Meeting of January 3, 2018

Posted by Judith Christensen
Rotary Meeting of January 3, 2018
Location: Trinity Church Community Room, Shelburne, Vermont
7:30 President Erik called meeting to order and led the club in the Pledge of Allegiance and 4 Way Test. Kris offered a moment of reflection.
President Erik introduced our Guest Speaker Jamie Hathaway, CEO of Make-A-Wish and guest Alan Hurst, a longtime member of the Rotary Club of East Hampton, Connecticut and former District 7980 Governor. Linda Gilbert added that Alan will be a volunteer for this year’s Hands to Honduras projects. Erik also introduced another guest, Kim Bleakley from the Red Cross.
Upcoming Events:
1/10     Keith Walsh, Classification Talk
1/16     Board Meeting
1/17     Club Meeting/Hands to Honduras update, Linda Gilbert
1/31     Dan Feliciano, Overseas Work Experiences
2/7       Heather Lynch, Classification Talk
2/14     CVSD Board Members/Champlain Valley School District Forecast
2/20     Board Meeting
2/21     Club Meeting
2/28     Erin Cofiell, Local 22 and Local 44's Sports Director
Community Service Projects
Linda Gilbert thanked everyone for bringing in items fulfilling her Hands to Honduras Wish List. She now has everything sorted and packed in suitcases and will give us another update next week.
Special Announcements and Happy Dollar Highlights:
John Dupee shared a very moving email he received recently:
Good afternoon Mr. Dupee.
                This is Geanetta. I am sorry for sending this short note via Facebook but this is the only way I can contact you at this moment because I do not have your email address. I lost all of my email contacts and addresses since the last hacking into my account. I was unable to recover my account so I had to make another. I tried to get in contact with Mrs. Niles and ask for your email address but I do not have a response from her as yet.
                I want to let you know that I have completed the Regional Examination for Nurses Registration and I was successful. So, now I am a Registered Nurse. I also graduated from TAMCC in July with honors and received an award for attaining the highest GPA (3.75) for the General Nursing program. Presently,  I am home on maternity leave. I just had a beautiful baby girl. She is two weeks and four days today.
I just want to thank you and all the other persons who made this memorable achievement possible in my life. There is no other way to express my gratitude but to say thank you. A word so small but with a lot of meaning and coming from my heart. I would love to hear from you. Have a blessed day.
Frequently mentioned in Happy Fines were (1) Geanetta’s email to John, (2) wishing speedy recovery to Gary Marcotte whose house caught fire last week, and (3) happy that Jamie Hathaway is here to talk more about Make-AWish.
Ric Flood was happy about leaving for Florida on Thursday but wondering if that would really happen given the terrible weather forecast.
Today’s Speaker: Jamie Hathaway, CEO of Make-A-Wish
            Jamie related that he has been CEO of Make-A-Wish for 3 years. After graduating from the University of Oregon, he led Clear Path International based in Viet Nam. This non-profit organization is based in Dorset, Vermont devoted to removing land minds in Viet Nam, Cambodia, Thailand, and Afghanistan. From there, he moved on to Orvis as head of Public Relations. He noticed that every time a jar was put out to help a family through some hard times or tragedy, it would fill rapidly with coins and dollars from the whole community – often raising significant sums. To Jamie, Make-A-Wish M-A-W does the same thing – it’s a much larger jar to fill sometimes, but the sharing and caring of people wanting to help is the same. Jamie was drawn to M-A-W as CEO because it represents a community of support for very sick children.
            Jamie related another personal story. When his son was born, he was very ill and was in intensive care for a long time. Jamie often slept in the waiting room and spent as much time with his son as possible – sometimes feeding him off his finger with a catheter taped to it. He has to teach him how to nurse. Needless to say, it was exhausting. One morning at 3 am, a nurse woke him up and gave him some orange juice. This simple act of kindness taught him a huge lesson in how important it is to pass it along – it’s the core value of M-A-W.
            There are some misconceptions about M-A-W. One is that it is only for terminally ill children. Not true! The main goal is to give kids something to look forward to – not like adults who have an understanding of what’s happening to them. Kids aren’t able to do this so the goal of looking forward – past the pain or trauma of what’s happening to them now – is essential.
            Another misconception is that M-A-W Vermont sends money to a larger organization. While it is part of a national organization, all M-A-W Vermont funds stay in Vermont serving 40 families a year with 80 volunteers and 4 staff. Jamie pointed to Terrell Titus at today’s meeting for her hard work as a volunteer and her service as a Board member of M-A-W Vermont. M-A-W Vermont raises $800,000 to 900,000 annually with average expenditures of $10,000 to 20,000 per wish. M-A-W Vermont did help Montana with 6 wishes recently, but this was chapter to chapter support. 
            Every wish is different. Jamie stressed how important it is to create an experience for the child that is more than just making a wish come true. It takes getting to know the child over a period of time to be sure that the wish is really right for the child. If you take the first thing a kid says and go with it, you could be making a big mistake. Jammie described a recent M-A-W process involving a child from Manchester who had undergone surgery to remove a “benign” brain tumor. The problem was that the tumor grew back even bigger. Before the second surgery, based on several conversations, the young boy indicated that ne wanted to meet Chewbacka from Star Wars. Rather than just meet Chewbacka, a party was planned including members of the 501st Legion, a volunteer organization dedicated to promoting collective interest in Star Wars through building and wearing costumes while also doing charity work and fundraising. (Our own Lara Keenan participated as a Jedi Warrior. She was a Stormtrooper before! Big improvement Lara!) The party started but there was no Chewbacka. Still, the young boy was ecstatic about meeting so many Star Wars characters. After some time, he was told that someone was outside to see him. It was Chewie! The party was more than just meeting Chewbacka – it became an event for the young boy with many Star Wars "friends" to visit and revisit. Instead of thinking about the surgery, he had a much more positive experience to remember.
            Jamie closed by saying that Make-A-Wish has never turned down an eligible child. He thanked CSH Rotary for being an annual contributor.
Meeting adjourned: 8:30 AM
Respectfully submitted: Judith Christensen