20 February 2012 — Speaker, Laura Berger, Miss Los Angeles County 2011


February 23 is a pretty big day in history. In 1997 scientists in Scotland announced that they had successfully cloned an adult sheep, Dolly. In 1954 in Pittsburgh, the first mass inoculation of children began, with the Salk vaccine, long before Rotary’s involvement. In 1896, the Tootsie Roll was invented. And in 1905, Paul P. Harris, Gustavus Loehr, Silvester Schiele, and Hiram E. Shorey gathered in Loehr’s office for what would become known as the first Rotary club meeting.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO US. We are 107 years old, and we look pretty darned good for our age.

The first major brand-new project of Rotary’s 108th year (and that’s the story we’re sticking to) is likely to be our “Letters to Tohoku,” spearheaded by Jennifer Usyak. The project is advancing quickly, we may be ready to launch into it as a team very soon, and this coming weekend Jennifer may have the opportunity to tell Rotary International President-Elect Sakuji Tanaka about what our new (provisional) E-Club is doing. Let’s keep working to lose the word “provisional” from our name.

David Arnold found an amazing website showing the progress being made in Japan with the cleanup and repair of infrastructure in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami. These were taken a few months ago, six months after the quake. These photos will also serve as a reminder that the emotional and personal recovery may take longer, and that’s why “Letters to Tohoku” will help.


Laura Berger, a graduate of Chapman College and on her way to law school, is a concert-quality pianist. Pursuing new performance opportunities led her down a path that resulted in her being crowned Miss Los Angeles County, under the umbrella of the Miss America organization, in 2011.

Her community involvement has included participating with Children’s Miracle Network (a focus of the Miss America organization) at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, and a commitment to support the United States Armed Forces personnel through the USO (her own focus).

Just as we have with Rotary, Laura’s platform has given her the chance to help people, from infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and their families to the veterans at the recent event in North Hills where we were fortunate to meet her.

If the embedded video is not visible, please click here to view it on YouTube.


The opinions expressed by guest speakers are those of the speaker(s) and not necessarily of the Rotary E-Club of The Greater San Fernando Valley or its members. No endorsement is implied. Programs are presented for informational purposes only.




Language of the Week: Hungarian

3 responses to 20 February 2012 — Speaker, Laura Berger, Miss Los Angeles County 2011

  1. What an amazing young woman. Laura Berger is an accomplished public speaker. She comes across as warm and friendly. I enjoyed hearing of her experiences with the the Neo Natal Intensive Care unit and seeing the doll-sized diaper and blood pressure cuff. She is a marvelous example of this younger generation which is seldom covered by the media. (P.S. Mel, good plug for the Dance Marathon! Hope Laura and friends will be able to join us.)

  2. Very impressive and articulate – and hopefully a future Rotarian! She has a great sense of community.

  3. I am glad to see that young women involved in the Miss America program are using their celebrity as a forum to promote the public good.

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