‘Adopt-a-Family’ project quickly hits capacity

Adopt a Family logoTHIS email was sent to all SRC members Monday evening, November 30, 2015.

Well, that didn’t take long at all!

We have received enough pledges of gift donations to completely fill the family’s wish list for the annual Circles of Mercy “Adopt-a-Family for Christmas” effort.

Please check the attached spreadsheet that shows gifts, recipients and donors so you know what is on your shopping list. Once your gifts are purchased, holiday wrapped, and tagged with the name of the recipient, please give them to Bill Dowd at our SRC Rotary Club dinner meeting this Thursday (December 3) or next (December 10). That December 10 date is a firm deadline.

To those who responded so quickly, thank you. To those who might have been planning to participate, there’s always some other community effort around the corner. Think post-holiday food pantry donations, for example. We supply three strategically-placed venues each January when they have been depleted by holiday demand.

Meanwhile, happy shopping to all!

NOTE: The above-mentioned spreadsheet was not placed here on the website to protect the privacy of the recipient family.


Have you posted or shared this flyer yet?

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Our ‘Adopt-a-Family’ effort is under way

Adopt a Family logoE-mails went out today to each of our members, containing details of our club’s participation in the Circles of Mercy annual “Adopt-a-Family for Christmas” drive.

We’re hoping for the usual generosity for our family of almost-5 (check the e-mails for names and details on that headcount). Their wish list is divided into “need to have” and “nice to have” items. We’re hoping to provide all of them.

If several people want to provide any of the larger items, they can always partner on the cost. But, in all instances the donations have to be managed to (1) avoid duplication, and (2) insure that we fill the entire list. To that end, please let Bill Dowd know by e-mail ASAP what you would like to donate, but PLEASE DO NOT PURCHASE ANYTHING until you hear back from him to confirm. That will avoid unnecessary complications.

Donations, gift wrapped and tagged with the intended recipients’ names, need to be given to Bill no later than our Thursday, December 10, dinner meeting to allow for transport to Circles of Mercy’s Rensselaer headquarters in time for compilation and distribution.

A very happy Thanksgiving Day to all

Rockwell ThanksgivingThis oil painting by the iconic artist Norman Rockwell is called “Freedom from Want.” It also is known as “The Thanksgiving Picture” and “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.”

It is the third work in the “Four Freedoms” series of four oil paintings by Rockwell inspired by President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1941 State of the Union Address, a speech known as “Four Freedoms.”

The painting was created in November 1942 and published in the March 6, 1943 issue of The Saturday Evening Post magazine. All of the people in the picture were friends and family of Rockwell in Arlington, Vermont, who were photographed individually and painted into the scene.

Food’s finished, let’s pose for a photo

Seated (l to r): Roberto Martinez, Len and Jan Leonidas. Standing (l to r): Jim Leyhane, Dick and Mary Drumm, hosts Peter and Debbie Brown, Bill and April Dowd, Pat Bailey.

Seated (l to r): Roberto Martinez, Len and Jan Leonidas. Standing (l to r): Jim Leyhane, Dick and Mary Drumm, hosts Peter and Debbie Brown, Bill and April Dowd, Pat Bailey.

Rotary Home Cooking logoThis is the well-fed group that took part in the SRC club’s first “Rotary Home Cooking” dinner of the 2015-16 Rotary Year.

Hosts Peter and Debbie Brown outdid themselves, with several types of canapes and drinks, then serving a sumptious meal consisting of a carrot/rutabaga/leek soup, a beet and greens salad, salmon topped with a mushroom duxelle then baked in puff pastry and a buerre blanc on the side, and finishing with coffee and an apple crisp topped with a scoop of frozen yogurt. A selection of domestic and imported wines flowed through the meal.

A special thank-you to the Browns for their always-generous hospitality that resulted not only in a fine social evening, but $360 for the club treasury to help support our many community projects.

We will be looking for anyone else interested in hosting a home dinner after the holidays. If you’re interested, please let Terry Brewer know the date and main menu selection you’re planning, and whether there will be a theme.

