Checking in: A conversation with Pat Wolfram
While tracking the COVID-19 pandemic and providing information about the response of governments and other entities is the main priority, Pamplin Media Group also wanted to provide a window into the lives of individual residents whose lives have changed because of this calamity.
Next in our series, titled Checking In, Rotary Club of Wilsonville President Pat Wolfram talks about how the Rotary is adjusting to the pandemic, reaching out to his parents and more.
Answers have been edited for length and clarity.
Q: Overall, how has your life been impacted by the pandemic?
A: Personally it's not difficult. We live on the edge of town and can walk our dogs and ride bikes without bumping into anyone. Staying home with my wife Lori is OK. She's one of the funniest people I know. It's not terrible.
I've worked from home for 13 years so that's easy. We've been super busy. We have a web product that integrates doctors' offices with labs. We have hundreds of clients and we distribute lab results including COVID-19 results back into medical records that are used to manage patient care. We've been busy gearing that up. That's been a change.
Personally, I get energy from people. I like being part of events and service projects and I miss that interaction, putting on a concert, cooking omelets and hanging out at a coffee shop.
Q: And Rotary effects?
A: Rotary has had some major changes. We're usually busy with omelette feeds for work day, the (canceled) summer concert series, presenting scholarships to high school kids, and managing our student exchange program. A big impact is, we have a new Interact Club this year. It's the first time we put on a youth club in this town. We had 16 good kids but they had to suspend their local service project in March. Their international service project didn't even get off the ground.
(Rotary) moved over to Zoom very quickly, the first week in March. We stepped into the Zoom right away and have had seven sessions. We get a lot of people (video conferencing) in from Arizona who have left town so that's pretty cool. We've had good guest speakers. Last week, we had a really good one. The local robotics team, we learned about their most recent work. They pivoted and began producing face shields and we're talking about ways to help them with that.
Usually we're very active this time of year and we're not. We've changed our meeting format. Everyone weighs in with their highlights of the week. It's a good way to get us to think of service and think of each other. Tonight, we're having our first happy hour Rotary Zoom.
Q: Have you learned anything about yourself through the time?
A: I realize now how much energy I get from other people. I miss it. I actually enjoy going to the store even though I have to stay away from everyone and wear a mask. I'm reaching out to my mom and dad a lot more. They're both in their 80s. I want to talk to them more because they're feeling isolated. I worry about the people who are unheard and unseen. We all need to take a little bit of extra time to think of those people who aren't getting (interaction). They're in their rooms.
Q: Is it rewarding to have more time with your parents?
A: It's fun watching them struggle with technology. With other professionals I get impatient but with mom and dad it's funny. They laugh, I laugh and it's cute.
Q: Are there any new books, TV shows or movies you would recommend?
A: One's called "Zoe's Extraordinary Playlist." It's super clever. Lori likes it and I liked it. A book I'm reading is written by Eric Larsen on Churchill: "The Splendid and the Vile." I love history. I love Churchill. I think he's an amazing leader. He was a great leader in a difficult time and he knew what was needed to get everyone on the same page in a positive way in the most dire of situations.
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