Club Meeting June 12th 2019 Neville Kruss Rotarian Behind the Badge


The minute you walk into Cilantro, our home for the morning meeting of the Rotary Club of Bentleigh Moorabbin Central, one is filled with cheer and goodwill and coffee served by Sossi and Tony. It is definitely worth the early morning effort to get there. Greg was our Chairperson and invited Geoff Gartly to give us Invocation and Geoff Gledhill to present the Loyal, Royal Toast. Grant took us to South Africa, to Johannesburg. This is no surprise because our Rotarian behind the Badge comes from this area of the world. South Africa is the most southern country in Africa and has coasts on the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Its borders are Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Eswatini (Swaziland). It surrounds the enclaved country of Lesotho. South Africa is the 9th largest country in Africa and the 25th largest country in the world with a population of 50 million. The Rotary District of 9400 covers Northern South Africa, Botswana, Southern Mozambique and Eswatini! In 1952 the Dutch East India Company established a way-station for ships travelling to the Dutch East indies in Cape Town. In 1795, the British seized the Cape to prevent it falling into French hands after the French Invasion of the Netherlands. From 1835-1840 the Boers left the “Cape Colony” and founded the “Orange Free State” and the Transvaal. In 1858 The Boers proclaimed the Transvaal a republic. The First Boer War occurred from 1880-1881 when the Boers rebelled against the British. The Second Boer War occurred from 1899-1902 and in 1910 the formation of the Union of South Africa by the by the British colonies of the Cape and the Boer republics of Transvaal and the Orange Free State was completed and in 1934 it became a nation state within the British Empire. Apartheid was introduced in 1948 and on the 31st May 1961 the country became the Republic of South Africa. Apartheid ended in 1991. South Africa has 9 provinces, and has no capital city with the Administrative capital in Pretoria, the Legislative capital in Cape town and the Judicial capital in Bloemfontein. The largest city, Johannesburg has the Constitutional Court. Johannesburg has a population of 10,000,000 and the city was established after gold was discovered about 1884. Grant asked us to be upstanding to toast President Linda Vink and the Members of the Rotary Club of Johannesburg New Dawn. The club is in District 9400 and was chartered 20th January 2009 and has 25 members. The club has several projects, one being a literacy program which supports the development of literacy and numeracy in children whose second language is English and who attend low-income schools. Another project is known as The Christ Church Christian Care Centre and is a hostel which cares for children from birth to the age of 18. The children are referred there by Social Services and are often abandoned babies or street children. Another project is supplying of books and medicines to those who need this.  It is indeed a very busy club. Thank you Grant for once again bring yet another International Rotary Club to our attention. Marvelous.
Greg welcomed our guests. Alma Reynolds is our District 9810 Secretary and is our District Governor Nominee will be District Governor for the year 2020-21. This will be an amazing year as it will be the 100th year anniversary of Rotary in Australia and New Zealand. As Alma said, it will be a wonderful opportunity for clubs to begin projects that are new and exciting and will make an enormous difference to communities. She also commented and thanked us for our hospitality and that we were lucky to have such a gorgeous meeting place. For her it was a long way to travel and did not realize that we were meeting behind the hospital and not in the hospital. Alma said that she felt excited and honored to have the job of incoming District Governor at such an important time.
Greg also welcomed Neville’s wife, Sheryl Zorella who came to support him as he was to be our Rotarian behind the Badge.  Greg also called for apologies which came from Julie Reid and Linda O’B. Pres. Ian came to the rostrum and began by paying compliments to the staff for the wonderful spoiling of us with the amazing breakfasts that are offered each week. He again welcomed Alma and Sheryl. He also told us of the touching celebration of John Glenn’s life with approximately 400 people attending. He also mentioned that PDG John Barnes delivered a memorable eulogy. Ian continued by thanking Peter L for hosting an evening for Jade and all the people who had shared time with her during her stay in Australia as well as taking her with Sophie and Judith to Queensland. While Jade was at first homesick on her first weeks here, she has made lots of friends and is not looking forward to leaving Australia. Perhaps all being well for her she may revisit after her studies. We too will miss her enthusiasm and her ready smile and her willingness to help where ever possible.
