March was a very productive month for Niles Rotarians – so many worked so hard! We kicked off the month with the Area 3 Speech Contest. It was a great event because of two very dedicated Rotarians with a Heart for Youth and they were Adam Moura and Dirk Lorenz. Thank you to Adam and Dirk along with their team (because nothing happens without a team) of timers, greeters, calculators and judges. I was so sad that I was not able to attend due to the flu but thank you PP Angus Cochran who jumped in and took over at the very last minute. I can’t wait for the District Speech Contest on April 14, 2018 at the Training Assembly.
President Elect Brian was whisked off to his President Elect Training Session weekend (PETS). He returned with a new appreciation of how lucky we are to have Past International President Richard King in our club. Brian has heard Rick King speak many times, as have most Niles Rotarians, but surrounded by President Elects from all over Zone 5 was a very proud and humbling moment for Brian. And yes, he went pin shopping! I was so excited to see what he brought back to start off his year. I’m a pin girl as you all know.
We had a great mentor check in on the 6th, thank you to Geeta for again opening her home to our membership committee and our mentors, sponsors and new Rotarians. As with all Niles Rotary events our mentor check in is half social and half informational. It’s all about making new Rotarians feel welcome, heard, have an opportunity to ask questions and know they are important to our Rotary Family.
At the meeting on the 8thwe said good bye to our LONG time Rotarian Gary Raver and his new wife Debbie. They will be moving to Florida in the next day or so. We will miss you Gary – be sure to stop in to see us when in town. We also honored (fined) several LONG time Rotarians on their Rotary Anniversaries – this is a big part of why we are Family By Choice: Gary Raver 39 years, Dick Mc Kay 39 years, Rick King 38 years (with Niles Rotary), John de Sousa 33 years, and last but not least, Harry Avila, 50 years; all Niles Rotarians with significant contributions to our club both in service and leadership. Thank you all for your support and encouragement as I muddle through my year as President.
Of course, the Reverse Raffle Ticket Sales Competition is on as we head into the final week of sales. This week Bruce Prescott’s team took the lead again as the Big Kahuna with Sam Forbes team on their heels. Rich Godfrey introduced a fellow physician and friend James Cushman, MD, MPH who gave a fascinating presentation on healthcare in space.
The next weekend about 50 Niles Rotarians attended the Social at the Wine Steward. We traveled the world of wine and truly enjoyed each other. This is one of my family’s favorite socials and I was so happy to include, for the first time, my granddaughter Roquell as we celebrated her dad, Sancho’s, 45thBirthday. It was a great afternoon.
As I said earlier this is just the beginning of a busy March for Niles Rotarians; while all this fun is going on large groups of people are dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s hoping for a very successful Reverse Raffle.
On the 15thas we still had not sold out of tickets making PE Brian’s BP rise we embraced the 4thAnnual Gene Cowell Bad Joke Contest. Prior to the giggles we welcomed to our club Lynn and Elizabeth Barnett and Honorary Niles Rotarian Gwen Cowell. Steve Barnett took the Bad Joke reins following the passing of our Gene Cowell. Sadly, Steve passed this year. We were excited that Lynn and Gwen could attend and hope they will visit us in the future often. We also honored Jack Rogers and John Dutra for their Paul Harris +4 and Chris Louie for his Paul Harris +5. Aziz Akbari stepped into some very big shoes as our host for the Bad Joke Contest. Aziz does stand up and was very funny and got us off to a very upbeat fun start. These are difficult comments for me to make because as there was a good handful of funny bad jokes some were just not. As we embrace diversity in our club with the increase of women of all ages and people from different backgrounds, including politically, I find that before next year’s contest I would ask that contestants consider who is in the room. We are a Family that embraces each other’s uniqueness, that wants to work together, play together, serve together and, yes, laugh together without offending. I was offended and mostly embarrassed. I would like to take one sentence to sincerely apologize, if I have not already done so in person, to any of you that were offended by the direction the contest took. I have promised Aziz, Brian, Gwen and Lynn that we will come up with a strategy for next year that reflects the Spirit of Gene Cowell and Steve Barnett’s humor. Enough said!
That night we gathered at Campo de Bocce for our 4thSocial Change evening. We had a lot of new faces, great food, nice wine and beer – We enjoyed some very competitive Bocce Millennials some of whom had never played Bocce before. Fun was had by all. Sophia and Aziz, thank you again for a wonderful fun evening.
On the 17thled by our Community Services Director Jeff Schinkel, we worked with a team to clean Niles Park, spread tanbark and, yes, plant a tree or two. It was a great morning as Niles Rotarians with some help from Rotaractors and City of Fremont employees just did what they needed to do to get it done! Great JOB – thank you to all that participated, including Rick Jones, Aziz Akbari, Dana Jones, MaryLynn Pelican, Brad Louie, Chuck Canada, Margo Hood, Wendy Mills, Rich Godfrey and our newest family member Pranav Panchel. Great Team!
