March 1, 2010 Rotogram


Glenn Lautzenhiser, local sports historian, is our guest speaker.


We will not meet at noon next week. The annual banquet is that evening. Social hour begins at 6:00 followed by dinner at 6:45. Be sure to sign the reservation form on your table.


Art Cosby, Director of Mississippi State University’s Social Science Research Center will speak in two weeks.


Invocation and Pledge: Don Zacharias

Attendance: There were 104 members (34 exempt, 1 honorary) present and 87 (14 exempt, 11 honorary) absent.

Guests and visitors: Jimmy Forbus was brother Jack’s guest. Guests of the Club were Lisa Nunnery with the Wilson Foundation and Garison Arinder, Kasper’s Youth Exchange “brother,” and RYE students Kasper Eriksen and Francesa Scaravelli.

Makeups: Judy Couey on line, and Andy Gaston in Aberdeen.

Dubious kudos: President Martha noted that Bill Parrish won the Chicken Dance at the Kentucky ballgame.

Group Study Exchange

An Italian GSE team will be our guests on April 9-12. Sherry Vanlandingham, GSE committee chair, is seeking Rotary host families. Team members include a nuclear engineer, a medical doctor, a biochemist, an agricultural engineer and a mechanical engineer/designer.


President-elect Tommy Tomlinson and Vice President-elect Eddie Keith attended the annual Presidents-Elect Training Seminar in Vicksburg this weekend.


Attending his first meeting as a member was Neal Furst, distinguished research professor in Biological Sciences at MSU. He and his wife Marijo become our third Rotary spouse team.


February 23 marked the 105th anniversary of Rotary International. Brent Fountain reminded us of Rotary principles from Paul Harris’ letter in the first Rotarian Magazine from January 1911.

“If by interposition of Providence I some day were to find myself standing on a platform in some great coliseum looking into the eyes of every living Rotarian, and were to be told that I could have one word to say, without an instant’s hesitation and at the top of my voice, I would shout ‘Toleration!’ . . . .  If this Rotary of ours is destined to be more than a mere passing thing, it will be because you and I have learned the importance of bearing with each other’s infirmities, the value of toleration.”

Find more Rotary history at


“Tragedy brings many to Methodist Rehabilitation Center, but it’s not a place where it triumphs.”

Chris Blount, executive director of the Wilson Research Foundation at Jackson’s Methodist Rehabilitation Center, described Mississippi’s only comprehensive rehabilitation hospital,

      Its programs are designed to treat people who have had a stroke, or a brain or spinal. Each program has a staff dedicated to the treatment of a specific injury or illness. In the state-of-the-art 60-room hospital, every space is designed for full accessibility.

      Since opening its doors in 1975, the center has served more than 43,000 patients. Eighty percent of them have returned home or to independent living.

      No other hospital can claim such expertise. The ever-expanding rehabilitation service now is reaching people with neurological and orthopedic illnesses and injuries.

      The center hasbeen Mississippi’s only hospital innamed one of America’s Best by U.S. News & World Report. And, it has twice been one of only 16 Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems in the nation,it at theof brain injury treatment.

      “Rehabilitation medicine is not easy. It’s one of the more difficult things to help people who have had disabling injuries and illnesses to recover functional abilities,” said Blount. “But, when that’s not possible, when injuries are catastrophic, we try to give them service and equipment for a better quality of life.”

      Weaving stories of Rehabilitation Center patients, Blount explained that rehab hospitals are rare because of low profit margins. Not much markup can be charged because the service is very labor intensive, mainly physical and occupational therapy. Said Blount, “It’s not a margin business; it’s a mission business.”

      The man who dared to build such a center was Earl Wilson, oil man and attorney. His father had a stroke at a relatively young age. And, when traveling across the state, he constantly would see people languishing on front porches after disabling injuries.  He saw an economic issue of lost productivity and dependence on the state.

      By the late 60s, Wilson had a plan in motion to develop a the hospital through his Methodist Church. However, it came to be affiliated with the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

      Although named for Earl’s church, it is funded privately and administered through UMMC with startup federal support and state legislation. Wilson served as chairman of the board for 30 years.

      Quadriplegic disability is one of the most difficult situations to deal with In most communities or states, options are very limited. Serious injuries take both the patient and the family caregivers out of the workforce. Or, the person is placed in a geriatric nursing home where the patient has little in common given the vast age difference.

      Unlike most of the rest of the country, Mississippi has a residential facility for seriously brain or neurologically injured persons. With a staff-to-patient ratio of one to one, dignity and quality of life can be restored

      There are three independent apartment complexes in Jackson, Hattiesburg, and Meridian. Clinics are all over the state and in Louisiana

      Wilson said the hospital goal is to break even. In the meantime, properly funded research makes it possible to go over and beyond in key areas:

  1. Improving walking and use of hands
  2. Adaptive computer use in-stage testing site
  3. Cognitive and behavioral studies

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