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The Fullerton Airport Manager Brendan O’Reilly
President Joe Lins welcomed everyone in attendance.
President Linds then announced of Bill Shenk’s passing last month. “He passed away around Christmas time. Bill was quite a guy. When he was President, he mentored me. One time he called me over to his office and asked if I would be Vice President of the club. I said no because if something happens to you then I’d be the president. He was a good guy with a little bit of spunk to him. Let’s take a minute to remember him.”
A few important facts; Freddy Roggin to sign off from KNBC Channel 4 as sports anchor. He will pursue his Am 570 radio show among other outlets. Not sure what those other creative outlets are.
This past Sunday, President Lins daughter Stephanie and son-in-law Chris went up to Central California to pick up half a steer. He finished of this story with a funny joke, “They asked the cattle rancher how many head of cattle he had. After a few moments he responded that he thought he had 46 until he rounded them up to 50.” This received a lot of laughter. One more joke, “A couple of cows were talking out in the field. One says, ‘have you heard about that mad cow disease that’s going around?’ The other cow says, “yeah, makes me glad I’m a penguin.” This joke gets a mixed response, President Lins said, “that’s so stupid it’s funny.”
On this Day, in 1915, Alexander Graham Bell made the first official trans-continental American phone call to Thomas Watson from NY to SF. “Now if you think about that, 100 plus years later, a smartphone is all it takes to make a phone call. No cord necessary.” In 1981 the 52 Americans held hostage by Iran for 444 days arrived back home safely in the United States. “That’s a big deal. We forget about situations like that as time goes on.”
For our commencement ceremonies, Frank Kawase gave us our Invocation. Frank informed us that this is the Year of the Rabbit in Chinese New Year. It runs from January 22, 2023 and it ends February 9, 2024 on Chinese New Years Eve. “This is the year of hope, longevity, peace, and prosperity.” He recognized members born in the years 1927 and 1939, to which no one was born to. Jim Williams was born in the year 1951, he received a Chinese gift bag made by Frank’s wife. Johnny Hong was born in the year 1975, to which he received a Chinese gift bag as well. 1983 is the next year, no one claimed that year. Bailey Klein said she was born in 1995, “I owe you a bag.” Frank led us in a prayer, “bless us lord for these gifts, amen.”
Johnny Hong gave us our Patriotic Moment. He told us a story, “my Patriotic Moment happened to me before I was born.” He told a history of the Korean War and how it affected his life. “If you ask American’s that participated in the war, why? They probably looked at the flag and said, ‘that’s why.’ The American Flag is a sign of freedom and a sign of prosperity. Since then, the vision has not changed for me. Please stand and join me for the Pledge of Allegiance.
Our Songmaster, Bud Lang, was asked to come on stage. “You my friend, have accomplished all the items of the newest nine.” President Lins ripped his newest nine ribbon off and he received a grand applause. He led us in a great camp-fire song called, “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.” Great job and congratulations Bud Lang! Today’s Guest included, Jeff Kulins, guest of Rebecka Forrester. “He is a Master Bagpiper, who only wears shoes under his kilt.” Another guest in attendance is Dr. Bob Simon.
Today’s announcements, District Governor Dan Ouweleen showed a video and announced Rotary Youth Leadership Award Camp, which takes place in April. RYLA camp is a 3-day leadership camp for youth from here in our district. “We send 200 kids to this camp every year and our club has supported this camp for years.” It is a transformational camp that is life changing for the youth involved. RYLA camp is an immersive camp where youth learn leadership skills that will help them with their careers and with going to college. He announced that the camp needs about 25 adult Rotary Leaders to help. Applications were on the table for those interested in being a leader at the camp. Dan also announced opportunities to sponsor different items of the camp. He also announced a raffle that helps offset the prices of the camp. “Thank you, guys, for all this club has done to support this camp all these years.” President Lins took the time to acknowledge Dan and Susan Ouweleen of the work they’ve done and continue to do on behalf of Rotary. “Dan, we are going to give you a big hand right now.”
Our Recognition Master and Fine Master today was Andrew Gregson. He thanked President Lins and immediately began to work. He asked Frank Kawase if he had a brother in the Sunrise Club, and Frank answered that he did. That cost him one dollar. Miko was asked to stand and be recognized and fined for her birthday, “you owe a dollar.” Mike Oats was asked to stand. “So, Mike, what’s so special about what’s going on with you? It shows you got 2 things.” He fined Mike Oats $5 dollars for not knowing what the 2 things he was celebrating this month. Mike is celebrating his birthday and wedding anniversary. Andrew asked Jeff Hutchinson to stand for his Rotary Anniversary. “Hello, Jeff how are you? Good to see you again. Congratulations sir. You know what? You joined in 1984, one year before the young kid in the back was born. Just give a dollar and Johnny, you give a dollar for being born so later on in life.” President Joe Lins was recognized and fined $1 for his birthday. He fined all the members born in the years of the Rabbit, “apparently, you’re all geniuses, so please genii up $1.” He played Fullerton Trivia with the tables. Andrew did an awesome job and got some laughs during his time as Fine Master.
