Posted by Ben Lowry
Last Friday at the Clarion Hotel, President John Curran welcomed 37 members and 2 guests. Bruce Jones (photo at right) offered a heartfelt invocation with a quote from the Rotary website. Dave Putnam led us in the pledge and PP Bill Bount spearheaded an a cappella version of “God Bless America.
Incoming President Amy Chipman (photo at left) reminded us that she would like any and all input from members on things we’d like to see changed within the club. Papers have been left on each table for comments. Feel free to express yourself!
Mike Fortunato (photo at right) reminded us of the upcoming event celebrating Larry Gross’s retirement to be held at The Elk’s Club on June 27th. Please mark your calendars. More info will be coming.

Mike also had some great success in looking for volunteers to work the three days of the Maine Outdoor Challenge (June 10-12) and at the lobster bake on the evening of the 12th. With a simple request from the floor, the Portland Rotary members did what they always do and offered their time to a good cause. Look for a reminder e-mail if you volunteered.

Patty Erickson and 2nd VP Ellen Niewoehner (L-R in photo at left) also spoke briefly about the need for raffle items for the Outdoor Challenge. On top of each member taking 9 raffle tickets to sell or purchase (1 for $10, 3 for $20, with the prize being a $500 LL Bean gift card), the club needs your help in obtaining gift certificates or other raffle and/or auction items. If you are out and about (and who isn’t?), ask for a gift card wherever you go.
President John Curran presented photos and stories from the most recent trip to the Dominican Republic, during which 107 patients from four cities were helped with prosthetics. With the support of lots of local volunteers and Rotarians, John and his crew from District 7780 spent several days rushing from site to site, offering aid to locals in need. We have long been working with prosthetic hands, but have now ventured out to provide help to those with missing legs, with 3D laser prosthetic legs being produced for a scant $100. Our first electronic arm was provided to an eight-year old girl, which could be a sign of better options yet to come.

The project was humanized even beyond John’s amazing photographs when a young man named Graviel Nuel Jacobo took the podium. He is the Operations Director of Centro de Prótesis, Guaymate, Dominican Republic. Graviel, who grew up in the DR, lost a leg when he was just six years old and has now focused his passion for helping others into a non-profit called “Centro de Protesis,” where those in need can seek help in obtaining prosthetics. He has been speaking around the US about his project, which meshes perfectly with our “Three H” efforts. President John was proud to provide a club banner to this brave young man.

Justin Lamontagne (in photo at left on the right) ran the raffle and our speaker pulled David Small's (in photo back to) name to try and find the Queen of Hearts, but he was unable to, leaving our pot of $475 to grow for yet another week.