The "Manhattan Optimist Club Bulletin": Vol. 2024 #6: 11-8-23

Posted November 11, 2023

                                     VOLUME 2024          November 8, 2023         NUMBER 6

President Bill Wisdom welcomed the membership and guests, followed by a reflection by Jerry Banaka, and the Flag Salute.

Student of the Month

Thad Hall outlined the Manhattan High School Student of the Month Program.  The program recognizes Manhattan High School seniors who make a difference in their community through volunteerism and leadership of activities that have a positive impact on the MHS or Manhattan community.  The goal of the program is to inspire and encourage youth to get involved in their community in an effort to benefit others.  Applicants submit a résumé and are judged by a committee.  Recipients receive $100 to donate to the organization of their choice and are eligible for a $1,000 scholarship as the overall yearly winner.  Rebekah Borthwick was introduced as Manhattan High School Student of the Month.

Rebekah Borthwick Manhattan High School Student of the Month
Rebekah introduced her father, Kendall, and her mother, Lois Borthwick, who are missionaries and work as full-time staff members with Bridges International and work with students on campus.  She has lived in Manhattan for a little over six years.  Her hobbies and interests are singing, playing the guitar, reading, writing poetry, organizing, sudoku, spending time with others, the ministry and worship. 

At MHS she is a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, American Field Service, the Chamber Choir, Pops Choir, the Marching Band, and the Interpersonal Skills class.  She also interns at Rock Hills Church and is a student leader at UCC and Rock Hills.  She has received the AP Scholar Award, is a member of the National Honor Society, and is a leader in the Chamber and Pops Choir.  She is the flute section leader and drum major and holds club officer positions and student leadership positions.  One of her teachers, Mr. Davis, her AP history teacher, completely changed her view and enjoyment of history.  He also had an impact on her, in part because at the end of class every Friday he says, “Have fun, be safe, make good decisions.  I don’t want to read your name on the arrest /accident paper or obituary column.  Bad things happen to good people who make bad decisions, and one bad decision, my friends, can ruin your life.  Have a good weekend!”

Her future plans include staying in Manhattan and attending MCC and/or KSU and majoring in counseling and psychology and continuing to intern at Rock Hills Church.  Another option is attending an online college connected to Rock Hills Church and studying for the ministry.  She plans to be full time in the vocational ministry, a worship pastor and use her counseling degree to shepherd others.

Rebekah’s long-term goals are to love others, no matter what she may be doing in the future, and to prioritize her family and friends, as well as make time to rest.  She also wants to “pour” herself into the next generation and share her testimony with others and encourage and provide support to those who struggle with their mental health.  She wants to use her gifts to glorify God and build up His church.


Jerry Banaka introduced 35-year veteran Lieutenant General Mike Dodson, US Army (Ret), for a Veterans Day Recognition.  He was commissioned in 1968 and has served in many roles and places, including Commanding General of Ft. Riley and the Big Red One from 1996 to 1998.  He later served as the commander of NATO forces in Bosnia and served as the United States commander of forces in Europe just before his retirement.  Returning to Manhattan after retirement, he served on the City Commission and as Mayor.  In 2020 he was elected to the Kansas House of Representatives and reelected in 2022.

Lieutenant General Mike Dodson, US Army (Ret)
Mike Dodson commended our military service members and veterans and spoke about the current global turmoil and what is happening and what we can do about it.

Due to recruiting difficulties, the Army is understaffed and will need to reduce units that aren’t absolutely essential and man those that are essential; thus, the units will be over worked for a long time to come.  There are a lot of things going on in the world.  Conflicts in Eastern Europe and Israel are in the news now, but problems exist across the globe.  While attention is focused on these two conflicts, other nations can take advantage of the media’s focus on them to make gains or to make things more difficult for the United State and it allies. 

After Word War I, Britain and France, and others, redrew political boundaries and split up long standing ethnic boundaries, notably in Syria, Iraq, Turkey, Afghanistan, Russia, Ukraine, Armenia, and Israel.  He reviewed maps and focused on ethnic vs political boundaries.  Ethnic groups were frequently fragmented, which leads to some of the conflict today.  Also, frequently minority ethnic groups are controlling another ethnic majority or mix of various ethnic groups forming a majority.

Regional governments do not take action to help control the conflicts because of cultures, one powerful leader, fragmented government and/or fragmented power, the impact of ethnic groups, internal and external and a lack of nationalism, or some ultra-nationalism.

