Fellow Rotarians, I am delighted to share the minutes of our 13 August gathering.

President Jennifer Hara called the meeting to order at 12:30 PM, leading members in the Pledge of Allegiance. She then invited Wilhelmina Bratton to deliver words of inspiration; she read a passage from Psalms about the sanctity and healing power of stillness.


Immediate Past Secretary Tim Hurd, sitting in for Secretary Haleh Vaziri, introduced guests and visiting Rotarians in attendance. We welcomed:
·         Antonio Peronale, Founding Partner/Apollo Political, LLC and guest of Jennifer Galloway
·         Derek Goldstein, CEO/Casaplex and guest of Deraux Branch
·         Diego Grajales, guest of Guillermo “Memo” Grajales
·         Jay, Aluminum Manufacturing and guest of Balraj Gupta
·         Bill Piotrowsky, guest of visiting Rotarian Nancy Keck
·         Justin Protrowsky, also a guest of Nancy Keck
·         Valerie Rondavera, student and guest of Frank Reaves
·         Darby Capps, student and guest of Frank Reaves
·         David Dale, President/Tri-Com and guest of Michael Carmichael
·         Joan Dale, guest of Michael Carmichael
·         Sherry Carmichael, President/Synergy Management Services Inc., guest and wife of of Michael Carmichael
Sergeant-at-Arms Buz Gorman then congratulated Rotarians celebrating birthdays. To the surprise and disappointment of many, however, Buz offered no hugs this week. The week’s birthday honors include:

  • Ted Hamady on 11 August – club member since 1986, sponsored by Karl Hamady. Ted’s classification is International Defense: Security Services.
  • Phill Bradbury on 12 August – club member since 1991. Phill’s classification is Nuclear Materials Management. Phill now resides in Knoxville, TN and remains an Honorary member of our club.
  • Marvin Taylor-Dormond on 13 August – club member since 2006, sponsored by Rob Warne. Marvin’s classification is Development Finance: Private Sector.

Tony Cusack then provided a “Not-So-New” Member Talk. Tony recalled that when growing up in DeLand, Florida he worked during the summers at a hotel. Every Tuesday at noon men in suits would enter the hotel and gather in a private room. Tony shared that he wondered at the time who these men were and what could they be plotting. Later, Tony joined Rotary in Virginia and decided to visit a club in his hometown; upon learning the meeting location he fully realized the purpose of the weekly gathering! Tony shared the life-changing impact Rotary has had on him, inspiring him to spend time in Zimbabwe, Ghana and Malawi, and to create feeding and clean drinking water programs.

President Jennifer thanked the club for its patience while the Ballroom where we usually meet is under construction, and reminded everyone that on August 20 and 27, we will meet in the FIRST floor Dining Room, just across from the Front Desk.

President Jennifer reminded the club about the following upcoming events:

  • Movie Night on Thursday, 14 August features A Most Wanted Man, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman and Rachel McAdams. Showing at the Landmark E Street Cinema—on 11th and E Streets, NW—Rotarians are to meet Ed O’Brien in the lobby at 6:30 PM to buy tickets; the film starts at 7:00 PM. (Please note that this event has already taken place.)
  • End Polio Now Night at Nationals Park is on Saturday, August 16. Tickets are $40 and include a $10 food voucher. (Please note that this event has already taken place.)
  • Walter Reed Bingo is on Thursday, 21 August with set up at 5:30 PM and the games starting at 6:00 PM; members must pre-register on the club’s website or contact Shelly Williams no later than Tuesday, 19 August.
  • DC Public School Beautification Day is on Saturday, 23 August at Stanton Elementary School. Rotarians should sign up on the website. This is a terrific, hands-on volunteer activity.
  • Office Clean Up, Reorganization and Decorating Day is on Sunday, September 21, in the morning (time TBD). If you have a couple of hours, please stop by and lend a hand. Thank you to Nancy Riker and her daughter Lesley for leading our efforts to purge and reorganize!       

Major General Charles Frank Bolden, Jr., (USMC-Ret.), Administrator of NASA
This week’s speaker Major General Charles Frank Bolden, Jr., NASA Administrator, was eloquently introduced by Michael Carmichael.

Maj. Gen. Bolden provided a moving talk that ultimately yielded a standing ovation. He provided an overview of NASA’s current space exploration activities. In particular, he sought to challenge the myth that NASA no longer engages in human space exploration since its space shuttle program formally ended in August 2011. Maj. Gen. Bolden discussed key NASA activities, including:

  • Mars Curiosity Rover: Maj. Gen. Bolden lauded the success of the Mars rover program and regarded it as NASA’s best accomplishment since Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon.
  • Orion Spacecraft: NASA’s Orion spacecraft is being developed to carry humans into deep space beyond Earth’s orbit where they have never gone before. For example, NASA is developing the capabilities to send humans to an asteroid by 2025 and Mars in the 2030s.
  • New Horizons Spacecraft Arriving to Pluto in July 2015: The New Horizons spacecraft, launched in 2006, is on approach for a dramatic flight past Pluto and its moons in July 2015 and will pass Jupiter the following year.
  • Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO-2): OCO-2 is NASA’s first spacecraft dedicated to studying atmospheric carbon dioxide.
  • The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST): JWST is being developed as the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope.
  • Aeronautics Research: NASA is developing technology to make air travel safer and greener and to reduce air traffic congestion.

Additionally, Maj. Gen. Bolden discussed some of NASA’s key accomplishments. He noted significant rises in participation of women and the legacy on earth of the admission of women into space shuttle program, and also referred to international cooperation in space exploration— for example, collaboration with the Russian Space Agency in operating the International Space Station. He provided an impassioned argument about NASA’s potential in the future—“we turn science fiction into science fact”—and the effect which the NASA program has on earth. He commented on how much interest he sees from the youth and, in particular, mentioned how proud he is that his granddaughter wants to become a rocket scientist.

Finally, Maj. Gen. Bolden invited the club to visit Wallops Island, Virginia, to have the amazing experience of witnessing a rocket launch first-hand, or the Goddard Space Flight Center, located in Greenbelt, MD.

Adjourned Until Next Week

After President Jennifer presented Major General Charles Bolden with our club’s “Trees for the Capital” certificate, Rotarians waited to learn who purchased the winning raffle ticket from Johnny Allem. Winner Memo Grajales claimed the small pot of $35. The large pot of $713 continues to grow.

Thank you to Balraj Gupta and Stu Shalloway who welcomed guests at the Hospitality Table.

Our next meeting on 20 August will feature speaker Shannon Steene, Vice President of Member Engagement at Lutheran Services in America.
President Jennifer adjourned the meeting at 1:30 PM … until next week! smiley