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Firefighter of the year, TV host and Much More

by Jim McFarland

Flag salute and Thought for the Day: By Larry Johnson … in case you didn’t catch it all!  Thanks Larry!!!
 
In today’s world, the internet has gifted us unprecedented access to information, music, and topics of every kind. However, with this vast ocean of knowledge at our fingertips, we are increasingly drawn to pursue our own personal truths. This journey, while enriching on an individual level, often comes at the expense of a collective understanding with our community.

As we curate our personal experiences and perspectives, we risk losing the shared sense of reality that binds us together. The collective experience, once a cornerstone of community and unity, seems to be fading away.
 
Let us take a moment to reflect on what we sacrifice when we focus solely on our individual truths. By balancing our personal explorations with a commitment to shared understanding, we can nurture both personal growth and communal harmony. In doing so, we can ensure that our pursuit of knowledge enriches not only ourselves but also the collective spirit of our community.
 
President Lisa asked us for guests. Besides the wonderful firefighters in attendance we had Martha Mansfield, guest of Geoff Bremmer, Susi Farrell, wife of Rick Farrell, Priscila Kasha, Wife of Walt Kasha, Haruna Hayakama former Japanese exchange student hosted by Deb Robertson, and Jessie Jorgasen guest of Dave Long.
 
Happy Dollars:  Walt Kasha gave happy dollars, after he and his wife survived, with no injuries, a head-on hit and run car accident. Whew!  Cedric Tuck-Sherman had dollars for his son graduating from NYU Larrys’ daughter graduated Summa Cum Laude from Trinity College.  There were dollars for a sons’ wedding and Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals!!  Sorry, we didn’t catch the name!!  
 
Congratulations to Tony RogondinoColby McDonald, and Genevieve Kelly, for receiving their Blue Badges!!!
 
Debbie Goldberg asked for a few more volunteers for Habitat for Humanity on June 5.  We thank and hope those that volunteered had a great time!

Susan Adams introduced Fire Chief Mike Lang.  Mike introduced our Firefighter of the year recipient Josh Kueng.  Josh grew up in Pico Rivera, Loves water polo. Married for 22 years Has two sons, both swimmers. Joined MBFD in 2012 after stints in several other communities including El Centro.  He is a fully trained paramedic.  Josh told us that, just like Rotarians, “It’s service above self”, is why he loves his job. We were told he is a fantastic cook!! Thank you, Josh!!
 
Kathleen Teri introduced our last Rotary Reflection of the year.  Barbara Matles, 25 year member of our club, and one of the first women!  Mike Snyder brought her into the club.  One of her first positions in the club was vocational director.  She joined the club because of the charitable work we do.  Barbara was responsible for 12 years of donations of cruises for Magic in Giving.
  
Speaker of the day!  Monica Bringleson introduced Brandi Millory.  Brandi Millory.com  Brandi is a TV host, food reporter, lifestyle & parenting expert and an at-home cook known for her simple and fun approach to food. She is currently the host of MOMHOOD, a successful parenting podcast alongside fellow mom and friend, Orly Shani. She frequently appears on KTLA, Home & Family, The Kelly Clarkson ShowDr. PhilAccess Hollywood, among others.

She starred in Food Network's series Let's Eat and is a recurring guest judge on Guy's Grocery Games, Chopped Sweets and more. She previously worked as a food/entertainment reporter and producer at POPSUGAR.

Brandi is self-taught and a home cook who loves to connect with others through food, storytelling and all things made with love.  She is the oldest of 3 children.  The daughter of a military family, she has lived all around the world.  Her father was a helicopter pilot with two tours in Vietnam.  She loved traveling and meeting new people in each new locale.  In the 7th grade shew was diagnosed with scoliosis and was fitted with a back brace.  She made the comment that at that age, wearing a brace on her back and braces on her teeth she was teased and bullied a lot. She felt alone.  Sports became her escape. She was quite athletic.  She was recruited to play soccer in college.  Unfortunately, she had to undergo surgery for her back, where they placed two rods in to stabilize her. Now that college sports was out, she went to community college, then to University of Arizona (Go Wildcats!).  She got a job at NBC Tucson while in school.  She had always wanted to be a producer and a reporter.  

After graduating, she moved to Chicago to work for Harpo, Oprah Winfrey’s network.  Her first job was on Oprah’s Big Give. When her job ended in Chicago, she decided to pursue things in LA.  She moved in with a friend and volunteered at the Santa Monica Boys and Girls Club.  She went to work at PopSugar the largest women’s media network.  She hosted PopSugar Food.  She created Eat the Trend.  She spent 7 years at PopSugar.  She has been a judge on the TV show Chopped.  She has also worked on the Today Show in New York. She started a production company and worked for Sunkist and wrote about farmers. Cross Catholic is one of her passions, now through American Martyrs.  Feeding and helping the poor. She lives with her husband and her two boys in Manhattan Beach.

A little Q and A: John Acker asked why she wasn’t fat…?  She says maybe her Pilipino heritage, or the fact that she never stops eating and moving. Loli Ramezani asked how she could be so resilient with having experienced all her setbacks.  She says her faith has kept her anchored.  Favorite thing to cook is Pizza on Fridays!! 

Wine-drawing: Jeff Serota won the bottle of porque no. Walt Kasha had the opportunity for $59 dollars, he didn’t win it, wha - whaaaa! 

See you next week, fellow Rotarians!