Steinar Tweiten is known to most members of LA5 Rotary as a distinguished gray-haired gentleman with an engaging disposition, who arrives each Friday on his motorized scooter. That is part of Steinar’s existence, but there is so much more.
He was born in Oak Park, Illinois. After his Mother and Father lost everything in the Great Depression, his grandparents paid for his family to move back to Oslo, Norway where Steinar lived until he was seventeen. He worked as a volunteer and guide at the 1952 Winter Olympics in Oslo. He met there a filmmaker from California who invited him to come to the United States, and who promised to get him a job.
Steinar was 20 years old when he arrived in California from war-torn Norway. He went to work at Helms Bakery and eventually applied to UCLA. They accepted him as a Junior, but he was on six months probation because of his limited English.
One night on campus he was stopped on Fraternity Row and asked, “Are you rushin’?” He answered, “No, I’m Norwegian!” Shortly after that encounter he pledged the Theta XI Fraternity and moved into their house.
He graduated with a B.A. in Political Science, and within 10 days reported to the U.S. Army’s Fort Devens in Northern California, eventually assigned to the 7th Army in Germany as a linguist. After his military service he went to work for Moore Business Forms, where he spent 34 years as a local manager. In that capacity he recruited, hired, trained and managed many very bright recent college graduates.
Steinar was active in the Los Angeles Junior Chamber of Commerce, and has been a loyal member of Rotary for 43 years. He spent decades in mountain rescue on the National Ski Patrol, and was part of the medical team in the 1984 Olympics. He is a licensed radio operator who serves with law enforcement, fire departments and hospitals in emergency communication situations.
Steinar says he is proud to be an American, a Rotarian, a Bruin, a Veteran and to be of Norwegian heritage. Prior to his difficulty in walking, Steinar was a runner, tennis player, golfer, camper and skier who loved the outdoors. His favorite Rotary moment was serving on the Rotary International Convention Organizing Committee in Los Angeles.
Regarding his physical limitations, Steinar says, Disability turns to debility without great determination, dedication and lust for living. If you have not met Steinar personally, make it a point to introduce yourself to him. He is an excellent example of Rotary’s motto, Service Above Self. He has strength and uses it to keep his life, and those of others, filled with abundance and compassion.