Meeting of 6/14/18: ‘It’s All About Us’

screen-shot-2016-10-16-at-7-10-54-pmMeeting at Quigley’s Restaurant
593 Columbia Turnpike
East Greenbush, NY
June 14, 2018

Members Attending (13): Roberto Martinez, Murray Forth, Pat Bailey, Bill Dowd, Jim Leyhane, Debbie Rodriguez, Phil Kellerman, Ray Hannan, Dick Drumm, Kevin Leyhane, A.J. Amato, Becky Raymond, Carole Spencer.

Guests (1): Alessandra Barbarossa.


OPENING — President Roberto Martinez welcomed Rotarians and student guest Alessandra Barbarossa, who made her final visit to our club before returning home to Italy after an academic year at Columbia High School. He noted that today is Flag Day, And, he showed reports on the club website about recent activities (click on titles to access separate stories):

Star of Hope restoration project;

Circles of Mercy awards dinner;

Rebuilding Warriors via Bell Top School

SCHOLARSHIPS — We have received the names of graduating seniors at Rensselaer, Maple Hill, and Columbia high schools who will be recipients of this year’s $1,000 SRC Rotary Scholarships. We had planned on presenting the awards at next week’s meeting, but there is some question about the availability of the students.

RYLA UPDATE — Maple Hill High School has again expressed interest in providing juniors-to-be to participate in the 2018-19 Rotary Youth Leadership Awards training series. No word on whether there is any interest from other high schools in our area of service.

RI CONVENTION — For those not attending the Rotary International Convention on June 22-27 in Toronto, there will be a live streaming of various breakout sessions. Roberto asked webmaster Bill Dowd if he would be able to link to those on our website, and he said he would do so.

CALENDAR ITEMS — Peter and Debbie Brown again will host our annual Presidential Changeover dinner at 6 p.m. Thursday,  June 28, at their Castleton residence. Join us to see Roberto pass the gavel to President-elect Andy Leyhane for the 2018-19 Rotary Year. … The District 7190 Changeover brunch is scheduled for Sunday, July 8, at Dunham’s Bay Resort on Lake George. Reservations may be made online by clicking here. … The club will pay for any member who wishes to participate in the Rotary Leadership Institute (RLI) on Saturday, October 20. See Bill Dowd if you would like information. … Next Meeting: 6:15 p.m. Thursday, June 21, at Quigley’s. Final weekly dinner meeting of the 2017-18 Rotary Year.

PROGRAM: “It’s All About Us: Part 1”

Debbie Rodriguez

Immediate Past President Debbie Rodriguez has been digging through the musty and largely disorganized archives of our 58-year-old club, haphazardly stored in the closets, basements, and garages of several members — as well as in the dusty memories of others.

The impetus of her quest is simple.

“The club sent me to RLI (Rotary Leadership Institute) and I learned about Rotary in general. Then the club sent me to PETS (Presidents-elect Training Sessions) and I learned about the District. But, I still didn’t know enough about our club. So, I read our website information, interviewed several longtime members, and went through all the programs, records, photos, and other documents I could find.

“I still haven’t finished that process, but I thought I’d begin sharing what I found with the whole club.  So, this will end up being a multi-part report.”

Debbie found documents dealing with the chartering of the club, mini-bios of key founding members, information on activities with District 7190, membership rolls, key moments in club history, etc.

For a slideshow of Part 1 of Debbie’s presentation, click here to go to our archives.












SRC aids ‘Rebuilding Warriors’ via Bell Top

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SRC donated $1,500 of the $3,050 donated to the “Rebuilding Warriors” canine project. From left: Jim Leyhane, Ken Kippen, Marty Mahar, Murray Forth, Robeerto Martinez, Nobulee Burgess.

Screen Shot 2018-06-14 at 9.42.33 PMSeveral members of the Southern Rensselaer County Rotary Club spent time today at Bell Top Elementary School as part of a celebration of efforts supporting the “Rebuilding Warriors” canine support project.

A check for $3,050 was prepared for the support of the companion animal effort for veterans in need: $1,500 came from  SRC’s recent “Bowling for Vets” event, with the remaining $1,550 coming from a combination of student fundraising and a faculty Go Fund Me effort.

Rebuilding Warriors is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization providing highly trained and socialized service/companion dogs to veterans diagnosed as amputees as well as those with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) and TBI (traumatic brain injury). Most of its dogs are bred especially for this mission and have a highly sought-after demeanor. Dogs are provided to honorably discharged veterans from any branch of the U.S. armed forces or from any service era meeting its eligibility standards. (Click here to go to the Rebuilding Warriors website.)

