March 10, 2020


The meeting began with an invocation by Dave Hart, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance. 
Brad Montgomery reported that there were 34 members in attendance and one guest, Heather Reynolds, new at Station Capital, the guest of Joe Marsh.


  • Gist Wylie asks that members turn in make-up cards to him or Brad Montgomery.
  • President Andy reminded board members that the board is scheduled to meet following next week’s meeting. He said he had much fun at the Trivia Contest last Friday, and looks forward to a final report from Kathy Sabol when she returns from a well-earned vacation.  He also expressed the opinion that as Rotarians we should not be too concerned about the coronavirus. We do need to take sensible precautions. He is a bit more concerned about the amount of hugging and kissing going on at his church, however. 
  • Bill Mesler had two prototypes of the planned magnetic signs which can be placed on Rotarian’s cars when they deliver “Home Delivered Meals”. It seems that “Meals on Wheels” is a protected trademark which wanted money if that phrase was used, so it has been altered. (This nugget was provided by Gist Wylie). There were several esthetic comments, and Tom Drewitz is going to provide Bill with the recommended RI graphics. It will cost $218 for 25 signs and this will be discussed at next week’s board meeting.
  • Susan Price, after making sure John Hopper was paying attention, announced that one of the items at the Trivia Contest raffle, a basket of Toffee House goodies valued at $50 (drool) was unclaimed on Friday. Next week it will be offered as a special prize, tickets will be 3 for $5.
  • Dorothy Tecklenburg had a request for club members about the Bondo raffle. Someone turned in his or her tickets and money without the identifying envelope. They also turned in the WRONG part of the tickets, keeping the stubs with the names of the purchasers. There are still a few other envelopes out, so she cannot identify the guilty party. Please check to see if you have stubs rather than tickets. If you are one of the 5 or 6 people who has not returned the stubs yet, you can mail them to her. Let’s find the culprit by the process of elimination. Dorothy also informed all of us, including her husband John, that he would be buying the remaining 35 tickets. The raffle will net $2200 for the project.
  • Jim Uram wanted us to remember the upcoming District Rotary Foundation Luncheon. It will take place at The Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh on Sunday, March 29. Registrations and Social Hour from noon to 1pm. Buffett Luncheon at 1, Dessert Auction at 1:30, Program at 2pm and Basket Auction at 2:30. Cost is $80 per person, $60 if registration is received by March 15.

Happy Dollars:

  • Dorothy Tecklenburg was happy that this year she was not attacked at the Trivia Contest.
  • Bill Mesler was happy that his wife is okay after she collapsed in the Red Robin parking lot last week. After extensive testing it appears that she was suffering from stress. Bill says he must be a carrier.
  • John Hopper was happy to celebrate the shortest announcement ever from Susan Price.
  • Susan Priest was happy? that the Friends of the Library Trivia team, the winningest team in the history of the contest, managed to finish in the top third (13th!)
  • John Quayle was happy that the Robert Morris basketball teams, both men’s and women’s, were headed into the playoffs. He was also happy that the Knights of Columbus trivia team came in SECOND. 
  • Ken Baker was happy to announce that the Jazz Brunch this Sunday will be the Joshua Garrett Group. He also was happy to share an opportunity to enjoy a fun evening with jazz organ by New Yorker Dave Braham, with Dan Baker and Mark Capellini, on this Saturday, March 14. The program, $30 per person, $50 per couple, is being held to benefit the After-School Music Program which provides instruction for needy students. Called the Blind Tiger Speakeasy, it will be held at Nineteen North Main from 6 to 10pm. Music starts at 7pm. Tickets: 724-747-5139 or at Presidents Pub. You can also call Ken, or purchase tickets at the door.
  • Gist Wylie was happy that he has completed his chemotherapy. This was met with applause.
  • Stefan Getzik was happy to announce that his billing software is now working. He can use the money.
  • Mary Jo Podgurski was happy to say that she is just a bit behind Gist, as she will have her last chemotherapy session on Thursday.
  • Carol Keller was happy that we continue to “put up” with her “crashing” our meetings. She doesn’t seem to realize that we are graced by her presence.
  • Tom Drewitz was happy to be here. He started jury duty yesterday and was picked for a jury. After waiting, and waiting, and waiting, the jury got the news that the parties had reaching a resolution and the jurors were dismissed.

