Meet Rotarian Keong Kam

Keong was born in South Korea as the oldest of two sons of a typical middle class family, with his dad working as an engineering manager at an automotive company and mom staying at home to care for the family.  Keong was destined for a career in climbing, until one day, he sprained his ankles badly following a jump from a second floor balcony.

During the economic downturn in South Korea in 1999, Keong’s family moved to the US, where his maternal grandparents lived in Kansas.  His parents attended community college during the day and worked as office cleaners at night during this tough period.

Everything took a turn for the better, when Keong started attending Missouri University of Science and Technology in a tiny town called Rolla. Keong decided to pursue his PhD in Electrical Engineering after trying various engineering majors during college.  His doctorate research project led Keong to Apple, where he completed summer internships for four years prior to accepting a full-time engineer in 2011.  That was also the year when he married best friend Sehwa An, also Korean-American.

Keong’s team at Apple specializes in device design that reduces radio interference.  He considers Apple his second home.

Becoming a parent of two young girls, Lauren and Zoey, changed Keong’s life and made him more dedicated to helping the next generation achieve success and happiness. Keong is passionate about youth development and education, besides serving the community and giving back through Saratoga Rotary.


Meet Rotarian Dr. Ron Gemberling

Anyone who has been on a humanitarian surgical mission can share how moving the experience is. Surgeons from around the world come together to help children worldwide by eliminating the burden of cleft lip and palate, burn scarring, and other birth deformities.  Dr. Gemberling has traveled throughout the underserved parts of the world with Rotaplast International and ReSurge International 29 times over 20 years, including as Medical Mission Director.
Dr. Gemberling is a former President of the San Jose Surgical Society, as well as a member of The American College of Surgeons, The American Medical Association, The American Society of Plastic Surgeons, The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, and several other professional associations.  He received his undergraduate and doctorate degrees from the University of California, Los Angeles, and completed residency programs at University of Michigan and University of Louisville.

Meet Rotarian Renée Kazemipour Paquier.  

A first generation Iranian American, and San Jose native, Renee was a global citizen at a young age:
She was the president of her high school’s Interact Club and District 5170 rep, received a Rotary Scholarship for college, and joined Rotary to serve our Saratoga community.  
Renee currently serves as Dean of the Che School of Professional Studies at West Valley College and as a Parks and Recreation Commissioner for the City of Saratoga. She also serves on the Board of the Saratoga Area Senior Coordinating Council.
As Dean, Renee oversees the following programs: Accounting, Administration of Justice, Business, Court Reporting, Child Studies, Early Elementary Education, Entrepreneurship, Geospatial Technology, Paralegal, Park Management, Real Estate, and Unmanned aircraft system technology (drones).  
Hope you can meet Renee on one of her international service trips, including Rotaplast.

Saratoga Rotary help feed the hungry in our communities

Immediately reacting to the immediate needs of the local West Valley Community, the members of The Saratoga Rotary donated $11,000 to West Valley Community Services. The needed funds are for the increased demand for food due to COVID-19.  In addition, the club has donated an additional $1,000 for food to West Valley College students who are food insecure and now effected by COVID-19. In addition, Saratoga Rotarians have also donated $800 for meals that go directly to our medical providers.  
Stay tuned for additional stories of volunteering at kitchens that cater to the homeless. 

The Saratoga Rotary Foundation is pleased to announce that grants were recently made to the following local non-profit organizations:
Child Advocates of Silicon Valley
Parents Helping Parents
Martha's Kitchen
Young at Heart
Saratoga-Los Gatos Assistance League
The Greatful Garment Project
Books Aloud
Hope Services
Sunday Friends
Cancer CAREPoint
ACT for Mental Health
Know a Vet?
Bill Wilson Center
Prevention Partnership International

Hello, Saratoga Rotary! 

Well, we're off and running in a new Rotary Year. Thank you all for the warm welcome, many suggestions and cogent advice!

