Club Meeting - January 4, 2018
"Good Morning" to all who joined us today. Attendance was a little lighter than usual, due to a number of members who are out sick with seasonal colds/flu. Vice President John Crawford ran the meeting; Gary Blume led us in some silly songs; and Byron Newman tickled us with a funny joke.
Announcement was made about the upcoming Key-Club conclave at Rady Children’s Hospital on January 13 to elect a new Key-Club LT. Governor, with Patrick Henry’s Ryan Lieng running as a candidate. Club members are invited to attend to lend support.
While we ate our delicious Brother’s breakfasts, Sandy Vish was honored as our Member of the Day. She gave us some of the details of her life, including her 45 years working in various fields of nursing, her family and grown children, and ways she likes to spend her time. We all enjoy hearing a little about the members we see each week.
Today we honored the Student of the Month from Hearst Elementary, 5th grader Nick Soule. He was praised by his teacher and principal for being a quiet leader who is a great role model, who is helpful and always follows the rules. Nick, who would like to become a veterinarian, was presented with his Student of the Month award and gift certificate, while his proud parents looked on. We are sure Nick will have a bright educational future.
The Kiwanian of the Day (KOD) was John Chappell, who collected the happy/sad dollars and then entertained us with some catch phrases that you see printed on tee shirts. He then introduced today’s guest speaker.
Today we had the honor of meeting Aaron Byzak, MBA, FACHE (Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives), who is the Chief Strategist for a company called Galvanized Strategies. He works on behalf of clients with lawmakers at every level of government nationwide with expertise in health policy and community engagement. He is director of government and community affairs at UC San Diego Health Systems, whose responsibilities include handling all legislative and community relations activities on behalf of UC San Diego Health Systems and others.
Mr. Byzak founded Hazel’s Army, a community-based advocacy group intended to give voice to those who have lost loved ones as the result of poor or improper care at assisted living and skilled nursing facilities. The group, which has successfully pushed for changes in state law, was named after Byzak’s grandmother, Hazel Mensching, who died six days after tumbling from her wheelchair during a van tour operated by her assisted living facility. Hazel’s Army has helped lobby, alongside several other powerful organizations including California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, for a slate of legislation that has increased the fines for top violations, makes staff training requirements more stringent, charges higher licensing fees, requires that all facilities carry liability insurance, and set up a rating system for care facilities. Hazel’s Army has grown steadily, with many members in San Diego and across the world through its Facebook page.
Hazel’s Army’s newest initiative called Greatest Generation 2.0 (GG2) has been established and is aimed at helping young people learn and share the stories of senior citizens who lived through the Great Depression, World War II and the Korean War. Mr. Byzak says “…we need an entire generation of people who really value seniors. The only way to do that is to find a way for the younger generation to understand what they've gone through, what they’re going through now.”
As our loved ones age and we grow older ourselves, it is good to know that there are caring professionals like Aaron Byzak who dedicate themselves to advocating for the best care and improvements to our healthcare system.
Guest speaker Aaron Byzak with Kiwanian of the Day John Chappell.
Student-of-the-Month Nick Soule is surrounded by his supporters.
Member of the Day Sandy Vish and Vice President John Crawford.