Notes from the Meeting
by The Road Warrior
President Holly Sampson called the meeting to order…and had to do so TWICE…as the pre-meeting noise and rising sense of excitement in the Radisson’s Great Hall was quite apparent. It could have been the singing of our National Anthem and “O Canada” which left most Rotarians pleasantly surprised, coupled by the visit of our District Governor, Tim Kaminski. Tim holds citizenship in both countries, truly an ideal combination for a Rotary District (5580) that spans both countries.
Barb Perrella led the singing of both anthems, accompanied by John Baumgarten. Asking that we develop an “attitude of contemplation,” invocator Peter Bagley suggested that we consider a “service above ego” attitude by leaving our egos at Rotary’s front door. In so doing, we’ll be better prepared to truly live a life of “Service Above Self.”
Also among the honored guests at the Head Table were Past President
and Assistant District Governor Phil Strom, District 5580 Trainer Debra Warner of the Virginia Rotary Club, Secretary-Elect Jerry Pelofske, Darlene Anderson and Past President and Past District Governor Dave Vose. Elaine Hansen and Al Makynen were recognized for their District service.
Darlene Anderson’s Fellowship Report started on a somber note with the announcement that a Thai youth exchange student living in Long Prairie, MN had died in a car accident there last week. Two other youth exchange students and an American student were seriously injured. After introducing guests and visiting Rotarians, Darlene got down to the business of raising money for the Golden Can. Sandy Hoff was nicked for gaining approval for another development project. Dick “Chipper” Carlson presented his story at Cloquet Rotary. Gary Bubalo graciously paid (we think!) his fine and that of his colleague, fellow Rotarian John Lawien, for their public radio advertising. A clean-shaven Bill Gronseth helped raise money for the Fire Department’s coats for kids project. Clean shaven himself, Kevin Jacobsen was a “celebrity shaver.” Pleading poverty, financial advisor and Past President Dave McLean had to write an IOU to the Golden Can. President Holly thanked him for opening up his home for a hospitality event honoring the massive accomplishments of our top rose sellers, those SUPER Rotarians who sold at least 60 dozen.
Al Makynen proudly paid $35 for not shaving since his Isle Royale camping trip some 35 years ago. The Community Foundation’s Touchstone Awards earned fines for LSS’ Bob Sherman, Dan Bergeland and Cathy Bergh. Community Foundation board member Branden Robinson and President Holly Sampson gladly paid fines, as well. Charlie Grubb was fined for 50 great years of marriage to Mary. Finally, it was worth noting that Tom Wheeler’s daughter, Kara Goucher, was profiled on ABC’s Good Morning America for her success as a professional runner and Olympian. It’s no secret that she ran throughout the months of her pregnancy with her son. This weekend, she is a contender for the women’s championship at the New York City Marathon.
Special recognition was extended by Dean Casperson, who received $500 on behalf of the club’s International Service Committee. The check was given by Carol Helstrom, Jon Helstrom’s daughter and Paul Helstrom’s sister. She is employed in the Enbridge legal department. The company recognized her international service as she helped to build a school in Guatemala. She paid it forward by giving the money to our club for an additional project there.
Doug Erickson presented two $5,000 checks to Michele Keil of Hope for the Children (backpacks filled with essentials for foster kids) and to David Benson of the Damiano Center for its Kids’ Café. Doug announced there is $28,000 left to spend, with the next round of awards to be determined in February. With Veteran’s Day approaching, special mention was made of our 50+ Rotarians who served in the armed forces. Please contact the office if your name is not on our club’s list. We owe each veteran a debt of gratitude.
The annual visit of our District Governor was memorable in that Tim Kaminski is the first in recent memory to come out from behind the podium and speak to us directly at floor level. His personal “Rotary story” was told by reviewing the many lapel pins on his suit, his unique appearance with a handlebar mustache, and an affinity for funny hats and a good cigar. He explained why and how he joined Hibbing Rotary after having lived in International Falls for several years. His fellow Rotarians there are older, but their enthusiasm for international service and inviting new members is not diminished by age, thanks to Tim’s leadership by example.
Noting conversations with our International President Gary C.K. Huang, Tim focused on this year’s “Light up Rotary” theme, explaining that it was based on the Confucian saying, “it is better to light a single candle than it is to sit and curse the darkness.” He mesmerized the audience with stories of how anything is possible in Rotary, and backed it up with how the great Paul Harris helped write the original Charter for the United Nations; how Vladimir Putin allowed Rotary to remain in Russia while similar non-government organizations were deported; and how Rotary is getting “this close” to eliminating polio, possibly by 2018.
Tim implored each of us to tell our Rotary story, to determine how our club can “Light up Rotary” by inviting new members to join our ranks and to continue to meet Rotary’s “Service Above Self’ mission.