Posted By Jake Fowler
Greeter……………………… .Michael Juric
Raffle Tickets………………. Bruce Okrepke & Carl Wiuff
Inspiration………………….. John LeCave
Song…………………………… Sandie Krutz
Closing Thought………….. Bill Bolster
Scribe…………………………. Susan Cole
Opening of Meeting
Pledge by Bruce Okrepkie
Inspiration by John LeCave, on luck and living with intention
Our song choice was from Sandie Krutz who selected a music video that connected to the meeting’s program theme of honoring our Military Veterans. This was a very moving song by third graders singing their thanks to our veterans and those serving our country. Thanks for a great musical moment for our club, Sandie!
Roger Olson, Healdsburg Rotary Club, Pacific Coast Air Museum
Jason Black, Santa Rosa Rotary Club, Edward Jones
John How introduced Vincent Larsen, our Exchange Student “son” from Belgium.
Renee Hyde introduced her good friend, Roz Bateman-Smith, a family law attorney.
Maureen Merrill introduced our speakers for today:
Burt McChesney and Pete Cameron from Veterans Resource Centers of America
Sue Nelson introduced Kim Walsh, Blood Centers of the Pacific
Steve Klick introduced Clay Fritz, from Fritz Winery and Old Redwood Brewing Company.
Clay Fritz, in turn, introduced 6 of the 12 boys and 4 coaches of the Windsor Warriors Little League Baseball Team. This team will represent the Town of Windsor at an invitational Little League tournament being held in Cooperstown, New York. They will be playing baseball for one week full time. This is like a baseball camp at the home of baseball.
Coaches are: Marco Rivera, Joe Henderson, Dave Avila and Damon Niehlinger. Players, who each spoke briefly about what excited them about going to Cooperstown, include Ben Weaver, Caden Towery, Ken Fritz, Joshua Henderson, Gabe Avila, and Antonio Rivera. The consensus among the boys about going to Cooperstown was that it was exciting to travel to Cooperstown and see what the Hall of Fame looked like, meet other kids like themselves and learn some new pitches!
Windsor Warriors Little League Team shared their goal of earning their way to Cooperstown through fundraising activities which took them out of their comfort zone and allowed them to learn about service organizations (like Rotary!) in their community and to participate and give back to their community. Sounds like a big Win-Win for all.
March Rotarian of the Month: Sue Nelson
Marc had to search far and wide for a photo of Sue since she is usually the one taking the incredible photographs of our Club Meetings and special events.
As a Charter Member and Past President of the Club, Sue knows every level of leadership and involvement in Rotary. Her coordination of our recent fun bowling social is just one example of how she is always giving to our Club and community.
In another example of how she’s always thinking of others, Sue introduced Kim Walsh from Blood Centers of the Pacific to talk about the upcoming Windsor Community Blood Drive on Thursday, March 24th. This is an opportunity for us to make a donation not with our wallets, but with our hearts, and our blood. Windsor took the trophy with 112 donations made this year.
Marc shared the most recent photo of two Club Superheroes Wally Krutz and John How getting together for a Superhero get-together. Wally and John explained what they were up to in the photo… Wally gets extra points for wearing the new Rotary logo.
Upcoming District Training Assembly on Saturday, April 9th, is a chance for newer members to get more familiar with Rotary on the beautiful Mendocino Junior College Campus. The Club covers the registration cost for any Member wanting to attend the event. Michael Juric is a leader and instructor at the Assembly.
John LeCave is headed to PETS in San Jose this weekend, a big step in his preparation to lead our club next year.
Dictionary Project — Special thanks to Craig Curreri, who shared highlights from the recent Dictionary distribution to third-graders at Windsor Creek and Cali Calmecac Language Academy. Everything was phenomenal. Every year strengthens Craig’s heartfelt commitment to the significance of this project.
Lobster Feed Updates
Silent Auction items to Jack Hyde. We now have six silent auction items. He’s ready to go, so bring in those silent auction items.
