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May 12, 2020

Online Rotary Meeting

Today the Washington Rotary Club met again in a Zoom meeting online. Present were, in no particular order: Andrew Goudy, Joe Piszczor, Tom Drewitz, Dave Hart, Dave Moore, Bill and Susan Price, Dorothy and John Tecklenburg,, Angeline East, Ken Baker, Mary Jo and Rich Podgurski, Carrie Richardson, John Quayle, Tom Northrop, Park Burroughs (with an impressive beard), Bill Allison, Gist Wylie, Phil Rush, and Susan Priest. 
 
The meeting began with an invocation by Dave Hart, followed by the salute to the flag. 

Announcements:

  • President Andy reminded members of the board that there will be a Zoom board meeting after the regular meeting next Tuesday. He also announced that the club’s Crystal Citation paperwork was completed and would be submitted after the meeting.
  • The club has received a letter from Jay Helmer. He regretted to inform us that he has left his position at Washington and Jefferson and is returning to Connecticut. He will miss us all.
  • Tom Drewitz announced that the District Conference has been rescheduled for October 2-4 at Seven Springs.
  • Susan Priest announced that the program for May 26 will be a special one, with memories of Vietnam by club members who served there. She is looking for any veteran of Vietnam to contact her so that she can know how much time to allot to them. President Andy said that the date is also a club assembly, but will not have any happy dollars, in order to allow as much time as possible for the program. So far we have John Tecklenburg and Tom Drewitz signed up.
  • President Andy shared that he recently attended a large Rotary Zoom meeting of over 200 Rotarians at which the President of Rotary International spoke. President Andy said he has been attending more meeting since the lockdown began than before.
  • Park Burroughs asked if the club was going to do a roadside cleanup this spring as usual. Angeline East, Community Service Chair, said that this April had been so chaotic that she was unable to schedule one. The sense of the meeting was that we wanted to do this, and Angeline said she will set it up to be done before the end of May.

Happy Dollars

(donors are on their honor to make good on these in the future)
  • Mary Jo Podgurski was happy about the upcoming Grand March for seniors which will take place on Zoom tomorrow at 7pm. Seniors from several districts have sent in photos and videos which will be included. Request an invite from her. Her second happy dollar was for the selection by the Teen Center of this year’s Volunteer of the Year honor. To the embarrassment of the writer, Susan Priest has been chosen. Awards will given at a virtual presentation on May 27. 
  • Dave Hart was happy to have received a card from the club celebrating his 44th Rotary anniversary. He reflected that, as he walked to his first meeting at the George Washington Hotel, he met Charles Keller, who was also headed for the meeting.
  • John Tecklenburg has happy to have run into Tom Uram recently. Tom sends his regards. He said that he was waling with hid dad a couple of times a week, taking him to the office, which is closed for business now. Both of them sent hellos to the members. He was happy to announce that following the replay of the 2016 and 2017 Penguins, that they won!            
  • Tom Drewitz was happy that no new virus cases occurred yesterday in Washington County. 
  • Dorothy Tecklenburg shared that she had seen an interview with Penguin Kris Letang which was totally taken over by his 6-year-son Alex. She said it was a wonderful moment. This year the NHL has announced its nominations for awards, and Alex is a nominee in the best video category. 
  • Angeline East was happy that, while there are 715 cases and 36 deaths so far in Kenya, there are none in her home province.

