Club Executives & Directors
East Hartford Rotary News

The Rotary Club of
East Hartford


High Gear

Volume 77 | Issue 52  / June 22, 2022
Rainy and cool day for our ZOOM meeting this week.   During casual conversation, Sue told dog stories and a baseball book she recently received as a gift.  Of course, we also complained about the weather.  Mark attended the convention last week and contracted COVID.   Larry told us there was no snow up North – he is playing golf.  The East Hartford school system has paid dues for Frank Staples. Attendees today were Sue, Peter, Bill, George, Wes, Mark, Larry and his daughter, Alex, Jack, Anwar and Neal. 
Sue rang the bell to start the meeting at 12:00 PM.  Alex called the meeting to order and led The Pledge of Allegiance and 4 Way Test.  Bill gave the invocation and stressed that we be aware of opportunities to serve.
Strategic Recruiting - The Marine Model
Our speaker today was Kevin Matthews who is a Rotary Member from Cyprus, Texas which is near Houston.  He is a retired Marine Recruiter and his talk was from a Marine Corp recruiting perspective.  He was very dynamic. 
The Marines and the Rotary both have to dispel some myths.  Myths for the Marines are “very rough, very tough and physically demanding”.  This is based on the past.  Today, there is no swearing or physical touching.  A myth about Rotary is it is “old white men club”.  
The Marines total 176,000 with 25% turnover every year.  Kevin stated that all Marines are recruiters.  He discussed building membership in the Marines.  He would get monthly status reports from his recruiting agents. He would review 70 applications to get one Marine!  In Rotary, he figures the ratio would be 10-3-1.  You get 10 names, 3 come to a meeting and one new member.  That extrapolates to 6 for East Hartford.  Our goal is 6 new members each year which mean getting 60 names, 18 people to a meeting and then 6 new members out of the 18.
He advised that we have to make ourselves known.   Go to as many social events as possible, use social media and contact as many people as possible.  You have to sell Rotary.  We are a network of professional people and we want to deal with young professionals and what these people want.  They want to grow networks, develop professional skills, and an opportunity to be heard.   They want to see people making decisions.   In this area, targets are young professionals and people in financial services. He asked how visible our events are and asked if we help other organizations.  Kevin was impressed with our scholarship program but thought we should be passing them out in an Awards Night atmosphere to get recognition and bring in parents and others.    
Meeting continued with Alex saying that this presentation was very helpful.  We asked for Kevin’s slides and think his presentation has opened new possibilities for us.  Mark is planning on introducing him to the full District.
  • Sue thanked Alex for all his help with the Parade and through the past year. 
  • Ceil announced that June 23 is last call for tickets to the Installation Dinner at Wethersfield Country Club.
  • Bob is going to meet with the District Governor to discuss the Presidential Citation.
  • There were no caring moments.
  • There will be new ZOOM numbers after July 1 which will be announced later.
  • Any donations to the Foundation have to be in by midnight on June 30 to be credited to this year.
  • Alex went to the District Installation Dinner and said it was very interesting and worthwhile.
  • George discussed giving out scholarships on Awards Night.  
  • No noon meeting next week as it is the date of the Installation Dinner.  The following week is the East Hartford Senior Picnic led by Bob Buettner on July 6.
Alex rang the bell at 12:55 PM.
Neal Cunningham
Service Above Self - 2021-2022 Club Projects
These three words describe the heart and soul of this great organization called Rotary. When 1.4 million Rotarians all over the world gather and enjoy fellowship in different countries, different settlings, different time zones, they are also planning projects to help others. Many of those who are being helped are within the community, but many are in far off places in distant corners of the world. Rotary is changing lives by fighting diseases, providing clean water, educating children, and providing temporary shelters.
The East Hartford Rotary Club (EHRC), like the other 33,000 clubs in the Rotary world, is doing its part in following the Rotary Motto of Service Above Self. This year, despite the impediments posed by COVID-19, we continued our efforts participating in hands-on service projects. Here is the list of projects from January-through December 2021:
Covid-19 gave birth to a new project this year. Early in the pandemic, the shortage of face masks hit first responders and frontline care providers. ROTARY stepped up to the plate to help. Working through our local club, thousands of masks were provided to our police and fire departments.
Socks are among the list of items most needed by the homeless. Thanks to the generosity of Bombas Socks Company, our club received 250 pairs of new socks which were distributed to several shelters in the surrounding communities.
Rotary in Motion (RIM), a collaboration of the Rotary clubs of Manchester, East Hartford, and Rockville, recently held its third annual free community wide program celebrating " mobility" of all forms.
In addition to a 17- and 26-mile bike ride, mostly on the East Coast Greenway, the Charter Oak Greenway and the Hop River Trail, the day included a 2-mile mountain bike ride, a walking tour of the Charter Oak Park in Manchester, and Golf cart and Rickshaw rides. East Hartford members participated in the planning of the event and by staffing a water station at Wickham Park. 
A new and unique community service opportunity came our way this year. Our club members rolled up their sleeves and took part in painting a portion of the mural in East Hartford celebrating the diversity of our community. Our club and its members also made monetary donations to the project.
