At our meeting last week we inducted Chris Hook as our newest member, he is the grand nephew of our recently passed and esteemed member, Tom Hook. We were reminded to sign up for Rebuilding Alexandria that we’ll support on Saturday April 29th. Our speaker, Constanza Hasselmann told us of a charity she has started, Project Aquarelle, which collects, sorts, and reallocates new or slightly used school supplies to support students in several other countries. In the two years since she founded it, this organization has impacted over 3500 students in 8 countries.
Our speaker last week was Austin McNair from the Brain Injury Service of Springfield, an organization that assists individuals and families who have experienced the devastating effects of brain injury, stoke, or concussion. He told how the organization was formed in 1989 by parents of children who’d suffered brain injuries and that each year their organization assists more than 500 individuals. Also last week we had student recognition for Hadiyyah Abdul-Jalaal from Episcopal HS as our Student of the Month. With Hadiyyah at the meeting were several members of her family and the school.
This Forecaster is a unique one that mainly provides the detailed description of the awards that will be presented during the evening. It also has a short agenda for the evening starting with drinks and hors d’oeuvre while enjoying music provided by our Rotary Rooters. After the hors d’oeuvre we’ll start the dinner hour with the pledge, invocation, and then introduction of visitors and guests. Our dinner and dessert menu will be provided at each table setting. Following dinner we’ll have the awards presentation of the “Distinguished Rotarian Award”, “Rotarian of the Year Award”, “Gordon Peyton, Jr. Community Caring Award”, and “Paul Harris Awards”. Dancing to music provided by a DJ will cap the evening.
President Tom Roberts returned to us from his Rotary dental mission to South Africa and told us he’d report on that mission later. He told us Christine Hall had made it to her new home in Thailand and will make up with us when she visits back in this area. Dani DiMarino did an excellent job recognizing a whole slew of birthdays and Larry Alberson encouraged us to attend the Charter Night on April 8th. Polly Hanson, our speaker gave us many helpful tips on making sure we are resilient in these days of uncertainty. Her career has spanned many years in law enforcement and she gave us suggested ways we can remain resilient when encountering various emergencies. Her main point was to BE PREPARED.
WOW, what an active and informative meeting last week with announcements and information about many Rotary related events; NCAA pool opportunities, encouragement to continue bringing visitors to meetings, Paul Harris award possibilities for Charter Night, Zoe Price-another great student awardee, a report on National Women’s Day, and a report about Rotary’s Peace Conference. Our top event was the induction of five(5) new members (contact info on each included in the bulletin). Then Ryan Fannon, Frank’s brother, told us about his thrilling experience when he called Villanova’s winning basket at the last second in the Final Four last year and played us a video of the fantastic event.
A snow storm on March 14th caused the BHCC to close so we did not have a meeting on that date. This abbreviated Forecaster for March 21st was prepared to be inserted in the March 14 Forecaster that is to be distributed to each table setting on March 21. The main purpose of this abbreviated Forecaster was to provide details on the program for March 21st. The Forecaster was created on a single sheet of paper with the intention of cutting it into two pieces that are to be inserted in the older bulletin.
Vlora Citaku, Ambassador from The Republic of Kosovo to the US gave us a most interesting speech last week. Among the facts she gave us were that Kosovo is the fastest growing country in Europe, with a vibrant economy, and that women play a very important role in their government and economy. During the meeting we also had a presentation by Sarah Bodley from Empowering Women, an Alexandria non-profit organization that offers women a variety of support programs. Several graduates of their programs offered items for sale after the meeting.
Another busy meeting last week; Ru Toyama got his blue badge, Donna Wilson identified the entire membership of the club as our Rotarians of the Month for March, and Paul Anderson recognized several birthdays. Our speaker was Kathy Bowdring, Administrator for the West Potomac Academy who told us all about the academy system in Fairfax County high schools. Students may start in the academy system in the 10th grade where they are able to choose from a variety of programs presented at the 6 academies in Fairfax County, and also in coordination with NOVA Community College for college credit. The program is designed to expand the opportunities for the youth in the critical areas of college and career readiness. We were requested to consider getting in touch with the academy to, at least, provide guest speeches. An interesting and valuable program, new to most of us.
Our speaker last week was Alexandria’s Mayor Allison Silberberg who first complemented our club for all that we have done and are doing for the city. She then laid out many of the accomplishments she and the Council have done in her first year in office. She shared copies of the proclamation she and the Council issued in November that identified Alexandria as a hate free zone, committed to diversity, and respecting the dignity and worth of every person. Earlier in the meeting we inducted two new red badgers (Jerry Stalun and Jim Carmalt) and presented Christine Friedberg her blue badge. This bulletin also provides basic information on several applicants for membership in our club.
Lance Mallamo, Director of the Office of Historic Alexandria,our speaker last week, provided us historical information on the early years of Alexandria. Many settlers of Alexandria in the late 18th and 19th centuries came from England, Scotland, Ireland, Switzerland, and Germany – mostly came due to economic and political difficulties at home. There were many slaves in Alexandria that were usually were called servants to appease owner’s conscience. The more complete historical story is on the website “alexandriava.gov/historic”. We also heard the classification talk of our new member Ru Toyama who told us about his time growing up in Indiana, playing soccer. going to the Navy Academy, and in the Navy before he and his wife Sharon settled here in Alexandria, both working in jobs related to real estate- his providing mortgages and hers as selling real estate.