If you’re new to the “Rotary Home Cooking” series, which began in 2011, here’s how it works:

The host(s) supply the venue and the food and beverages. That is the contribution. Each guest usually contributes anywhere from $35 to $45 for the club treasury. The figure is set by the host(s) depending on the projected cost of the meal. As to size, we have on average had as few as six guests and as many as 12.

Themes and style of food have varied greatly over the years. We have had “Chili On a Chilly Night” as a hearty, informal event; “A “Salute To the Oak Room” with a dinner based on a 1950s menu served in the restaurant of New York City’s iconic Plaza Hotel; a “Whiskies and Small Plates Night,”  and various ethnic dinners highlighting French, German, Irish, and other dishes.

We even had a one-time big-crowd blowout last spring largely underwritten by a group of club members and involving 18 guests with a professional chef and his team doing the work.

So, hosts are limited only by their imaginations and seating space. And, if you can’t host, feel free to attend. The only catch is that reservations always are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

What’s your passion? Join Rotarians who share it

Fellowships 1
Fellowships 2

Please support our sponsors

SRC Sponsors TagThe Southern Rensselaer County Rotary Club salutes our ongoing and/or event sponsors and encourages you to patronize these businesses that help make our community a vibrant place to live.

For a list of who they are, simply go to the top of this page and click on


A blanket statement



Pat Bailey and Debbie Rodriguez deliver nine no-sew blankets to the Blue Star Mothers for their

Pat Bailey (left) and Debbie Rodriguez (right) deliver 10 no-sew blankets to the Blue Star Mothers for their “Uncle Shawn’s Hugs” program honoring Sgt. Shawn Martin of Delmar, a Marine killed in Iraq. Nine of the blankets were made by Southern Rensselaer County Rotary Club members during a November 5 work session, and the 10th by Debbie and husband Chuck.

Meeting of 11/12/15: ‘The American Flag’

Screen shot 2015-05-22 at 12.44.07 PMMeeting at Quigley’s Restaurant
593 Columbia Turnpike
East Greenbush, NY
November 12, 2015

Attending (18): Terry Brewer, Murray Forth, Debbie Rodriguez, Pat Bailey, Bill Dowd, Jim Leyhane, Jim Butterworth, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown, April Dowd, Charlie Foote, Roberto Martinez, Dean Calamaras, Doris Calamaras, Dick Drumm, Rommel Tolentino, David Taylor, Ray Hannan.

Guests: None.

PROGRAM: “A Tribute to the American Flag”

Doris Calamaras presents a reading.

Doris Calamaras presents a reading.


Doris Calamaras presented a brief appreciation of the American flag, in keeping with the week of Veterans’ Day.

She said that something that stood out in her mind when she worked in Europe with the U.S. government was not seeing the American flag flying except at embassies and the like.

She spoke of her fervent feeling that one nation is represented by one flag, and she offered the reading of a poem extolling the meaning of that national symbol.

Doris closed by distributing to attendees who are veterans or who have had a family member in military service — which covered virtually everyone — small plastic envelopes containing stars cut from decommissioned flags and printed explanations of what the keepsakes are. (See photo) Anyone who wishes to get more of the stars can make a request online with StarsForOurTroops.org.


THANK-YOUS — President Terry Brewer said he received a letter of thanks from The Anchor food pantry in Castleton for our $100 grant. … He also thanked, on the occasion of Veterans’ Day week, the military veterans in our club for their service: Jim Leyhane (Army) and David Taylor (Air Force).

Rotary Home Cooking logoROTARY HOME COOKING — Debbie Brown reported that all seats — plus one — have been accounted for at the dinner party she and Peter will be hosting this Saturday. All proceeds will go to the club treasury. Terry said a signup schedule will be circulated at an upcoming meeting for anyone else who wishes to host a home dinner after the holidays.

HOLIDAY PARTY — Speaking of the Browns, they also will be hosting our annual Holiday Party & Gift Basket Silent Auction, scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday, December 17. Terry urged members to register for the event, which will be catered by Jim Mendrysa’s Talk of the Town, and to come up with innovative themes for the gift baskets. He pointed out that if anyone is stumped for ideas, Bill Dowd has posted some sample baskets on the club website for inspiration.

