Salaam fellow Rotarians! I am delighted to be back with you to detail what transpired during our 18 March meetingPresident Jennifer Hara’s Third Quarterly Club Assembly. First, however, I wish to thank Red Badge members Jennifer Galloway and Liz Salett for writing the Meeting in Review on 4 and 11 March, respectively. Red Badge members, please remember that if you want to cross this task off of your to-do list towards earning your Blue Badge, I welcome your assistance!
 
 
Returning to our meeting’s proceedings, President Jennifer called us to order at 12:30 PM and led members in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. She called on Terrance Lovelady to offer words of inspiration. Reading “The Don’t Quit Poem,” Terrance eloquently stressed the need to overcome doubt and to persevere during the most difficult of life’s moments. By an unknown author, my favorite two verses of this poem are the first and last:
When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but don’t you quit…
…Success is failure turned inside out—
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit—
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.
As Terrance took his seat, President Jennifer asked me to introduce guests and Rotarians from other clubs joining us for lunch:
  • Rokas Beresmovas, Vice President of the State Bank of India, invited by Abrahem Helal;
  • Christine Brooks-Cropper, Founder and President of the DC Fashion Foundation, Ken Brown’s guest;
  • Matthew Ford, also invited by Abrahem Helal;
  • Dickson Gateri visiting from the Dupont Circle Rotary Club, invited by Clara Montanez;
  • Tarus Nelson, Executive Director of Strive 2 Tri, Donnie Shaw’s guest;
  • Eric Rudger, visiting from the Rotary Club of Longview, Texas, invited by President Elect David Treadwell;
  • Cynthia Walker, formerly a member of our club (who will hopefully rejoin!).
Seargent-at-Arms Buz Gorman approached the podium to salute our club’s Ombudsman Ken Kimbrough who celebrated his birthday on 15 March. With the classification real estate-advisory services, Ken became a DC Rotarian in 2007, sponsored by Past President Rob Warne.
 
Next, President Jennifer acknowledged Alexander Kravetz’s return from Erbil, Iraq where he has been working for much of the past year. In DC for a few days, Alexander thanked Rotarians for their notes of concern since he has been in Iraq and emphasized to Red Badge members and anyone considering club membership the deep friendships forged by Rotarians. Noting that Iraq will mark one full year without any cases of polio, Alexander invited members to come to Erbil in April to participate in official ceremonies celebrating this milestone and in local vaccination drives. Please contact Alexander if you are interested in combining travel and service.
 
Shifting our attention to our club’s drive to recruit new members, President Jennifer thanked Membership Committee Co-chairs Abrahem Helal and Monica Smith for their efforts to boost our club’s numbers. Remarking that recruitment is a responsibility we all share, she awarded pins to Rotarians who have brought in new members during the past year: Abrahem Helal, Asif Bhally, Sam Hancock, Jennifer Hara, David Klaus, Lisa McCurdy, Clara Montanez, Erminia Scarcella and Donnie Shaw.
 
Before turning to the her own presentation for our assembly, President Jennifer invited Past President Andy Cook to give his Not-So-New-Member Talk. At her request, Andy began by reminding everyone that our Star-Spangled 2015 District Conference is scheduled for 8-9 May in Frederick, Maryland and promises to be an enjoyable and affordably-priced event. He then recalled his Rotarian legacy; not only is Andy our club’s Past President, serving during 2005-06, but his father also held this position during 1978-79. He shared with us highlights from issues of Progress, mailed to members as hard copies when his father was President. Andy’s talk must have made the longest-standing Rotarians nostalgic, while he illuminated for newer members (myself included) the continuity of such activities as Walter Reed Bingo and holiday parties featured in Progress almost forty years ago.  
 
