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November 19, 2019

Getting Started

President Andy called the meeting to order and asked Bill West to give the invocation.
 
Brad Montgomery gave the attendance: 34 members and 2 guests: Our speakers Eric Smith and Judi Kovacicek
 

Announcements: 

  • President Andy asked Angeline East to report on last Saturday’s roadside cleanup. Angeline reported that 14 persons (13 Rotarians and one guest) worked well as a team and the cleaning went well. President Andy pointed out that 4 women joined the team: Angeline East, Betsy West, Brandi Miller, and Lisa Hannum. Bill Price then rose to announce that, as usual, unusual finds were made, and that both were made by women. The finds were: a bag of poop and underwear. He called up Betsy and Lisa, the lucky? Discoverers to receive Rotary travel mugs. As the dubious winner, the poop finder, Lisa was given first choice of mugs. 
  • Kudos were given to John Hopper, who was absent from today’s meeting, for securing the necessary gear for the cleanup.
  • President Andy announced that our awardee at the Joint Service Club Luncheon last week was Mike Pecosh. He stated that someone from the Knights of Columbus, which hosted this year’s meeting had assigned the presentation of the award to someone named Andrew Gould?, but that person was not available, he (President Andy) did the honors.
  • Jim Uram announced that he had copies of the completed signup sheets for bell-ringing on Saturday, December 14, at the Giant Eagle. He is also circulating a signup sheet for a shift at Sam’s Club. 
  • Jim also announced that the board for the Super Bowl fundraiser will have squares for $50, and urged every member step up to purchase a square when the board becomes active.
  • Finally, Jim announced that he had a signup sheet for the Rotary Christmas Party, to be held at the Lone Pine Golf Clubhouse. Diane Ambrose added that the cost will be $23 per Rotarian, $35 per non-Rotarian guests. She has one RSVP so far.
 
  • President Andy asked Joe Piszczor about his idea to have a club Super Bowl party. Joe will investigate.
  • Dave Hart was called to the podium for unfinished Foundation business. When we held the annual awards luncheon, the Paul Harris pins for the awardees had not arrived. He will wait to present Dorothy Tecklenburg’s pin until she can return to club meetings. He presented pins to Susan Price and Angeline West.
  • Susan Price explained the sheets she had placed on each table. They represent a Reverse Advent Calendar. Each day has a non-perishable food item listed. Once they are assembled, they can be boxed and presented to a local food bank. She did a trial run and found that the cost of everything on the list came to $26. She suggested we might share with other groups.
 

Happy Dollars

  • Susan Priest had two happy dollars. One was for finding a replacement program for today at the last minute. The other was for President Andy, who said the was doing well, not good. As a self-appointed of the Grammar Nazis, she approves.
  • Bill Messler had 5 happy dollars: his son as been invited to speak at a CMU program on entrepreneurism, and will be staying at home for one night.
  • Bill Allison was happy that his picture was in the official Penguin media guide. (Explanation further down the page.)
  • Betsy West was happy to promote the movie Harriet, about Harriet Tubman. She urges everyone to see this magnificent and inspiring film.
  • Diane Ambrose was happy to announce the current exhibit at Citizens Library of the posthumous paintings of John Baker. Betsy West, who knew the artist and his family shared her admiration for his gifts, in particular a picture of Christ which was given to her by the artist, and which hangs proudly in the West’s home.
  • Susan Price shared that the Bakers belong to her church, and that often pictures would just appear to hang there. She was also happy for her Paul Harris award. 
  • John Tecklenburg gave 20 happy dollars. He and Dorothy have been absent a lot the last few months due to health issues. He was happy to announce that Dorothy had successful heart surgery, which was accomplished without cracking her sternum. Her recovery has been rocky, but she is hoping to be back by the end of the year. They are grateful for all the cards, flowers, and especially FOOD. He wanted explain Bill Allison’s presence in the Penguin’s program. John and Dorothy are season ticket holders with the Penguins, and Dorothy was selected for the season ticket holder spotlight feature. Pictures from a party they had on the deck included invited friends, of which Bill Allison was one. They shared a story with the Penguin’s staff: During their time in Beijing, they put together a Stanley Cup viewing party. Due to the time difference the party was held on a Sunday morning. They found a location, which required a lot upfront, since how many people would come to this. As it turns out over 60. The venue bootlegged a signal from the Philippines, and the crowd experienced a Penguin’s Game in Spanish.
  • John then added a pitch for the Washington Symphony Orchestra’s Christmas concerts on Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon, December 7 and 8.
  • Tom Drewitz was happy for the crowded meeting today.
 

Program: City Mission Crabtree Kovaciceck Veterans House

The program opened with Eric Smith, Corporate Relations Manager for the Mission. He shared some general statistics. Since the fire the Mission has been serving more and more people in need. There has been a 47% increase in residents. Meals are up 30%, medical services are up 65%. They have a 70% success rate with clients. All this with no government funding. They maintain a food pantry and also a warming/cooling center for non-residents. 
 
