Please join your Rotary friends at the Waterhouse, in Depot Square, for the annual passing for the gavel. Taking center stage for their induction will be Pam Brenner as President and her slate of officers, which include Dave Sobe as President-Elect, Cole Royal as First Vice President, Donna Hanley as Treasurer, David Drasba as Secretary, and Dick Chamberlain as Sergeant at Arms.

Please come to wish Pam well in her new role and help cheer her on to success!

 

 

Outgoing President’s Letter

Let’s face it. You have been stuck with me for a long time—longer than any of us might have imagined. Although it may be unfair to ask, please read the following, because I am unable to say these things to you personally.

Nearly a year-and-a-half ago, the common theme among our members was that the club was too tired, too old, and only interested in being a social club. As it turns out, nothing could be further from the truth. You have accomplished great things.

Our charitable trust supported Scholarships, Teacher of Year, Brantwood Camp, Youth Exchange program, Wilder Rotary Park, holiday decorations for the town, Big Brothers Big Sisters locally, a wheelchair manufacturer in Thailand, a health project in India, a senior meals program in Peterborough, the Four-Way Speech Contest, the Cornucopia project, Operation Santa, monetary relief to hurricane Irene victims, 14-foot truck filled with clothes for Hurricane Sandy victims while also allocating money to the Red Cross for hurricane Sandy victims.

We had help, though it was painful. The loss of Paul Schlieben was tragic and transforming. The sudden death of our mutual friend and a remarkable Rotarian brought us closer together, and Paul’s memory reminded us that we could do better. Paul’s name came up frequently in board meetings and casual conversations, and his presence can be found in many of our recent projects. We became bound to the unspoken ideals and expectations Paul set—it became the glue that made our club strong and purposeful. Of all Paul’s many contributions to Rotary and our club, this was his greatest.

While we still hear the echoes of Paul’s infectious laugh, we can still see the Dick Adler’s grin. We lost Dick shortly after Paul, and like Paul, Dick loved Rotary. With the help of close friends and his wife, Marie, Dick came to club meetings even when it as not easy for him to do. He taught us that, with dignity and a grin, we can confront adversity.

We also had help from others who are still with us, though no longer with our club. Susan Mazzone, whose business called her away from membership, still donated her time to help with the Mountain Shadows ice cream social. Susan also continues to supply our guest speakers with chocolates specially molded for our Rotary club.

Dick and Carol Stephens moved to France and joined a local Rotary club there. But that was after 20 years of service to the Peterborough Rotary Club. Both have generous hearts and ideas that benefitted our club greatly.

Bonnie Cohen retired from her work in Peterborough, and will no longer commute here daily and be on hand for our meetings. For that reason, she will no longer be a regular member. However, she has been named honorary member for her many contributions, not the least of which was her deadpan delivery of jokes at our meetings that allowed us all to share a laugh and feel a little closer.

And there is Sharon Cargill, who had the audacity to fall in love and move to upstate New York in the middle of her term as club president. Before leaving, though, Sharon set in motion our hurricane Irene response for Vermont. Whether it was the Easter Pancake Breakfast, Operation Santa, or her duties as president, Sharon always took on her tasks with a smile and can-do spirit. She also left a bewildered president-elect with a notebook filled with useful templates and information, and she provided long-distance motherly support, that helped him ease into the new role caused by her departure.

All of that help was prelude to what you did during the last year-and-a-half, and what you accomplished deserves recognition. Actually, it is fascinating how you proved that Peterborough Rotary is greater than the sum of its members. Every member—each and every person—contributed in a meaningful and substantial way to the club’s success. There were no exceptions. None. And yes, I have proof.

Let’s start with Lynn Robbins, who, as Frist Vice President, ran the pancake breakfast last year. She saw the need to improve our primary fundraiser, and she spoke up about her concerns. She set a ball in motion that would be taken up by others and carried across the goal line. Had she not started that drive down the field, though, we might have said goodbye to the pancake breakfast. Lynn gave time to many efforts for the club, including lending her professional singing skills when our club’s “America the Beautiful” was in danger of becoming a YouTube moment.

