Hello fellow Rotarians! I am eager to share what transpired during our gathering on 24 September—a particularly busy meeting filled with guests, packed with announcements and graced by a distinguished speaker.

President Jennifer called the meeting to order at 12:30 PM, leading members in the Pledge of Allegiance. She then invited Judith Henderson to provide us words of inspiration. Judith chose a quote from Martin Luther King Jr.: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”


Joining us for lunch were several guests and visiting Rotarians whom I introduced:

  • Attorney Hiba Abdalla, guest of Bill Dent;
  • Chuck Banks, expert on disaster preparedness and relief, formerly a member of our club, now with the Topeka South Rotary Club;
  • Dave Finnigan, President of Climate Change is Elementary and Sam Hancock’s guest;  
  • Peter Kyle, last year’s District 7260 Governor;
  • Lee Niederman, training advocate at the U.S. Department of Treasury and Guillermo Grajales’ guest;
  • Zohreh “Zoe” Rastegar, founder of Images by Zoe and Haleh Vaziri’s guest;
  • Rynthia Rost, Vice President of Public Affairs at GEICO and Max Salas’ guest;
  • Lin Whitehouse, aide to and guest of our invited speaker Congressman James Clyburn;
  • Margaret Berwal, guest of Mimi Kanda and Dick Pyle;                                                                                    
  • Desseta Marsie-Hazen, Treasurer of the Jamaica Volunteers’ Association and guest of Mimi Kanda and Dick Pyle;                                                                            
  • Hilary Kirk, Vice President of the Jamaica Volunteers’ Association and Dick Pyle’s guest;
  • Thomas E. Kern, Executive Vice President of ITS America and Clara Montanez’s guest;
  • Madeleine Lyrvall, Swedish diplomat and wife of the Ambassador to the United States and Clara Montanez’s guest;
  • Protus Limiti, General Manager of the Children of God Relief Institute, from the Rotary Club of Karen, Nairobi in Kenya where he is a Past President;
  • R.R. Pandy, Chairman and CEO of Everest Express, from the Rotary Club of Patan in Kathmandu, Nepal;
  • Yukio Tada, formerly a member of our club and President Jennifer’s sponsor, now with Japan’s Tokyo Rotary Club where he is a Past President;
  • Ken Kuribuyashi, Vice President and General Manager of Sujitz and Yukio Tada’s guest; as well as
  • A “ton” of Rotarians from Maryland’s North East Club, at least 15 of them visiting from Cecil County, who graciously eschewed formal introductions due to time constraints.

With guests still streaming into the dining room, Sargent-at-Arms Buz Gorman wished Rotarians born this week a joyous birthday:

  • Ed O'Brien on 21 September – Sponsored by Earl Strimple when he became a member in 1998, Ed is an attorney and the Executive Director Emeritus of Street Law, Inc.
  • Pat Kavanaugh on 22 September – Past President and currently Foundation Treasurer and Club Classification Chairman, Pat is also a lawyer who joined our club in 1984 sponsored by Paul Lenz.
  • Irene Koerner on 23 September – A member of our club since 2004, sponsored by Geri Hansen, Irene’s classification is government service-regulatory compliance.
  • Jay Pugh on 24 September – Past President and presently Finance Committee Chairman, Jay was sponsored by Robert McBrier when he joined our club in 1972. His classification is department stores.
  • Steve Liston on 26 September – Sponsored for membership by Clara Montanez earlier this month, Steve was previously a Rotarian in Chile and Spain. He is a diplomat in the U.S. Foreign Service.
  • Donnie Shaw on 27 September – Career Fair Chairman Donnie was sponsored by Max Salas when he joined our club in 2003. His classification is youth services-YMCA.