Program: Mary Jo Podgurski

President Andy didn’t bother with an introduction and turned things over to Mary Jo. She is excited about her new book: Sex Ed is in Session: An Adult Guide to Connecting with Young People about Life's Tough Topics.
This is her first book of 36 which was not self-published and she told us that it is easier this way.
The book is about how adults can connect and communicate with young people. The title was chosen by her publisher because sex sells. (note from your editor: the old joke from booksellers was that the ideal title was: Hitler’s Dog’s Guide to Losing Weight and a Better Sex Life, covering all the hot button words.)
She is pleased that Washington Health System is holding a launch party for the book next Monday, March 18, from 4:30 to 7 in the community room at Washington Hospital. Attendees will receive a free token for the parking garage. She would love to see her Rotary friends there.
She said about the book: “It is me.” It shares the methods her parents used in rearing her: example and parables. Her Papa was her instructor, by example, on the worthiness of all persons, an attitude which leads to wise decisions.
As a child, Mary Jo’s family lived in a small house on a steep hill, and it was the scene of several car’s undoing. Whenever a car got in trouble, her Papa would run out to the sidewalk and invite the riders in to use the phone. As soon as they got seated, he would go to the refrigerator and prepare food for his guests. He would ask them: “Tell me about your life, it will help my daughter.” Money was often offered, but always refused: “You have helped my daughter.” 
He gave her the great gift of his faith, and his belief in respect. He was not perfect, however, “Calabrese will steal your money. A Sicilian will kill you.” (Joe Manning shared that he was warned marrying about his Calabrese wife.)
Her life in work began with death. She graduated from nursing school in 1970 and soon was working at Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center with pediatric patients. Sometimes she wrapped 10 to 11 children’s bodies in a week. The system assigned a primary nurse to about a dozen children. The primary nurse knew all about the child, what they liked to eat, their favorite books and games. They knew them all the way. When one of the children for whom she was the primary nurse was dying, she would devote all her time to that child and his or her family.
She shared a story about “Clarence”, a stubborn, feisty child with leukemia. He had nicknames for all the staff: “hands are cold”, “can’t find a vein”. (During question time she was asked what his name for her was. It was: my heart.) He loved sewing cards, using yarn to connect through holes. She would sit with and sew cards and listen. 
During her nursing school years she was taught two cardinal rules: Never falsify a record, a rule she has never broken. The other was: Never show emotion. She told us when she learned that this is a rule which needed to be broken.
Part of what she did as a nurse was to wash and wrap the bodies of her young patients after they died. She would talk to them and sing to them. There was a child she calls “Isabella”. She remained coolly professional with the family, following the rule about emotion, but as she was performing her last services to the child’s body and was alone, she began to cry. A nurse’s aide, Daisy, who had been a nurse in China but not qualified in the US, asked her why she did not share her sorrow with the family. Daisy said that to do so was a gift to the family. They were not alone in their grief, someone else had known and loved their child and mourned with them. She also told her: Never be afraid to die. All these children you loved and cared for will greet you: “What took you so long?”
After her time at Sloan-Kettering she wanted to be involved not in death but in life. She was back in Washington and started childbirth classes. She realized that, while most people in the classes were couples, there were teens, without the father as a partner. She started classes for teens, no charge, she fed them. 
Her transformative experience came when she was asked to visit a pregnant 12-year-old in the foster-care system. The girl was in a deep depression and the first time Mary Jo visited she just sat for an hour with the girl, who had covered her head to shut her out. The second time, the girl acknowledged her presence by asking: “Who the f*** do you think you are?” But at 10:30 one evening the girl called her. She was going into labor. She did not ask Mary Jo to come, but Mary Jo knew she was needed. During the 19 hours Mary Jo, herself 34 weeks into her own pregnancy, decided she wanted to call the whole baby thing off.
The child had decided that she would give the baby up for adoption. If she kept the baby, she felt that the baby would be condemned to the same kind of life she was herself living. She did not want to see the baby, or even to know whether it was a boy or girl. After the 9 pound 6 ounce baby was delivered, it was whisked away. Mary Jo found the baby and rocked and sang Italian lullabies to it, crying.
Over the years she and her those she has trained have taught over a quarter of a million young people. She has seen the teen pregnancy rate drop from 39/thousand to 12/thousand.
Her advice: mostly listen.
She shared a few of the questions she has received over the years.
Does your Mon know what you are doing? Is she okay with it?
Although her mother is no longer here, Mary Jo says she is okay with it.
Will anyone ever love me?
The way she likes to deal with this is to sit next to the young person and take turns writing on post-it notes positive things about him or her. When there are 30 good things, she asks: don’t you think anyone with this much good about them is bound to be loved.
From girls: Can I not have periods? Can’t boys have them, too?
She explains that we do not get to choose how biology works, and that she, too, wishes there were a way to set when you want a baby and start then.
There is a new partner for my parent who is invading my space.
She tries to work with families, but part of why she started the Teen Center was to give a safe space away from family stresses. From 3 to 8, Monday through Friday, teens have a safe, family-free zone.
Questions from Rotarians:
How long did it take to write the book?
Three weeks, and then 52 revisions. (In checking with her, Mary Jo said: “The 52 was a joke, but it certainly felt like that many revisions.”)
Advice for the next generation?
I am raising them. Several of her teen peer educators are following in her footsteps.
What are the three things she would like to see?
First, change the culture so that sexuality is not hidden. Second, that each child be the result of parents who think about the responsibilities first and be ready for the challenges of parenting. Third, that teachers not just be knowledge providers, but also nurturers.


Winner: Joe Manning
Non-Winner: John Tecklenburg
John led us in the 4-Way Test from memory, the banner being still in someone’s car after its trip to South Franklin Fire Hall.
Washington Rotary
We meet Tuesdays at 12:00 PM
W & J College, The Commons
60 S. Lincoln St.
Washington, PA  15301
United States of America
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RI Theme 2019-20

Upcoming Programs

Mar 17, 2020
WashPA Outdoors
Mar 24, 2020
Club Assembly
Mar 31, 2020
2020 US Census
Apr 07, 2020
Greater Washington Food Bank
Apr 14, 2020
Farmers' Market
Apr 21, 2020
Apr 28, 2020
Club Assembly
May 05, 2020
The Berlin Wall
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Birthdays & Anniversaries

Member Birthdays
Joe Piszczor
March 5
Brandi Miller
March 17
Mary Jo Podgurski
March 24
Bob Hollick
March 1
Thomas Uram
March 4
Karen Reese
Donald Reese
March 7
Gretchen Stein
March 22
Mary Jo Podgurski
Rich Podgurski
March 24
Rich Podgurski
Mary Jo Podgurski
March 24
Join Date
Bob Hillberry
March 1, 1983
37 years
Thomas Northrop
March 1, 1990
30 years
Rachel Lozosky
March 24, 2009
11 years
Brandi Miller
March 31, 2015
5 years
Russell Hampton
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