This year's Rotary International theme is "Be the Inspiration". Our RI President, Barry Russin, picked a good one. Inspiration comes in many ways. When I was younger, I found that inspiration came in the form of "just doing something".

After joining Rotary in 2000, I have found that each of the members of our club have been an inspiration to me at one time or another.

We've got a lot to think about this year: I'm looking into a strategic planning session to create a multi-year plan, we're looking at things to do to beef up the art show, new events - fundraising and fellowship, etc. Key to each of the success of each of the things we undertake will be our inspiration. I have started to ask myself how I can be the inspiration and I know deep down that we each are inspired and inspiring at the same time.

I'd like this to be a year of openness, warmth, creativity and inspiration for our club. We'll welcome new members, shake ourselves up and be thankful every day for the goodness that is Saratoga Rotary! Thank you for entrusting the Presidency to me - I promise you that I'll do my very best. And, at every step of the way, like you, I'll do my best to BE THE


Thank you,


Welcome to the 61st Annual Art Show hosted by the Saratoga Rotary Club. Browse, meet or make new friends, enjoy the food, drink and music and generously bid for items offered at the Silent Auction. 100% of the net funds from this event goes to support humanitarian projects and organizations. Over the years, we have distributed over $2M dollars. Outlined below are examples of some of the services, projects and organizations supported by the Club. If ‘Service Above Self” resonates with you, and you would like to grow your network while doing good, please visit our web page,


Youth Services:

Mentor our youth to develop holistically in their high school years and become future leaders.

  1. Enterprise Leadership Conf., 3-day entrepreneurial experience for High School Juniors.

  2. Rotary Youth Leadership Awards

  3. Interact and Rotaract: Rotary for High Schools students and Young Professionals respectively

  4. Rotary Speech contest


Community Services:

Here’s an opportunity to work with like-minded individuals and give back to your immediate community and also to communities across the world! Here’s a list of our programs:

Assembly of CARE Packages for Operation Care and Comfort at Saratoga Rotary Club


Saratoga Rotary Club members assembled care packages for the troops on October 6th during the club meeting. The rotary members assembled around 300 care packages for the active duty members stationed all over the world. The care packages included beanies, hand-warmers, chapticks, dental hygeine items, playing cards, snack bars, and beef jerky. These packages were assembled for an organization called Operation Care and Comfort


Operation Care and Comfort provides support and comfort to “adopted” units of deployed U.S military service members, serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other conflict regions. Working with the local community and through donations received from all over the country, OCC assembles and ships care packages to the adopted units every month until they return home.


Saratoga Rotary could not have done this without generous donations from some of the club members and also from Community members like Dr. Davie Erickson, DDS, of San Jose and the representative for Colgate, Tabatha Stansberry.


Hello Rotarians,

Rotary-July 7-2017-1527.jpg Fellow members of the WGRC (World’s Greatest Rotary Club):

Wow! Nearly five months on the job AND I’M STILL STANDING! Gene Zambetti’s impeachment efforts are going nowhere! The more I look around, the luckier I feel to be associated with the WGRC (World’s Greatest Rotary Club).

What makes us great? Our members! Case in point:

BRUCE HODGINS has scored a coup! He’s arranged for internationally acclaimed artist JUDY COLLINS to give a concert for us on January 19! The proceeds will benefit our charitable work, including completion of a security wall for our favorite orphanage in Mexico. How cool is that??

Our SARATOGA ROTARY CHARITABLE FOUNDATION sent $5,000 to a club in McAllen, Texas, to help with flood recovery efforts. Thank you, GORDON CASE and those great people who serve on the SRCF board!

When not traveling back and forth to India and Nigeria, our own SANGITA SESHADRI staged a CARE and COMFORT event where we packed goodie bags for our troops (and I hope she will forgive me for calling her Shinku!). And she’s planning for a wonderful BREAKFAST with SANTA event at Washington School in December. Her hubby SESH RAMASWAMI is leading the effort to bring much-needed sanitation stations to schools in India and Nigeria.

