Posted by Erik Jorgensen

Incoming President John Curran welcomed 35 members and four guests. Jen Fullmer, a retired B-1 bomber pilot, was one of the guests who joined us for our lunch. She is currently working to establish a new nonprofit, Boots2Roots. The organization helps veterans transition from military to civilian life in Maine, assisting them with everything from job placement to navigating the real estate market.

1st VP Amy Chipman enthralled the club with tales of Toronto – telling us of a spectacular Rotary International Convention, which she attended with a battalion of Portland Rotarians, including PP Peter Goffin, 2nd VP Ellen Niewohner, PP Bill Blount, Tom Nickerson, Ron Bennett, Bruce Moore, Jan Chapman and Mr. and Mrs. John Marr.  25,000 Rotarians were in attendance at the Toronto coliseum.  They heard not only from Rotary International’s president, but from prime ministers, the head of UNICEF, first lady Laura Bush and others, including Process Anne. Even Canada’s celebrity prime minister, Justin Trudeau, was in attendance.  She said it was “three world leaders, one first lady, and 25,000 friends." 

Jan Chapman reported that the Club’s North Deering Gardens reading program is up and running, with a full complement of readers. She also told her own Toronto story, in which she described the end of a meal when the manager of the restaurant they were at came up and waxed poetic about Rotary and its work for refugees. He then offered them all free drinks, proving the value of going out in public while wearing one’s Rotary pin.

Gracie Johnston made an appeal to members, asking them to step up to help with the Club’s monthly meal at Preble Street. The program has been going well, but the supply of Rotary volunteers has grown a little thin. Brandishing a “Help Wanted” sign, she explained that the program serves dinner on the fourth Wednesday of every month, and that all are welcome.

Finally, PP Peter Goffin was the latest victim of the cruel Queen of Hearts in our weekly raffle. He was close, pulling an ace of that suit, but not close enough to take the jackpot, which continues to grow.