Posted by John Marr

All Rotarians are well aware of the 4-Way Test, but few really know where it came from. Thanks to an invocation/inspiration provided by PP Tom Talbott, (photo at right) who researched the origin of our guiding principal. We now know the rest of the story. Truth be told, the genesis of the 4-Way Test preceded the Rotary, but was developed in Chicago. In 1893, Herbert Taylor, a native of Norway who made his way to Chicago and found fortune by being the quintessentially honest business person, emblematic of Rotary, developed the essence of the 4-Way Test in order to guide his business dealings. Taylor began his career in the tea business, but moved on to fame and fortune with Club Aluminum, hawking cookware of superb quality. However, in the course of marketing the product, he insisted that every word be without exaggeration and distilled a 7-operative guidance down to the 24 words we know as the 4-Way Test. The test was not immediately embraced by Rotary; it took years and in 1942 it was adopted by Rotary and became our core principal. Taylor went on to become President of Rotary International in 1954 and his 24 iconic words live on in the heart of every Rotarian around the world.

We had two visiting guests at this meeting, which was immediately preceding the Christmas holiday. Michelle DiSotto (Goodwill NNE) has submitted her application to join our Club and will soon be formally brought in. Not too soon thereafter, we will be introduced to Bonnie Guerrette (more to follow).

President John had a full agenda to follow, but one of his objectives was to inform us of the hard work the Nominating Committee has been doing to bring us the new slate of officers and Board of Directors for the coming Rotary year.  

Chairing the Nominating Committee, Immediate Past President Don Zillman, gathered a strong committee who helped nominate the slate of officers for 2019-20, as follows: 

President: Amy Chipman
1st Vice President: Ellen Niewoehner
Second Vive President: Bob Martin
Two Board Directors: Gracie Johnston and Mike Fortunato
Secretary:  Bruce Moore
Treasurer:  Scott Blakeslee
Sergeant-at-Arm:  Dave Putnam

The slate, including past members completing terms and those nominated, was unanimously approved by the members.





(Photo L-R: Dave Putnam, Mike Fortunato, Bruce Moore, Bob Martin, Ellen Niewoehner and Amy Chipman. Missing: Gracie Johnston and Scott Blakeslee.)

President John thought it appropriate to highlight the Vocational Service Committee work and asked a committee member to bring forth their message:

Bob Fowler (photo at right), is the Executive Director of Milestone of Greater Portland serving the homeless and substance dependent community within our borders. Milestone has been serving the Portland community since 1957 at the India Street home, making it the longest standing facility in the City serving this needy citizenry. The India St. facility has 41 beds to assist with 3-7 day detox and prep programs for those trying to recover. They have a satellite facility in Old Orchard Beach. Bob got his Master’s Degree in Social Welfare, but realized that his job at Milestone required more business management than he realized, so he went back to school and got another Masters in Business and Public Policy. He has honed his skills and is focusing them on making Milestone the premier recovery facility in the state. Bob envisions Rotary and Milestone as a perfect intersection of interest.

Prospective member Bonnie Guerette (photo at left) came before the Club to give us a glimpse into her past life as a substance abuser; it was a hard hitting eye-opener. It’s difficult for most of us to imagine how hard life can be when you spend about 4 decades trying to break away. Suffice it to say that Bonnie’s childhood was somewhere on the spectrum of hard to horrible. She grew up in Connecticut and that’s where the horrors began. She went on to get a degree in nursing and was thought to be a solid citizen, but she had a secret life that she lived as a user of cocaine and heroin, in an attempt to suppress the horrors of her childhood. Over time, Bonnie found her way to Maine as an attempt to escape, but fell in with the wrong crowd. She got involved in a gang which resulted in Federal charges and prison time, but brought the thread of recovery she is now holding onto. She is giving back to the community by taking her experiences to help the drug-addicted street people we have in the City. Bonnie has taken the Naloxone course and is helping to educate more of us to help save lives. Bonnie wants to go on and create a “Safe House” for women in Portland and we are ready to lend our support to help this obvious area of need.

2nd VP Ellen Niewoehner and PP Loretta Rowe have taken on the task of fundraising and decided to resurrect the “Sweetheart Auction,” aka, not too long ago, as the Re-gifting Auction, where you can find a good home for that Christmas gift that just wasn’t as perfect for you as someone had thought! If you have a new or gently-used item you want to donate for auction, please get in touch with Ellen or Loretta and make our auction a financial success. The funds raised will go toward covering the ever-growing operating cost of the Club. Please bring as many guests as you can and tell them to bring their generous spending habits with them to help stimulate our economy. The auction will take place at the Italian Heritage Center on February 8th, offering plenty of space and good food to get you in a giving and buying mood. For further answers to any questions, contact Ellen at: or Loretta at:

PP Larry Gross was ready to give away close to $300 to the finder of the elusive Queen of Hearts. It was determined that Paul Tully should try his luck and pluck the correct red Queen. Alas, Nobleman Paul T. pulled out the King of Hearts and had to retreat a tad penny poor, but still smiling.

Portland High School counselor, Johanna Burdin introduced us to Hind Al Shammari, a Portland High School student, as she was our Youth Service Award recipient this month. Her proud mom, Gada Al Freh, was also introduced.

(Photo L-R: Johanna Burdin, Jan Chapman, Hind Al Shammari, President John Curran and Gada Al Freh.)