Today’s meeting added a new twist.  Our in-person meeting was also live streamed over Zoom.  It  added some technical complexity to running the meeting but it seemed to work pretty well.  I’m sure it will get easier with experience.  Our next hybrid meeting is scheduled for June 29th to coincide with the transfer of the club presidency from Edeth to Charlie.  The meeting will be at the Exchange.
President Edeth James’ Quote of the Day:  If you have a chance to accomplish something that will make things better for people coming behind you, and you don't do that, you are wasting your time on this earth.  - Roberto Clemente
Rotary District 5960 Foundation Coach Peggy Strom was here to celebrate the success of the most recent “Share The Love” fundraising push by the District.  Our club was a big part of that success with Edeth James, Cindy Carlson and Paul Jacobsen each contributing at the $100-364 level and Geoff Hollimon contributing at the $1,000 level.
Cindy Carlson followed up with several Paul Harris Fellow Presentations. Paul Jacobsen and Dennis Connolly each received a lapel pin and certificate for their first fellowship, indicating $1,000 in Foundation contributions.  Dennis also received his 1- sapphire pin indicating a total of $2,000 in contributions to the Foundation.  Mike Neeley received his 3-sapphire pin for contributions totaling $4,000. Dave Hoel received his 4-sapphire pin for $5,000 in total contributions.  Dana Rebelein received her 2-ruby pin indicating $8,000 in contributions to the Foundation.  Congratulations to all on their generosity. Photos are shown below.
Today’s speaker was Rotarian Ellen Schreder. Ellen has supported humanitarian efforts in Haiti for many years.  Ellen began with a video outlining some major players in the effort to bring sustainability and prosperity to the poorest nation in the western hemisphere.    A Minnesota native, Ellen Schreder is a lawyer by day and a seamstress by night.  Since 2006 she has worked with seamstresses and tailors in Haiti to teach skills to improve the lives and financial situations of Haitians.  Ellen’s husband, James Sunel, is a native Haitian contractor who has been instrumental in creating infrastructure for many programs aimed at improving the lives of Haitians.  Dr. Leslee Jaeger is a Minnesota Ob/Gyn who does medical mission work in Haiti.  In 2014, Ellen and Leslee worked together to establish a “Days For Girls” enterprise team in Haiti.  Days for Girls is a Washington state non-profit working to improve menstrual health of girls around the world by providing reusable menstrual supplies and menstrual education. These supplies allow girls to stay in school after their menstrual cycle begins.  In 2018, Ellen secured a Rotary Global Grant to establish three sewing centers in Haiti, providing sewing machines and training to enable the production of thousands of menstrual kits and provide a source of income for many Haitians.  Dr. Jaeger has established “Helping Haiti Work” a microloan program for women which provides the capital needed to establish successful sewing businesses. Our own Charlie Longbella’s company, The Big Blue Box, has provided much needed storage and shipping for sewing machines and fabric as well as food for the community.  In 2018, Ellen donated seeds from an Iowa company to start a community farm which is now in its third year.  In 2020, Ellen received a Rotary Water Grant which will provide water for a newly purchased 21 acre farm.  Ellen’s husband James turned a partially completed home into a beautiful place where volunteers and others can stay while working at the farm.  A home is also being designed for a head gardener who will oversee those who will actually farm the land.  Dr Jaeger’s microloan program will help these small farmers to get their businesses started.
After a Covd-19 hiatus, the Stockyard Days Parade is on again this year, and we are committed once again to feed the parade participants.  This year’s parade will be on Saturday, August 14th at 10:00 AM.  New member John Johnson has agreed head up the effort, but he will need the support of everyone in the club to make it a success.  Mark your calendars now to make sure you are available to help!  Pat Whelan was present at today’s meeting to receive our club’s $1,500 contribution to Stockyard Days. See photo below.