Posted by Kevin Kickery on May 09, 2018

Good morning from my desk at work. Its sunny, the Yankees won (again) moving into first place in the American League East and last night’s Rotary meeting at Goodwin was UNBELIEVABLE. Some Rotarians made it, some could not and some will not. No need to dwell as I’m here to highlight the meetings content and more importantly the spirit for all of you to consume. This will be short as work meetings are backed up.

Several of us attended the District Training Assembly yesterday as well. The Enfield meeting for District 7890 was an excellent opportunity to share more info on upcoming events at Rotary clubs but also convene and chat with fellow Rotarians. I will say that every meeting that I have been to seems to focus on one primary concern---MEMBERSHIP, retention and new members. There are plans and ideas so hopefully they can stem the tide of member erosion.

The River Room is a very nice setting. As previously detailed, it has excellent parking, easy access, convenient bathrooms, a great view west over the CT. River and an IT department across the hall to assist with any A/V issues we encounter. Mary Martin was in her usual role of collecting dues and Alex Wisz was assisting with the raffle. Happy Jack Martin again was pulling Sargeant of Arms duty for the missing (golfing?) Daniel Larson.

The room was configured in small groups of “U” tables so we found ourselves sitting near and next to Rotarians we typically don’t sit with. My oh my, what a wonderful sight. A hearty group of 20 Rotarians and 6 guests were present. A flag was displayed in the corner and we assembled at a new chair for the introductory proceedings. The bell rang, song, Pledge and George Schoen’s thoughtful invocation all went off without a hitch. And then---dinner was served.

Two kinds of chicken tenders with Marsala and a sweet BBQ sauce were on the menu.  Some rice, steamed crisp broccoli and corn with rolls and butter rounded out the offerings. It was delicious. It was hot, moist, and fresh and not over cooked. Kudos to the committee and the Congress Rotisserie for the fine work feeding us. I’ll tell my wife no need for a backup plan on Wednesday evening meetings. Oh, and desert you say? An excellent selection of cookies that seemed home made with brownies, lemon bars and decadent chocolate something. More napkins please!

And what I must say is that there was a spirit in the room of cooperation and collaboration. A change for a club that had met for lunch exclusively. People were chatty as they met new dinner guests next to them and an appreciation of the change and embracing it. I for one must specifically comment on my experience. Normally I run from work, meet and participate and then deal with the slog back to work and try to catch up what I missed. Tonight I felt at ease among friends as we shared a meal and conversation and each other. No need to rush but the ability to linger and even get home to a single malt as I pondered the day’s activities.

We were joined by guests Joe Jaconetta from the East Hartford/Glastonbury Chamber, Lori Glass, Reverend Eugene Taylor and our speaker, Erin Donnelly and her mom Eve. Jack Martin’s report was littered with Yankees, Red Sox and Eagles comment. Notable was George Schoen’s grandniece being accepted to leadership in RYLA. Congrats.

The raffle (is the fix in again?) was being run by Alex. Absent last week’s winner, he had our young speaker pull the lucky ticket. And who wins---Alex. Please check the bucket to see if any other tickets were in there.

A few details.

1.       Mystery ride on for June 2nd. 35 Rotarians are signed up so far and plenty of availability.

2.       Long time East Hartford science teacher, baseball coach and administrator at East Hartford High, Mike Liappes passed away this past week.

3.       Next week’s meeting back at the Ridge at noon.

4.       We are selling raffle tickets at Rentschler Field this Saturday at the Rising Pint Brewfest.

5.       East Hartford Rotary Club officer induction to be held June 27th at Kevin Kickery’ house in the back yard. It will feature a small pizza party with a BYOB. More details to follow.

Erin Donnelly, our guest speaker, was introduced and she captivated us with her enthusiasm and charisma.  Erin is an inventor and her recent project, a placemat with magnets, was highlighted on the Steve Harvey show last October. She showed a short video, provided commentary and laughs and explained that her next project is in the works. When asked what it is she declined as she was afraid we would steal the idea. Very astute young lady and I’m sure we’ll be reading of her accomplishments in the future.

So sign off I must as another obligation awaits. May all have a good week and we’ll see you soon at another meeting.

Kevin Kickery