Posted by Jeff Benson on May 15, 2018

Cindy Carlson opened the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance and George Winiecki gave the invocation.


Everyone was thrilled to have John Risdall back with us today.  John is continuing his recovery at Watermark Senior Living, 5300 4th St. in Fridley.  John told me today that he welcomes visitors between 6 and 8 PM.


We also welcomed back the southern France river cruisers, Benson, Hoel, O’Brien, Neeley and Connolly, after their 16 day adventure.  All five were seated together today, so it must have been a great trip.


Garry Johnson introduced his guest, Jeff Rohach, and Cindy Carlson introduced Amanda Ottman who works with today’s speaker.


Jason Slama reported that nine volunteers showed up for the 2nd Harvest Heartland food drive last Saturday.  Under Jason’s energetic leadership, the group loaded 13 pallets of food on a semi-trailer! A couple of volunteers from Life Prep Academy joined in the fun.


John and Marla Ordway have graciously offered to host the Rotary Picnic at their home on Saturday, July 14th.  More details to follow.


Mark Lampman was lamenting the arrival of another birthday today, so we attempted to cheer him up with a Birthday Song.


Cindy introduced today’s speaker, St Paul Winter Carnival Queen of the Snows, Jilla Nadimi.  Although she’s only 27 years old, Jilla has managed to pack a lot of living into those 27 years.  Born in France to a Polish mother and Persian father, she came to Mounds View where she began to develop her sense of community as a Girl Scout, eventually earning a Gold Award which is the highest honor a Girl Scout can receive.  After her parents divorced, she was raised by her mother to be a strong and independent woman and this upbringing has served Jilla well.  At age 17 she worked with her Girl Scout Troop to help plan youth activities for the 50th anniversary of Mounds View’s Festival in the Park.  After graduating from Irondale in 2009, she received several scholarships which enabled her to study French and International Relations at the University of Minnesota.  She received a Benjamin Gilman Scholarship Grant, making it possible to return to France for further study.  Since then Jilla has worked to increase diversity in local government as an Urban Scholar Program intern, organized earthquake relief efforts in Ecuador, and now she is working with the American Refugee Committee, providing nutritional relief for refugee camps in places like Uganda, Rwanda and Myanmar.  As if her schedule wasn’t full enough, Jilla is also the reigning Queen of the Snows and will make 400 appearances this year in that role. She said her community festival experiences right here in Mounds View and New Brighton were part of the reason she decided to be a candidate for Queen of the Snows.  Jilla and Cindy are shown below.