WES TOY, while planning for a bigger and better ART SHOW is also working to procure computers for a school in Caconde, Brazil. Obrigado, Wes!

And thanks to TERRIE CREAMER for kicking off our annual TRF fundraising drive. I’m happy to report that our entire Board of Directors has pledged so far. It would be great if every Saratoga Rotarian would give, even if it’s the minimum of $25. I’d love it if we could join the “EREY” club (Every Rotarian Every Year).

BOB BOHN’S Fellowship Committee has arranged some fun and exciting events, including a Halloween party at Carol Woodard’s house October 27, and a deluxe holiday dinner at La Rinconada Country Club December 14. (I heard they scored another coup when they were able to book the world’s greatest British Invasion band for the event!)

Isn’t it great to have fun while doing good? Perhaps you know other people who feel the same way. If so, invite them to a meeting and introduce them to big DAN SCHNEIDER, our membership chair. Our club has lost several beloved and valuable members over the last two years, and we’d really like to replace them with new up-and-coming community leaders. So, as Phil Young used to say “Get off your ASK, and ASK someone to a Rotary meeting!”

Who’s the perfect candidate for Saratoga Rotary? People like you!  Smart, compassionate, involved, active, successful, fun-loving, with a desire to give back to the community and the world.

Here’s another reason we’re lucky (in addition to living in the greatest valley in the greatest state in the greatest country in the world):  As organizations go, we’re unique. Sure there are other charitable NGOs. But among them, who has more members, more experience, more international cooperation, and more funds to put to work solving humanitarian problems around the world? And how many of them have TGIFs??

NOEL CROSS, are you working on your jump shot? I hope so, because I am! So are Rick Waltonsmith, Dan Schneider, Chuck Page, Debby Rice, Brad Mouroux, Thomas Machado, Fabrice Rockich, and others I intend to recruit! Because the First Annual Rotary HORSE tournament is happening December 10 at West Valley College to benefit the Saratoga Rotary Charitable Foundation. Soon these participants will ask you to pledge money for every basket they make! Pledge generously! Have confidence that you’re backing the right “HORSE”.

And thanks, Richard Hanke, for your wonderful newsletters. And thanks Maria Guldner for taking more pictures than Ansel Adams every dreamed of! When will your digital camera run out of film?

That’s all for now, you bunch of do-gooders.




Hello Rotarians,

Rotary-July 7-2017-1527.jpg And so the new regime begins! It is an honor and pleasure to serve as President of the world’s greatest Rotary Club – Saratoga! During my 20 years of membership, I’ve often mused about being president, but thought my busy work schedule would make it impossible.  As I approach (semi)-retirement, I realize that my schedule will ALWAYS be overfull, and my “too busy” excuse will only serve to deny me the wonderful opportunity to serve.

And I love Rotary! I love the concept! I love the four-way test. I love the fact that over a million dedicated Rotarians around the world donate their time and effort toward building a better world. I love the camaraderie and the friendships I’ve forged while giving service to the community.

I once heard someone derogatively describe Rotarians as “a bunch of do-gooders”.


“Well,” I responded, “I LIKE do-gooders!”


My love and respect for Rotary has grown this year after attending the International Convention in Atlanta. What an eye-opener! I was surrounded by thousands upon thousands of do-gooders, from nearly every nation on earth, wearing the most colorful native dress, all united in the desire to improve the lives of others. Now I understand why so many of our Saratoga club members choke up with emotion when they talk about Rotary. I get it!

There are many organizations dedicated to public service, but Rotary is special. It’s not only because our members, men and women, come from all nations, all religions, and all political stripes, but we’re big enough, with enough money, to  get big things done! That’s why Bill Gates decided to team up with Rotary on world-changing programs like polio eradication.

