At 12:30, President Shaun English called the meeting to order, asked for mobile phone muting, and led the Pledge of Allegiance.

Words of inspiration came from Russ Savage, who in observance of Labor Day read a poem by Bob Hicok. “Calling Him Back from Layoff,” movingly described the relief of a man given employment and the thoughts of the man calling to give him the news. 

Lisa Cohen, who attended the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington, gave her report on what she observed and her impressions of the day, which began with sounding of the original bell from the 16th street church, now lost to fire.  Fifty speakers and performers appeared, including Presidents Carter, Clinton and Obama.  Lisa said that she was not alive at the time of the march but it has been known in detail to her from the age of nine.  She closed with a relevant quote from Paul Harris.

President Shaun asked for a moment of silence in memory of Dr. Giuseppe Scarcella, who passed away August 31. He was the husband of our member, Dr. Erminia Scarcella

Secretary Tim Hurd introduced the guests of Rotarians:  

  • Heidi Shoup, President of the World Affairs Council, guest of Kathy Ward.
  • Shanda-Monique Barnes, guest of Kenny Barnes.
  • Ms. Battogos, and Ms. Toya, owner of Toya’s Tailor, guests of Max Salas.
  • Jeff Franco, Executive Director of City Year, guest of Nancy Riker.  He is a recent speaker and a prospective member.

Sergeant at Arms David Treadwell announced the birthday:  Haleh Vaziri, September  5.  Haleh joined our club in 2012, and was sponsored by David Klaus. Her classification is Consulting: Public Opinion Research.

While the screen displayed pictures of the Stanton Elementary School Beautification Day, President Shaun said our efforts had been described as “awesome” by the kids there.  He called Don Messer to the podium, and Don recognized President Shaun, Dan Mullin, Trish Savage, and Myrna Charles for their service as tutors.  Don is also a long-time tutor at Stanton Elementary.  He told us about the success of their math students, and asked for volunteers to address a deficiency in reading at the school. 

PP Howard Davis also congratulated the 30 volunteers for Stanton cleanup, largest turnout ever.  Habitat for Humanity Build Day is coming up this month. 

Other announcements included the upcoming Pool Party in Annapolis, September 15, and movie night September 12.

Haleh Vaziri, on behalf of Abe Helal, then introduced our speaker, Brendan McGinnis, President and Founder of Water Resources Action Project (WRAP).  As someone with roots in the Middle East, she said she appreciates his success in bringing diverse groups together, and saluted his pragmatism, passion and perception.

Mr. McGinniss accompanied his talk with slides and photos detailing the problems of scarce water and the schools who need it in Israel, Palestinian areas and Jordan, along the Jordan River.  Desalinization is not a feasible solution now, and schools must depend on an erratic supply of expensive water from tanker trucks.  The limited water supply has consequences in health and hygiene.  Girls are sometimes reluctant to attend school.  Politics is a complicating influence.

There is another source of water, though, and that is the rain clouds in the sky during the November through April rainy season.  But without facilities and planning, the rain quickly runs away. Brendan McGinnis’s all volunteer, strictly neutral team has learned how to build and set up rain barrel or cistern storage to be pumped out for later use.  Careful collection can supply a majority of water needed for student s during a school year.  Eighty-five percent goes to toilet flushing.

WRAP’s all volunteer staff claims no expenses or salary, so every penny donated or granted goes to projects.  They have completed rain barrel or cistern storage for three schools and one more project is in the works.  One school serves 800 girls, another serves 120.  The upcoming project will store water in two schools, one coed Arab, and one coed Israeli.  There is a careful training regime and three years of assistance for those operating the equipment.  Even minor problems can throw new users off the track, they’ve found.

In questions and answers, Brendan sketched out plans for the future.  Other organizations attracted by his proven record include the Friends of the Earth in the Middle East and a Rotary Club in Coral Springs.  He’s open to ideas about other parts of the world, but has thus far chosen to focus on the Middle East.  He has not had any contact with Rotary International and their vision for water.

President Shaun presented the tree certificate, and summoned the raffle container, cultivated by Heather Jaffan.   The $35 pot was won by Chris Lane, who donated it to our Rotary Foundation. He drew for the $235 large pot and once again the Fates toyed with us – just as last week turned up the Ace of Clubs, this week exposed another Ace, the red spot of the Ace of Hearts.

The Hospitality table was staffed by Stu Shalloway and Ted Hamady.  The greeters were Ken Kimbrough and Don Hense.  The meeting was adjourned on time and the crowd dispersed to a beautiful cool afternoon.