Rotary International

GSE Visit

India to Mount Pulaski

April, 2009


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Indian Rotary GSE Team Visits Mount Pulaski

       Rotarian Shyam Sharma is serving as team leader for this GSE visit to our United States of America.  Their host is our District 6490.   One of their first stops was Mount Pulaski.  They wanted to visit some of the places where the 16th President of our United States, Abraham Lincoln, studied, worked, and grew to distinction and popularity.  Like us, they have read with amazement how Mr. Lincoln became a "self-made" man.  They, too, know that he was a shop keeper, postmaster, surveyor, lawyer, Illinois State Legislator, and a United States Representative.  Indeed, they wished to learn more about this famous man who spearheaded the almost unbelievable task of keeping the north American states together as one union - pledging to uphold that which was set down by his forefathers "four score and seven years ago...".
       Each of the GSE team members are accomplished businessmen.  Shyam is chairperson of a company engaged in the manufacture and export of Guar Gum Powder, a natural hydrocolloid used as a food ingredient.  Under his leadership, his company has won three prestigious National export awards in its category.  Shyam has a master's degree in Organic Chemistry from the University of Jodhpur.  He has been an active Rotarian since 1992:  Secretary, President, Assistant Governor, Vice Chairman Rotary Foundation - Permanent Fund, Chairman Consumer Awareness, etc.  Puneet Rao is a leading exporter of computer software and web-based applications.  He specializes in developing web-based applications using open-source technologies.  He has a master's degree in computer science and textile chemistry from the University of Jodhpur.  Vijay Chhabda is a sales and marketing manager for a pharmaceutical company.  He has been awarded the Best Performer and Best Area Sales manager Prizes several times.  Alok Bakliwal is the chief executive officer of a group of companies involved in project development, civil construction, and exporting of Indian handicrafts & fashion jewelry.  He is a science graduated from the University of Rajasthan.  He is founder associate of 'Nirmal Scholarship' - working for girl child education.  He has been instrumental in the uplifting of many poor artisans involved in Indian crafts.  Vipul Patel, the youngest GSE team member, is co-founder and director of a computer software development firm, having expertise in open-source technology in telecom domain.  Vipul is a graduate of Engineering in Information Technology from Gujarat University.
      The Lincoln Illinois Rotary Club was in charge of the Abraham Lincoln Tour visits - Marty Ahrends (GSE Coordinator) and Lynn Mclaughlin (former President: 2006-2007) chaperoned them on the Lincoln, Pulaski and Springfield tours.  They were given a tour of our courthouse by Rotarians: Tom Romer, Darrell Knauer and Phil Bertoni (President).  Many questions were asked and we did our best to answer them.  They were excited to be in the same courthouse in which Abraham Lincoln once practiced law way back in the years: 1849 through 1854.  They all gleefully had their photos taken, especially in the upstairs courtroom, with several donning the stove pipe hat.  They eagerly posed for a photo as they knelt down and touched the floor that Abe once walked on.  They noticed the 30-star American flag.  It was pointed out that this was the number of states in our union in 1848, the year that this courthouse began to serve as the venue for our Logan County Seat.  Rotarians Rebecca Drake and Pat Pryzkopanski joined us for lunch and conversation.