President Nate Dunham called the meeting to order. Ron Denney led the invocation, pledge, and Four-Way Test.
Coady Cheek handled the introduction of guests and visiting Rotarians. Kristen Hathcock and Kyle Vreeland were guests of Michael Huff. Dianne Smith was a guest of Marsha Leap, Ahmad Black was a guest of Lori Martini, and Will Daniel was a guest of Jessica Kirby. Visiting Rotarians were Rick Mariucci from Winter Haven, Hal Parkelsom from Atlanta-Buckhead, and Doug McCall from Wallasey, England.
Happy Dollars were collected by Scott Katz. To kick it off, Mark Scolnick was happy so many of our club members attended the District 6890 Foundation Gala, and thanked our club members who were sponsors of that event (Ron Denney, Joe L. Ruthven, and several others).
Steve Moore was happy to be back in Lakeland, and happy to have celebrated his 50th wedding anniversary. Don Selvage was happy to thank the club for its support of veterans and especially Mike Huff for his leadership with Flight to Honor.
Dorsey Hightower then led us in singing America the Beautiful.
President Nate handled announcements, reminding us about the upcoming happy hour and Christmas Parade fellowship events and upcoming opportunities for bell ringing for Salvation Army. Check the club website for more details.
Gary Clark handled introduced the speaker, Major Phil Mowry. He served in the 401st Tactical Fighter Wing of the United States Air Force during Desert Storm and as a Judge Advocate, is currently the Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer at HillCour, Inc., and is Commander of the American Legion Post #4 in Lakeland. He started his presentation with an inspiring quote: "The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation." - George Washington
Major Mowry reminded the club that the American Legion is the largest veteran's organization in the world with more than 2 million members. It is well regarded nationally, and often called upon by federal legislators to testify and opine upon veteran's issues. As examples, advocacy efforts of the American Legion helped lead to the creation of the Veteran's Administration and the G.I. Bill. The Lakeland post of the American Legion is #4, one of the earliest posts founded, and is as old as the Legion itself.
The American Legion's activities center on four main pillars: (1) veteran's affairs and rehabilitation, (2) national security through maintenance of a well-funded and well-trained military, (3) youth development through mentoring, sports, and patriotism programs, and (4) patriotism and citizenship. He also talked about the Lakeland post's commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion both in attracting diverse members and in supporting activities in the community that promote unity and racial reconciliation. They also have really a great fish fry on Friday nights! Check out their activities on their Facebook page.
Gary Clark then led our annual tradition of reading the roll call of veterans in our club: Dick Mason, Navy; Brock Self, Navy; Ralph Allen, Marines; Joe McDonough, Army; Bill Chase, Army; Deane Hart, Navy; Gary Clark, Air Force; Greg Robinson, Navy; Rico Rich, Army; Dorsey Hightower, Air Force; Don Selvage, Marine; Bob Eckenroth, Air Force; Joe L. Ruthven, Navy; Vince Jones, Army National Guard; Ron Denney, Air Force; Michael Huff, Air Force Reserve; Ginny Harris, Air Force; Chuck McDanal, Marine; Scott Franklin, Navy; Dan Hill, Army; Mark Davies, Army; Scott LaRonde, Army; Cal Arter, Army; Andrew Troller, Marine; Greg Aghoian, Coast Guard.
President Nate then ended with his dad joke of the week: "Why do melons have weddings? Because they can't elope!"
Our next program will feature our own Bryce Philpot and Brandon Clark on our club's commitment to the Rotary Foundation.