The East Hartford Rotary Club has participated in the Greater Hartford Marathon since its inception many years ago. The day for volunteers from our club starts early morning, setting up tables, filling hundreds of cups of water, handing these to 10,000+ racers who sprint/run/walk by the water station and later making sure that every used cup and other trash is picked up and bagged. By the time we leave a few hours later, we make sure that the grounds look as pristine and clean as we found it. We are rewarded handsomely with free donuts, coffee, and jackets.
We never thought it would be so much fun sorting, stuffing candies in small clear plastic bags and tying a colorful ribbon. Following an assembly line system, members of our club prepared 500+ bags in an hour while the Rotary meeting was being zoomed for others who could not attend.
The Covid-19 pandemic created a new Halloween tradition. Parents with their kids simply drive slowly past candy stations while volunteers toss the candy bags in the open trunks. EHRC participated in one such event at Rentschler Field. Our candy station, one of the twenty plus other stations, where club volunteers dressed in Halloween costumes got to practice their candy throw in the car trunks five hundred times. We have never seen so many smiling kids in one day.
This was the second year the EHRC, in partnership with the Connecticut International Baccalaureate Academy (CIBA) and Living World Outreach Ministries Pentecostal Church, participated in leaf raking projects for the senior residents of East Hartford who are physically unable to tackle this yearly chore. Sixty students and sixteen adult volunteers, including several members of EHRC, broke into fourteen groups and drove off to their designated locations and completed the tasks in just a few hours. The volunteers were rewarded with a pizza lunch at the church. The bigger and better reward was the appreciation and thanks expressed by these seniors.
This is a new project that EHRC has added to the list of service projects. The day before Veterans Day 11/10, our club cooked and served 120 lunches in the new East Hartford Senior Center for East Hartford veterans in grateful recognition of their service to our country.
Once a month, members of EHRC report to the FoodShare distribution center in Bloomfield and help sort food. Unbeknown to many, food insecurity exists among our communities. The Pandemic has exasperated the situation. FoodShare provided fourteen million meals worth of food last year. Volunteers like us make it possible for FoodShare to make our neighbors a little more food secure.
In keeping with East Hartford Rotary’s theme of Empowering Women, we are conducting a drive to collect feminine hygiene products for the middle and high schools in the town. The focus of this drive is to collect various feminine hygiene products for the school nurses to be able to distribute to young women in need of them. We plan to incorporate local family shelter and food pantries along with any other location that comes to light in town to benefit from this as well.
For the past twelve years, the EHRC has donated dictionaries to all third graders in the East Hartford Public School system. Creative teachers explain how to properly
use the dictionary and incorporate word sourcing activities into their lesson plans. In addition to improving student vocabulary, the dictionaries have sections on the United States Constitution, a list of Presidents, information of each state, and maps of the world. For many children, this dictionary is the very first book they can call their own. The thoughtful thank you notes the Club receives from the individual recipients demonstrate the value of this project.
A popular project for East Hartford Rotarians is our annual bell ringing effort in support of the Salvation Army. Rotarian Roy
Spiller instigated our participation with the Army in 1992. At the time, their headquarters were on Forbes Street in East Hartford.
In 1992 we had more than ninety members and we rang bells at both doors at Stop and Shop in East Hartford on both Saturdays and Sundays on the four weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas. We rang from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Today with a much smaller membership, the Club covers one door on three Saturdays while East Hartford High students cover the other door from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Usually there are two students covering the door and they sometimes bring along musical instruments to entertain themselves as well as the shoppers.
East Hartford Rotary has collected thousands of dollars for this charitable cause over the past thirty years.
Many, many times shoppers have told us how the Salvation Army had helped their families when they were kids. Shoppers always have a kind word and offers of hot coffee on the frigid days.
As is so many of our projects, we, as volunteers, benefit as much as our recipients.
A favorite East Hartford Rotary Club project is our annual food basket donation to the East Hartford Social Services Department. In 2021, E.H. Social Services provided us with the names and addresses of thirteen families who would benefit from our donations. In addition, Rotary member Laura Floyd, who is the Executive Director of the East Hartford YMCA, identified another ten families in need this holiday season.
Using the $3,300 budgeted for this project, we purchased twenty- three custom food baskets for our client families from Michelle’s Florist in Vernon. East Hartford Rotarian volunteers picked up the baskets on November 22 prior to the club meeting. After the meeting, the volunteers delivered the baskets to the thirteen families from Social Services and ten more baskets to the YMCA for distribution.
East Hartford Rotarians Alex Wisz, Sue Klock, Peter Klock, Jason Primus, Marc Glass, Anwar Hossain, and George Schoen worked with Project Leader Bob Buettner to complete this project.
The East Hartford Rotary Club is proud of its ninety-three-year history of serving East Hartford and its commitment to the Rotary ideal of “Service Above Self.” We believe that East Hartford is a better place to live and work because of organizations and people who give back to the community. We invite like-minded adults seeking a service outlet to consider joining us in our efforts. Learn more by visiting our website at: www. East Hartford
July 2022
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Rotary Club of East Hartford
PO Box 380035
East Hartford, CT 06138-0035