Your ‘elevator speech’ and a follow-up

Elevator pitch
Do you ever mention Rotary to someone and they ask you what it’s all about?

We’ve all run into that situation from time to time, but some of us may be stumped for a way to succinctly explain it. May we suggest what we call our “elevator speech” — you know, what can be said in a quick trip between floors:

“We’re a volunteer community service organization of more than a million men and women who work to make our community and our world a better place for all.”

As a followup, you can suggest they visit our website at and click on “About Our Club.” That page will tell them a lot. (And, of course, there’s nothing preventing you from reading it yourself to brush up what Rotary and SRC are all about.)

We’ve started the countdown to SRC’s 5th annual Great North American Whizbang Trivia Test

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See that hefty tome above? A copy of it will go to the winner of the “5th annual Great North American Whizbang Trivia Test,” scheduled for 6:15 p.m. next Thursday, April 25, at Quigley’s. Start spreading the word!

(We were thinking of having alphabet soup and such brain-friendly foods as blueberries and avocados on the buffet table, but that might be too gimmicky. So, dinner coordinator Debbie Brown will get together with the Quigley’s kitchen staff to come up with an enticing alternative menu. Please remember to RSVP to her by email — — no later than next Tuesday, April 23, if you plan to join us. And remember, guests such as Rotaractors, non-SRC Rotarians, and non-Rotarians in general are welcome as well , but please let Debbie know in advance that they’re coming so we can provide sufficient food and seating for everyone.)

This year’s trivia event will see several format changes. Among them will be fewer categories, more tie-breaker possibilities, and a running-score tabulation so you know where you stand throughout the event.

Quizmaster Bill Dowd has created the categories and the questions in them to appeal to trivia players of all levels, from those who never have tried it to those who make a practice of hitting their local watering holes for trivia night competitions.

See you on Thursday. Bring a friend!

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Geoff Brewer honored as a ‘Difference Maker’

SRC’s own Geoff Brewer this week received the annual “AVI Difference Maker Award” from his employer in a ceremony at AVI Foodsystems corporate headquarters in Warren, OH.

You can see in the video above the impact Geoff and fellow recipient Phil Isaacson are having on the Siena College community where they work.

According to the company, which runs the food service at the college as well as numerous other locations around the country and is the largest family-owned and -operated food service company in the nation, “This annual award is presented to team members who exemplify AVI’s vision, mission and core values in all they do. They have the desire, the passion and the heart to make a difference each and every day. The service they provide is unparalleled and an inspiration to all of us.”

Congratulations to Geoff from his fellow Rotarians of SRC.

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Geoff Brewer shown with fellow recipient Phil Isaacson, AVI Siena site manager Rachel Jones, and AVI president Anthony Payiavlas.

Student mentoring on Thursday’s agenda

Screen Shot 2018-12-11 at 11.30.18 AMThe New York State Mentoring Program is aimed at making a difference in the lives of many of our school-age children.

According to its founders, “the comprehensive program matches students with adult mentors who have been screened and trained for the task. They guide the students in developing self-esteem and healthy lifestyles, appreciating diversity, increasing financial literacy, and making positive life choices.”

Brad DiPietro, director of the program for eastern New York, will provide us with a deeper look at its our guest speaker at Thursday’s 6:15 p.m. dinner meeting at Quigley’s. Guests are welcome to attend, but please be sure you let dinner coordinator Debbie Brown ( know no later than Tuesday if you are attending and if you are bringing a guest.

The following Rotarians and guests already have made their reservations:

1. Ron Annis
2. Pat Bailey
3. Pat’s guest
4. Terry Brewer
5. Debbie Brown
6. Peter Brown
7. Brad DiPietro, guest speaker
8. Bill Dowd
9. Murray Forth
10. Ray Hannan
11. Phil Kellerman
12. Andy Leyhane
13. Jim Leyhane
14. Kevin Leyhane
15. Roberto Martinez
16. Carol Orvis
17. Debbie Rodriguez

The new SRC board as of Saturday

Screen shot 2016-05-08 at 3.29.36 PMSaturday, July 1, marks the start of the 2017-18 Rotary Year. That means in addition to changes at the top of the international organization, we also have changes on the local level, where Dave Hennell will succeed John Mucha as governor of District 7190.