Program: Beds for Bondo

Dorothy Tecklenburg began the program by explaining that she would be talking about the behind the scenes of how the project happened, and that Angeline East would be sharing about her trip to see the results.
Dorothy started by saying that when she took the chair for International Service, she was expecting to continue working with China Little Flower, which she was familiar with. As an aside she told us that the gentleman who started this has returned to the states, but that China Little Flower still continues, and she and John continue to help financially.
However, she suddenly found herself in unfamiliar territory. She said it can be educational to discover that you have volunteered to do something you think you can’t do.
The hospital in Bondo has 63 beds and serves a population of 50,000. The 10,000 households produce about 200 births every month. When approached, they gave a list of what was needed for the new maternity wing. Beds, cribs for the babies, incubators, heaters, and more. We would need help to provide what was needed.
Dorothy first approached the Rotary Foundation. They require a partnership between a local club in the foreign country and in the US. Unfortunately, while there was a club in Bondo, the club had too few members to qualify as a local partner. They suggested finding another club in Kenya to partner with. This would have been like asking a Harrisburg club to help us with the pavilion project. 
She moved to approaching other foundations, most of whom replied essentially: great idea, doesn’t fit right now. Don’t call us, we’ll call you.
The Gould Family Foundation was more helpful, offering steps which we could take which might work. 
We had raised enough money for 13 beds, and Angeline told the club that sheets would be needed and at a meeting enough money was donated by members to cover the bedding as well. 
Dorothy then discovered an organization which would be a game changer.
Part of the problem was that the material would have to be purchased in Kenya, since the country does not allow the importation of medical equipment. MEDS is a local group founded by the Catholic Church and three other Christian groups. They could purchase the beds and linens in Kenya if we could send them the money. They had a price list for the items. In the meantime Susan Priest had provided the money for a 14th bed. (Susan later explained that she suffers from triskaidekaphobia, an extreme dislike of the number 13.)
Now the question was: how to send the money to be assured it reached the right people without being skimmed or lost. 
Rotary to the rescue again. The club had a speaker from the Pittsburgh organization Brother’s Brother. She reached out to them for advice and discovered that that could help us and we could help them. They could handle the money transfer, but were extremely interested in the MEDS organization, which could help them to do more work in Kenya. 
The success of the project received publicity in a Kenyan newspaper and in the Observer-Reporter, and was featured in the District newsletter.
Dorothy pitched the idea of the project beyond the first phase at a District function, and the Hampton club pledged $2,000. We raised another $2,500 with the St. Patrick’s Day raffle, and the District is matching this with $4,500. Our little first year effort has ballooned to cover much more of the needs of the hospital.
At this point, Angeline began her part of the program, assisted by Dorothy with visuals. She began by orienting us as to the location of Bondo. Kenya is on the east coast of Africa, Siaya County is near the western border, near Lake Victoria. The county is Siaya, and sub-county is Bondo. Angeline is from the village of Masita. 
When Angeline visited, the beds and bedding had just arrived. There were several photos of the setting up of the beds, including some of her helping to make the beds with the linens. The sheets were labeled with: Nyamasita and Rotary Club of Washington. Nyamasita means: daughter of Masita. Among the persons who were there was the Kenyan Minster of Health.
A photo of our club members and our large banner was presented and it hangs in the hospital. There was a photo of the first child born in the unit.
At this point Dorothy informed us we were about to see the world premier of a video of the unit in operation. It was sent through Google in such a way that it had taken her over an hour to find out a way to download it. Even Angeline had not yet seen it. It was full of the sound of babies and was quite moving.
Angeline shared that the Washington Zonta club had provided money for hospital gowns, and that she had obtained 6 boxes of 48 gowns, a total of 288 gowns by this writer’s arithmetic. 
Dorothy added that at a meditation workshop she ran into a woman who had had a sister who died near Lake Victoria on a mission trip. The woman donated to the project as a memorial to her sister. 
Tom Drewitz congratulated the pair and said: This is what Rotary is. I am proud of the club.
 
The meeting ended with President Andy leading us in the 4-Way test. This was followed by the ringing of a bell.
             
Washington Rotary
Washington
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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May 19, 2020
Eating Local in 2020
May 26, 2020
Club Assembly
Jun 02, 2020
The Rotary Foundaton and Covid-19
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Birthdays & Anniversaries

Member Birthdays
Bill Price
May 19
 
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Bill Allison
Colleen Allison
May 1
 
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Lindsay Pecosh
May 1
 
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Julie Jindra
May 4
 
Dorothy Tecklenburg
John Tecklenburg
May 6
 
Betsy West
Bill West
May 8
 
Bill West
Betsy West
May 8
 
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Linda Hepburn
May 10
 
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May 18
 
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Joseph Gisoni
May 1, 1981
39 years
 
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May 4, 1976
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May 6, 2014
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