Pete Cross, who was Second Vice President, stepped up when we found ourselves suddenly without a caterer. He led a committee that held try-outs for several local caterers, giving the entire club a say in who would be chosen.

And that new caterer turned out to be our own Peter Robinson, who quietly gave up his meals to serve the club. As it turns out, Peter is all about service, and he gave plenty of it in leading our youth exchange program, which is one of the most demanding, even if rewarding.

Of course, the youth exchange program is synonymous with Bob MacDonald. He is the Rotary Youth Exchange Chair for our Rotary district, and we benefit greatly from his help and knowledge of the program. Some say the exchange program would not exist in our district if not for Bob, and if the number of thankful exchange student hugs he receives at Rotary District Information Day is any measure, that may be true.

Speaking of strength, John Kaufhold moves mountains for the club, helping with the pancake breakfast, creating and setting up large roadside signs, coordinating road cleanups, running Cruz-Ins with a marketplace, or designing and setting up stonework for Wilder Rotary Park. John also watched over the Peterborough Rotary Charitable Fund to prevent it from running dry and allow it to grow.

Despite those herculean efforts, we discovered that our board of trustees was not properly formed, and Norm Makechnie helped us navigate through the legal fog. With Norm’s guidance, we constituted a new board for the charitable fund.

Treasurer to that board of trustees, as well as to the board of directors, was Donna Hanley, who did not wait a single moment to volunteer. With her expertise as a comptroller, she has done an excellent job and has contributed much to the board of directors.

The newly constituted charitable fund board of trustees elected Dick Chamberlain as its chair, and among his first tasks, Dick led his team to create a set of criteria for evaluating charitable requests and projects. Among those criteria are that worthy projects must be big enough to have an impact, so that our Rotary projects make a difference. Dick is also our Sergeant at Arms, seeing that our meetings run without a hitch.

Two very important people work with Dick and from time to time take over his role. Nancy Gorr, who has the distinction of being our first woman president, is always on hand with sergeant-at-arms duties, sometimes circulating a get-well card for a sick member, and often whispering necessary last-minute updates to the president.

The other person is Sandya Kale, who works with Nancy and Dick to greet and check us in at each meeting. Her smile is big, and her heart is bigger, as demonstrated all those times she helped Dick Adler at our meetings. In many ways, Sandya defines Rotary friendship at our club.

Taking our friendship to the town library is David Simpson, who always made certain our club—whose banner once included the emblem of the library—is always aware of important programs and activities there. David also ensured that we have a balance of political speakers for our own programs.

Our programs bring in speakers to entertain, educate, motivate, or call us to action. James Kelly felt so called to action by one speaker that he forfeited his lunch to make multiple last-minute trips to the local Radio Shack in an effort to get a video adapter for the speaker’s presentation. You may not have known that, or that he would show up as one of the officials at the River Card Room to sign in as the non-profit beneficiary of the day—for James, it was just another opportunity to quietly serve the club.

The programs had more help, too. Tom Westheimer and Lisa Murray co-chaired programs, assisting members with speaker suggestions, and sometimes stepping in when a speaker fell through. Tom and Lisa were cheerfully dedicated to managing that process week after week. Lisa also assisted with the youth exchange. And Tom helped with IT issues when he was stateside.

Cole Royal handled our IT issues fulltime, and whenever there was an issue with ClubRunner, Cole was been there to resolve it. He is also a fountain of ideas for the club. It will be good to see his talent put to even greater use in his new role as Vice President.

Other new roles include one for Jeff Crocker, who volunteered to serve a as a trustee on the charitable fund. In fact, it seems that not only have existing members stepped up to the plate, but our newest members are doing it quickly and without hesitation.

Nils Bergstrom (joined 3/2012), for example, did whatever has been asked and volunteered whenever possible, whether it is for roadside cleanup, Team Pancake, or more, Nils has been there. Likewise with Terra Tarango (joined 1/2012), who brought her family to help with a roadside cleanup. Terra also assisted with the youth exchange, and she has volunteered her expertise to the teacher of the year program.

