Posted by Joe Quinn on Apr 10, 2020
President Bill Potter walked in to our virtual Zoom meeting to the sounds of Johnny Cash singing, I think, “A Boy Named Sue”.   Must have been a preview of our program speaker, his wife and the director of Nourish, Sue Potter (see below). Morris Northcutt played the Star Spangled Banner on his trumpet and brought down the house.  Or many houses actually, as numerous Rotarians did applaud loudly.
 
Bob Hammar gave us our Thought for the Day on Good Friday.  It was a memorable, ecumenical message about Rotary’s openness to all religions and even the “no religion” folks.  He spoke of the bonds of Rotary and the group’s “thirst for knowledge”.  He wove in (subtly) the Four-Way Test and longed for a “Polio-free and virus free” world.  Nice invocation if I can still use that word.
 
We lost Bill for a moment there, when the host changed, but President-Elect Mark Edgecomb stepped right into that breach to thank the entire setup committee and called for Visiting Rotarians.  There were none online.  Mark asked for Guests and Kendra Riconosciuto said she had many there including Amelia, Sawyer and her Mom—Pat.  Sorry for any misspellings but this virtual meeting stuff is tuff for us septuagenarians. 
 
Bill Potter then came back from the ionosphere. He called for Visiting Rotarians and miraculously Sue Potter unmuted her mic and admitted that she is a Clover Park Rotarian. There was no Sunshine Report, which was good news. There are no known Lakewood Rotarians who have tested positive for the coronavirus, although some of us know people who have. 
 
ANNOUNCEMENTS:  Bill Potter mentioned that the Daffodil Dash, scheduled for May 23rd has not (yet) been cancelled.  He said St. Clare Hospital has a donation page online.  Food banks are much in demand and so of course Nourish could use your donations. Rose Stevens mentioned that the Port Orchard Club is sponsoring a grant program to help in Kenya, so check that out.
 
Committee Reports:  Eric Quinn updated those assembled on the status of Youth Exchange for the upcoming school year.  It has not been cancelled, although the short youth exchanges for the summer of 2020 are not being done this year.  Eric said our desperate need, as usual, is to enlist HOST FAMILIES!  Some students are already here in District 5020, he said, so time is a-wasting.  He said the fact that schools are closed is hampering the effort at getting potential host families through the school system contacts. We need to find out if Clover Park School District will accept an incoming student.
 
As for the Auction Committee, Eric said it is pretty certain that there will be no in-person auction this year.  The Committee is working hard, he said, on the idea of an online auction.  Kendra Riconosciuto is leading the research into an online auction. We know that Gig Harbor Rotary is in the final stages of holding one, so we are watching that process.  Although some sponsorship money has been refunded, the committee has reported that well over $20,000 has been collected and not requested to be refunded.
 
The Scholarship Committee then reported, with Sally Porter Smith, Barb Spriggs and then Andrew Neiditz all weighing in.  Notifications have already gone out to the students.  Andrew thanked the hard working committee members. The scores were exceptional and the committee was very impressed with the students this year.   There were 14 scholarship applicants and six (6) awardees.  The letters went out yesterday, Andrew said. 
 
As we all know, the Major Projects Committee and the whole club selected the Lakewood Playhouse to be the recipient of all “Raise the Paddle” donations at the Sportsman’s Dinner and Auction this year, but due to the coronavirus pandemic that idea is gone.  The needs of the community have changed, and so Lakewood Rotary must pivot to meet that challenge.
 
In the spirit of Rotary’s Vocational Service, as one of the avenues of service, Andrew Kruse mentioned a good idea he has.  If anyone wants to share some thoughts on their career with the youth that Andrew serves in his Youth for Christ role, he can help with that.  Student learning is a tough challenge now while schools are closed, Andrew said, but this is an opportunity to teach in a different way.  Just email Andrew about how you might help and he will magically do a Zoom link, record your input and then post the video (somewhere) for the kids to watch. Ah, the wonders of technology that I only begin to understand!  Andrew, if you want some thoughts about a career as a lawyer, I have some volunteer names for you:  Steve Mazoff, Nicole Hancock, or Eric Quinn. Oops, there I go thinking out loud again….none of them gave me permission to write that!  Let me know if you get desperate Andrew. Barb Spriggs volunteered to talk about a career in aviation, especially for women.  Barb wisely added that she could talk about other careers as well, as many people today tackle more than one in their lifetime.   She certainly has.
 
