Posted by Mary Martin

It was a beautiful, crisp, November day and we were positively over-run with guests.  Most came to hear or be part of the support team for our guest speaker, Shirley-Pat Chamberlain.  New faces meant more opportunities to chat.


President Dave collected the medallion and gavel back from Past President/Stand-In Bill Saunders but don’t get too used to him.  Dave has what he thinks is his last “vacation day” next week and Bill will be back at the podium.  Nonetheless, President Dave brought the group of 20 East Hartford Rotarians and 6 guests to order for the day’s agenda and a lunch of stuffed cod and world’s best carrot cake.


Looks like I will be apologizing to each week’s Invocation “giver”.  As dutiful Treasurer I am caught between scooping up the day’s fiscal take or barging into our meeting.  I do know that Ruth Sheehan gave the Invocation AND that she won the day’s Raffle, so her direct connection to the Almighty is confirmed.


Our list of guests today included:  the aforementioned Shirley-Pat Chamberlain, District Governor Dave Mangs as her “bringing” chauffeur, Peter Johnson of Yarmouth, Maine as her “taking” chauffeur, Academy of Finance coordinator Michelle Galeota,  Millicent Waldo (the lovely wife of Sonny), and Joe Jaconetta visiting us from the Glastonbury Rotary Club.

Ninety-two year old Birthday Boy Arthur Bradbury led us in the Welcome Song but only after he admonished us that he would but only if we promised to sing.

Since it was his birthday, Art paid to have Dan Larson sing “Happy Birthday” to him solo.   Dan crooned, “how old are you?” and Art did an immediate musical refrain of “too old to tell you”.  And he didn’t miss a beat!


Items of note per Sergeant-at-Arms Jack “Speed Bump” Sayre:  President Dave contributed on behalf of Notre Dame football; Marc Glass for his first place Eagles; Dan Firestone for his granddaughter’s bat mitzvah; Bob Buettner for a fun and successful “Games Night” last week with 24 of us in attendance (and with a very able assist from Sandy Buettner); Anwar Hossain for feeling “optimistic”; Bob Wood for being here in general; Sonny Waldo for his birthday sans singing thank you; Steve Jacoby for being a walking Rotary billboard (tie, shirt, pins, maybe undergarments);  and Speed Bump himself for 36 years as an East Hartford Rotarian.


All kidding aside, Jack Sayre has started sign-ups for ringing the Salvation Army kettle bell at Stop & Shop on Saturdays in November/December.  We start the Saturday right after Thanksgiving (that’s Nov. 25th) and do the first three Saturdays in December.  PLEASE SIGN UP for more than one one-hour-long shift and/or urge family and friends to help out.  The sign-up sheets will be at next week’s meeting or you can email Jack at and reserve some slots.


President Dave reported that our Habitat for Humanity work crew did a good job last Saturday and best of all . . . nobody got hurt!  A very nice lunch was provided by Chickie Amberg and the East Hartford Womens’ Club.


In an effort to note the achievements of local groups receiving grant funding from our Club, we have instituted a policy of requesting representatives from each grantee attend a meeting to get a check and pose for a photo with our large ‘presentation’ check.  Michelle Galeota of the Academy of Finance program at East Hartford High School had the honor of being the first to do so.  She thanked us for our $1,000 grant to the Academy’s scholarship program that helps to support students going on to school after graduation in the fields of Finance or Business education.  Look for another half dozen such presentations in the next few weeks.  This is where our fundraising efforts pay off.


Now is the time to vote on your meeting time preference.  The change in time was a major part of our recent Fireside Chat discussions.  Lob in your preference to Bill Saunders at or get an anonymous ballot from him ASAP.  The tally will be brought to the Board of Directors for decision making at the next meeting.  We will iron out the particulars (still meet at VMC?  Full meal or appetizers?)  based on the outcome.


The Human Billboard, Mister Steve Jacoby, took over the podium with some great news for all of us:  our Club was given 3 awards from the Rotary International Foundation.  First, we were recognized for being the Club in District 7890 with the highest per capita amount of giving in 2016-17; second, the District recognized our commitment to eradicate polio; and third, we were again recognized by the District this time for having the highest amount of annual giving.  Congratulations to each of you who did your part in some way, large or small, to bring these honors to our Club.


“Turkey and a Thirty” time is here.  The Foodshare event is being held Monday, November 13 from 7 to 11 a.m. in the Goodwin College parking lot at 195 Riverside Drive.  Please help them meet this year’s goal of 70 turkeys to help feed our hungry neighbors.  Let’s see, that’s Dan Larson plus 69 more turkeys to go.


The “Rotary Means Business” networking event at Rooftop 120 in Glastonbury is November 9 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.  Cost is $15 in advance; $20 night of.  Rotary Leadership Institute is this Saturday in Enfield.  No cost to veterans to mark the day.


Trivia Question:  Who among us has won the weekly raffle the most this year?  Answer:  Bob “Boutonniere” Buettner with 5 wins!  So remember, he picks up the beer tab next time you go out.


Future District Governor Marc Glass was right about the upbeat and amazing talk by our guest speaker, Shirley-Pat Chamberlain.  Shirley-Pat is from British Columbia and has a most impressive volunteer resume.  Her talk about the connections she has made through Rotary; the effect it has had on helping the indigenous residents of her area with a “Right to Read” program; and the way she has applied the 4-Way Test values of honesty, equity, trust and justice toward enacting positive change was inspiring.  She is the living embodiment of this year’s theme of Rotary Making a Difference.




Next week’s speaker will represent the Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence. 


Au revoir,

The Empress