Posted by Bob Martin
PP Cyrus Hagge (photo at left) opened our meeting with a moment of reflection by sharing the writings of Ambrose Bierce about the dawn–“when men of reason go to bed.” PP Don Zillman led the pledge and PP Laura Young picked a universally singable pitch for the national anthem. President John welcomed 46 members and 4 guests, then pointed to "Rotarians in the News" with Bob Fowler’s appearance on MPBN and Jesse Harvey’s Op-Ed piece in the Portland Press Herald.

PP Roxane Cole (photo at right in yellow) presented a check for $1,000 to Martha St. Pierre (photo at right in pink), director of the Betsy Ann Ross House of Hope in Augusta. The house is a refuge for homeless female veterans and helps them secure resources to restart their lives. St. Pierre shared that the house has been open for 18 months, has placed nine veterans during that time, and currently provides shelter for seven vets, two children and two service dogs. The House of Hope is currently seeking $150,000 from the Legislature to help fund the operation. St. Pierre said that the group had been thrilled to attend the last Veterans Appreciation Luncheon, which was the source of the contribution. Ms. St. Pierre said “This donation truly makes a difference in the lives of vets. One resident told me that she hasn’t felt safe in 15 years, now I do.”

(Photo L-R: Brian McDonough, Nate Cermelj, PP Don Zillman and Tara Ouellette.)
The Club welcomed two new members. PP Don Zillman introduced Tara Ouellette, a 2018 graduate of Maine Law; Brian McDonough welcomed Nathan Cermelj, Director of Development for Liberty Bay Recovery Center.

Gracie Johnston (photo at right) reported that 35 people attended the Opioid Awareness symposium, which included powerful presentations from the panelists. She said that participants were grateful for the Rotary program.

Ben Millick (photo at left) shared the progress on the New Mainer Task Force work with the Immigrant Welcome Center. The Greenhouse program now has five participants who have applied for the opportunity to advance their dreams of creating and sustaining a business. They are: Talal Alzefiri who plans to open a Middle Eastern grocery; Oumalkhaire Said Barkad, an export/import business; Papy Bongibo intends to create a night club; Adrian Espinoza wants to build an empanada wholesale and retail enterprise; Marcel Selemani will manufacture blue jeans based on the designs of his Congolese father. These entrepreneurs will be mentored by Abdullahi Ali, President John Curran, Mark Foster, Steve Mortimer, and Bob Martin.

PP Jim Willey announced that the Salvation Army conducts an English-as-a-Second-Language program for 70 students and is looking for substitute teachers. If interested, connect with Jim at:

Emily Gorrivan from Portland’s Office of Economic Opportunity talked about Portland Professional Connections, a joint program between the city and the Greater Portland Chamber of Commerce, which matches New Mainer professionals with degrees to residents who have been in Portland for more than five years. The idea is that you meet together for coffee and refer the New Mainer to three or more people to help create effective networks. Especially looking for accountants, tax professionals, and engineers.

2nd VP Ellen Niewoehner (photo at right) announced that she will be distributing raffle tickets for the Maine Outdoor Challenge next meeting. Everyone gets nine tickets and sells them three for $20. Prize is a $500 LL Bean Gift Certificate.
PP Laura Young (photo at left) reminded everyone that our meeting of June 21 will be at Fort Williams Park on Cape Elizabeth and will be a cleanup day in preparation for the Rotary Fest on the following day. Sign up for both. For more info, contact Laura at:

Roger Fagan put out a call for volunteers to help pack the container with Crutches4Africa on May 11 in Biddeford. Contact him if you can help:

1st VP Amy Chipman (photo at right) called our attention to the pitchers on the tables containing forms….soliciting suggestions for ideas about Rotary. They will be available at every meeting.

PP Peter Goffin rose to talk about affinity groups that arise at the RI Convention’s House of Fellowship. He brought along a sartorially questionable shirt celebrating beer that he awarded to Rusty Atwood for his work of quiet pollination of Rotary and the Historical Society.

Bob Fowler (left in photo at left) offered President John (right in photo at left) the opportunity to pick up a quick $447 in the weekly raffle, but the Queen of Hearts continued to be elusive. Again, the pot continues to grow.