Meeting at Quigley’s Restaurant
593 Columbia Turnpike
East Greenbush, NY
September 7, 2017
Members Attending (18): Roberto Martinez, Pat Bailey, Murray Forth, Debbie Rodriguez, Jim Butterworth, Bill Dowd, Ray Hannan, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown, April Dowd, Melissa Bill, Dick Drumm, Charlie Foote, Maggie Forth, Phil Kellerman, Mike Bennett, Kevin Leyhane, Becky Raymond.
Guests (1): Jeremy Forth.
Business & Announcements
THANK YOUS — New President Roberto Martinez welcomed members and guests to the first of our weekly dinner meetings of the 2017-18 Rotary Year. He thanked Debbie Rodriguez for her work as president last year; those who hosted dinners during the “Summer Casual” period in July and August; Bill Dowd for his continuing work on the club website, and Andy Leyhane for coordinating donations to the summer’s Rensselaer school supplies drive for Circles of Mercy.
HEALTH UPDATES — Members Phil Nasca and Burke Adams are experiencing health problems. April Dowd, our “sunshine person,” will send cards to them on behalf of the club.
CO-OP PUBLIC SERVICE — Becky Raymond reported on the joint Rotary and Peace Corps meeting she recently attended in Denver as a representative of our club and the local returned Peace Corps volunteers. (Click here for a posting on that event.) She explained the 2015 “memorandum of understanding” between the two organizations and how their public service efforts often overlap around the world. There are Rotary District-Peace Corps Alliance Committees in some districts. Becky is checking to see if one exists in 7190 and, if not, hopes to start one.
RYLA — Club member Mike Bennett, principal at Maple Hill High School, reported that packets were distributed to members of the junior class for this year’s Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) program and that his school has several candidates for the training. Roberto said John Sawchuk had mentioned a possible candidate from Columbia High School as well. The club usually pays the tuition for about five students, at $375 each.
YOUNG PLAYWRIGHT — Debbie Brown reported on Capital Repertory Theatre’s young playwrights program that selects one-act plays by students. One of our scholarship winners, Josh Kenna of Rensselaer High School, submitted a play on autism that was selected for production. A Times Union story about his experience is available by clicking here.
ANCHOR AID — Debbie Brown is collecting donations of toilet paper for The Anchor food pantry in Castleton, a facility we support with food donations on a regular basis. Its client list has grown markedly in recent months, while funding has slipped, and the pantry is limited by rules on how much can be spent on non-food items. Members are asked to donate toilet paper or money by next week’s meeting to help meet the current need. Several members already have done so.
HURRICANE RELIEF EFFORTS — Bill Dowd, the club’s ShelterBox liaison officer, provided an explanation of Rotary-related disaster relief funds working to aid victims of Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Louisiana . He noted that there are literally hundreds of organizations large and small that are working to aid the victims, but urged attendees to consider Rotary-related resources first. He has created a new page on the club website called “Harvey Relief Agencies” that provides details and how-tos of ShelterBox and three other tax-deductible charities seeking donations. Bill also announced that he was heading up a push for a special contribution to ShelterBox’s designated Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund that is separate from the club’s annual contribution to that relief organization. As of the end of the meeting, he had received $3,600 from members. He has asked that members contribute any amount they can — $10, $20, $50, $100, $500, etc. — to this effort by next Thursday. ShelterBoxes cost $1,000 each. Checks should be made payable to “Shelter Box Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund,” with SRC Rotary in the memo line. Bill will deliver the funds to Jack and Nancy Faddegon, the District 7190 ShelterBox coordinators. April Dowd, who has been in contact with Rotarians in the Houston area, read a letter of thanks received from the Houston Rotary Club.
BREAKFAST MEETINGS — The next Third Thursday breakfast meeting is scheduled for September 21, 7 a.m. at the Greenbush YMCA. Jim Butterworth and Ron Annis, our new co-presidents-elect, and Shannon Romanowski have taken over running of those meetings from Terry Brewer. Terry, incidentally, will be the speaker at the meeting on the very timely topic of disaster preparedness.
GIFT OF LIFE — The latest child, this one from Mongolia, underwent cardiac surgery on Wednesday at Albany Medical Center and reportedly is doing very well. … The annual GOL Golf Tournament and Bocce Competition fundraiser has been moved from its longtime Amsterdam venue to the Pinehaven Country Club in Guilderland on September 18. SRC has two foursomes entered in the event.
PEACE SUMMIT FOR YOUTH — The district-wide event is scheduled for November 12 in Mechanicville. As we get more details as to registration, venue, etc., we will let the schools in our area know them. Meanwhile, click here for a posting explaining the event.
“POCKET CHANGE” RECIPIENT — Donations to our annual “Pocket Change for … ” jug will go for at least the first month to the Oley Foundation at Albany Medical Center. We had a program in June (available by clicking here) on the organization’s work. Club member Phil Kellerman works there, and has used his eBay business to help raise funds. (He also has offered to do the same in support of SRC’s hurricane relief efforts. Watch the website for a separate posting on that.)
RLI IS COMING — The annual Rotary Leadership Institute, which we encourage members to attend, has moved from Siena College to the Health Sciences Campus (formerly the UAlbany East Campus) in Rensselaer. The day-long event is scheduled for Saturday, October 21. The club pays the registration fee for any member who wishes to attend. Last year, Bill Dowd and Debbie Rodriguez graduated from RLI, meaning they had completed three years of workshops. Anyone can attend at Level 1 if they have never attended before, or at the succeeding levels if they have completed prerequisite workshops. Let Roberto know ASAP if you wish to participate.
ART PROJECT — Local artist Bob Bode, who has a series of portraits on display at the East Greenbush Town Hall of prominent community volunteers — including SRC’s Jim Leyhane and Burke Adams, is planning to create a similar series of paintings of local World War II veterans. Anyone who can suggest a candidate is asked to let Roberto know. (Click here for a posting showing the volunteers’ portraits.)
The Year Ahead
President Roberto outlined his goals for the new Rotary Year. Among them:
Membership: He said we are at the 50-member level with the applications of Kevin Leyhane and Adam Roberts. They will be counted in the full membership once they compete the membership process.
Involvement: He stressed the many avenues of public service “to do good in the world” that are available to SRC Rotarians. Specific activities and initiatives include, but are not limited to, World Polio Day, Shining Star of Hope, Eagle Scout Viking Gym Project, Gift of Life, RYLA, Circles of Mercy, food pantries and community charity activities, Ronald McDonald House, Rotary Home Cooking Series, recycling days, Bowling for Veterans, indoor golf tournaments, ShelterBox, Freedom From Fistula Foundation. Roberto said he would like to see newer members take projects and run with them.
Communication: He pointed out that we offer many ways to contribute to the community, and encouraged everyone to get involved in some effort. He also asked members to communicate their thoughts and concerns and pledged that he would respond to all calls and emails within 24 to 48 hours. “We are a volunteer organization and we can’t make anyone do something,” he said. “What is it you want the club to be or to do and let’s get it on the table. What’s your button that makes it click? What would make you want to come to Rotary more often?” If you have suggestions for improvement, he said, “Don’t stew about it. each out to me or another member.”
NEXT MEETING: 6:15 p.m. Thursday, September 14, at Quigley’s. Our special guest will be District Governor Fred Daniels making his first official visit and speaking on the topic of “People of Action.”