Reverse Raffle and EVERYONE is scrambling, venue, baskets, seating, paddling, live, silent, it’s a whirlwind week and Brian is still stressed between leis and not being sold out! I keep saying we’ve got this Bri – and the week moves on. Our meeting on the 22ndwas a very interesting discussion on North Korea. Tim Gavin introduced Sharat Lin who visited North Korea in 2015, and he gave us an inside look at the real North Korea. He answered some fascinating questions about nuclear arms and his views on the current governments, North and South Korea as they relate to the US. Also, during this meeting much to PE Brian’s relief, we SOLD OUT of Raffle tickets. The Big Kahuna went to Bruce Prescott’s team; however Bruce wanted to share the honor with Sam Forbes team member Daren Young who sold the most tickets in the club at 28. Geeta was honored for her Paul Harris +1 and Marty Spellman honored Martin Herder with his first Paul Harris and Paul Iannaccone with a Paul Harris plus. I also took the opportunity to flash a pic secretly passed to me by Jasmin Basrai of Gary Basrai and his cousin Dr. Ajit Sandhu as they visited in Pakistan. Gary with a significant beard and both wearing their turbans, and most importantly Gary was wearing his Rotary pin. The entire club could tell that this was not just any trip for Gary – it was a very special, emotional trip as they visited the lands of their relatives.
Friday evening March 23rdNiles Rotary was honored as the Non-Profit Organization of the year by the Indo-American Community Federation at their 17thAnnual Unity Dinner. About 25 Niles Rotarians were present, and they also honored Niles Rotarians, Chief of Police Rich Lucero and John Dutra. It was a lovely evening.
March 24 – THE BIG DAY – Our Niles Rotary Elimination Raffle and dinner. A year’s worth of work has gone into this event and countless hours by many Niles Rotarians. This year the leader of the pack was President Elect Brian Hughes who decided to theme the event early. Brian chose an Aloha theme that was very well done from the printing of the tickets to the big night. His team consisted of Live Chairs Steve and Terri Landon, Silent Chairs Bev and Chris Louie, Event Administration and Venue Audrey Kearns, leis and décor Lisa and Dirk Lorenz, Registration Dana Jones, along with Cyndy Mo and team, Elimination Raffle Rich and Jim Brunelli, Seating and Data Entry Jack Rogers and ticket sales, check out and reconciliation Tammi Sousa. This night’s success requires the support and participation of the entire club. From Ticket Sales to every other job one can imagine. We had 7 Rotaractors attend and help along with over 20 Interactors from the 3 schools we support, Washington High, Fremont Christian and Robertson. Thank you kids; you did a great job of keeping things flowing and organized. We had a photo wall and at the 11thhour I was noting that I would bring my son’s surf board for the area – Jack Rogers says do you need surf boards? Yes, was the answer and Jack told us of his two boards he MADE with his son in a 10-day Surf Board making class 5 years ago. He brought both boards and they were the highlight of the evening. They were both beautiful. Check out pics later in the Pinion.
Totals are not in yet, but we think we grossed over $160,000.00 with over $30,000.00 going to our hospital in Guatemala. Rich Godfrey was over the moon. A BIG Mahalo to our club for always having the President Elects back on this event – It is our OHANA that makes this a success year after year and your participation Niles Rotarians is soooooo appreciated. Congratulations to the entire club for a very successful event. Now let’s get to the giving!!!
On Monday and Tuesday, the following week Membership Chair Chuck Canada and team did two orientations for Irshad Rasheed and Stella Levin – both will be inducted as new Rotarians on April 12, 2018.
And if that is not the busiest month on record we ended with a program on de-cluttering. Sharon Yap has lived in the Tri City area for the past 33 years. She gave us information on the KonMari Method of tidying up! She presented very interesting information and I signed up to have her come help me finish organizing my office.
Prior to her talk it was Chuck Canada’s, Rick Hood’s, and my honor and special privilege to induct Lynn Barnett as an Honorary Member of Niles Rotary. We had Honorary Member Gwen Cowell join her in the front of the room as we pinned her. This was an especially moving for me since I have known the Barnetts since they came to Fremont. Steve was my Niles Rotary Big Brother, we share a birthday and I was inducted in his year as president. We officially welcome sweet Lynn to our Rotary Family although you have been for many years just without that Big Blue Badge.
We also had the pleasure of Larry Day’s Ice Breaker. Wow Larry, what can I say? You did a great job and we really got to know about where you have been, your family, your hobbies and your heart for God, ministry and Service Above Self. You’re going to be a great Niles Rotarian. We capped off his Ice Breaker with the exchanging his Red Badge for Blue. Following the meeting a group of us ran off to Feed the Hungry at the Free Dining Room at Centerville Presbyterian. Niles Rotarians served over 250 meals to 127 guests. We served Dino’s meat loaf, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans and salad. Great way to end a month.
AGAIN Thank you and Congrats on an AMAZING Month – It was sooooo busy, but wow so much was accomplished. I hope you all had a Happy Easter, and 4thQuarter here I come!!