25-year-old service project celebrated by Scottsdale Rotary

Richard Hasenpflug, providing Rotarians an overview of "The Los Alto's Story" movie filming (Submitted photo)

Richard Hasenpflug, providing Rotarians an overview of “The Los Alto’s Story” movie filming (Submitted photo)

At a recent Rotary Club of Scottsdale meeting, Club member/Rotarian Richard Hasenpflug, provided attendees with an update about the 25th year celebration of Los Altos Rotary’s AIDS Project.

The conservative Silicon Valley club would seem an unlikely candidate to be at the forefront of AIDS education.

Back in 1990, Here & Now’s Robin Young made a film about the club’s transformation from doubters to leaders in the fight against AIDS. The film, “The Los Altos Story,” went on to win a Peabody Award, and has now been distributed around the world in multiple languages. Richard attended the anniversary event and shared his story of involvement in this Rotary service project.

The project started with Dushan “Dude” Angius, a former school principal and the president of the Los Altos Rotary Club. His son Steve, a graphic designer, had contracted AIDS. As the family rallied around this favorite son, they learned how many others were dying.

In 1989, Dude formed a AIDS Task Force within the Rotary Club – 10 brave souls which included Richard Hasenpflug as vice-chair. The group thought a film might help educate other Rotarians about AIDS. On the very first day of shooting, Dude faced sharp resistance from Steve’s protective brothers, who doubted – given the hostile climate – that a film could make a difference.

Minutes later, Steve, upstairs in his bedroom, began to fail. He would die the next day.

Now the resistance to a film came from other Rotarians, who didn’t think it was their issue. Then one day, a club member stood up at lunch and stunned them all with the announcement that he’d contracted AIDS from a blood transfusion, and was also dying. The Los Altos Rotary AIDS Task Force took flight that sad day.

Neale Perl, President/CEO of Scottsdale Cultural Council with Rotary Club of Scottsdale, Club President Max Rumbaugh. (Submitted photo)

Neale Perl, President/CEO of Scottsdale Cultural Council with Rotary Club of Scottsdale, Club President Max Rumbaugh. (Submitted photo)

The film was created and distributed around the world. The Task Force members became global ambassadors for AIDS education. Dude was appointed to President Bill Clinton’s first task force on AIDS, and his wife Barbara became the inspiration for actress Joanne Woodward’s role as the mother of an AIDS victim played by Tom Hanks in Jonathan Demme’s film “Philadelphia.”

To find out more about this project see: www.rotaryaidsproject.org.

Also, speaking at the meeting, was Neale Perl, President/CEO of Scottsdale Cultural Council, who provided an overview of Scottsdale’s art activities. The Rotary Club of Scottsdale is an organization where local business and professional leaders come together to serve their community and its youth.

Rotary Club of Scottsdale’s, Club President, Max Rumbaugh, states: “Our club’s hallmarks are great weekly programs, a dynamic membership and participation with one another in our commitment to “Service above Self.”

For more information about Rotary Club of Scottsdale’s upcoming speakers, projects, programs and meeting dates/locations – go to www.scottsdalerotary.org.  Visitors to club meetings are always welcome – call 480-945-6158

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