SRC Bowling Logo 2015BOWLING FOR VETS — The bowlathon coordinated by Murray Forth and Terry drew more than 80 bowlers. Photo and video coverage of the event have been posted on the club website. Murray reported that, including donations from the public, we netted $3,165. In addition, $150 in raffle prize money will go to Rotary projects. Two military organizations will benefit from the event — Wounded Warriors and Blue Star Mothers. Terry said he still is seeking a local Wounded Warriors contact, and that a representative of the Blue Star Mothers group will be invited to a club meeting to be presented with a check.

NO-SEW BLANKETS — The blankets that club members made on November 5 will be donated to the Marine Corps’  “Toys for Tots” program to be handed out at their annual  holiday parade. A video is on the club website showing the blanket-making session.

Screen shot 2015-11-13 at 2.28.06 PMMEETING SCHEDULE — We will have a breakfast meeting from 7 to 8 p.m. next Thursday, November 19, at the CASDA (Capital Area School Development Association) offices, 5 University Place # 409, Rensselaer, just off Columbia Turnpike. All are welcome. However, there will be no dinner meeting on that day or the following week, which is Thanksgiving.

MEMBER RECRUITMENT — Terry reiterated that we have several incoming members: Mike Dewey, director of finance at St. Colman’s School, who brought several teams to the “Bowling for Vets” event, and Jill Hughes, new director of the East Greenbush Community Library and a former member of the Martha’s Vineyard (MA) Rotary Club.

ADOPT A FAMILY — Bill Dowd reported that we are signed up two adopt two families for the holidays as part of the Circles of Mercy community outreach service. He said we are promised a list sometime during Thanksgiving week of what the families could use in the way of donated items, and he will share that wish list with club members.

Robot GolferSIMULATOR GOLF TOURNEY — The season’s first simulator golf event at Burden Lake Country Club has been scheduled for Saturday, December 12. Bill Dowd has created flyers that were made available at the meeting, and that will be e-mailed to all members for printout and distribution. The flyers already have been posted on our website and Facebook page. Terry said he plans to suggest to prospective members attending the breakfast meeting series that they become involved in staffing the event.

CARDS FOR SERVICE PEOPLE — Ray Hannan explained the project his daughter and son-in-law, both of whom are stationed with the U.S. Air Force in South Korea, are spearheading. They are making up gift baskets for single military people for the holidays, and we have been signing Christmas cards to be included in the packets. He said that about 9,200 such cards are expected to be supplied to the effort nationwide.

Screen shot 2015-10-30 at 1.39.26 PMCOMMITTEES — Terry urged everyone to check the club website to be sure they know the committees to which they have been assigned. And, he urged the lead people on each committee to use a few minutes before dinner meetings to get together with their members to discuss what they should be doing.

CLUB VIDEOS — Terry said he has heard much praise for our club website, including in recent weeks from District Governor Milan Jackson and District Governor-elect John Mucha. He thanked Bill Dowd for putting so much effort into building and maintaining the site. Members then were shown the website’s coverage of the bowling fundraiser and the blanket-making workshop. Everyone was urged once more to make a regular practice of visiting the website to stay abreast of  Rotary developments and activities locally and globally. Bill noted that although we have had videos posted on the website in the past, the blanket-making video was the first directly from the club and, in addition, was the 1,000th item posted on the site.

NEXT BREAKFAST MEETING: 7 to 8 a.m. Thursday, November 19, at the CASDA (Capital Area School Development Association) offices, 5 University Place # 409, Rensselaer, just off Columbia Turnpike.

NEXT DINNER MEETING: 6:15 p.m. Thursday, December 3, with Cindy Dean of Unity House in Troy.

Do you know your committee assignments?

Screen shot 2015-10-30 at 1.39.26 PMThe headline on this posting asks a question that is key to our success in the 2015-16 Rotary Year.

If you know your committee assignments, great. If you don’t, then go to the top of our website page and click on “Committees.” And, if your committees have not yet met, feel free to annoy the bejeezus out of the committee “lead” person to make it happen!

Inactive committees may as well not exist. The only way to make a difference, either on the local or the global levels, is to make a sustained, specific effort. And, making a difference is the reason we are Rotarians, not merely members of Rotary.