SRC also is involved in a second, separate canine project in partnership with Bell Top. It includs helping underwrite the purchase and years-long socializing and training of a support dog for the school. It was reported that a puppy will be selected from a litter of eight born on June 9 for purposes of this effort.

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Steve, a vet, with his companion dog Falcon visited Bell Top today.
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Service dog trainers Fred and Paul with Dan the dog.


Update: 4 ‘Summer Casual’ dates need to be filled

SRC Summer Casual

We’re nearly halfway to filling our seven-date “Summer Casual” calendar, with the addition this week of a theater outing and a pool party.

If you are interested in hosting an event (pool party, BYO picnic, cookout, etc.) or coordinating a family-friendly field trip (dinner at a marina, a sail on the Hudson River, etc.), please let President Roberto Martinez or President-elect Andy Leyhane know ASAP so we can get the planning under way.

The calendar:

• July 12 — Open

• July 19 — Open

July 25 (Wednesday) Pavilion picnic and New York-Penn League baseball game (Tri-City ValleyCats vs. Auburn Doubledays), Joseph L. Bruno Stadium, Troy. Tickets $26. Please make your reservations with Terry Brewer.

• August 2 — “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” 8 p.m. curtain, Mac-Haydn Theatre, 1925 State Route 203, Chatham. Tickets $39.50. Please make your reservations with Debbie Brown.

• August 9 — Open

• August 16 — Open

• August 23 — A family-friendly “Cookout By the Pool,” 6 p.m., Forth residence, East Greenbush. Please make your reservations with Murray or Maggie Forth.

(Traditionally, we do not hold events on July 4th week or during the week leading into the long Labor Day weekend.)

SRC honored for public service by Circles of Mercy, 2 legislative groups

The Circles of Mercy plaque.

The Southern Rensselaer County Rotary Club was honored for its work with the Circles of Mercy family aid organization at its annual gala held at Shaker Ridge Country Club on Wednesday.

The award was “in grateful appreciation of your dedicated service in assisting with Catherine McAuley’s mission and spirit of mercy at Circles of Mercy.”

In addition, our club was presented with a proclamation from the New York State Legislature, sponsored by State Senator Neil Breslin and Assemblyman John McDonald, for its public service, as well as a “Special Certificate of Congressional Recognition” sponsored by U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko.

Some scenes from the event:

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Murry Forth accepts on behalf of SRC from Circles executive director Richard Zazycki.
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The crowd at the Circles of Mercy gala.
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Roberto Martinez, Jim Leyhane, and Murray were in attendance.
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The proclamation from the New York State Legislature.
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Congressional honors for SRC Rotary.


June 14: Flag Day for America

This Thursday, June 14, we celebrate Flag Day.

For a relatively young country, the United States has had many official flags over its 242 years, and that’s not even counting such early banners as the Pine Tree Flag (“An Appeal to Heaven”) and the Rattlesnake Flag (“Don’t Tread On Me”), as well as a host of regional and movement flags. (Click here to see some of those)

Below is a look at the official flags as designated by the federal government. Note the many subtle differences. And, click here to read about the history of our flag.

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RSVP by Tuesday for dinner on Thursday

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This week’s menu centerpiece.

We’re getting down to the wire, with this Thursday’s 6:15 p.m. gathering at Quigley’s serving as our next-to-last dinner meeting of the 2017-18 Rotary Year.

The last dinner meeting will be the following Thursday, June 21, when we award scholarships to a trio of local high school students. The following Thursday, June 28, will be our annual Presidential Changeover event, again being hosted by Debbie and Peter Brown. Then, after taking a break for the Fourth of July week, we’ll head into our “Summer Casual” period for July and August. (Click here to see that calendar and the  available dates if you would like to host a picnic or plan an event.)

This week, Debbie Rodriguez will present her first “chapter” of our club’s history. Debbie says this will be an ongoing project as she searches through years of archives. Perhaps some of her findings will prompt memories from past years, so come prepared to pull information out of your personal memory banks.

Dinner will feature Quigley’s popular eggplant Parmesan, antipasto salad, chef’s choice of sides, bread, dessert, and beverages. As always, dinner coordinator Debbie B. will need your RSVP (emailed to no later than Tuesday evening to allow for sufficient food and seating. And, also as always, guests are very welcome as long as you let her know in advance.

Here’s who has signed up so far:

Pat Bailey
Bill Dowd
Dick Drumm
Phil Kellerman
Jim Leyhane
Roberto Martinez
Debbie Rodriguez