Our “Guest Speaker” was non-other but our own Rotarian Neville. To quote his opening address he said “given a choice of going to the dentist or speaking in public he would have to opt for the former” well Neville you were with friends and “family” so being the quiet but efficient secretary and friendly person we were all ears and looking forward to hearing all about you! Neville was by informing us that most of South Africa’s Jewish population originated in Eastern Europe, predominately from Lithuania and Latvia. They left there to escape the pogroms, (the persecution of the Jews). His grandparents escaped to South Africa where Neville’s parents were born. Neville’s father joined the Rand Light Infantry at the start of WWll to fight against the Germans in North Africa. There were amazing stories which Neville has recorded so they will not be forgotten. Ten years after he returned from war Neville was born. He grew up in a mining town, Randfontein, about 60 km from Johannesburg where he spent the first 18 years of his life. The friends he made during this time have remained friends for life even though they are now scattered around the globe. His father was a Rotarian and Neville remembers him saying he was treasurer for many years so he did not have to be president. His Mother was referred as a Rotary-Ann.  He went to primary school at the one and only English primary school and he remarked he could still smell the acorn trees which surrounded the school. He had a box of “favorites” for the person who could guess how he got to school. Alma won the prize for suggesting by riding a horse! He went unwillingly to boarding school at the age of 11 and the thought of being left to stay while his parents and sisters were driving off was really upsetting. He was there for 2 years after which his parents allowed him to come home to Randfontein where he went to the only English High School. Rugby union was the compulsory game and being smaller than most he got hammered every time. When he was in year 11 while travelling with his mother in her car, a guy travelling in the opposite direction lost control of his car and smashed into us and ended up flying through the windscreen and had to have 100stiche in his face and broke his cheek bone. The plastic surgeon, one of the best in Johannesburg did an excellent job avoiding a worse scar. During compulsory conscription he met up with a bully form primary school who ended up coming to him saying he could not handle the army. He told more stories of his time in the army which were quite amusing. Approximately 12 years ago he contacted the South African Military Veterans Organization of Australasia and marched under the banner of Commonwealth Forces Banner to honor the ANZACS. He and Sheryl go to the Dawn service every year and wear his Dad’s war medals to honor him. At university Neville studied Accounting and Commercial Law. He got his degree and went on to do his articles. After that he entered the family clothing business which he ran for 25 years until emigrating to Australia with his Ex-wife and 2 daughters. It was scary coming to a new country but the life style was similar to South Africa. His son was born 3 years after arriving in Melbourne. After being divorced Neville met Sheryl in 2003 and between them they have 5 children. He is very proud of his children who hold very important and responsible positions.  After having worked for Hugo Boss for 10 years Neville opened up his own bookkeeping business and became financial controller of his biggest client “Modscape”  but gave up that position is 2016 to concentrate on his own business.  He told us that he and Sheryl went on a 6.5 week tour of Europe and stated it was the best holiday he had ever been on. Neville is a very happy person which reflects on all who meet him. He finished by saying “They say   the 4 most traumatic things that can happen to a person are: Being Born, Divorce, Emigrating and Dying. He stated that he has experienced the first 3 but is in no rush to experience the 4th”. During the presentation Neville had a lifetime of photos which he displayed bringing life and color to his presentation. Thank you Neville for sharing your life story with us. It is always interesting to learn about the Rotarian Behind the Badge and we were a captive audience. We appreciated the work you had done allow to know who you are. We are very glad you are part of wonderful Rotary club.
Ron Brownlees made a presentation to the Club regarding a motion to be put to members regarding an allocation of up to $30k towards the Adult exercise equipment being installed in the new park development in the Moorabbin  Reserve- Linton Street oval . Ron (and later, President Ian) acknowledged the contribution of John Lehner in proposing and championing this cause. The motion was passed subsequently.
Sergeant Tim was meant to have only 5 minutes. Nonsense as the Sergeant always finds heaps to fine us. He concentrated on his trip to Hobart. The Bulletin Reporter having grown up in Tasmania found this to be interesting. Pres. Ian closed the meeting wishing us a good week and to BE THE INSPIRATION

Zilla (Bulletin Reporter)



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