Meeting of 5/24/18: ‘WWII Man of Mystery’

screen-shot-2016-10-16-at-7-10-54-pmMeeting at Quigley’s Restaurant
593 Columbia Turnpike
East Greenbush, NY
May 24, 2018

Members Attending (12): Roberto Martinez, Murray Forth, Pat Bailey, Jim Leyhane, Peter Brown, Terry Brewer, Geoff Brewer, Debbie Brown, Dick Drumm, Charlie Foote, Stewart Wagner, Phil Kellerman.

Guests (18): Lorraine McConnlee (Scotia Rotary Club), Lois Wagner, Mary Drumm, Sandy and Mickey Conlee, Debbie and Bill Romer, Corliss and Len Tantillo, Doris and Robert Malesardi, Jan and John McEneny, Steve Bielinski and wife, Shirley Lentz, Joe and Cherie Corr.


OPENING: President Roberto welcomed the large number of guests.

Screen Shot 2017-10-13 at 7.35.39 PMROTARY LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE: We are urging as many members as possible to enroll in Level I, II, III or the Graduate Level of the RLI sessions scheduled for Saturday, October 20, at the UAlbany School of Public Health. The club will pay the registration fees for anyone who is interested. Check with Bill Dowd who is coordinating our registration. Click here for details.

DUES STRUCTURE: The second installment of a $4-per-year, three-year plan of dues increases instituted by Rotary International will take effect on July 1, the first day of the 2018-19 Rotary Year. An explanation of the reasoning behind the change and where your dues money goes is available by clicking here.

SHELTERBOX: The recent 24-hour online fundraising effort by the international relief agency that was matched up to $100 per individual pledge raised $35,000, the equivalent of the purchase price for 35,000 temporary shelters and accomoanying emergency equipment. Click here for details.

MIRACLE LEAGUE: SRC member Burke Adams, founder of the Miracle League for athletes with disabilities, was honored on opening day with “Burke Adams Day” as proclaimed by the Rensselaer County Legislature.

Rotary Home Cooking logoROTARY HOME COOKING SERIES: The last event of the season’s series, “An International Wine & Cheese Tasting,” drew more than 30 people to Roberto’s residence last Saturday. He, Bill Dowd, and Jim Leyhane co-hosted the event, with proceeds going to the club treasury. Click here for a photo gallery of the evening.

REFRESHING QUIGLEY’S: Murray Forth is working with Quigley’s owner John Walsh on SRC’s plans to paint and clean up the meeting room John provides for us at no charge.

CALENDAR ITEMS: Circle Thursday, June 28, on your calendar for the annual Presidential Turnover event, with Andy Leyhane succeeding Roberto Martinez, again being hosted by Debbie and Peter Brown. … The second Board Retreat of this Rotary Year will be held on Monday, June 4, at the Community Care offices in Schodack. … Wednesday, July 25, has been selected for our annual outing at Bruno Stadium for a family picnic and ValleyCats baseball game. Terry Brewer again will coordinate the arrangements. Total per-person cost will be $26. … A contingent of RYLA students will visit us at next Thursday’s dinner meeting to discuss their experience with this year’s program.

Screen shot 2018-05-25 at 12.34.10 PM

PROGRAM:  “Sports and Intrigue: the Story of Moe Berg”

Stuart Wagner, assisted by Robert Parzek, presented a short history of a little-known hero of World War II —  Morris “Moe” Berg.

Berg, who was born in 1902 and died in 1972, served as an American spy in World War II. He was born in New York City, the youngest of three children, and was raised living above the family’s pharmacy. He was a baseball player as a youth, continued playing while attending Princeton University, then went on to play for six different major league teams.

In 1932, Berg went to Japan to coach and to teach baseball. While there, he filmed strategic areas around Tokyo. His photos are believed to have been used in helping plan American air raids against Japan in 1944.

Berg joined the Office of Strategic Service, colloquially known as the OSS, and the predecessor of the Central Intelligence Agency, at the beginning of WWII and aided the resistance in Poland. He received the Medal of Freedom from President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The medal description was intentionally vague, but Moe turned it down. After the war he was contracted by the CIA to spy on Russia.

Stuart played a portion of a broadcast of the radio show “Information Please” on which Berg, who also earned a law degree, was a guest. He also displayed several sports cards of Berg.

A movie on Berg’s life will is scheduled to be released in late June.

Click here to access Stewart’s entire PowerPoint presentation.

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