The Rotary Club of

Ojai Rotary Reminder Newsletter
September 27th, 2019

Haady Lashkari, Editor

September is Basic Education and Literacy Month

Are you an established professional who wants to make positive changes in your community and the world? Our club members are dedicated people who share a passion for community service and friendship. 
Our 1.2 million-member organization started with the vision of one man—Paul P. Harris. The Chicago attorney formed one of the world’s first service organizations, the Rotary Club of Chicago, on 23 February 1905 as a place where professionals with diverse backgrounds could exchange ideas and form meaningful, lifelong friendships. Rotary’s name came from the group’s early practice of rotating meetings among the offices of each member.

In the Beginning..

President Cheree Edwards welcomed Rotarians and Guests. 

The meeting was called to order at 12:35 PM. President Edwards welcomed everyone to today's meeting. Bill Prather was thanked for room set up. Suzanne Scar was thanked as our greeter. Deidre Daly was thanked as the roving mike. Sandy Buechley was thanked for desk duty. Michael Scar was thanked for leading the flag salute and Kay Bliss for the invocation. Ginger was thanked for serving the club. 

Visiting Rotarians: None

Guests: Dr. Gus Iwasiuk



Special thanks to our Rotary Peace Committee, they had a great booth for International Peace Day in Libbey Park last Sunday, led by our Chair Just Gabriel and Committee Members: Mike Weaver, Brian & Lisa Berman, Ray Powers, Deidre Daly & Colin Jones… and additional Rotarians who helped out for the day Susan Weaver, Kay Bliss, Wendy Barker, Christine Golden, Therese Brown & Greg Webster. 


The Annual District conference will be held on Saturday, October 12th at the Chumash Casino in Santa Ynez, the registration deadline is October 7th. There is a group of us going up and carpooling, so if you would like to join, please let Cheree or Michael know. This is a great way to see all Rotary is doing in our region and internationally, kind of like a “mini convention” and lots of fun. Plus our own Kay Bliss will be honored as the first Rotarian of the Month/People of Action Award for District, out of 72 clubs! This will be extra special! 


The first of several “Fireside Chats” will take place tonight at Topa Mountain Winery, hosted by our membership committee. This is an informal gathering for newer members, mentors and anyone is welcome to join. The topic tonight will be what is Paul Harris all about? Thank you to Membership Co-Chairs: Jack Jacobs and Deidre Daly for organizing this gathering. 


Bill Weirick reminded members that the Highway 33 will be closed between 9:30AM - 2:30PM on October 1 & 2. 


Sign ups were distributed for set up and clean up of the upcoming Taste of Ojai. 


David invited club members to the Blue Sapphire Anniversary Kickoff Cocktail Party celebrating the Gables 65th Anniversary: Friday, October 18th 5-7PM.





Christine Golden shared upcoming programs:

October 4th-Jonathan Light: Memorable Baseball Characters

October 11th-Deborah Walsh: Survival during the Halocaust

October 18th-Mike Frawley: Deputy D.A. 

October 25th-Pradeep Kapadia: What Scholarships Have Meant


Matt Clements lead Fining and Confessions



  • Christine shared about her Birthday this last week


  • Janet Campbell shared that her niece recently joined a Rotary Club in Tennessee


  • Sid Cohen celebrated his wife’s birthday yesterday. 


  • John Russell shared about the recent passing of Matthew the last elephant at the Santa Barbara Zoo.


Matt’s fining questions were tailored around Robotics 
The Program:  Dr. Gus Iwasiuk

Dr. Marty Pops introduced the speaker Dr. Gus Iwasiuk. 

Gus Iwasiuk is the founding Program Director (Emeritus since September 2018) of the General Surgery Residency at Community Memorial Hospital in Ventura, California, and the Assistant Professor of Surgery for Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona. He has been a practicing surgeon since 1981 and was a doctor in general practice for eight years prior to that.

While serving in the United States Air Force for two years during the Vietnam War, he attained the rank of major, coming home to practice medicine in Ventura. He retired from the clinical practice of surgery in 2018, but continues his educational involvement with the training of surgeons, writing books and essays, as well as growing avocados, lemons, and oranges in Southern California 

His interest in publishing began with a desire to put to paper the interesting life stories of his father, Vladimir, himself a doctor who survived childhood poverty, World War II, and the strain of uprooting his family and his medical career after the war to another country whose language he did not know. This desire culminated in the book Tales of a Country Surgeon, published in 2005, which contemplates his father’s experiences as well as his own. His father was also an avid painter and served as the inspiration for Gus’s second title, a coffee-table book of Vladimir’s paintings, Vladimir’s Visions. His  commentary on genetics and religion called The Jesus Gene is an effort to explain our current world crisis in terms of differences in religious philosophy.  Recent works include, Tales from my Hometown, centers on his hometown in Austria, with a historic bent and photographic display of the natural beauty of the town, What I Still Want to Say, a collection of essays on a variety of topics from philosophy, education, history, and more. His most recent book is based on a seminar for his residents, We Stand on the Shoulders of Giants, A Brief History of Surgery. This book was endorsed by the American College of Surgeon’s historian, Don Nakayama M.D., FACS 

Gus was born Gösta Werner Iwasiuk in Linz, Austria, in 1943. His family immigrated in 1954 to the U.S., settling in Peoria, Illinois, where he graduated as valedictorian of his high school class. He received his pre-medical education from Bradley University and started medical school at the University of Illinois at Chicago, but finished his M.D. at the University of California, Los Angeles, graduating with honors and inducted into Alpha Omega Alpha, the medical honorary fraternity.

He interned at Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center and did his Family Medicine residency at Ventura County Hospital, where he was chief resident in his final year. He worked as a Family Physician until 1977, when he decided to do a surgical residency at the University of California, Irvine, finishing at Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara.

Gus is board-certified in general surgery and, upon re-certifying, attained a ranking in the 99th percentile nationwide. His professional interests run the gamut of surgery, especially laparoscopic and robotic.

He is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons (FACS) and has served as a board member of the Southern California chapter. He has also served as president of the Ventura County Medical Society, as well as chief of staff of both Ventura County Medical Center and Santa Paula Memorial Hospital. He also served as a delegate to the California Medical Association. 

Dr. Iwasiuk’s presentation was on the advancements of Robotics in healthcare. 



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