not wanted to tamper with a sound money scheme and to date Melanie’s presidential year idea has averaged over $26,000 a year for a 15-year total of $402,021 to the Foundation from the birthday “tax”.

The Werner Award Committee also takes into consideration an individual’s work for community causes whether as a volunteer or professional.  In 2010, Melanie was nominated by our club and was selected by the Madison Area Service Club Council to receive the Ruth Gordon Service Award.  This award is given to honor an individual who, over time, has exemplified the concept of volunteer service for the betterment of the community.

In 2012, the club honored Melanie with the Manfred Swarsensky Humanitarian Service Award and detailed many of her selfless acts in support of others.  Individuals and organizations needing an advocate seem to find Melanie or perhaps she finds them.  Those living in poverty, those in prison or any who are denied rights as citizens have seen that same forceful, persuasive, might I add, brash and effective style, put to work on their behalf.

In November 1974, nearly 40 years ago, club president Ted Long presented the first Werner award.  He told the club that the intention is not to provide a reward or incentive for Club efforts, but rather to maintain examples of the Rotary tradition of “Service above Self”.  It was a special moment for Ted.  Joe Werner had been his mentor at the law firm and his sponsor for Rotary membership.

Congratulations Melanie!

Congratulations Melanie!

It is also a special moment for me to congratulate a friend who becomes the 29th member of this club to receive the Joseph Werner award.  Melanie Ramey.

History of Joseph G. Werner Meritorious Service Award: In 1974, our club established the Joseph G. Werner Meritorious Service award as the club’s highest recognition for club service.  This award is granted by our Rotary Club in recognition of outstanding club service in the Rotary tradition of “Service Above Self.”  Joseph Werner was a committed Rotarian.  He chaired many significant committees, both before and after serving as club president in 1953-54.  He served as a district governor in 1958-59 and became the second member of this club to serve as director of Rotary International in 1969-71.  He later served Rotary International in many other positions, and two different RI Directors indicated that Joe was in line for president of Rotary International at the time of his death from cancer in 1973.  Joe was a truly committed Rotarian whose example of “Service Above Self” is memorialized in this award.

Mentor Scholar Mixer Highlights

–submitted by Mary Rouse; Photos by John Bonsett-Veal and Stacy Nemeth

IMG_0207All Rotary Scholars and their mentors were invited to get together prior to the January 8, 2014, Rotary meeting. It is an annual event sponsored by our Club. Mentor Leader Ellie Schatz convened the 11AM meeting.  Twenty-five Scholars and 20 mentors attended this event which opened with a mixer bingo quiz for both groups to provide more opportunities for the students and Rotarians to meet and get to know each other.  Prizes were awarded to the top finishers.

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Photo 1: Lynn Phelps and Juan Becerra; Photo 2: Cristian Claudio Teutli; Photo 3: Wes Sparkman and Melanie Ramey; Photo 4: Karen Bauer and Mike Wilson

Ellie continued the discussion by posing several questions to the entire group for reflections and anecdotes about their experiences, talents and interests. Here are two examples: Scholar Cristian Claudio Teutli  plays the drums and sings.  At the request of group members, he provided spontaneous entertainment by drumming on the table and by singing a song a capella in Spanish.  Another student, Karen Bauer attends UW-Eau Claire and has recently assumed the presidency of an interfaith student organization. 

IMG_0208Dick Lovell  (pictured at left with scholar Karen Bauer) outlined the Rotary Internship Matching Program and encouraged the students to register by January 31, 2014, if they are seeking internships for the summer of 2014.   He also encouraged them to sign up on the Rotary Scholar Mentor Facebook page.

Bob Shumaker, current chair of the Scholarship Committee, presented and narrated a video which was just made about the Mentor Program in 2013.

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Photo 1: Marcy Martinez and Leslie Grendahl; Photo 2: Karl Gutknecht, Nate Brand and Juan Becerra; Photo 3: (back row, from left) Cristian Claudio Teuli, Alex Carrera and Lynn Phelps, (front row, from left): Mike Wilson, Cristian Claudio Teutli, Jordan Johnson and Patty Wilson

The recurring theme of the meeting was how much the Rotary Scholars are valued by our Club members with a focus of making sure they have all the support they need to ensure their graduation.  The meeting adjourned to the weekly Rotary Club luncheon where, once again, the Scholars were welcomed and their graduation from college expected.