And I love Saratoga!  I feel blessed to live in such an interesting, diverse, scenic, prosperous, and peaceful place. As a bonus, we have some of the most agreeable weather on the planet. I truly believe there’s no better place on earth!

As I announced at my first meeting, my theme this year is “Building Bridges”. More about that in next month’s newsletter. In the meantime, have fun, prosper, and I’ll see you at the Friday meetings, the TGIFs, the committee meetings, the fund-raisers, and on the sidewalks of our beautiful town!



It has been less than a month since we returned from Tanzania.Our club participated in a international global grant project together with seven other clubs. Prior to the trip I didn’t know what to expect. I knew the Orkeeswa School is a British style high school located in a rural area of Monduli hills near Arusha. I knew that the children are from Masai tribe. What I didn’t know is what it really meant. Some Massai to this day lead nomad life. They are moving with their families and livestock (cows, goats, sheep and donkeys) to good grazing lands. That is slowly changing. Some of the families are now staying in one location and beginning to farm their land. What impressed me was the commitment these children have to the school.
Community Service project: Assembling Care Packages.
On November 4, 2016, Saratoga Rotary Club made more than 320 care packages for active troops serving overseas in areas of conflict. 52 Rotarians and some guests were involved in this effort. 
SRCF gave $1,500 for supplies for care packages. We bought beef jerky, power bars, nuts, fruit roll ups, socks, batteries and chap sticks with these funds. Our own Julie Herndon donated toothbrushes and toothpaste. We were able to get decks of playing cards and hygiene products donated. Rotarians wrote cards of thanks and gratitude to the troops and they included in each care package.
Some of the Rotarians who have served in military were nostalgic about their own experiences. Gary Brandenberg spent two years on an aircraft carrier in the Far East. He said that care packages are a gift from home, and a reminder that people care, and you are not forgotten. Paul Hernandez said he got Red Cross packages when he was in army. Care packages are a really good idea especially for those who don’t have a lot of family collection.
We had several speakers including Rinkoo Nat, a local businesswoman whose son is serving overseas. She poignantly spoke about how her son has not been home for four christmasses and three thanksgivings. She said that receiving these care packages gives troops a boost and lets them know that they are loved. She has a year round donation box set up at the UPS office in downtown Saratoga for community members to give and ensures that all donations are shipped to the troops.
Alison Hughes, a director at Operation Care and Comfort was very thankful to the Club and Foundation for donation. This group is made up of volunteers only.
I am very thankful to my team who helped with shopping, pre-assembly, and set up:
Geeta Arunkumar, Sean Haalz, Reiko Iwanaga, James Lindsay, Sangita Seshadri, Cathie Thermond, Carol Yuan, and my mom. And a big thank you to everyone for helping with clean up.
Here are some photos of the event for you to enjoy.
Community Service project: Breakfast With Santa.
Did you know that Breakfast with Santa was first started in 1995?  It was a joint event between Saratoga Rotary and City of Saratoga. More than 100 children were bussed to a beautifully decked out community center for the event. Rotarian Don Perez started the event and chaired it for many years. Over the years, Breakfast with Santa became a Saratoga Rotary event only. Now Rotarians go to Washington Elementary School and treat the children.
This year was our 21st Breakfast With Santa event. Thank you to Saratoga Rotary Charitable Foundation for its continuous support for funding this event.
On Dec. 3rd, 2016, more than 30 Rotarians and their guests brought holiday cheer, gifts, breakfast, activities, and caroling to 175 children aged 4 to 6 years old. Little boys and girls were dressed in their finest and so delightful.
One little girl remarked, “This is the best day of my life.”
A little boy said, “You guys are so nice. I will always remember today.” And we heard similar sentiments from so many more children. Our hearts were grateful.
We had a great event because of what everyone did.
A big thank you to Cathie Thermond for doing all the shopping. Each child got a gift bag with a reading book, coloring book, crayons, play dough, and a ball.
Thank you Jim LeBlanc for being Santa. You fit this role perfectly!
Thank you Lillian Barnes for being Mrs. Claus. Kids love you!
Thank you Cookie Fitzimmons for being a perfect Elf.
Thank you Roseanne Rose for being Santa’s helper and carrying all the gifts in your sleigh.
Thank you Maria for photographing all the children, Rotarians, and teachers.
Thank you Mayor Manny for reading the story to the children.
Thank you Tom Collins for playing piano through out the event. It really was a treat to have live music.
Thank you Ketan Jashapara and Carol Yuan for picking up breakfast from McDonalds.
Thank you Alba Alamillo, Manny Cappello, Julie Herndon, Lisa Huening, Patti Workman, Dhiren Unadkat, Anandi Unadkat, and Carol Yuan for face painting. Alba’s son and two Prospect High Interacters: Maryam Ali and Sylvina Garnica face painted also.
Thank you to Marie Bechtel, Roy Cook, Jitka Cymbal, Ron Gemberling, Susan Gentry, Larry Grace, Sean Halasz, Paul Hernandez, Reiko Iwanaga, Marsi Nomura, Chuck Page, Sandie Prevot, Sesh Ramaswami, Wes Toy, Carol Woodard, Garry Woodward, and Phil Young for helping with gifts, breakfast, helping children, cleaning up and whatever was needed to make everything perfect.
Here are few photos from Maria Guldner for you to enjoy.