Kim Chandler (joined 10/2012) also got involved with the teacher of the year program. Hers was a strong, grounded voice at the teacher of the year selection process during this transitional year. And she jumped in with both feet into Team Pancake—cajoling a house guest to work the breakfast with her.


Hard to beat is Bill James (joined 5/2013), who even before he became a member, showed up at the pancake breakfast to help wash dishes. Maybe Bill Smith (joined 3/2013) knew what he might be in for, and he volunteered his considerable professional talents to help with our online content development. And Julie Thibault (joined 5/2013) volunteered for Operation Santa. Even our newest member, Mary McArdle (just joined 6/2013), is already exploring her options.


Maybe it was the way in which Paul Faber, membership co-chair, inducted those new members that made the difference. He certainly set a good example by his work on Team Pancake. Or perhaps it was Dave Sobe, who was membership co-chair before becoming Vice President and a trustee for the charitable fund. Dave was always on the lookout for new members. Whatever the case, there is so much energy from our newest members, you might think it difficult to match. But consider Dave Drasba, Secretary of our club. He picked up the reins on Wilder Rotary Park, and has not let go. Dave has contributed many architectural hours to the park with a vision and finesse that only an architect can provide.


Also contributing to Rotary Wilder Park is Bob Hanson, who has led the charge for creating a viewing area in Paul Schlieben’s memory, which followed the Cornucopia Community Garden Shed he championed, also in Paul’s memory.

Memories are a good thing, of course. That is, unless a 40-year-old fundraiser becomes one. Lynn Robbins had sounded the alarm bells. Attendance for the pancake breakfast was headed south, and having burned out nearly everyone who had ever taken charge of the event, the pancake breakfast was dying. Ted Renna proposed a simple, but ingenious, solution: Create a more permanent committee to run the event, share the burden, and eliminate the burn-out. From that idea was born Team Pancake, and Ted led that team to a new venue, a smooth operation, increased attendance, and fundraising that exceeded our goal.

Many worked on Team Pancake, but one member stands out, and that is Dick Fernald, who launched the pancake breakfast some 40 years ago. That’s right, we called the founder back to help fix things, and he participated at every step, including the post-mortem suggestion session.

Delcie Bean helped significantly with the pancake breakfast, though he would probably prefer his name not be mentioned. That’s a problem with good Rotarians, they are not very good about taking credit for their good deeds.

Another member of Team Pancake was Barbara Miller, who is very special to our club. Barbara brings a creative energy and enthusiasm that sometime exceeds that of mere mortals. Her devotion to the Peterborough Rotary is evidenced by members she has brought in and social activities she organizes, such as a bowling team or a night of camaraderie and entertainment at the Peterborough Players.

If anyone could come close to Barbara’s enthusiasm, it would be Jeff King, who managed to bring ConVal Interact back to life, spearheaded the ice cream social for Mountain Shadows, co-chaired Operation Santa, and provided a meeting place for the board of directors while offering some pretty good Rotary advice on the side.

The fact that Jeff devotes much of his energy toward programs for young people is perhaps not surprising. But when asked what direction our club should take, it came as a delayed, yet delightful, surprise that the club’s flight plan became one devoted to youth. Operation Santa, Mountain Shadows Ice Cream Social, Interact, scholarships, even the Annual Pancake Breakfast were already youth oriented. Without so much as a vision statement, maybe by default or perhaps by the entire club thinking as a singularity, helping young people became our reason for being.

There was no big decision, but several people saw that, too. Andy Peterson, who was already running our Four-Way Speech Contest, saw another opportunity, and that was to create a new Camp Quest-like program for ConVal, perhaps the most ambitious project for our club to date. Even though fundraising was succeeding, the club’s vision coalesced a little too late to make that idea a reality this year. Thinking back, maybe that project idea itself was the lift needed for the club to reach its new vision. Either way, Camp Quest looks very promising next year.