As far as clothing: nice is great. You can donate to any of the seven City Mission Thrift Stores. If you want to donate for a specific population, such as the Women’s shelter or the Veteran’s House, you can donate directly at the Mission, 84 W. Wheeling Street. Another option is to take clothing and miscellaneous items to the Training & Distribution Center  a 1000 Sheffield Street.. The shops are also places to donate. Have clothing you think is only good for the trash, consider the Mission instead. They recycle them for $5,000 per truck-load. The Mission is grateful for any support.
Then Judi Kovacicek, Capital Campaign Coordinator spoke on the Crabtree Kovacicek Veterans House. This new facility is for homeless veterans. She stressed that many people are only one paycheck away from homelessness.
She shared some sobering statistics. Two-thirds of American veterans suffer from substance abuse. Fifty percent have mental health problems. Veterans are fifty percent more likely to become homeless. They often suffer from lack of support from the community and from families. Divorce rates are extremely high among veterans.
 
Only one if five vets use the VA. This arises from a variety of issues: most often transportation or red tape which can be difficult with vets who suffer from lack of stamina to deal with all the paperwork.
What was first called ‘Patriot House’ was conceived of as the Mission was recovering from the fire. It became the first of a kind in Pennsylvania for a Gospel Mission. The Mission leadership saw a need. Vets were coming into the Mission, but they didn’t stick around. They seemed to feel they did not fit in. They didn’t take advantage of the programs. Thus the concept of a program run by veterans for veterans was born.
On July 3, 2018 the City Mission opened the Crabtree Kovacicek Veterans House, which has 22 beds. The Mission secured a loan of $2.7 million dollars for the project. To date they have paid back $1.7 million. They hold a mortgage for the rest, and donations are always welcome to help pay down the mortgage. If anyone wants to help, checks can be sent to the Mission with ‘Veterans House’ in the memo line. They hold periodic tours and members of the community can call to arrange a tour.
Resident veterans, any honorably discharged vets are welcome, receive food, shelter, clothing, access to gym and medical facilities, support programs led by veterans, work training, and help connecting to the host of available programs from staff familiar with what is out there. 
The Mission follows its HEIRS program with them: Housing, Education, Income, Recovery, and Spirituality. 
 
Judi shared the story of one veteran. The Mission learned that he had been living in a tent in the woods for about a year. He was brought in and assigned to a bed in the “quad”. For the first month after arriving, vets live in a large room with four semi-private areas to give them time to adjust and transition. During that month they go through physical and mental evaluations. After the first month, the vet receives one of the private rooms. Part of the culture of the Mission is to ask residents to contribute to the day to day needs at the mission. This vet began with janitorial work, but when the Career and Training Center was able to get his ID and his driver’s license he became a Mission Driver. Two local businesses collaborated to purchase and donate a van which is used to transport residents to their jobs in the community, or to medical appointments. 
This vet has recently been hired as a flagger on a road crew and is staying on at the Mission until he has saved enough to obtain his own transportation, and he then plans to get his own apartment. 
This is the goal of the program: to enable vets to rejoin the community, to get apartments and jobs, possibly to rejoin families. 
 
Judi shared her passion for the veterans house. Her father, who is 97, served in the Army under General Patton. Her husband was a Marine and served in Vietnam.
Her son, Ryan, joined the Marine Reserves while he was in college, planning to enter Officer Training. Then September 11 happened. All reserve units were activated, and he was pulled from college to join his unit. On July 10, 2005, he and his sergeant were killed in action in Iraq.
 
Dr. Crabtree from W&J, who also has a psychiatric consulting practice, made a substantial contribution, giving him naming rights. Judi had worked with him in the past, and learned that he wanted to name the building: The Crabtree Kovacicek Veterans House. Reluctantly, Judi eventually agreed to this.
What can we as individuals do: We can pray for the Mission and its residents and its mission. We can volunteer. We can donate: clothes, furniture, funds. We can consider hosting a fund-raiser. Recently a 16 year old had a spaghetti dinner and raised $600. We can consider making a continuing pledge and earmark it specifically for the veterans house should we wish to.
It is her vision and prayer, and that of the City Mission, that in the Crabtree Kovacicek Veterans House, homeless veterans can truly put the past behind them and learn to live with strength, purpose  and independence.
 
President Andy thanked the speakers for an informative and interesting presentation.
 

50/50

Winner: John Quayle
Non-Winner: Tom Northrop
 
Tom led us in the 4-way test.
Washington Rotary
Washington
We meet Tuesdays at 12:00 PM
W & J College, The Commons
60 S. Lincoln St.
Washington, PA  15301
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November 2
 
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November 8
 
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