Sponsorship leads to Dennis Marks or Maureen Merrill
Bring a Harvest Fair winning wine or give John Hackenburg $20 and he will get one for you. Wine is coming in – nice job, Club.
Bill Conklin talked about creative ways for Members to help top-off exciting Live Auction packages. Watch your in-box for actual live auction items.
Marc introduced a display board where Members will be claiming their table for the event.
Members can choose to be the party-host for a table of 8 OR partner-up with another member and each find 4 guests for the event.
Either way, our goal is to create a party atmosphere at each table!
How to buy tickets — Steve Klick gave us a view of the website. No more paper tickets. We have our own website.
Birthday — Dick Bishop (Mar 1) has no special plans for his birthday, but in honor of being 77 years old today, Dick generously donated his age to the Rotary Foundation.
NEW Raffle Game features a simple task with a Lobster-theme twist! $52 in pot. Bill Arnone reports that it is a difficult game, even though it is a partner project. We have a reluctant winner: Dave Koch, who selected Carl Wiuff as his partner in the game. Each member takes turns building the blocks. It’s a fail! The pot grows. . .
Our featured program —
Maureen Merrill introduced our speakers today, reminding us that there are 22 million veterans in the US. Her husband, Mike Merrill, also a Vietnam veteran, was instrumental in the founding of the Veteran’s Resource Center by handling the legal documents establishing this as a non-profit organization.
Burt McChesney is a Vietnam Army veteran. He represents the Veterans Resource Center and discussed services for Veterans and Military Families.
Peter Cameron was the founder of this organization, also a Vietnam veteran.
The Veterans Resource Center is committed to helping veterans reconnect with their community. There are 15 service centers in Northern California and six residential treatment centers. The Center addresses veterans issues such as chronic homelessness, disability, and addictions. Over 90% of veterans who are housed by VRC remain stable, contributing citizens for the rest of their lives. VRC has also built three schools and health programs in Vietnam. Burt has served on the board for 30+ years.
In 2015 VRC provided services to over 15,000 veterans. California is the epicenter of homeless vets — 25% of homeless vets are in California. There are currently 25,000 to 30,000 now. This number is down on a year-to-year basis, but it is unfortunately through attrition, not necessarily because of success. Sonoma County has 300-400 homeless vets. It is difficult to count. The number may be greater, but it is difficult to know for sure. Humboldt County has the highest number of homeless in the US at 2.8%, and a large percentage of this is veterans.
In past, homeless veterans were overwhelmingly male. Now 19-25% of homeless are women, coming home with the same disabilities as men. VRC recognizes that we must address this evolving population, which includes children.
VRC’s goal with 15 service centers is to build a residential facility wherever there is a service center. Legislation was passed to set up a bond fund to build permanent supportive housing for veterans. Now that money is rolling out.
VRC is looking at a site in Windsor, behind Home Depot, to build 50-60 units with counseling center, housing, and a community center. They are working hard at getting this site.
April 2 is a fundraising event for VRC at Petaluma Veterans Center, “Dancing with the Stars and Stripes”. This event is parallel to the popular “Dancing with the Stars” television program, where professional dancers are paired with “stars”. Judging for our local event is scored with attendee’s donations counted as “votes”.
Our own club’s Maureen Merrill is one of the stars in this event, in good company with Stephen Passalaqua, and John Jordan, who are also dancing “stars”. There are 11 total “star” dancers, plus a demonstration by professional dancers. A fun night for a good cause – there is quite a contingent from the Rotary Club of Windsor attending to support Maureen.
Closing Thought: Bill Bolster – March 1 is “Beer Day” in Iceland and “National Pig Day” in United States. Go out and drink a beer and hug a pig. As if that weren’t a strong enough closing, he also quoted, in keeping with today’s theme of supporting veterans,
“Damn the wars but bless the soldiers.”