Posted by Tom Talbott
President Amy Chipman returned to the podium after a two-week Rotarian excursion to India. David Small provided the invocation, drawing inspiration from “Just Keep Rowing”, the book authored by one of our previous guest speakers, Katie Spotz. Tom Ranello led us in the Pledge of Allegiance, and Gracie Johnston chose “God Bless America” as our lead-in song.  Two visiting Rotarians were with us, as we hailed 14 Rotarian birthdays and 10 Rotarian anniversaries for the month of March.

Amy gave us a glimpse of what will be coming next week when a slide presentation will be presented on her trip to India. From the preview description, it sounds like it was an amazing excursion. Meeting up with PP John Curran in Delhi, courtesy car service from Rob Chatfield at the Mumbai airport, coordination of a hearing aid donation program with the Rotary Club of Coimbatore…there will be a lot of memories to share!

Mike Fortunato went to the microphone to remind and promote that on Thursday March 19th we will have our club meeting - different time, different place, and different format. 5pm-6:30pm at the Italian Heritage Center, 40 Westland Avenue, Portland. Bring a spouse, SO, or a friend. This will be more of a social with hors d’oeuvres, a cash bar, and fun playing trivia. We’re trying something new, so your participation and input is important. As a result, there will be NO meeting on Friday the 20th.

Brian McDonough had the opportunity to walk out with over $1500 in the weekly raffle card draw.  However, the fickle finger of fate would turn against him, leaving him out in the cold. We’re down to 7 cards. Good odds for next week.

Jan Chapman drew our attention to the Lyseth Reading program that will begin in earnest on March 23. For the past 7 years, our members have volunteered to read to K-3 graders at Lyseth Elementary in Portland. Funded by a donation from a Rotary member, each child will get to bring home a book of their own. Everyone who has participated in the past has thoroughly enjoyed the experience, so if you are interested – get signed up. Sheets were on the table, and will be again this coming week.

(Photo L-R: Gracie Johnston, Leslie Clark and President Amy Chipman.)
Gracie Johnston introduced our newest member, Leslie Clark. Leslie is the Executive Director at Portland Recovery Community Center. Originally from Austin, TX, with time in NY, she arrived in Portland and felt it was home. Leslie had connected with Gracie through our Opioid Task Force, which we now call the Recovery Task Force, and no doubt will provide us with great guidance moving forward. She lives in Deering, and has 2 grown children. Besides enjoying hiking and travel, Leslie is a member of the Sea Change Chorale of Portland. Welcome, Leslie!

Gracie was not finished! She announced that we would take about 10 minutes to put together the Preble Street “Teen Survival” kit bags. (See photo at right.) Items donated by club members – gloves, hats, scarfs, hand lotion, and some snacks – were packaged together forming 40 individual kits.  Apparently, we were aiming for 24 bags, so – job well done!