The speaker for the Rotary Club of Palm Springs on November 6, 2013 was Congressman Raul Ruiz, M.D. He was a great speaker. After his remarks he was presented a ‘Paul Harris Fellow’ to exemplify how much we appreciate and recognize Dr. Ruiz‘ contributions to humanity.
He expressed appreciation to Rotary and our Club in particular, for its remarkable record of community service, saying he was privileged to be with us, and emphasizing that we are “all in this together” to help our citizens.
Doctor Ruiz, was a practicing emergency room physician before being elected to Congress last November. He emphasized his focus on–and the importance of–providing constituent services. He said that he and his staff have opened 669 cases, and so far 504 have been resolved. These cases have primarily involved such matters as jobs, VA surgeries, veterans benefit backlogs, immigration, IRS conflicts. But the majority have centered on military veterans’ issues. He serves on the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, and also the Committee on Natural Resources. Congressman Ruiz discussed the launch of his “Veterans Initiatives.” He sees his role is to serve people and solve problems, not only through legislation. Among his priorities is to launch a “Veterans’ University,” which will soon help in assisting veterans and providing them with access to more jobs and services.
He commented on the extreme Congressional “gridlock” in Washington, adding that he has been successful in working “across the aisle” in a bipartisan way to help veterans and their problems.
Dr. Ruiz discussed our mutual social responsibilities, and emphasized how important it is to “forget politics and partisanship” to accomplish these goals.
The day’s event was especially meaningful since I had spent months trying to get Congressman Ruiz confirmed as a speaker. After meeting with him and his staff at a reception a few months ago, I was able to get a date where he would be the speaker. He is a good example of Service above Self with his work in Haiti, his work as an ER Doctor, and his support for so many difference causes in the Coachella Valley. It was indeed an honor for him to be the speaker today.
Seeing all the smiles and watching all the folks that attended the meeting today was confirmation that the hours spent in scheduling this very busy Congressman was worthwhile. The meeting was a HIT!!!!
Another highlight of the day was being presented the ‘Benefactor’ Certificate and “wings”. The presentation was meaningful and will always be a memory that I cherish. I was asked to “Wear them proudly! They are a sign of commitment to The Rotary Foundation and willingness to step up through Rotary to perform miracles!”