SRC tops $7,000 in special ShelterBox push for Hurricane Harvey victims

SB Checks
SRC’s ShelterBox liaison Bill Dowd (left) presents a fistful of checks to 7190 ShelterBox coordinator Jack Faddegon.

The latest major donation to ShelterBox from the Southern Rensselaer County Rotary Club was hand-delivered today.

Assistant District Governor Jack Faddegon accepted  individual SRC members’ checks amounting to $7,050 from Bill Dowd, ShelterBox liaison officer. The amount far exceeded the original $5,000 goal set for the two-week push. All money will go to ShelterBox’s special “Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund” to aid victims in Texas and Louisiana.

SRC has been honored several times at the national and local levels for its support of the ShelterBox emergency relief program. Last year, it was awarded the first District 7190 ShelterBox “Hero” pennant. This latest donation is separate from an annual SRC donation to the ShelterBox general treasury, which will be made later in the Rotary Year.

“Your club is just incredible,” Faddegon said. “Year after year you keep helping, and it is so appreciated.”

Faddegon said he has visited several clubs in his ShelterBox capacity, and he projects total contributions from throughout District 7190 may hit $20,000.

For details on the ShelterBox program, click here,


Meeting of 9/21/17: ‘A Look at DACA’

screen-shot-2016-10-16-at-7-10-54-pmMeeting at Quigley’s Restaurant
593 Columbia Turnpike
East Greenbush, NY
September 21, 2017

Members Attending (14): Roberto Martinez, Pat Bailey, Murray Forth, Terry Brfewer, Bill Dowd, Jim Leyhane, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown, Dick Drumm, Dean Calamaras, Maggie Forth, Debbie Rodriguez, Phil Kellerman, Carol Orvis.

Guests (1): Jeremy Forth.


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Speaker Phil Kellerman

Club member Phil Kellerman spoke on the federal DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program now being debated in Congress.

He used the case of an undocumented Florida woman he worked with through a Florida foundation who, now age 25, was  brought to the U.S. by her parents — both undocumented aliens — at age 9.

Phil talked about the current lack of paths to citizenship for such people, and the uncertainty that hangs over those who fear deportation to countries they do not know and, in some cases, whose language they do not speak. He explained the fee system ($485) for obtaining a DACA permit, which allows undocumented immigrants to work legally, to obtain a driver’s license, and to go to school.

The DACA program was created by a controversial executive order from President Barack Obama whose legality has been challenged. President Trump recently issued his own executive order that would nullify DACA in six months unless Congress acts to craft and pass legislation that would give the program the force of law. Trump has said he will sign such a bill.

Announcements & Business

BREAKFAST MEETING — Terry Brewer reported that 13 people attended this morning’s Third Thursday breakfast meeting at the Greenbush YMCA. Terry was the speaker, on the topic of preparing for an emergency. His presentation ranged from such things as handling natural disasters, fires, etc., to how to be sure important documents such as  insurance policies are readily available in case of immediate need.

RYLA — President Roberto Martinez announced that the club is sponsoring five members of tScreen shot 2017-05-31 at 4.14.57 PMhe Maple Hill High School junior class in this year’s Rotary Youth Leadership Awards program — Erik Burns, Evan Fink, Kendall Jenkins, Olivia Sterantino, and Abby Utter. No other local high schools expressed an interest in being sponsored.

SHELTERBOX UPDATE — Bill Dowd, the club’s ShelterBox liaison, reported on the activities ShelterBox has undertaken in the U.S. and the Caribbean in response to the devastating series of hurricanes. He said we have raised $7,050 in contributions from club members for the special ShelterBox Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund. He will deliver the money on Friday to Assistant District Governor Jack Faddegon, who is the ShelterBox coordinator for District 7190.

ANCHOR FOOD PANTRY UPDATE — Debbie Brown said she delivered the last batch of toilet paper requested by the Castleton pantry, and thanked members for donating. She now is collecting toothpaste and shampoo for The Anchor and will deliver it when she amasses a sufficient supply. … In response to a question about other contributions, Bill Dowd said our practice for the past few years has been to hold a food drive in January, a time when food pantries’ stocks usually are depleted by the demands of the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays,

screen-shot-2017-01-19-at-8-52-44-pmGIFT OF LIFE — Jim Leyhane said GOL’s annual golf tournament, held this year at Pinehaven Country Club in Guilderland rather than its longtime Amsterdam venue, was the largest ever with about 120 golfers. SRC entered two foursomes. Jim said the event is expected to have raised about $20,000.  The child from Mongolia who was brought to Albany Medical Center for cardiac surgery by GOL was in attendance at the event, and looked very fit.

