Salaam fellow Rotarians! I am pleased to share the minutes of our 23 July gathering.

 

President Jennifer Hara called the meeting to order at 12:30 PM, gently reminding Rotarians to make their best efforts to arrive on time as many streamed into the University Club’s dining room. She then led us in the Pledge of Allegiance and turned to Russ Savage for the words of inspiration. Russ recalled Reverend Arthur Powell Davies’ tenure at Washington, DC’s All Souls Unitarian Church on 16th Street, NW (1943-57). Praising the minister’s moral courage in opposing racial segregation, Russ asked Rotarians to join together in a spirit of prayer as he read from one of Davies’ sermons. A hushed chorus of “amen” followed.

As members took their seats, President Jennifer asked me to identify guests and Rotarians visiting from other clubs:

  • Daniel Bahr visited again from his Muenster, Germany Rotary Club—welcome back!
  • Tito Castro—partner at Castro & Oropeza, PLLC—came at Ken Brown’s invitation.
  • Brandon Benavides, content producer at NBC4, attended as President Jennifer’s guest.
  • U.S. diplomat Stephen Liston visited again from Santiago, Chile as Clara Montanez announced that he is considering club membership—welcome back and do join!
  • Rotaract Community Service Chairwoman Laura Descher joined us.
  • Atalie Ebersole, PAC Grassroots Manager at Grant Thornton, attended at Susan Pausky’s invitation.
  • Randi Braun visited as Dan Kapner’s guest.

Speaking of Dan—and forgive me for singling you out—he has agreed to record the Meeting in Review on 13 August, crossing off his to-do list one of the tasks required to earn his Blue Badge. I encourage Red Badge Rotarians to volunteer for this task, and I will gladly address questions you have in this regard.

After we welcomed visitors, President Jennifer requested that Sergeant-at-Arms Buz Gorman congratulate Rotarians celebrating birthdays this week:

  • Kathy Ward on 24 July – Joining our club in 2011 sponsored by Larry Margolis, Kathy’s classification is consulting-fund raising and business development. A vibrant member, Kathy is relocating to Dallas with her husband this summer. We will miss you, Kathy! Please be sure to visit!
  • Dan Kapner on 25 July – Sponsored by Abrahem Helal, Dan became a Rotarian in May and is an attorney.
  • Earl Strimple on 25 July – A veterinarian, honorary member Earl joined our club in 1974 sponsored by William Cooper.
  • Quentin Wodon on 26 July – A member since 2011 sponsored by Mark Wilson, Quentin’s classification is international banking-advisor. He and his daughters Divya and Naina are the talents behind Washington International School’s Interact Club.

President Jennifer returned to the podium for announcements on behalf of the Health and Welfare Committee in Chairwoman Monica Boner’s absence, followed by reminders about upcoming events.

  • Joel Alperstein will have open-heart surgery on Monday, 28 July at Fairfax Hospital. Please stay tuned for news about his condition while keeping Joel in your thoughts and prayers.
  • Christa McClure was at lunch, much to Rotarians’ delight. We hope that Christa feels better each day and will long enjoy great health and spirits.
  • Yoshiko Urakawa has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and will receive treatment at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. She needs assistance with transportation twice a week if any Rotarians are available. Yoshiko is surely in our thoughts and prayers.
  • Turning to upcoming events, please remember to speak with Paula Delo if you wish to attend the Dine Around on Thursday, 24 July. (Please note that this event has taken place.) Also, please contact Lisa McCurdy or sign up online for End Polio Night at Nationals Park on Saturday, 16 August. The cost is $40, with $5 from each ticket going to the Rotary Foundation’s End Polio campaign.

After these announcements, President Jennifer awarded Judith Henderson her Red Badge. Coming from Costa Rica, Judith was the first woman admitted to her Rotary Club there. Clara Montanez received a pin recognizing her as Judith’s sponsor.

Before welcoming the week’s speaker, President Jennifer presented Chief of Partnerships for the National Mall and Memorial Parks Robin Nixon a $5,000 check for the “Trees for the Capital” program. Ms. Nixon thanked our club for 21 years of support in creating some of “DC’s only bits of green space.”

Lisa Winstel—Compassion and Caring for Caregivers’ Needs

A caregiver to her husband Chris since a motorcycle accident four years ago, President Jennifer underscored her deep personal interest in our guest’s expertise as she introduced Lisa Winstel, Chief Operating Officer of the Caregiver Action Network (CAN).

Ms. Winstel explained that her organization serves a wide range of family caregivers throughout the United States—from adults caring for parents with Alzheimer’s disease, to the families of wounded warriors, to parents of children with special needs. She emphasized that many of us are in fact caregivers if we have ever taken on any of the following responsibilities for a loved one: speaking to healthcare professionals, managing medications, operating therapeutic machinery, helping with bathing and dress, coordinating transportation needs and especially transfers from the hospital and rehabilitation facility to the home, organizing finances and/or dealing with insurance companies.

Defining the term “family” expansively to include neighbors and friends, Ms. Winstel attributed the rise in numbers of family caregivers to demographic trends—longer life spans due to progress in medicine, the “silver tsunami” of aging baby boomers and families having fewer children. She cited a dizzying array of statistics about the number and profile of caregivers and care recipients, the economics of caregiving and, perhaps most importantly, the impact of caregiving on the oft-neglected caregiver. Please see http://www.caregiveraction.org/statistics/. As Ms. Winstel detailed, caregivers tend more than the general population to report poor eating habits and to skip doctor appointments for themselves. They are more likely to experience stress, depression, poverty, chronic fatigue and illness, premature aging and, ultimately, shortened life spans.

Amid these daunting realities, the Caregiver Action Network offers vital information and resources. Ms. Winstel urged caregivers not to feel isolated, to “reach out for help” because CAN provides tips, training webinars, discussion forums and links to such specialized sites as http://www.helpforcancercaregivers.org/ and http://www.rarecaregivers.org/. CAN also strives to represent caregivers’ political and socio-economic interests—for example, supporting legislation proposed by Senator Robert Casey (D – PA) in 2014 to establish Caregiver Corps, modeled loosely after the Peace Corps and Americorps.

Ms. Winstel’s knowledge of the complex issues surrounding caregiving impressed Rotarians as they asked her several questions on such topics as caregiving for the mentally ill, medical privacy laws, healthcare insurance, training for family caregivers and communications with physicians to ensure patient-centered care. Even after our meeting was adjourned, several members approached her with their queries and comments which she addressed in detail. In short, Ms. Winstel’s passion for tending to caregivers’ and recipients’ needs resonated with Rotarians as an exemplar of our own ethos of “service above self.”

Adjourned Until Next Week

After President Jennifer awarded Lisa Winstel the “Trees for the Capital” certificate, members were curious to learn who bought the lucky raffle ticket from Liz Salett, particularly because serial winner Ken Kimbrough’s absence gave others a better chance to claim the prize. Upon hearing the winning numbers, Nancy Riker exclaimed, “Wow, that’s me!” Taking the $52 small pot, she joked, “I told Liz to stir the pot properly.” Yet Nancy missed the ace of spades; so the large pot of $596 will grow.

Thank you to Greeter Kathy Bailey and to Stu Shalloway and Balraj Gupta for manning the Hospitality Table.

On 30 July, President Jennifer will convene her first club assembly, and District Governor Bill Fine will be with us. She adjourned this meeting at 1:30 PM … And then I put down my pen—until next week. From my keyboard to yours, I thank those Rotarians who read the Meeting in Review!