Hello Rotarians:
I must thank you for being so understanding and supportive. You give so much time and effort to make our club stand out. It is impossible not to forget someone especially when I have microphone in my hand, so forgive me.

All committees began their work. Club activities and projects are being planned with enthusiasm as many of you noticed during our meetings and in our great bulletin. Thanks to Ketan we had opportunity to participate in Classic Car Show sponsored by the Saratoga Chamber and to showcase what we do. All I can say is that my contribution is very small in the scope of things. Whether it is Sue or Venkat who taught us to use the Clubrunner so we can communicate better and provide information on our web Calendar (check it out); Sesh and Ketan with the international committee who are racing ahead with projects on three continents; Maria who not only takes beautiful pictures but helps with bulletin and slide show;
Bella with her first exceptional bulletin; Debra and Patti who keeps us in line (good standing) with RI; Cathy’s and Shinku who will keep us all busy; Jamie who keeps in touch with members who may be ill or taking care of ill spouses; Marcia and her membership committee brought first new member “Marsi” during the first month;
Dave for providing great speakers; Julie and Venkat who organized fun bocce ball afternoon last Sunday.

I am sure I forgot to mention many. Please remind me! There is lot to do for all and it is rewarding and fun. So I take this opportunity to thank you all and encourage you to thank those who are in your life. Any complaints should be directed to the complaint department. What? We don’t have any.


WaSH Project: Changing the lives of students in Bengaluru, India

The Rotary Club of Saratoga, California, USA (Club 5170) in partnership with the Bangalore (India) Rotary District 3190, with matching grant from Rotary International will improve the lives of a few thousand low income primary and middle school students across 15-20 local schools in the city of Bengaluru, India. This global grant will be funded at approximately USD $70,000. During 2017, Rotary will construct restroom facilities for girls, hand washing stations and water purification following UNICEF guidelines. Such basic facilities will reduce girls‛ absenteeism from schools and improve student health, thereby enhancing personal safety and educational experience. This initiative, entitled WaSH (Water, Sanitation and Health), starts with a formal needs assessment of schools and interviews with teachers, students and other stakeholders. Following best practices, the project team along with school staff, will also establish a curriculum anchored around health such that good sanitation practices can be passed on to their families as well to students through successive school years.

This program is also open for contributions from private individuals or companies; such amounts will be matched at 50% by Rotary International, thereby expanding the project footprint and community impact. For further information, please contact Sesh Ramaswami.