WORLD POLIO DAY — The event, to be held at the UAlbany Health Campus in Rensselaer, is set for Tuesday, October 24. It will include a live feed from RI, as well as a showing of the “History of Polio” video created by SRC, CASDA, UAlbany, and the District.,

Screen shot 2016-06-11 at 4.40.35 PMDISTRICT MEMBERSHIP — Terry Brewer, chairman of the District 7190 Membership Committee, and club Vice President Ray Hannan attended the September 19 membership seminar at which Terry spoke before a crowd of about 50 people representing numerous clubs. Terry said clubs in 7190 vary in size from 6 or 8 to 40 or more members. The district committee is working with clubs to determine what is right for each, rather than use a one-size-fits-all approach to member recruitment and retention. Among goals are to achieve a 10% increase in membership each year, and to create a two-year plan of action.

ROTARY YOUTH EXCHANGE — A.J. Amato, the club ‘s Youth Exchange Officer, has reported interest by at least one student in joining the program. The possibility is being evaluated, although we are not sure if them timing will make it possible.

ON THE CALENDAR — A board meeting will follow the conclusion of next Thursday’s dinner meeting. … The next recycling and shredding day is October 14 at Wainschaf Associates in Rensselaer. … A hurricane relief fundraiser still is being worked on  by John Sawchuk at Columbia High School for October 20. … The Capital Region Nordic Alliance fundraiser luncheon is set for October 22. … The District’s  “Persons of Action” dinner is planned for November 19. … The annual Rotary Leadership Institute (RLI) workshop will be held Saturday, October 21, at the UAlbany Health Campus in Rensselaer. We have a sizeable contingent planning on participating; the club will pay for each registration fee.

NEXT MEETING — 6:15 p.m. Thursday, September 28, at Quigley’s. Jeff Simon, superintendent of the East Greenbush Central School District, will be the speaker.


What ShelterBox is doing in the hurricane-ravaged Carribean

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A once-prosperous street in the business neighborhood of St. Maarten.

We have four ShelterBox Response Teams planning and overseeing relief activities in the Caribbean.

Our team based in Panama has moved to then island of Barbados to work in the coordination hub there (which includes organizations like DHL Disaster Response Team, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency). We will establish a ShelterBox hub on Barbados to work on the complex logistics of getting aid to the families who desperately need it.

A second team is working with Red Cross National Societies to start distributing the 500 ShelterKits from Panama. Location will be confirmed following completion of a needs assessment.

A third team is going to the Dominican Republic, and we’re hoping to provide another 500 ShelterKits from the Panama supply hub, along with training on how to use them, through partnering with Habitat for Humanity. Habitat oversees recovery efforts beyond this emergency phase, so that should ensure maximum benefit for the families we are helping.
A fourth left the U.S. this week to go to the British Virgin Islands to conduct needs assessments. Aid, including tents and ShelterBoxes, was packed in the United Kingdom, where ShelterBox originated, and are being shipped this week with the assistance of the airline Virgin Atlantic who stepped in to help with logistics.

Why does it take so long to get aid in?

As a charity, our resources are limited and we must go where the need is greatest. We have to take the time to get this right because giving the wrong aid to families could harm their recovery. Once they have received aid from one humanitarian agency they are unlikely to be a priority to receive any more, so it is essential to get it right.

There are a huge number of factors that the team has to deal with. All infrastructure has broken down, which means government processes have broken down, too; ports and airports are damaged, so we need to find other routes, and we need to be able to work with people on the ground to distribute once we are there. Experience has taught us that making informed decisions means we get the right aid to families sooner.


Tuesday RSVP deadline for Thursday’s dinner, breakfast meetings

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Thursday’s dinner star.

This is truly a members’ week for the Southern Rensselaer County Rotary Club. Both our Thursday dinner meeting and our Thursday breakfast meeting will feature members as our speakers.

Phil Kellerman will speak on immigration at the 6:15 dinner meeting at Quigley’s after a meal of pulled pork and appropriate sides. Terry Brewer will speak on emergency preparedness at the 7 a.m. continental breakfast meeting at the Greenbush YMCA.

As always, it is imperative for our event coordinators to have an accurate headcount, including guests, no later than Tuesday. Please email Debbie Brown ( mdbrown ) for a dinner reservation, and either Ron Annis ( ) or Jim Butterworth ( ) for a breakfast reservation.

REMINDER NOTE: Anyone wishing to contribute to the ShelterBox Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund is asked to bring checks — made payable to that entity — to either meeting.

