Posted by Martin Grohman on Jan 03, 2022
Happy New Year! I'm excited for 2022, and it gives me a chance to provide some updates on goings-on at our Biddeford Saco Rotary Club:
  • We have a new member proposed, Phillip Mateja. He is sponsored by Heather Gendron. Phil is a Realtor and has volunteered with the National Athletic Trainers Association and the Knights of Columbus. He has been to a few meetings and was approved for membership by the board at our December meeting. However, I did not do a good job of "posting" or announcing his prospective membership at our last two meetings (our process for new members is attend a meeting as a guest, be placed on the agenda for board approval, followed by announcing or "posting" the proposed new member at two consecutive club meetings, then induction at a meeting). So, if you have concerns about adding Phil to our club, please contact me ASAP, otherwise he will be inducted at our meeting this Wednesday January 5 at Ricetta's at 12:15.
  • Speaking of new members, it has really been great to see you stepping up and getting so involved with our programs, and bringing new energy to our group. Volunteering and getting involved is the best way to get to know the Club, and you have been doing that. Welcome!
  • More volunteer opportunities: Wreaths Across America is seeking our help at St Joseph's Cemetery on Saturday January 15 at 9AM to pick up the wreaths we placed last month. Cold, unglamorous work -- our specialty :)
  • Before too long it will be time for our Raised Bed Gardens to be built and delivered. Look for a note from Ken Farley about that in the next couple weeks. We hope to provide as many as fifteen or twenty "gardens ready to go" for area families in need this year. The work involves building, delivering, and filling the raised beds with dirt. Again with the unglamorous work.
  • Someone who does a lot of unglamorous work for the Club but doesn't always get much mention is Brian Dallaire. Thank you Brian for setting up all the Zooms, the meeting invites, and the website.
  • Please do register for our weekly lunch if you get the chance. It helps us plan. But then we always have extra food, so don't hesitate to just show up if your plans change -- we love to see you.
  • Omicron is a wild card. We do have masks available at the restaurant, will make them more prominent, and Zoom is always an option which seems to be working fairly well. We'll be discussing this at the Board meeting Wednesday morning, so please bring your ideas and concerns to your favorite board member (listed on the left column of the website).
  • Our signature holiday program Adopt-A-Family was a great success. We helped a record number of families, a total of 97 children. So rewarding. Thank you for participating, and thanks again to Karen Chasse and Heather Gendron for coordinating. All this was made possible by our Raffle, which was a huge success, and provided us the budget to give the most we've ever given this year.
  • Speaking of thanks, here's to our nominating committee for developing a strong slate of officers for 2022 (starting in July). As we head into our 102nd year of Service Above Self, we'll be in good hands.
  • Sometimes I don't do enough to mention our international activities.  Lots of communities around the world can use our help, and Roland Gagne does an amazing job keeping us involved. 
Internationally, we have two projects underway:
  • Monday, January 3rd  (today!) at 9AM we’ll be holding a Zoom meeting with Rotarians in Uganda; a local Portland, ME environmental engineer; and two community members from Biddeford to discuss/review water project proposals received for a hydrogeological study for a community near the borders of Rwanda and DRC. Our club will be helping fund and support this project. Any Rotarians interested in joining the Zoom meeting, email Roland for the link:  And here’s a Google Earth link to the community in Rwanda where the proposed water project is being developed:  Rwanda Water Project
  • The Children’s Rescue Center in Kisumu, Kenya is in need of support for orphaned children being cared for at the center.  We continue to engage with the center to understand the most pressing needs that we can support.  Anyone interested in joining the discussion, email Roland at
  • Looking ahead, we have exciting programs in the works. For example, in March we'll be doing our Maple Syrup fundraiser. It was a big success last year thanks to Roland Gagne, and we have it in the works again this year, so don't buy any syrup between now and then... also, in late April, we are looking at a new event, together with the Rotary District 7780 Recovery Initiative, called a "Recovery Workforce Job Fair"... In May, We'll be back at St. Joseph's Cemetery, where together with students from Biddeford Schools, we place flags on veterans graves for Memorial Day... and in June we'll have our essay contest, which provides a chance for student authors to show their stuff. Lastly, coming up soon, we'll be looking for volunteers to help sort, organize and hang pictures and historical articles at the newly renovated lodge at West Brook Skating Rink. More with the unglamorous work.