As President Jennifer returned to the microphone, we listened to announcements by Rotarians and others, some visiting from across the globe:

  • Past District Governor Peter Kyle honored Madeleine Lyrvall, Swedish Ambassador Björn Lyrvall’s wife, with a Paul Harris Award on behalf of Immediate Past President of Rotary International Ron Burton. Mr. Kyle and Mr. Burton became acquainted with Ms. Lyrvall when she and her husband hosted a reception in January 2014. As they discovered, Ms. Lyrvall has been a long-time member of the Swedish Foreign Service in her own right and was a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar at the London School of Economics. Accepting the award, Ms. Lyrvall expressed her gratitude to Rotary International for cultivating “connections between peoples” that lead to peace.
  • President Jennifer invited Yukio Tada to tell us about our “Sister City” relationship with the Tokyo Rotary Club, forged with the initiative of DC Rotarians May Gwinn and Nobutishi Hanai. Mr. Tada proudly declared that his club has accepted its first two women members this year, prompting a burst of applause! He noted that the Tokyo Club will mark its centennial in 2020, the same year the city will host the Summer Olympic Games. He urged us to stay tuned for information on Sister City activities and his club’s centennial celebration.
  • Protus Limiti, Past President of the Karen, Nairobi Rotary Club, took the podium to thank our club for helping to raise funds for the Children of God Relief Institute which cares for some 4,000 of Kenya’s children abandoned and orphaned by HIV/AIDS-infected parents. Presenting President Jennifer with a mug from the Karen, Nairobi Club, he declared that he would welcome further collaboration with DC Rotarians.
  • President Jennifer announced that the International Service Committee is inviting club members to present proposals for international service projects for small ($500 to $ 5,000) and global grants ($40,000 to $200,000). For details, please visit our website and/or contact Brendan McGinnis, responsible for project development.


  • Howard Davis reminded us that on Saturday, 27 September, volunteers are necessary for the Habitat for Humanity Build. Rotarians should meet at the Ivy City location at 8:30 AM; work will last until 3:30 PM. For information, please visit our website or see Howard. (Please note that this activity has already taken place.)

The Honorable James Clyburn—Writer, Raconteur and Representative from South Carolina

Max Salas introduced our guest speaker, Congressman James Clyburn, Minority Whip in the U.S. House of Representatives and author of the 2014 memoir Blessed Experiences: Genuinely Southern, Proudly Black. Representative Clyburn is not only an accomplished and respected national leader, but also a masterful writer and raconteur of stories, charming Rotarians with several vignettes and wise words from his life.

The Congressman shared the story of meeting his wife, Emily England, in 1960 while incarcerated in Orangeburg, South Carolina after a civil rights demonstration. Complaining of hunger, he was offered half a hamburger by a “cute, ninety-two-pound coed” whom he married fifteen months later. Thinking fondly about what he believed was a fortuitous meeting in a strange setting, Representative Clyburn did not learn until his tenth wedding anniversary that Emily had noticed him weeks before their jailhouse encounter: As he walked across South Carolina State University’s campus “holding hands with another young lady,” Emily told her roommate that “they don’t make a good couple, and he’s going to be my husband.” Praising Emily’s ingenuity, Mr. Clyburn is delighted to this day that his wife was so observant and resolute.

Writing Blessed Experiences was clearly a labor of love for Congressman Clyburn, but also a challenging endeavor. When he submitted the manuscript, his publisher told him to cut 36,000 words from the text, to his initial dismay. Recalling his days as a high school history teacher 50 years ago, Mr. Clyburn revisited each chapter of his book to ask himself three questions: Would young people understand the chapter? Could a lesson be taught based on the chapter? And would students be motivated by reading the chapter? If he could not answer “yes” to all three questions, he revised the chapter—an excellent example of editorial discipline.

Rotarians thoroughly enjoyed Congressman Clyburn’s visit, giving him a standing ovation and chatting with him as he signed copies of his book and posed for photographs.

Adjourned Until Next Week

President Jennifer awarded our “Trees for the Capital” certificate to Representative James Clyburn while Rotarians waited to hear who had bought the winning raffle ticket. When the numbers were drawn, Guillermo Grajales rose to claim the small pot of $55. but then learned that he was mistaken. The winning ticket belonged to Lynn Holec for the second week in a row! Yet she did not win the large pot of $962 which keeps growing.

Thank you to Greeter Buz Gorman and to Balraj Gupta and Stu Shalloway for staffing the Hospitality Table.

On 1 October, our speaker will be Retired Judge James Robertson who will discuss issues surrounding privacy and surveillance.

President Jennifer adjourned the meeting at 1:30 PM … And then I put down my pen for Red Badge member Cherry Baumbusch to pick it up next week when she will write the Meeting in Review. Thank you Cherry! I will return to a computer screen near you for our 8 October gathering.