Here are the dinner reservations we have received so far:

Pat Bailey
Terry Brewer
Debbie Brown
Peter Brown
Jim Butterworth
April Dowd
Bill Dowd
Dick Drumm
Murray Forth
Julius Frankel
Ray Hannan
Phil Kellerman
Jim Leyhane
Roberto Martinez
Debbie Rodreguiz


Meeting of 9/14/17: ‘The DG pays a visit’

screen-shot-2016-10-16-at-7-10-54-pmMeeting at Quigley’s Restaurant
593 Columbia Turnpike
East Greenbush, NY
September 14, 2017

Members Attending (18): Roberto Martinez, Pat Bailey, Murray Forth, Bill Dowd, Jim Leyhane, Jim Butterworth, Debbie Rodriguez, Ray Hannan, Peter Brown, April Dowd, Debbie Brown, Dick Drumm, Dean Calamaras, Charlie Foote, Phil Kellerman, Kevin Leyhane, Julius Frankel, Becky Raymond.

Guests (2): District Governor Fred Daniels; visiting Rotarian David van Valkenburg of Vienna, VA.

Fred & Roberto
DG Fred Daniels presents this year’s Rotary theme banner — “Rotary Making a Difference” — to club President Roberto Martinez.

PROGRAM: “The District Governor’s Visit”

Fred Daniels, paying his first official visit as District 7190 Governor, began by presenting to the club the theme banner for the 2017-18 Rotary Year: “Rotary Making a Difference.”

He explained the upcoming “Peace Summit for Youth,” scheduled for Sunday, November 12, in Mechanicville. It is planned as an interactive day that will attempt to create a hospitable environment and context for youths to explore their questions, ideas, and thoughts about peace and what that means to them. (Click here for a posting explaining the initiative.)

Fred also applauded our club for its many public service activities, and its strong membership efforts. He thanked Terry Brewer for his efforts as the point person for the District’s efforts in the areas of membership recruitment and retention, and he noted that SRC is the District leader in growing membership. He noted that this Rotary Year there are 30 Membership Chairs in the District rather than the seven it had before.

And, Fred spoke about raising awareness of Rotary, particularly through social media and websites as our club does. He is suggesting that all clubs consider development of a “cause oriented message,” meaning selecting one or several of our strongest efforts and emphasizing them via social media to attract the attention of young professionals who prefer volunteer efforts for a cause rather than being stuck in a rigid structure of meetings and rituals.

action349Finally, Fred announced that a “Person of Action” will be honored at the annual District Foundation Dinner, scheduled for November 16 at the 90 State Street event space in Albany.

Fred said various club presidents had been asked to designate such a person from among their members, and he and Roberto presented Bill Dowd with a certificate recognizing him as our club’s “Person of Action” for such efforts as fundraising for ShelterBox, Circles of Mercy initiatives, running the website, Facebook and Twitter accounts, his Board service, and more.


Roberto and David
Roberto and visiting Virginia Rotarian David van Valkenburg exchange club pennants.

WELCOME, THANK-YOUS, ETC.  — President Roberto welcomed Rotarians and guests, and exchanged club pennants with David van Valkenburg, a visiting Rotarian from Vienna, VA. … He also thanked April Dowd of the Sunshine Committee  for sending flowers and get-well cards to members Phil Nasca and Burke Adams who are undergoing medical procedures. … Roberto also announced scheduling of a Board meeting to be held at the conclusion of the regular dinner meeting on September 28.

HOSPITAL STAY BROCHURE — Peter Brown, Jim Leyhane, and Roberto are to meet with medical administrators at St. Peter’s Hospital to discuss the Hospital Stay Brochure developed by our club (available for download on our club website). Peter explained how the free brochure works, and expressed the need to develop in the near future a cadre of people who could advocate in-person for patients with no support system.

RYLA — We will pay tuition for five students from Maple Hill High School who have enrolled in the six-month Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) program. We received no interest from any other high schools in our area of service.

r2SHELTERBOX UPDATE — Bill Dowd, the club’s ShelterBox Liaison Officer, provided an update on what the organization has been doing to supply disaster aid in Texas, Louisiana, Florida, and the Caribbean in the wakes of a series of hurricanes. He also noted that $4,700 has been raised so far within the club to go specifically to the ShelterBox Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund. Bill said he plans to deliver the money to Jack and Nancy Faddegon next week; they are the ShelterBox coordinatorss for District 7190. He noted that this money is separate from the annual contribution the club makes to the ShelterBox general treasury, which will be made later in the Rotary Year. Please see Bill for details on how to make out checks to insure tax deductability. Any amount will be appreciated. … Phil Kellerman explained his ebay business through which he is offering to auction collectible items to raise additional funds for the special relief effort. (Click here for details.)

ANCHOR FOOD PANTRY — Debbie Brown thanked members for the contributions of toilet paper for the Castleton facility, and said it now is in need of toothpaste. Please give your donations to Debbie next Thursday for a Saturday delivery.

