Attending (15): Terry Brewer, Debbie Rodriguez, Murray Forth, Pat Bailey, Bill Dowd, Jim Butterworth, Jim Leyhane, Charlie Foote, Rommel Tolentino, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown, Len Leonidas, Dick Drumm, David Taylor, Ray Hannan.
Guests (3): Milan Jackson, Sheila Jackson, John Sawchuck.
PROGRAM: “Meet the District Governor”
President Terry Brewer introduced 2015-16 District Governor Milan Jackson, a member of the Cobleskill-Richmondville club.
Milan provided a brief glimpse of his Rotary background, which began when he was stationed in the Philippines as a member of the U.S. Air Force. Milan, who was born in England and came to the U.S. as an infant, was raised mostly in Schoharie County, but lived elsewhere for 40+ years of military-related service.
Milan also presented to the club a “Be a Gift to the World” banner signifying this year’s Rotary motto. He briefly touched on District goals, but emphasized that he wants to concentrate on the goals of the District’s 41 clubs as well. He has visited more than 30 of them so far. He also spoke about his experience both here and in Brazil with young-adult members of a Group Study Exchange from Brazil. (SRC hosted the group for a day during that visit last year.)
The DG said he had been one of the early Rotary volunteers distributing polio vaccine back in the 1980s in the Philippines. To overcome local opposition to the program, a Rotarian dressed as the Easter Bunny was on hand to pass out treats to the children, but only after they had taken their polio vaccine. It worked like a charm. He said at that time he was new to Rotary and was not aware that fighting polio was an emerging RI global activity. Now that Africa has been certified polio-free, he said, only Afghanistan and Pakistan are polio-endemic countries. (Click here to read the news story on that development.)
“That’s going to be a tough nut to crack,” he said, “but I was in on the fight against polio at the beginning, and I hope to be around when it is over.”
Milan said that during his governorship he wants to actually increase membership, rather than just talk about it. His goal is to have each club add at least one new members during the 2015-16 period. If that happens, we would have at least 41 new Rotarians in 7190.
He also encouraged all club members to take advantage of such programs as the Rotary Leadership Institute (RLI), PETS (President-elect Training Sessions), and others no matter how briefly or how long they have been Rotarians.
Milan said he had not taken advantage of RLI because, as a longtime Rotarian, he assumed he didn’t need more training. However, his son, a Rotterdam Sunrise Club president and RLI participant, convinced him it would be a good idea to take all three RLI level workshops before becoming District Governor. He did so by enrolling in a flurry at workshops at Siena College, in Wilkes-Barre, PA, and in Peabody, MA, and said he was pleasantly surprised.
“Who here joined Rotary to take training classes? No one! But, if you do participate you’ll find all sorts of positive outcomes — from networking with other Rotarians to successful project management to sharing ideas with other clubs and bringing new thinking back to your own club.”
FOOD PANTRY AID — Debbie Brown shared a request from The Anchor, the Castleton food pantry our club has supported for several years, to help it acquire non-food items such as toilet tissue and dishwashing liquid. With club approval, President Terry said we will send a $100 grant to handle some immediate needs, and may award more if The Anchor has further needs. Bill Dowd noted that The Anchor usually needs food donations after the Thanksgiving-Christmas period. In response to that observation, visitor John Sawchuk, principal of Columbia High School, said his school’s annual food drive results in several truckloads of items and volunteered to add SRC to the distribution list. Terry accepted that offer, with thanks, and said he would supply John with details. The Anchor is located at the Sisters of the Resurrection Convent behind the Riverside Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, 90 North Main Street off Route 9J, Castleton. Hours of operation are Mondays from 6 to 8 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and the first Saturday of each month from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
ADOPT A FAMILY — Bill Dowd recommended that the club again support two families as part of Circles of Mercy‘s “Adopt a Family” program for the holidays. The club agreed to do so. The donation list is in the process of being compiled as Circle interviews and registers families. Executive Director Richard Zazycki said he will have the list available the week before Thanksgiving.
FOUNDATION DINNER — A reminder that the annual District 7190 Foundation Dinner is scheduled for Thursday, November 19, at the Stratton Air National Guard Base in Scotia. It’s a military-themed event this year, with veterans from throughout the region being recognized and tours given of the gigantic C-130 transport plane. So far, Bill Dowd, April Dowd, and Jim Leyhane have said they plan to attend. Reservations can be made online. Click here to go to the online reservation page. (You can ignore the optional item at the top of the form.)
COMMITTEES — Terry redistributed copies of the committees he appointed earlier in this Rotary Year, and encouraged committee heads to meet with their members to discuss what they can do. The list will be available on the club website as well.
ROTARY HOME COOKING — Debbie and Peter Brown said they have three (3) seats remaining for the 6 p.m. Saturday, November 14, dinner they will host. Please see one of them ASAP if you would like to attend. Reservations are taken on a first-come, first-served basis. The centerpiece of the menu will be salmon en croute.
BREAKFAST MEETINGS — Terry said our second monthly breakfast meeting has been scheduled for 7 a.m. Thursday, November 19, at the Capital Area School Development Association (CASDA) office, 5 University Place #409, Rensselaer. He said he feels strongly that we could get as many as eight new members as a result of our initial breakfast meeting. Shannon Romanowski has expressed interest in hosting a breakfast at the Greenbush YMCA. All club members are invited to attend the breakfasts, and to let Terry know in advance if there is any prospective members they would like to have invited.
BOWLING FOR VETERANS — The bowling fundraiser, a pair of two-hour sessions scheduled for Sunday, November 8, at the East Greenbush Bowling Center, has received $600 in lane sponsorship pledges so far, at $100 per lane.We can have multiple sponsors for each of the 16 reserved lanes. Co-coordinators Terry and Murray reported that volunteer help to staff tables is coming in, and several organizations — including CASDA and the St. Colman’s School of Watervliet — have said they will be sending four-person teams to the event. Terry said he is offering a $100 prize, in the form of four $25 restaurant gift certificates, to the team totaling the most pins in a two-hour session. Debbie Rodriguez asked that members advise her of any lane sponsorships they acquire so we do not contact the same places repeatedly. Terry suggested past sponsors of such events as the former Rotary Run might be contacted for sponsorships.
HOSPITAL STAY BROCHURE — Peter Brown explained a piece of legislation being crafted by Governor Cuomo’s office to support people leaving a hospital. He noted that this is in the vein of our Hospital Stay Brochure which, he says, is “on the cutting edge” of helping patients and patient helpers. He said he has been unable to find any other such brochures, but asked members to let him know if they find any.
HOLIDAY PARTY & BASKET AUCTION — Debbie Brown reported that Jim Mendrysa’s Talk of the Town catering service will handle the food for our December 17 party being hosted by the Browns. Terry reminded everyone to begin thinking about the theme gift baskets they will bring for a silent auction to benefit the club’s general fund. (Go here for some ideas to jump-start your creative process.)
MEMBERSHIP MIXER — Jim Leyhane reported on the District Membership Mixer he attended on behalf of the club at the Western Turnpike Golf Club in Guilderland. It was one of three regional mixers being held to share ideas among clubs and to invite prospective members. Jim said he was encouraged by the enthusiasm for Rotary projects among younger members.
NEXT MEETING: Our 6:15 p.m. Thursday, November 5, meeting will be a work session with everyone involved. We will be making no-sew blankets for the Blue Star Mothers military family support organization. Please bring scissors and enthusiasm.