A Rotary Story “Dinner With Rotary friend Yale “Buzz” Trustin and His Wife Litzie Trustin”. You never knew who you may be sitting with at a Rotary event. In fact, I would say every single member in Rotary is important. We need all people of different ages, background, gender, race, cultural, experiences and ability to form an amazing organization. This is a story of one such Rotarian (mentor) whom I learned so much.
We often come across people and only really know them in a casual way. A simple hello on passing, how are you doing, a few words and on our way. Do we really get engaged in the conversation at a round table? I was sure guilty of much of this until something made me stop and tune-in.

I attended a Rotary Holiday dinner with about 30 members from my Rotary San Antonio West Club. The dinner crowd started with the normal conversation as people walked around working the room. As dinner was about to be served, Anneke (my wife) and I sat at a table for eight beside Rotarian Yale “Buzz” Trustin and his wife Litzie. I always had the greatest respect for Buzz because I learned he was a World War II Veteran flying aircraft for the Army Air Corp. As we started the conversation around the room, my wife Anneke said a few things. Litzie picked up on my wife’s European Accent. Litzie was normally very reserved, so I keyed in on what this was about. My fault as mentioned before, I am guilty for not always being involved in conversations. However, this was something of interest. Litzie asked, “Anneke, where are you from?” Anneke proudly replied that she was born and grew up in the country of Holland until we married. Litzie said, Holland has the best Chocolate in the world. Now, while Holland does have great Chocolate it is more known for the Dutch Cheese, Windmills, Dykes and water. I thought that was an interesting comment from Litzie

The conversation then turned serious as one could hear a pin drop at our table. Litzie began to tell about her life as a young Jewish girl in Austria escaping Nazi occupation. Her story seemed vivid as spoken in the words of someone who experienced the events firsthand. She explained how she took her sister with her on a dangerous journey as a teenager avoiding Nazi Troops and occupied areas. She ended up in Holland on the Kinder Train. Everyone at the table was completely silent as Litzie spoke in a very soft-spoken voice. The Kinder Trains (Kindertransport) was an organized rescue effort that took place nine months prior to the outbreak of the second World War. The United Kingdom took in about 10,000 predominantly Jewish children from Nazi Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland. The children where then placed into foster homes, schools, and farms in the United Kingdom. She spoke of her very difficult journey with her sister and then tuned back to her comment of Holland. Once on the Kinder Train she said the people of Holland would pass chocolate milk and candy through the doors on the train to people. Again, she stated how incredibly great the Chocolate was and the Dutch in Holland had the best Chocolate in the world.

When Litzie stopped talking, I looked at my wife’s face noticing the look of amazement as the story finished. The same expression was on everyone’s face at the table. I looked to Buzz and Litzie hands as they held each other with a clear sign of love. It was clear, these two have experienced an incredible love for each over many, many years and now in their late 80’s. 
Both Buzz and Litzie have passed away now, but I will never forget that amazing evening with fellow Rotarians sitting at a round table during a Rotary event. Over the years, Buzz Trustin has given me some valuable advice on Rotary and leadership. This is something we can gain in our clubs as we network and become a team. Litzie’s story taught me how compassionate people can be during difficult times (i.e, English people opening their homes to others during the war. The Dutch people passing on the chocolate knowing the difficult journey the children and the possible death the children may have avoided as they left family at home with many never to be seen again). While we all come from different backgrounds, race, gender, couture’s or even religions, we all come together as one to help others in our communities, national or international in Rotary. We all come together in service-above-self like many in Litzie’s story. Plus, …smile…I also learned to pay more attention to conversations going on around me no matter who is talking. You never know the great life or changing experience you may hear from a fellow Rotarian. That change may be sitting right beside you. Thank you fellow Rotarian Yale Buzz Trustin and Litzie for the incredible honor of a dinner experience that Anneke and will never forget. Photo is of Yale "Buzz" Trustin.