They wanted to visit some of the places where
Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of our United States, 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 shopkeeper, postmaster, surveyor, lawyer,
Illinois state legislator and U.S. 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."
were given a tour of the Mount Pulaski Courthouse by Rotarians Tom
Romer, Darrell Knauer and Phil Bertoni, club president. Many
questions were asked and the tour leaders did their best to answer
The visitors were excited to be in the same courthouse in which
Abraham Lincoln once practiced law way back in the years 1849-1854.
They all gleefully had their photos taken, especially in the
upstairs courtroom, with several donning the stovepipe 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 the group for
lunch and conversation. Pins and Rotary banners were exchanged.
Each member of the group study exchange team is an accomplished
Sharma, the team leader, is chairman 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. Sharma has a master's degree in organic chemistry from the
University of Jodhpur. He has been an active Rotarian since 1992,
holding offices including secretary, president, assistant governor,
vice chairman of the Rotary Foundation Permanent Fund and chairman
for consumer awareness.
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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 prizes several times as
best performer and best area sales manager.
Alok Bakliwal is the chief executive officer of a group of
companies involved in project development, civil construction and
exporting of Indian handicrafts and fashion jewelry. He is a science
graduate of the University of Rajasthan. He is founder associate of
Nirmal Scholarship, working for girls’ education. He has been
instrumental in the uplifting of many poor artisans involved in
Vipul Patel, the youngest group study exchange team member, is
co-founder and director of a computer software development firm,
having expertise in open-source technology in the telecom domain. He
is a graduate of the engineering in information technology program
at Gujarat University.
The Lincoln Rotary Club was in charge of the Abraham Lincoln tour
visits. Chaperones for the Lincoln, Mount Pulaski and Springfield
tours were Marty Ahrends, group study exchange coordinator; Lynn
Laughlin, Rotary president in 2006-2007; and Kirby Rodgers.
[Text from file received from Phil Bertoni]