And, on the SRC level, here is your slate of officers:

2017-18 President — Roberto Martinez
Co-Presidents-elect — Jim Butterworth, Ron Annis
Vice President — Ray Hannan
Treasurer — Murray Forth
Secretary — Pat Bailey
Immediate Past President — Debbie Rodriguez

Board of Directors — Bill Dowd, Jim Leyhane, Terry Brewer, Andy Leyhane

SRC’s Jim McHugh named EGSCD assistant superintendent

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Jim McHugh

Jim McHugh has been appointed the new Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction by the Board of Education  of the East Greenbush Central School District.

Jim, a member of the Southern  Rensselaer County Rotary Club, had been serving as principal on special ssignment at the district office since returning on from a medical leave of absence in February.

In his new role, Jim will oversee all academic programs and services in the district. He also will supervise instructional technology, administer testing, lead and participate on a variety of committees, and seek grant opportunities.

“I am excited for this new challenge and to be able to help all of our students receive an excellent K-12 education,” he said. “The most important thing is that I still think like a teacher.”

Jim had been the principal at Bell Top Elementary School since 2007. Prior to that, he was an administrator at Columbia High School and spent 17 years in the district as a classroom teacher. Marty Mahar will continue to serve as interim principal at Bell Top while the process of selecting a permanent principal is conducted.

“The District is extremely fortunate to have Jim McHugh step into this important role,” said Board of Education President Dr. Shay Harrison. “Jim is an expert in pedagogy, not just in present delivery but also in being fully informed about and anticipating the directions that classroom instruction will take in the future. He’s demonstrated his leadership and creativity throughout his educational career, from classroom teacher to building administrator and now as an assistant superintendent.”


Proposed SRC Bylaws changes

screen-shot-2016-12-04-at-7-37-32-pmThis message was emailed to all members today.

To: SRC Members
Date: December 4, 2016
Re: Proposed Bylaws Changes

At the December 1 meeting of your SRC Board of Directors, attended by nine of the 11 Board members, a series of proposed bylaws changes was unanimously approved to be put before the general membership for a vote.

The changes would modify two sections of the current bylaws (which are available in full on the club website for your review). One change would reduce the annual dues. The other would amend the types of memberships, adding “Corporate” and “Family” categories as recently allowed by Rotary International, and would introduce a streamlined process for proposing and accepting new members.

In accordance with our current bylaw requirement of a 10-day notice of proposed changes, this email will serve as such notice and allow for a vote to be held at the December 15 meeting or thereafter as designated by President Debbie Rodriguez. Members’ questions will be answered at such a meeting.


What to tell prospective new members

Screen shot 2016-06-12 at 2.53.11 PMRotary is such a multi-faceted organization it often is difficult to explain it succinctly to anyone who is not a member.

That’s why we have put together a new website page called “Want to Join Us?” (That’s the page logo over there.)

It contains a simple explanation of the scope of Rotary, what we do locally and how to contact us, links to information concerning RI and District 7190, plus a pair of videos.

The videos are called “What Is Rotary?”and”Why Rotary Now?” and are particularly geared toward recruiting Millenials and Gen Xers.

We hope you will share this information with people you think might make good Rotarians. Just tell them to go online to and click on “Want to Join Us?” We think they’ll be glad you did.


Medical update on Jim McHugh

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Jim McHugh with son Matt and wife Maureen during SRC scholarship presentation.

Club member Jim McHugh, part of our large “Class of 2016,” is currently a patient at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston where he is undergoing chemotherapy prior to a scheduled leg amputation on August 19, according to Terry Brewer.

“Jim is not able to participate in Rotary events/programs at this time. His recovery and therapies will take some time,” Terry reports.

“Jim will continue as a club member this year. Please feel free to send cards of support to him during this time.”

For those of you who have not yet gotten to know Jim very well, he is the principal of Belltop Elementary School in East Greenbush. He and his wife, Maureen, are the parents of Matt McHugh, who recently was awarded an SRC Citizenship Scholarship award.

You can get Jim’s contact information from the password-protected “Member Contact Data” page on the website. All club members have been apprised of the password several times, but if you’ve mislaid it, check with Bill Dowd for a reissue.