The Spokesperson April 21, 2022

Published April 21, 2022 | 12:00 PM

Minutes of April 21, 2022 Meeting by Scott Chabot
Photos by Sam Wireman
President Jeff Furest led our April 21 meeting that started at 12:15 pm. Jessica Johnson was selected to give the Pledge. Nancy Dedenbach led fellow Rotarians in “The Four-Way Test.” Sarah Lee did the invocation. Our buffet-style lunch menu included Caesar salad, dinner rolls, breaded chicken with red sauce, cheese-covered redskin potatoes and green beans. Rotarians and guests were served cannolis for dessert.
Presidential Announcements

President Jeff Furest gave the floor to Valerie Miller for her to report on the success of the Anchor Bay Rotary Club’s fundraiser for Ukraine. They far exceeded the fundraising goals (three times more than expected) and the Mount Clemens Rotary had three tables and contributed to their raffle prizes. A total of $1,200 was donated by Mount Clemens Rotarians. The Richmond Rotary and Anchor Bay Rotary are also teaming up for a fundraiser on November.

Jeff noted he will be having eye surgery soon and will be wearing a patch (he is not becoming a pirate).
Jeff recently sent an analysis to President-Elect, Scott Chabot, on lunches and costs to the club from past years. Jeff noted that we had a good number of visitors that came to meetings before Covid and we need to encourage more guests to attend. A good target is about three-four guests per meeting. Outreach about our club and our mission is important and having guests is a good way of getting more folks to know about what we do.

Ed Mastry announced guests and visitors. Frequently attended guest and Rotarian, Susan Painter, was the guest of the meeting. 
Ryan Murphy passed out flowers for the meeting. Sam Wireman is celebrating his 30th birthday and had the honor of being sang to by the club. Jeff Furest for his wedding anniversary. Julie Miller and Ken Steele for Club Anniversaries. Val Miller for spouse’s birthday. Ed Mastry to Val for orchestrating good club turnout at the Anchor Bay fundraiser for Ukraine. Gary Felts to Julie Huttenlocher as the “beautiful blonde stranger” ??? Julie Miller to Nancy Dedenbach as most-missed Rotarian.
Ryan Murphy announced Rotarians with birthdays & anniversaries for the week.
Member birthdays included: Dana Camphous-Peterson & Sam Wireman

Partner birthdays: Valerie Miller’s spouse, Dennis Miller.

Wedding Anniversaries: Amanda & Kyle Oparka and Jeff & Angela Furest.

Club Anniversaries: Julie Miller & Ken Steele (four years)


Sarah Lee selected songs “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and “Sing a Song to Rotary.”


Scott Chabot informed Rotarians that additional help is needed with setting up and tear-down of the weekly meetings. He commended Ken Steele and Ed Mastry for their dedicated efforts, but with summer approaching, some additional help to spread the responsibility is needed.

Ken Steele was the big 50/50 winner of the Anchor Bay Ukraine raffle. He won $505.

Robert Lee is part of play at the Richmond Theater May 13, 14 & 15.

Nancy Dedenbach announced that she and her husband were deeded a cottage along Lake Placid.

Kathleen Best announced that she becoming an aunt.

Robert Lee doled out fines for recognition. Ken Steele was fined $5 for taking all of the 50/50 winnings at the Anchor Bay Rotary Fundraiser event. Julie Miller was fined $3 for leaving fundraiser event and having Val Miller take their winning raffle basket home. Vita Simmons was fined $2 for noting the past president pin. All attendees that did not attend the Ukrainian benefit fundraiser were fined $2. Nancy Dedenbach was fined for being most-missed Rotarian.

President Jeff Furest, introduced fellow Rotarian, Tom Welsh, as the speaker for the meeting. Tom is a former club board member and president of the Portage Rotary Club. Tom gave some comparisons from how Rotary club activities and meetings were done in their meetings and gave some past experiences from his profession.

Tom noted that the Mount Clemens Rotary Club has a higher percentage of members that are working and still attend meetings and are conscious of timing so meetings are run efficiently and conclude in a timely manner. The MC Rotary Club has maintained this important tradition, even through Covid. He also acknowledged that having music accompaniment is a great benefit to our club and is glad to know Gary Felts can provide such help.

He discussed some of the challenges that he encountered on the Portage Rotary Club, primarily related to the fundraising and increased costs for fireworks, which were traditionally hosted by their Rotary.  As leader of the club, he had the challenge of informing the local community that due to exorbitant cost increases, the fireworks required cancellation. Turning a difficult situation into a positive solution, he was able to lead the efforts in getting the needed volunteers and funding appropriated to have a local park cleaned up and designating that as a Rotary Park. Their club also participated in placing flags at local cemeteries from Memorial Day to Veterans Day. During Covid shutdowns, they were effective in hosting virtual meetings to keep a good club base active and engaged and was able to arrange an effective food bank drop-off system that helped needy people in the community while maintaining social distancing protocols.

Another great thing that Tom was able to do was get unused scholarship monies and put them toward benefitting families with pre-K kids so they could work and kids would have a preschool program for part of the day.

Some the important items that Tom stressed during his tenure as Portage president were:

     Paul Harris award contributions
     Reinstituting the reciting of “The Four-Way Test for each meeting.  
     Establishing many mini-committees to keep club members engaged and responsible for week-to-week
     functioning of the club
     Networking opportunities

Tom also got a chance to share some great stories of his career. Highlights of the stories included:
     * Seeing fireworks over the Washington Monument from an airplane
     * Working with U.S. Government during Ronald Reagan Presidency on an Executive Committee Task Force to
     * interview U.S. agencies to better understand the benefits of assistance from consultants.
     * Working with U.S. Government on saving substantial funds on telecommunication costs.
     * A trip to East Berlin during the end of the Cold War.
     * Opportunities to visit the White House and meeting many members of Ronald Reagan’s executive staff,
       except for George H.W. Bush.
     * All of these endeavors were driven by Tom’s desire to “make a difference” and be a part of something that
       could make that a reality. True Rotarian traits.

Bill Furest was this week’s the 50/50 raffle winner of $52.