July 26, 2022 Meeting Notes

Past President Greg Stejskal

As the Rotary Club of Ann Arbor’s past Presidents Maurita Holland and Jim Irwin would say, “It’s a GREAT day to be a Rotarian.” Today’s meeting was chock-a-block full of good friends, conversation, learning, and camaraderie.

Past President Greg Stejskal rang the bell to begin our meeting, which signaled Tom Strode, our bow-tied pianist extraordinaire, to play our National Anthem.

Barbara Eichmuller

Barbara Eichmuller inspired us with a message she reads daily:
“This is my wish for you: Comfort on difficult days, smiles when sadness intrudes, rainbows to follow the clouds, laughter to kiss your lips, sunsets to warm you heart, hugs when spirits sag, beauty for your eyes to see, friendships to brighten your being, faith so that you can believe, confidence for when you doubt, courage to know yourself, patience to accept the truth, Love to complete your life.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ingrid Sheldon acknowledged hot summer temps with a finger-snappin’, toe-tappin’, gotta get up and dance version of “Heat Wave,” sung by a capella sextet, Opus Jam.

Opus Jam’s music video for Heat Wave

Past President Greg thanked the volunteers who set up and produced today’s meeting. He recognized birthday celebrations this week: Frode Maaseidvaag, Monica Swartout-Bebow, and Steve Schramm. Notable anniversaries of club membership this month include Spaulding Clark – 50 years; Michael Cole, Jim Cook, and Susan Smith – 20 years; and Bob Mull – 15 years. Thanks went to each for their commitment and service to and through Rotary.

Ingrid Sheldon

Norm Herbert set the stage for how the Golf and Tennis Outing began to help raise community awareness of Rotary as well as to raise community dollars to help support the pillars of Rotary’s community service. Norm reported that there will be no tennis this year, so Emily Olson offered that the “T” in GTO now represents TICKETS. Norm asks Rotarians to buy tickets to the Sept. 14 GTO event and invite friends. Dinner speaker is the football commentary legend, Jim Brandstatter.

Norman Herbert

Agnes Reading informed the Club that there will be a special, one-time Silent Auction Preview Party on Sept. 9 from 5 – 7 p.m. at her gracious home. This will be your sneak preview of all the silent auction items, plus your chance to buy that auction item immediately. (You know you want some of these wonderful items, so why wait and risk losing them because you were at the far end of the room when the final auction bell rings??) You can also get a jump on the purchase of the five raffle opportunities. Tickets to the Preview are $25 and include beer, wine and snacks. Register here now!

Norm returned to the podium to introduce today’s speaker, Meera Ramaswami, a dynamic 2022 graduate of Huron High School who wowed the club with her wisdom, engineering acumen, sense of humor, and over-arching goal to help people through innovation and smart design.

Ms. Ramaswami was awarded Huron’s Charles Baird Humanitarian Award, and won the top honors this spring in four engineering categories at the Innovation Convention held at Henry Ford Museum: innovation, safety, Make the World, and the Grand Prize which includes help bringing her innovation to the US Patent Office.

Her invention? “Cargility”: a safety bar that enables people to enter and exit their car safely. Designed to help the elderly, people with disabilities, and people whose height may cause
challenges when entering or exiting their vehicle, this invention increases accessibility, mobility, and helps to minimize their risk of injury at those critical times of getting into, and out of, their car, van, or truck.

Meera Ramaswami

After imagining potential designs, she tested those possible models and ranked them by score. Then coming up with the highest-ranking best model, she then created an adjustable arm that hooks through the car’s striker plate. That arm which reaches out from the striker plate provides the driver or passenger to have a steady rail on which to lean when entering or exiting the car. The arm railing joins to a leg that stands securely on the ground. Her design accommodates a range of vehicle sizes from a small sports car to a pickup truck.

Ms. Ramaswami received a hearty round of applause for her exciting presentation. She invited the audience to examine the colorful Presentation Board depicting her invention process. Robert Mull, a retired Ford Motor Company engineer commended her for her design and wisdom. Many of the audience members stayed after the meeting to ask her questions at her Presentation Board.

Ms Ramaswami showing the audience her “Cargility” invention.

Next week’s speaker will be Sarah Strader, Founder and Director of Chasing Two Rabbits:
“Chasing Two Rabbits: Hunter-Gatherer Education in the 21st Century.”

Past President Stejskal closed the meeting with one of his favorite inspirations: “The life you lead is the lesson you teach.”


Respectfully submitted,

Mary Steffek Blaske

Photographs by Fred Beutler