Hello fellow Rotarians! Although I am sad that this “Salaam” is my last as your humble Secretary, I will detail what transpired during our 24 June meeting which began as President Jennifer Hara called us to order shortly after 12:30 PM. Rotarians responded with a standing ovation, expressing their profound appreciation for her deft and unflappable leadership of our club.
 
After reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, President Jennifer asked Donnie Shaw to provide words of inspiration. Donnie kept the moment light, recounting a personal story of meeting a young woman, a personal trainer at the YMCA, and her father to make the point that “It’s important to be nice to people, because you never know…”
As Donnie took his seat, I approached the podium to welcome guests and Rotarians visiting from other clubs:
  • Max Bartoli, movie director, visiting from the Peninsula Palos Verdes Rotary Club of Los Angeles, California and invited by his father Oscar Bartoli;
  • Darnell Burtin, Associate Director of Major Gifts and Planning at the YMCA, invited by Donnie Shaw;
  • Marilyn Cruz, President of the DC Rotaract Club;
  • Taylor Foster, student at Temple University, invited by her mother Lisa Cohen;
  • Tom Grassham, visiting from Kentucky’s Paducah Rotary Club;
  • Richard Hyde, who works in education, visiting from the St. Helena, California Rotary Club;
  • Kyle Murford, Vice President of the DC Rotaract Club;
  • Stan and Elaine Passman, visiting and bringing us a banner from the Rotary Club of Killeen Heights, Texas;
  • Alexander Ray, invited by his father Sheldon Ray;
  • Marcus Soriano, Professional Development Chair of the DC Rotaract Club; and
  • Robert D. Stuckey, student at Notre Dame University and intern at the YMCA, invited by Donnie Shaw.
When I was about to sit back down, special guest Chris Hara entered the dining room, surprising everyone, including yours truly and especially President Jennifer!
With the list of celebrants temporarily misplaced, Acting Sargent-at-Arms Ken Kimbrough had to wait to announce those Rotarians enjoying birthday cake this week. So President Jennifer called on Past President Howard Davis to explain how our club’s Foundation operates. Howard congratulated incoming Foundation President David Klaus for leading this year’s successful contributions drive, raising more than $34,000 in donations.
 
President Jennifer returned to the microphone to remind everyone about the Changing of the Guard taking place on Saturday evening, 27 June at the National Guard Association of the United States (Please note that this event has already taken place). She also announced the upcoming 2015 Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) North American Caribbean Carnival for District 7620. RYLA’s festivities are scheduled for Tuesday, 21 July at George Washington University. The party will start at 6:30 PM, and tickets cost only $25. Newly Elected Rotary International President K.R. “Ravi” Ravindran will attend. So mark your calendar!
As President Jennifer spoke, the list of Rotarians marking birthdays this week reappeared, and Acting Sargent-at-Arms Ken saluted those members:
  • Lenore Jacobs on 22 June – Joining our club in 2012, sponsored by Lynn Holec, Lenore’s classification is government services-retired.
  • Abrahem Helal on 23 June – Chair of the Membership Committee, Abe joined our club in 2009 sponsored by Diane Eames; his classification is printing services.
  • Stu Shalloway also on 23 June – Sponsored by Balraj Gupta when he became a member of our club in 2008, Stu co-chairs the Hospitality Committee; his classification is law-small business administration.
  • Joel Alperstein on 25 June – Joining our club in 2011, sponsored by Mark Wilson, Joel is a physician specializing in urology.
Back at the podium, President Jennifer awarded Bob Schott his Red Badge and Liz Salett her Blue Badge.
 
