Posted by Jake Bourdeau
President John Curran opened our weekly meeting by welcoming 48 members and two guests. PP Cyrus Hagge (Photo at right) presented us with our invocation, reminding us of life's lessons through some quotes from Yogi Berra; Steve Mortimer led us in the pledge our allegiance to the American flag and we sang a patriot song a capella.

PP Laura Young introduced a new member, Amy Bouchard, who has lived in Bangor, Presque Isle, and now Kennebunk. Amy was a nutritionist and more recently became a financial planner with Merril Lynch. She’s excited about her community service roles, and has taken the “train the trainer” Opioid Recovery class with Jesse Harvey. Amy enjoys hiking, running, and is ushering at Portland Stage Company.  Please introduce yourself and welcome her into our club. 

(Photo L-R: President John Curran, Amy Bouchard and PP Laura Young.)

Chris Force (on right side in photo at right) ran the weekly raffle as the speaker selected a ticket from the holding vessel to try and find the elusive Queen of Hearts. PP Dick Hall’s name was selected, and he picked a two of diamonds, leaving over $890 for next week’s raffle. 

The Clarion has been trying out new menus over the last two weeks for our club and President John asked for a show of hands whether the Holiday Inn or the Clarion had the better food? The majority of those in attendance raised their hand for the Clarion. President John noted that there are a couple other options being considered for the club's weekly meeting venues.

PP Kris Rosado recently returning from his vacation to Erlangen, Germany, shared his experience of reaching out to their Rotary Club. Kris was stationed there during his service in the Army. Kris said that the Rotary Club treated him like family…..taking him on a private tour of city hall, and attending dinner at a restaurant which had been run by the same family for over 360 years. He was given their club banner to bring home and he will send them one of our club banners in exchange. (See "Around the World" separate article for photos.)   

Gracie Johnston (Photo left) provided an update on the Preble Street Soup Kitchen. She noted that there was a tremendous response for the Rotary volunteer night, and said that Preble Street can always use the help. The next Portland Rotary volunteer night at Preble Street is August 22. (See separate email coming about the details.) Contact Gracie to volunteer or further questions: Gracie also let us know that she and some others donated their time at a dinner for a local organization, Maine Inside Out, that helps young people who are incarcerated, or formerly incarcerated, integrate back into society. Gracie told us about some of the kids who attended the event, discussed their lifes' paths, and how the organization had helped them get on their feet.

Along those lines, consider attending the Portland Rotary volunteer night at Long Creek Youth Center on the 3rd Tuesday of every month. For further details or questions, contact Mike Fortunato:

Jan Chapman, coordinator of the Summer Reading Program, noted that this summer’s program had just ended successfully and thanked everyone who was involved. Jan talked a little bit about Erin Sullivan who wrote a children’s book called - Peace is a Choice You Make.  The book is about a little girl who discovers ways to work through bullying and negative comments, and how it makes a difference in herself.  In the book, the character makes peace with her inner circle and in the world with others. Jan and Bruce Chapman met Erin at a strawberry festival in Cape Elizabeth, and their conversations led to the Rotary reading program. Erin ended up donating 200 books to the program through the United Way, where the decision to use the book was approved. United Way was pleased with success of the program, which was held twice a week for 8-10 weeks. Approximately 152 books were used.  Thanks again to the volunteers who participated. 

Jan noted plans for the Youth Services Committee this year to include reading at Lyseth School. Other priorities include strengthening a relationship with the Portland High School Interact Club. Meghan Peabody is the liaison from our club to the Interact Club. Interact and Portland Rotary worked together this year on the Crutches4Africa effort. 

Another major effort of the Youth Services Committee is providing liaisons to Portland Schools for the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA). The leadership awards offer a 4-day program for students completing their sophomore year….the experience can be life changing.  Thank you goes to Bill Ross, the RYLA coordinator, and to the school liaisons, who are the key to the success of the programs, including: Rusty Atwood, PP Laura Young, Julie Chase, 2nd VP Ellen Niewoehner, Katie Brown, and Dave Putnam.

PP Dick Hall and Meghan Peabody are helping with the District’s Rotary Youth Exchange effort to host and exchange students for next summer. Please contact them if you are interested in hosting.  

Terri St. Angelo, event coordinator, discussed the upcoming Cornhole Championship Tournament, being held at North Yarmouth Academy on Aug. 23rd. They are currently looking for teams and for volunteers to help at the event with: setup, food sever, beverage sales, grill master, officials, take down and cleanup. If you can help or have questions, contact Terri at:

Gus Karlsen spoke about hosting a couple boats in the MS Regatta, taking place on Saturday, Aug. 18th. Gus said our club has won the coveted trophy (the Dirigo Bowl) 8 times in 15 years, and the proceeds go towards the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society in Southern Maine. Gus thanked the club for the donations over the years. The goal is to have two boats in the Regatta. Thanks for your donations. Contact Gus at: 239-1568 or