DEPOSITS: David Swindale offered up $59 for his birthday in that number of years. Or was it $5.90?  Shades of Dave Covey! Andrew Kruse offered up $20 for missing the meeting last week because he was doing volunteer work.  Rob Erb is not good at math so he offered up $50 for his 43rd wedding anniversary. Sally Porter Smith gave $50, I think. Remember that we can still donate or send money to Lakewood Rotary or the RI Foundation using the online form that Treasurer John Lowney created.  We all received a revised version by email.  John said he has been using snail mail a lot---the US Postal Service is still operating but is a bit slower of course.  John said there will be a board meeting next week via Zoom.
 
Our Program:  Sue Potter was introduced to give us an update on how Nourish of Pierce County is doing. She said they operate 26 food distribution sites, including five in Lakewood.  19% of Pierce County’s large population has used their service.  Sue said volunteer numbers are down due to the coronavirus and because many of their volunteers are in that vulnerable over 60 age category.  The Washington National Guard has stepped up in a big way and it is really helping Nourish.  Also Pierce County Emergency Management is in evidence.   She is relieved and happy to report that they have the help of about 42 WNG guardsmen and women, who have been deployed to Nourish.  They pack and distribute the food. U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force personnel are deployed there, either for 30 or 45 days.   They are open to extensions as well.  It is good for them, as some have been laid off from their regular, day-time jobs.  We are thrilled to have them, Sue said.  Needs for food distribution are up more than 50% over their base figure (using the 2008 recession numbers as a base, I think she said).  By the end of April she said it will probably be up to 100% over, or in other words, double the need it was then in 2008! 
 
In answer to a question from Mary Marlin, Sue said getting food in their door requires a bidding process and pricing is high now.  The problem is not food scarcity so much as wondering if the organization can afford to buy what they need.  (This makes it obvious they need donations now.)  I think Mary Marlin then said she was donating $100 right away.  You said that, right Mary?
 
Donna Phillips said something but it was garbled, due to some sort of mic problem at her end.  What we got out of that discussion was that donations can be made at nourishpc.org. Andrew Kruse asked Sue if they needed volunteers now.  Sue said they must be at least 18 years old and if 60 and healthy that is OK too. Thanks for an excellent program and good questions from Rotarians as usual.
 
Before we all signed off, Bill asked if there was anything else for the Good of the Order. Andrew Neiditz said it was his last official day as the CEO of South Sound 911 after seven years there.  He said it was a hard time to retire and he did delay it a bit due to the pandemic.  The last 30 days have been a trying time for the agency that dispatches 911 calls for 19 police agencies and 20 fire departments in Pierce County.  He discussed the various safety steps that SS 911 has implemented to protect its workers such as moving work stations apart and actually moving some people to different backup locations. Everyone has tested negative so far, he said.  He reported that their new building—the new unified dispatch center for the whole county—is about 30% complete, is on time and under budget. It is slated for completion in the spring of 2021. Andrew donated some funds in honor of his retirement.
 
Bob Hammar asked if there was any special need right now for blood donations.  Andrew did not know and neither did anyone else, so the Bulletin Committee commissioned a special investigative reporter.  That reporter called the Cascade Regional Blood folks and found out that there is no dire need right now.  However, they are forecasting that near the end of May or early June there will be a blood shortage and so donate blood then.
 
Mary Horn said they are doing 3-4 Zoom meetings a day with Greg being the incoming District Governor for District 5020.   She talked about a recent multi-zone and multiple district Zoom meeting.  There is a movement afoot to train folks, especially Rotarians, to be call receivers at call centers to try to answer the many COVID-19 questions that people have.  Mary said she’d send a link to that through the bulletin.  RI supports this effort.  I think she was referring to the Volunteer Surge effort:  Go to theglobalimpactgroup.org web site.  See also TGIG.org.  You can learn more about it there.
 
Mary also mentioned the DTVZ, a 5020 online training event designed to replace the Victoria conference and training assembly; it is scheduled for May 16th and will include 5 sections of one hour each between 10:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.  There are six different choices or tracks during each of the 5 sections, so a total of 30 classes. The day will end with a Zoom WrapUp party.  BYOB. You can register online at: https://rotary5020.org/page/district-training-via-zoom.
 
Mary then showed a quick video or slide show, showing Greg with a child and a dog, welcoming all Rotarians for his year as DG.
 
Bill then ended the meeting with a “Stay Safe” recommendation. Donna Phillips then suggested that we can come earlier than 12:30 to the virtual meetings, much like we do at the Club, with gathering time starting at noon. Good idea. 
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