Posted by Alan Nye
President John called the meeting to order by welcoming our members and guests. Charlie Frair gave the invocation and quoted from a song by Phil Ochs:

All my days won't be dances of delight when I'm gone
And the sands will be shifting from my sight when I'm gone
Can't add my name into the fight while I'm gone
So I guess I'll have to do it while I'm here

And I won't be laughing at the lies when I'm gone
And I can't question how or when or why when I'm gone
Can't live proud enough to die when I'm gone
So I guess I'll have to do it while I'm here

There's no place in this world where I'll belong when I'm gone
And I won't know the right from the wrong when I'm gone
And you won't find me singin' on this song when I'm gone
So I guess I'll have to do it, I guess I'll have to do it, guess I'll have to do it while I'm here

After the Pledge of Allegiance, Gracie Johnston led us in the singing of “God Bless America” and President John introduced visiting guests and Rotarians.

(Photo L-R: Corey Hascall, Washima Fairoz and President John Curran.)
Corey Hascall, Vice President, Alumni & Public Engagement from the University of Maine thanked us for the new Youth Service Award scholarship given out to a USM student in need. Corey explained the new access-to-education scholarship founded at USM that is given to students not otherwise qualifying for any other financial aid. She explained this is often asylum seekers, refugees and other new Mainers. Corey then introduced Washima Fairoz -- a student at USM from Bangladesh who held us spellbound with her description of the obstacles she has overcome in her life in getting an education. Washima made clear her passion about education and that despite being the valedictorian of her high school, she had no ability to afford to go to college. With the help of the access-to-education scholarship and working 40 hours per week at 2 jobs, Washima has been able to attend USM. She believes that women can achieve anything and undoubtedly convinced many people listening to her impassioned presentation that she certainly will accomplish many great things in her life.

Gracie Johnston spoke to us about the recent influx of asylum seekers in Portland and the effort of our Club to provide assistance. Preble Street Resources has committed to feeding over 200 new asylum seekers in the city and we have donated $1500 to Preble Street to assist them in the cost of additional food. Others mentioned in the community providing assistance were USM, Williston-Immanuel United Church and the Salvation Army.

President John spoke about the Rotary International Convention he just attended in Hamburg, Germany, where 27,000 Rotarians gathered in fellowship and service. John spoke about how close we are to ridding the world of polio, with Nigeria expected to be polio free by August and only Afghanistan and Pakistan remaining. John also said that Rotaract was highlighted at the convention, as well as a strong effort to place more women in leadership positions in Rotary. He thoroughly enjoyed the convention and urged others to attend next year where it will be held in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Mike Fortunato spoke briefly about this year’s Maine Outdoor Challenge (MOC) and said that although no numbers are in yet, it was a big success and he thanked all those involved.

Marissa Fortier conducted the raffle of $582 and Justin Lamontagne was kind enough to leave the Queen of Hearts in the deck, allowing the jackpot to grow larger for next week’s “investors.”

PP Laura Young reminded us that there is no regular meeting next week (6/21) as we’ll be taking part in the District 7780 RotaryFest 2019, with a day of service on Friday at Ft. Williams Park in Cape Elizabeth and the festival the following day. She urged volunteers to wear their Rotary garb and be ready to work in a variety of tasks for this Rotary time of celebration of District Governor John LoBosco’s year. So volunteer on Friday and then join in on Saturday for a family-oriented fun day in the park.