Our Third Quarterly Assembly with Special Guest District Governor Bill Fine
Back at the microphone, President Jennifer presented a brief overview of the activities, events and accomplishments that have marked her nine months in office so far. She also reminded Rotarians, especially those with Red Badges, that retention is as important as recruitment of new members. She encouraged everyone to “get involved” by joining one of the club’s committees, volunteering to support our weekly meetings and/or developing a new service project for approval by the club’s Board of Directors.
President Jennifer then focused on two upcoming events that will shine a spotlight on our club’s contributions to the greater Washington, DC area and beyond—Rotary Day and the Rubber Duck Derby signature fundraiser.
  • On Saturday, 25 April, the four Washington, DC-based clubs are heeding Rotary International President Gary C.K. Huang’s call to organize a Rotary Day. From 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM, our club along with the Capitol Hill, Dupont Circle and Federal City clubs will host family-friendly activities at Farragut Square to include a book fair, a falcon demonstration and the opportunity to talk with representatives from various community service organizations. We have created a website, www.rotarydaydc.org, as well as a Facebook page and Twitter handle for this event through which details are available. Help is needed to set up, administer and clean up after the event. Please tell Gretchen Kearney by Friday, 3 April if you are interested in volunteering during the 9:00 AM-to-1:00 PM or 1:00-to-5:00 PM shift on Rotary Day.
  • Looking ahead to President Elect David Treadwell’s year, our Rubber Duck Derby is scheduled for Saturday, 30 April 2016. The Signature Fundraiser Committeechaired by Lisa McCurdy and consisting of Joan Bristol, Jennifer Galloway, Ross Grantham, Dan Mullin and Hal Vaughn—is exploring the possibility of holding this family-friendly event at Rock Creek Park near the Peirce Mill. Please stay tuned for the Committee’s updates, and think about how you may be able to help with this event. Volunteers will eventually be needed to secure corporate sponsorships, to publicize the event and to tend to various other details.
Upon completing her presentation, President Jennifer introduced special guest Bill Fine, Governor of District 7620. His address to us marked his 64th club visit in our Rotary District. He began by noting that each letter in the word “Rotary” stands for a significant aspect of membership: R is for “relationships with each other and with the world;” O is for “opportunities” to perform service locally and globally; T is for the “teamwork” that makes our projects effective; A is for “action because we do not just talk” about serving others; R is for the “reach” we have in the immediate community and around the world; and Y is for “you.”
 
District Governor Bill underscored the need to publicize Rotarians’ good works which often go unheralded. In this vein, he described the success of a meeting organized by Clara Montanez in conjunction with Past District Governor Rich Carson attended by 50 ambassadors from Central and South America on Tuesday, 3 March at the Organization of American States. The ambassadors—many previously unaware of Rotary International and individual clubs—were excited to hear about our service projects being implemented in their countries and wanted to learn how they could interface with Rotary clubs.
 
Emphasizing the Rotary International Foundation’s support for projects from Latin America to Africa to Asia, District Governor Bill congratulated our club for being number 3 in District 7620 for Global Giving. He showed a short “Thank you” video produced by Rotary International featuring footage of projects that are improving access to basic healthcare, clean water and other necessities worldwide and are funded by our donations to the Foundation.
 
Anticipating a busy fourth quarter of his term in office, District Governor Bill listed the activities and events scheduled in April, May and June throughout District 7620, elaborating specifically on the aforementioned Star-Spangled 2015 District Conference. With Frederick’s historic venues, a golf outing, a musical performance and discussions about various service projects, this conference looks to be affordable, informative and enjoyable. District Governor Bill hopes to see us all at the conference. He thanked us for receiving him warmly during our club’s assembly and took questions regarding creative ways to increase membership.
 
Adjourned Until Next Week
President Jennifer presented our “Trees for the Capital” certificate to District Governor Bill Fine. Meanwhile, members waited to learn who bought the winning raffle ticket from Davis Kennedy. When the lucky numbers were revealed, Sargent-at-Arms Buz Gorman walked around the head table to the podium to claim the small pot of $55. Yet the ace of spades eluded Buz’s grasp; so the large pot of $342 is on the rise.
 
Our gratitude goes to Greeter Valerie Varela and to Balraj Gupta for welcoming visitors at the Hospitality Table.
 
On 25 March, we will hear from guest speaker Lynn Dillon, President of the ARCS Foundation’s Metropolitan Washington Chapter. The ARCS Foundation is an all-volunteer, all-female, not-for-profit organization founded in 1958, in the wake of Sputnik’s launch, to promote education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) among women.
 
President Jennifer adjourned the meeting at 1:30 PM … And then I put down my pen—until April. As I visit my family in Detroit during the remainder of March, Mike Carmichael will sit in my secretarial chair and Red Badge member Johnny Allem will record the Meeting in Review next week. I look forward to picking up my pen and seeing my fellow Rotarians next month!