Another youth-centric program is our scholarship program, headed up by Rick Hartman, Chris Brown, and Shep Bartlett. Each does much individually. For example, Rick participated in the teacher of the year selection process, Chris championed a Camp Quest-like project early on, and Shep introduced the club to his auction fundraiser. Together, though, Rick, Chris, and Shep are a formidable Rotary team. They thoroughly screen scholarship applicants and conduct interviews to select the best possible recipients for our scholarships. It was only natural that, when the teacher of the year program needed help, the board called on the scholarship team. Rick, Chris, and Shep rolled up their sleeves and developed a keen set of criteria for selecting the most qualified outstanding teacher that meets Rotary ideals.

Speaking of Rotary ideals, there are just a few more members who have earned special thanks and recognition. First is Laura Gingras, who eagerly worked as co-chair with Ted on Team Pancake. And while trying to step back from too many commitments, took on part of the responsibility for our youth exchange and later even more. She gave time when it was not easy to do so. And all the while, she made our meetings a little more enjoyable with her happy news and her ability to cheer us on when we needed it. She also took time to meet with a new president over breakfasts, phone calls, and emails and offer advice and ideas on how to handle many issues.

In that same vein, Pat Foley, the only person to serve two terms as Past President, also provided counsel to this president whenever needed. Pat can always be trusted to have a clear view of issues without fog or smoke to blur his vision. Pat also initiated our participation with the River Card Room that now generates club revenues that have sometimes rivaled the pancake breakfast. As a director, Pat has contributed to our board meetings, and he has been an active trustee for our club’s charitable fund.

Bob Taft has also been willing to do whatever was needed. His encouragement was always beneficial. The example he set was both valuable and exceptional. Bob’s authoritative voice often led our singing, and that authoritative voice will induct our new officers in a way that few, if any, could do.

Among those inductions on July 1, 2013, will be Pam Brenner as our new president. Over a year ago, when asked about Pam as a potential nominee for office, everyone said she would be great, but she would never do it. Well, everyone was only half right, and all it took was asking to get her to agree, because that is what good Rotarians do. Pam is a get-things-done kind of person, as you have already witnessed with Rotary Wilder Park. That was her idea, she could see a beautiful park where everyone else could only see an old manufacturing site. She brought people together to make the park a reality, and she initiated and led the fundraising to pay for it. Pam also worked with the board to solve many issues that never became problems—all by applying uncommon ideas as solutions. Her work includes being treasurer and co-chairing Operation Santa and much more. She also provided valuable advice to me on many occasions. I wish her great success as your new president.

So there you have it: Proof that every single member has contributed in a meaningful way. These are only examples; many of you did much more than could be mentioned here, and your efforts are known and appreciated. That said, I am very pleased to announce that, for the last year-and-a-half, Peterborough Rotary’s net result was greater than the sum of your individual work:

• Our club has taken on a new vitality and adopted a greater focus on youth. ConVal Interact has new vigor. Our commitment toward the youth exchange has been renewed. And a new Camp Quest is in the works. Our Scholarship and Teacher of the Year Programs are stronger than ever.

 

• Rotary Wilder Park will be completed this summer.

 

• Projects and charitable giving were to the tune of about $30,000. Perhaps equally impressive, the trust starts the new year with nearly $40,000 in the bank. And you brought the charitable fund back into compliance with its declaration of trust.

 

• The club’s operating account ends the year with about $10,000.

 

• The Pancake Breakfast moved to a new venue and gained a new life, and our annual programs, such as Operation Santa and the Four-Way Speech Contest continue with success.


• Oh, and one more thing: Coming together so completely—all the participation and all the contributions—is the club’s greatest triumph, and for that, we are all a little more Rotarian.

My only part, if I had any part at all, in the club’s successes has been that I learned not to say “no” to your good ideas. You were the pilots, the co-pilots, and flight crews. You soared above the clouds of expectations. And I had the distinct privilege and pleasure of watching from the flight tower. I am very fortunate to know you and work with you, and I thank you for the wonderful opportunity to do so.

Yours in Rotary,

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