Posted by Alan Nye
President Amy called the meeting to order and Bruce Jones gave the invocation and quoted an inspirational passage from Mother Teresa.
Erik Jorgensen led us in the Pledge of Allegiance and Gracie Johnston got the group singing “God Bless America.” President Amy introduced visiting guests and Rotarians.

Terri St. Angelo encouraged members to assemble backpacks with school supplies that were arranged at the back of the meeting room. This was done to support Learning Works for the students at Saccarappa Elementary School. Blank cards were on the tables for Rotarians to write words of encouragement to the children.

President Amy highlighted the excellent recent article in the Portland Press Herald about our own member, Max Chikuta, and his many accomplishments since coming to Maine to escape the war-torn Democratic Republic of the Congo. From starting out on public assistance and not speaking the language when he moved here 16 years ago, to becoming an entrepreneur by opening and running two businesses, gaining fluency in English, obtaining an education and becoming a U.S. citizen....the newspaper article highlighted the many accomplishments of this exceptional Rotarian.

Megan Peabody spoke about the differences in the number of books available to children in upper and lower class families and the importance of the Reading Program we are involved in at Lyseth School. She also shared that her graduate studies will be supplemented by a new teaching position at the Westbrook Middle School. Congratulations!

With Ronda Ferreira at the keyboard, PP Bill Blount led the group in a rousing rendition of “In the Good Old Summertime.”

In some sad news, President Amy told the members that long-time member George Crockett passed away unexpectedly on August 17th. A celebration of his life will be held at Woodford's Church in Portland on Sunday, September 8 (see separate article this issue). Dick Giles then spoke about George and all he did in Rotary, including recruiting Dick for trips to Honduras and the Dominican Republic for our volunteer efforts in those countries to provide vaccines, hearing aides, water filters, prosthetics and other life-changing opportunities.

Jan Chapman led the raffle (pot held more than $800) and Bob Fowler graciously picked a non-winning card to allow the pot to increase next week.

PP Bowen Depke introduced the first new member of this Rotary year, Olivier Ndayirukiye. Olivier was born in France and moved to Portland in 2014. He works at Prime Honda in Saco and Bowen noted that he’s sure to be a good member, as he sought out the club and approached us to become a member. Welcome, Olivier!

Gracie Johnston reminded the members that there are more volunteer opportunities at the Preble Street Soup Kitchen this Wednesday, 8/28, from 3:30-6:30 pm. All are welcome to lend a hand. Contact Gracie if you can help: or call 939-0315.

Charlie Frair spoke about our new event, "Flags for Heroes." This event, in partnership with the Maine Mall, will have 100 American Flags displayed at the Maine Mall beginning on September 11th for one week. Each flag will have a plaque with the name and role of a hero being honored and is a way for people to publicly recognize a person who has made a difference in their community or been a hero for them in their life. Sponsoring a flag requires a $100 donation to the Portland Rotary Club. Charlie spoke about the need for help with the physical work of repacking on August 30th and set up on September 10th and sign-up sheets were on the tables. If you want to sponsor a hero or help on either of the dates listed, get in touch with Charlie at

Mike Fortunato told us about the recent volunteer effort at the Long Creek Development Center and also noted that George Crockett was a frequent volunteer. Mike noted that it was game night and they played Bingo with the kids and had a good time. He stated that more opportunities were available to volunteers at the center and as mentors for individuals after their release. For more information, contact Mike at

President Amy ended the meeting by reminding everyone that there would be no meeting on Friday, Aug. 30th in observance of Labor Day.