VIKING GYM UPDATE — A message from project coordinator Ron Annis on the outdoor Viking Gym constructed as part of an Eagle Scout project at the Schodack Town Park reported that construction is complete, and that a financial grant from District 7190 has been received to help offset the costs. He thanked Debbie Rodriguez and Becky Raymond for accompanying him to the annual District Grant Seminar.

screen-shot-2017-01-19-at-8-52-44-pmGIFT OF LIFE — Jim Leyhane reported that Chingunne, the 18-month-old Mongolian child who was brought here for cardiac surgery at Albany Medical Center, has been discharged and is doing well. He is staying at Ronald MacDonald House. … The annual Gift of Life Golf & Bocce Tournament, a major fundraiser, will be held at Pinehaven Country Club in Guilderland on Monday, September 18. A field of golfers twice the usual size has been registered, with SRC entering two teams. Volunteers are needed to work that day. Anyone who works a four-hour shift will be treated to lunch and anyone working a six-hour shift will be treated to the awards dinner that evening.

DISTRICT MEMBERSHIP MEETING — Terry Brewer is coordinating the event, scheduled for Tuesday, September 19. Ray Hannan also will be representing the club along with Terry.

EMERGENCY TRAINING WORKSHOP — Dean Calamaras explained the upcoming “Bystanders to Upstanders” symposium sponsored by the Rensselaer County Medical Reserve Corps on Saturday, September 23, in Troy. Dean and Doris Calamaras have signed up for the event. Registration deadline is this Friday. Details on the event, plus a link to the registration form, are available by clicking here.

RECYCLING & SHREDDING DAY — Murray Forth said plans are set for our latest Recycling & Shredding Day, again scheduled for the Wainschaf Associates warehouse at 589 3rd Avenue Ext., Rensselaer. It will run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Volunteers are needed to staff the event. Please see Murray or Terry Brewer is you are interested in lending a hand. (Click here for details.)

COLUMBIA DISASTER RELIEF FUNDRAISER — John Sawchuk is organizing a fundraiser at Columbia High School that will include lunch on Friday, October 20. He has asked the club to be one of the sponsors. Details to come.

RLI logoROTARY LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE — This year’s RLI session will move from its longtime Siena College venue to the UAlbany Health Campus in Rensselaer on Saturday, October 21. Thanks to the more affordable space secured through  Jim Butterworth and CASDA, which is headquartered there, the tuition will be only $75, half the usual amount. The club will pay the registration fee for all who are interested. Roberto urged members to become involved in what has proven to be a solid and interesting set of workshops each year. Contact him ASAP. Early registration is necessary so RLI leaders can arrange for proper accommodations and staffing.

NORDIC ALLIANCE — Peter Brown announced that there will be a luncheon fundraiser on behalf of the Capital Region Nordic Alliance, an organization we have financially supported for its work with disabled military veterans and others. It will be held on October 22, with reservations priced at $65 per person or $120 per couple. (Click here for a posting with details and reservation information.)

WORLD POLIO DAY — The event is scheduled for Wednesday, October 24, at the UAlbany School of Public Health. Dr. Martha Lepow, an early polio research pioneer, is scheduled to attend, and the video created under the auspices of SRC, CASDA, the School of Public Health, and District 7190 will be shown.

CREATING ROTARIANS — Pat Bailey reported that Paige Johnson, who we sponsored in the Rotary Youth Exchange program several years ago, now is living in Vermont where she has joined a local Rotary club. She has been put in charge of that club’s membership efforts.

NEXT MEETINGS — Both are set for Thursday, September 21: The first is at 7 a.m. at the Greenbush YMCA when Terry Brewer will speak on “Emergency Preparedness,” and the second at 6:15 p.m. at Quigley’s when Phil Kellerman will speak on immigration.

‘Recycling & Shredding Day’ set for October 14

Screen Shot 2017-04-29 at 6.20.29 PMOur latest “Recycling & Shredding Day” has been scheduled for 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, October 14.

The venue again will be the Wainschaf Associates warehouse at 589 3rd Avenue Extension, Rensselaer, behind the Target store.

The event is a fundraiser for SRC scholarship programs. We will accept TV sets, computers, monitors, keyboards, other small electronics, etc., for 50 cents per pound. Paper shredding and small appliances are 25 cents per pound. We also will accepts such items as stoves, refrigerators, dryers, lawnmowers, etc. No batteries or other hazardous materials will be accepted.

We will, as always, need volunteers to staff the event for a few hours each, or all five hours if you wish. Please contact Murray Forth or Terry Brewer if interested.