President Lins asked Past President Zoot Velasco to come up to take care of an election. Zoot took the stage and joked, “I don’t want anyone to be concerned about the voting machines or any shenanigans in this election because we only have one candidate, ok, so it makes it pretty easy.” By a show of hands, Zoot asked the club how many would like to elect our next President-Elect, Cathy Gach. “I would like the record to reflect, Carol Morris, that it was unanimous.” Congratulations Cathy Gach!
Our Program at Hand today, introduced by President Lins, is an update on The Fullerton Airport, with Manager Brendan O’Reiley. “We are one of the lucky towns and fortunate to have an airport.” Brendan took center stage and thanked everyone in attendance. “I am happy to be here. I love my job. I am born and raised in Southern California. And I am fortunate enough to be the manager of our little airport. It’s the last of the General Aviation in the county.” He remembers his father first took him to the Fullerton Airport when he was 6 years old. He remembers sitting on a bench, watching planes taking off. That’s all it took to have him hooked with the Fullerton Airport. “It’s really cool to have the opportunity to manage my hometown airport.” He gave a brief history of the Fullerton Airport. The Fullerton Airport sits on 86 acres with a single runway of 3,121 feet and is the only general aviation airport in Orange County. It is centrally located in the Los Angeles basin and is adjacent to Interstate 5 and Highway 91. The airport itself is self-supporting and does not receive any subsidies from the City. Revenues from the airport fund the cost of operations and maintenance, with the surplus going into the enterprise Airport Fund. It is also a “reliever airport” which means it relieves congestion from all the bigger airports around, like; LAX, Long Beach and John Wayne. The City of Fullerton officially recognizes it in the year 1928 but was founded in 1927, “that means that the year 2028 is our 100th year anniversary. We have some plans for that event.” The businesses that operate at the airport are around 25 which varies from maintenance to flight instruction, and detail services. Commonwealth Ave. borders the airport to the south while Dale Street on the west and Gilbert Street on the east. The corner of Magnolia Ave. and Commonwealth also received some signs that light up so people know that the airport is there, “I would say at least 10,000 cars pass that intersection a day. I am sick of hearing people say, ‘there’s an airport in Fullerton?’” The Fullerton Airport is doing great. It’s got a healthy growth trend ever since Brendan took over 10 years ago. The airport is equipped with airplane hangars as well as outside plane parking that have, since last spring, been completely full. “We’ve been squeezing airplanes everywhere we can. What we charge for parking is $150 compared to what John Wayne charges, which is $500 a month for parking.” He attributes that to part of the success the airport has been having lately. The sales of fuel to jets also attributes to the success of the airport. Key tenants at Fullerton Airport are the Highway Patrol, which store a fix winged airplane and 2 helicopters. The Anaheim Police Department stores helicopters as well as Orange County Fire Authority, “unfortunately, we have a lot of noise complaints from these helicopters. These helicopters are big and heavy. They are loaded so they tend to be kind of nosey.” He remembers the two times during his tenure at the airport, when the Anaheim Hills caught fire and the OCFA saved the day with their helicopters. Upcoming projects, in the next 5 years, Brendan plans to pour more money into the airport to develop the facility and attract more businesses. Make it a healthy and viable airport to allow it to continue for another 100 years. Back in 2015, the first phase of rehabilitating the tower started, “you probably recognize that, it is the face of the airport. We gave it a semi facelift and gave it new windows and painted it as well.” A new café was selected, Wings Café, with great views of everything the airport has to offer. Phase 2 will be building an entirely new administration building because current building was built in 1955. The administration building started as a 7 and half million-dollar project that has since been made in to a 15-million-dollar project. “We can’t afford $15 million so we kind of shelved this project and in the meantime another opportunity came up. The building of a two-story multipurpose room with office space downstairs.” A patio is coming soon as well, being built near the tower, which will make it a nice place to sit and watch airplanes take off and land. Construction to some of those projects will begin this summer so look out for that. “The airport is running very smoothly. We are making money. I am really focusing on some upgrades to older hangars.” Brendan took questions from members at the end of his presentation. President Joe Lins presented him with the highly coveted speaker’s gift, “taking off is voluntary but landing is mandatory. You are really great at your job and you definitely know what you’re doing. If Marty says that you’re doing a great job. Well, you’re doing a great job. Nice job, thank you!”
Last thing on the agenda was the 50/50 drawing for $33. Ticket holder number 6369670, Terri Grassi wins the money. 2 drawings for a free Muckenthaler Event courtesy of Farrell Hirsch. 6369666, Minard Duncan wins one event ticket. 6369645, Bud Lang wins the other ticket to the Muck. “Thank you for coming today, next week is an inside look at banking in a post-pandemic world with Farmers & Merchant Bank President Henry Walker. Thanks again for coming today and we will see you next week. Charge On! Meeting adjourned!”
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