Posted by Bob Martin

President John Curran welcomed 42 members,1 visiting Rotarian and 7 guests to last Friday’s meeting at the Clarion.

Charlie Frair provided a moment of introspection by reading a “random act of poetry” he found on a café wall; PP Bob Traill led us in the Pledge of Allegiance; and PP  Russ Burleigh guided us through “America the Beautiful.” We packed the meeting room with Rotarians and visitors, including Kevin Fakhri, a student from USM writing a paper on Rotary; Corey Hascall, Vice President of Alumni and Community Engagement at USM; Mark Crocker; Beth Craighead (Bob Traill’s daughter); Michael Fitzgibbons; Natalie West; Rob Sellig; and, Mary McCue of the Falmouth Forecaster. PP Jim Willey, PP Bob Traill, and PP John Marr all returned looking healthier than ever.....John particularly resplendent in a bright yellow sweater and elegant scarf.

President John called our attention to the article in the May edition of The Rotarian magazine, which featured a story about PP Ben Lowry’s role with a group of Rotarians from Maine and New Hampshire, who have come together to address substance use disorders. We are all deeply aware of this program due to the committed involvement of many of our members and the compelling dedication of Jesse Harvey. President John invited Ben (photo at right) to the podium to share his personal insight on the issue as it has affected his family. “This can happen to anybody. I’m a lawyer in Portland, Maine and my son was living on the streets. We lose one person every day from drug overdose.” Ben invited everyone to attend a recovery event on May 1st (see separate details in this WJ issue). 

President John shared discussions and planning that have been underway to craft a new relationship with the University of Southern Maine. Accomplishments so far include using the campus center for an opioid recovery program, and the college’s maker space in partnership with the International Service Committee to manufacture prosthetic hands. PP Roxane Cole, (photo at left) who is also on the University’s Board of Visitors, talked about efforts to direct one of the Youth Service Awards toward a program at the university that is designed to help New Mainers. Roxane shared that with the closure of Catherine Macaulay High School, the $1,100 allocated as a Youth Service Award for that school was going to be donated to help New Mainers enrolled at USM become more assimilated and help with their costs. This month, MEMIC has offered to match contributions to the university’s scholarships up to $20,000.

Corey Hascall (photo at right) spoke about the need. “USM could use $1 million annually to help New Mainers who can’t afford tuition. This is a moral issue for us, as well as a practical one for the state.” President John suggested that the club’s $1,100 be rounded to $1,500, if members would contribute. On the spot, that goal was exceeded. MEMIC will match, dollar-for-dollar, the amount raised by the Club. Total results will be announced at the next meeting. For those who were not at the meeting and wish to contribute, please contact Elise Hodgkin at


The weekly raffle was led by Rusty Atwood, who gave 1st VP Amy Chipman a chance to win $386, but she was unable to find a return on her investment in the deck of cards.


Gracie Johnston announced that the Community Service Committee needs five more volunteers to provide dinner at the Preble Street Soup Kitchen on Wednesday, April 24th. Please contact her if you can help ( She also reported that three of her advertising clients are businesses owned by New Mainers.