Acknowledgments, Appreciation and Awards
Ending a fruitful, fun-filled Rotary year, President Jennifer acknowledged individual Rotarians who served our club during 2014-15, presenting awards to members in alphabetical order:
  • Wilhelmina Bratton, who completed three years of service on the Board of Directors;
  • Ken Brown, a Rule-of-35 member who contributed to planning this year’s Career Fair—not to mention “all the wonderful wine he provided” at our events;
  • Raven Canty, a Rule-of-35 member who contributed to planning this year’s Career Fair and will manage the public relations and marketing for our 2016 Rubber Duck Derby;
  • Andrew Clark, a Rule-of-35 member, already a Paul Harris Fellow, who contributed to planning this year’s Career Fair;
  • Lisa Cohen, our club’s resident photographer, who completed three years of service on the Board of Directors and offered a boxing demonstration at Rotary Day;
  • Ross Grantham, our President Elect Nominee, who serves on the Board of Directors and has co-chaired the International Service Committee;
  • Balraj Gupta, who has co-chaired the Hospitality Committee;
  • Michael Harper, a Rule-of-35 member who contributed to planning this year’s Career Fair, becoming involved even before his application for membership was approved;
  • Abrahem Helal, who serves on the Board of Directors and has co-chaired the Membership Committee;
  • Lynn Holec, who chaired the Community Service Grants Committee, agreeing to continue in this role, and will serve on the Board of Directors starting next year;
  • John Jackson, who has led the Grate Patrol Program and thanked members who volunteered “to ride with the Salvation Army van, helping month after month;”
  • Ken Kimbrough, our club’s Ombudsman this year;
  • Irene Koerner, who chaired the Embassy Relations Committee and has agreed to stay on in this role;
  • Steve Liston, who has co-chaired the Program Committee, bringing management of the schedule for guest speakers “into the 21st century by using Google Calendar;”
  • Glynis Long, who completed three years of service on the Board of Directors and has just finished her Global Grants Project on breast cancer in Turkey;
  • Terrance Lovelady, a Rule-of-35 member who contributed to planning this year’s Career Fair;
  • Gene Massey, our club’s Treasurer this year who has agreed to continue in this role under President Elect David Treadwell;
  • Lisa McCurdy, who has chaired the Signature Fundraiser Committee and will serve on the Foundation’s Board of Directors starting next year;
  • Clara Montanez, who has co-chaired the Program Committee and has been an “invaluable contributor” to numerous other committees;
  • Peg Schoen, who serves on the Board of Directors and “always volunteers early” to help with the club’s activities;
  • Stu Shalloway, who has co-chaired the Hospitality Committee;
  • Donnie Shaw, the “ring leader” of this year’s Career Fair who will serve on the Board of Directors starting next year;
  • David Treadwell, our club’s Vice President this year;
  • Hal Vaughn, who led the effort to select our club’s signature fundraiser, hosting committee meetings at his home, and will serve on the Board of Directors starting next year;
  • Haleh Vaziri, our club’s Secretary this year who will serve on the Board of Directors starting next year; and
  • last but surely not least, Executive Director Gretchen Kearney, for her “unyielding, unwavering support,” presented with a gift certificate to treat herself to something special!
Upon giving these awards, President Jennifer indicated that some recipients were not in attendance, including the member being named “Rotarian of the Year.” Consequently, she will extend the presentation of awards to upcoming meetings. Emphasizing her gratitude to all who made her Rotary year possible, President Jennifer’s eyes welled up as she thanked Chris Hara for being “a patient and supportive spouse” while she attended countless committee meetings, happy hours and District events—allowing her to be such an effective leader.
 
In a new ceremony added to our club’s membership protocol, President Jennifer requested that Judge Larry Margolis swear in those Rotarians who joined us during the last year. He instructed new members to approach the podium, raise their right hands and declare “I will” while he administered the Oath of Office describing Rotarians’ ideals and duties. From my secretarial perch, I was struck by how many new Rotarians lined up near the head table—again in alphabetical order: Kevin Baumb, Cherry Baumbusch, Raven Canty, Andrew Clark, Dennis Cravedi, Pat Cunningham, Alicia Fougere, Michael Harper, Judith Henderson, Sterling Hoffman, Tom Kern, Laura Khor, Charlotte Lallemont-Klaus, Peter Larson, Steve Liston, Terrance Lovelady, Christian Lungarotti and Bob Schott. This list does not include all who joined during 2014-15 because some new members were not present. Kudos to the Membership Committee for recruiting such distinguished and diverse new Rotarians! And to anyone who was sworn in but I did not catch while scribbling notes, my sincere apologies.
 
Before adjourning our meeting, President Jennifer invited Michael Harper to deliver his new- member talk. Michael stressed how “proud” he is to have “joined our club on President Jennifer’s watch.” He said that he had decided not to elaborate on his professional experience as an asset-based lender financing real estate-backed transactions or on his efforts to “revolutionize the teaching of tennis” because, as he put it, “Who cares?” Clearly being modest, Michael highlighted his roles as coach and mentor, asserting that “we all have stories about ourselves we tell...” By working with youths, he seeks to ensure that “they write their stories right the first time!” Michael concluded his remarks with a powerful quote from author Miriam Williamson’s book A Return to Love:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
 
Adjourned Until Next Week
As President Jennifer’s year in office came to a close, Rotarians waited to learn who had bought the winning raffle ticket from Terrance Lovelady. When the lucky numbers were read, Pete Larson approached the podium to claim the small pot of $48. Yet the ace of spades remained hidden in our deck of cards; so the grand prize of $1,100 is on the rise.
 
Our gratitude goes to Balraj Gupta and Stu Shalloway for welcoming visitors at the Hospitality Table.
 
At our 1 July meeting, new President David Treadwell will convene the first quarterly assembly of his year in office to outline his goals and priorities for our club.
 
President Jennifer adjourned our meeting at 1:30 PM … And then I put down my pen—for the last time this year! I am happy that my longtime friend and soon-to-be Secretary Mike Carmichael will pick up his pen to record the activities and events of 2015-16.
 
Fellow Rotarians, especially President Jennifer, I thank you for allowing me to be your Secretary this year. Serving in this role has been a genuine honor and one of the delights of my life!