The US has done the heavy lifting since World War II.  Other countries have depended on the US and wait for us to act and take the leadership role.  Other countries have provided minimal commitment and resources to assist the US.  However, the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine has unified NATO and improved the financial and other resources commitment to the defense of Europe.

The United States’ strategies focus on reaction to dictatorial leaders, political unrest and terrorists, human rights vs. stability, stability, nation building, and creating democracies, which takes time. 

The United States should realize impressions are important and intensions should be clearly stated.  The US should have the will and ability to act and only say what we really will do and then do it.  If the US starts something, then we must finish it.  We need to create and man, forward operating locations to accomplish this.

In summary, the challenges include a transition of global power, including a rise in China and a diminished Russia.  There will be continued instability and non-state actors, and terrorists, and a shortage of natural resources.  To meet these challenges, US leadership and demonstrated commitment is key, but must involve other key regional States.  The US must align with unsavory actors until mechanisms for change can be put in place.  We also must continue to push for human rights, but stability must be the predominate goal.

Member Spotlight: No Member Spotlight this week.

Guests:  Bill Wisdom introduced Lieutenant General Mike Dodson, US Army (Ret), today’s speaker, and MHS Student of the Month, Rebekah Borthwick and her father, Kendall, and her mother, Lois Borthwick, who are missionaries and work as full-time staff members with Bridges International. 

Club Stuff/Announcements:

Gary Loyd announced an upcoming concert by the Manhattan Symphony Orchestra at McCain Auditorium on Sunday, November 12th at 7:00 pm.  The youth Gold and Silver Orchestras will also play at 3:00 pm.

Jim Franke noted a flyer on the tables requesting contributions for customer giveaways to kids in Santa’s Workshop and help support military discounts.  Click on this link to view the flyer: 

Donations For Customer Giveaways and Military Discount

Jim thanked everyone who helped out last weekend.  Saturday the batting cages were removed and stored for the winter, the tree netters were installed, the season’s greeting sign on the east side of the building as you come into the park was set up, and the stanchions for supporting the trees for sale were laid out for assembly.  On Sunday the stanchions were put together in a record time of 55 minutes. 

The next large project is unloading the trees, which will happen between Friday, November 18th and Monday, November 20th, when the semi arrives with 750 trees that we will unload and store.  There is a list to sign up to be texted to notify you when the truck will arrive.  Please contact Jim Franke to sign up if you have not already done so.

Following the semi unloading, the next big job will be on Wednesday, November 22nd at 10:00 AM to unwrap and set the trees up in the stanchions to prepare them for sale and to tag them with the price.  We will have a meeting at the Park at that time and have a catered lunch; we will not have a meeting at Blue Hills.  This is labor intensive and will require a large crew to accomplish.  If you still need to sign up, contact Jim at the above email address.

During Thanksgiving weekend we will sell 70% of our inventory, so we need lots of help that weekend.  Signup for Friday during the day with shifts 9:00 to 12:00 and 12:00 to 4:00.  Contact Jim at the email above to sign up if you have not already done so.  In addition, there is a separate signup for Saturday and Sunday.  It will be a very busy weekend.  A couple of slots are still open and need to be filled on regular shifts Tuesday evening and Friday evening.

Thad Hall shared information on Hoop, Holler, ‘N Shoot.  We have finished up with the grade school shoots and are ready to have the semifinals on Friday night at 6:00 pm at the Manhattan Christian College Howie Activity Center. 

Bill Wisdom announced a Board meeting following the adjournment of today’s meeting.

Membership dues are due starting October 1, 2023.  The dues for Regular members is $135.00 and the dues for Life members is $105.00.  Give them to Clyde at the Wednesday meetings or mail to: Manhattan Optimist Club, PO Box 623, Manhattan, KS 66505-0623

Adjourned with the Optimist Creed

Next Weeks’s Meeting:

November 15th 7:00 AM Meeting: Program - Jim Franke, “What’s Happening with the Christmas Tree Lot.” Bill Wisdom

November Meeting Schedule:

November 22 10:00 AM at Optimist Park:  Jim Franke/Bruce Bidwell, “Working the Christmas Tree Lot” – Lunch Catered! Bill Wisdom

November 29 7:00 AM Meeting: Bill Wisdom, “Business Meeting.”

November Birthdays