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Photo 1: Kody Parman and Dean Nelson; Photo 2: Jordan Johnson and Patty Wilson; Photo 3: Roth Judd and Carlos Solano

Celebrating 100 Years: How Our Club Celebrated Earlier Landmark Anniversaries

Rotary Club of Madison-Centennial LogoAs we celebrate our 100th anniversary, our History Sub-Committee is taking a look back in our club’s rich history and is sharing highlights from the past century.  This week’s message is shared by committee member Jerry Thain:

How Our Club Celebrated Earlier Landmark Anniversaries
Our Club has been celebrating its 100th anniversary this year in a variety of ways that look back on the Club’s past accomplishments and forward to future goals. The Club newsletters inform us how earlier significant anniversaries were celebrated. The 20th anniversary occurred in the depths of the Great Depression in 1933. The meeting marking that occasion honored Milo Hagan for serving as Club treasurer for all 20 years of the Club’s existence; Louie Hirsig for perfect attendance for those 20 years; and Charles G. Campbell, then of Kewaunee and formerly with the Chicago club, for planting “the Rotary seed in Madison.”  A birthday cake, four feet in diameter in the shape of a Rotary wheel, was served and the meeting ended with the singing of Auld Land Syne.

25 Anniversary CakeFive years later, the economy was improving although war clouds were gathering over Europe. The Rotary News of March 22, 1938, a week before the anniversary meeting, was printed with a silver cover befitting a 25th anniversary event and pictured the twelve surviving original members to honor the “class of 1913.” The newsletter followed with a very nice summary of the accomplishments of the Club in its first 25 years and noted that the Club was the largest Rotary Club in any city of less than 100,000.  Charles G. Campbell again was present as was Rotary’s founder, Paul Harris.  In his brief remarks (Rotary News, March 29, 1938), Harris said he “had tried to send more foreign Rotarians to visit Madison than any other city because it was such an ideal American city and one of the best clubs” in any city of its size in “all of Rotary.”

It would be fascinating to know how future Club anniversaries will be noted. Perhaps some of our current members will be present for one of them?

Highlights from Rotary SummerPalooza June 8, 2013


It was a picture perfect day for our club’s inaugural SummerPalooza event on the Capitol Square!  There was music and entertainment outside of the Madison Children’s Museum and free admission to the museum throughout the day.  A parade started at noon and looped around the Capitol Square.


We had 39 Rotary volunteers and 20 BMO Harris Bank volunteers who helped out during the event.  There were 16 community grant organizations and 14 other groups that participated in our parade.  The Madison Children’s Museum welcomed 3,187 guests inside the museum which is a record number for the museum.


It is estimated that the event drew 4,000 attendees, 300 parade participants, and there were about 2,000 additional people watching the parade on the square.



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It was a success on many levels, and we thank Steve Goldberg for chairing the planning committee within our club, and thanks also to all of our volunteers.


Our thanks to the following sponsors for making the event possible:  BMO Harris, MGE Foundation and UW Health & Unity Health Insurance. 


Celebrating 100 Years: A Look Back in our Club’s History on Member Classifications

Rotary Club of Madison-Centennial LogoAs we celebrate our 100th anniversary, our History Sub-Committee is taking a look back in our club’s rich history and is sharing highlights from the past century.  This week’s message is shared by committee member Carol Toussaint:

One thing I’ve learned from looking back to the beginnings of our Rotary Club is how the classifications have changed.  Here are few we don’t see today as documented in a book covering membership from the years 1913-28:

Adding Machines (Alfred Rowlands)
Barber Shops (John Runkel)
Bookbinder (Frederic Brandenburg)
Butter, Manufacturing (Rubert Steinhauer)
Charity Associations (Charles Wirt, Community Union)
China & Glassware (Robert Douglas)
Cigar, Tobacco (William Fisher)
Coal (Emil Frautschi)
Eggs, Distribution, Retail (Theodore Montague)
Eggs, Wholesale (William Power)
Farmer (John S. Donald, College of Agriculture, UW)
Furniture (Irving Frautschi)
Hardware, Distributing (George Britten)
Hardware, Retail (Louis Hirsig)
Hardware, Wholesale (Albert Strang)
Heavy Hardware (Theodore Wiedenbeck)
Insurance, Adjusting (Paul Rehhfeld)
Insurance Agency (Reuben Neckerman)
Fire Insurance (Arthur Schulkamp)
Fraternal Insurance (Stephen Oscar)
Physical Education (Glenn Thistelthwaite, football coach)
Public Defense Service (Joseph Barnes, U.S. Army)
Steam Railroads (James MacDonald)
Undertaking (Art Frautschi)
Underwear, Manufacturing (Lester Watrous)

The Classification Committees in these early years deserve credit for creativity in getting four members each into the Hardware and Insurance categories!

In the early years of Rotary, there could only be one active and one additional active member per classification.  Several years ago, however, our classification system was revamped to a much broader classification system, and we can now have up to 10 percent of our membership within each classification (see pages 47-53 of our membership roster for the current classification listing).