Aloha Rotarians in District 7090!   To our friends across the pond and to those on this side of the pond, here’s wishing each a belated Happy Thanksgiving.
Rotarians around the world celebrate the great work being accomplished through “The Rotary Foundation”. In our District, we have an opportunity until 31 December to make lasting and impactful contributions matched by philanthropist Thie Coventry. She will personally match each contribution up to US$25,000. Consider this! Your gift is matched by Thie and then matched by the Gates Foundation! For example, a gift of US$5,000 becomes US$10,000 and with the Gates match, this becomes US$30,000 in action. What better way to celebrate than a gift to The Rotary Foundation?
Here’s an update for our recent District Conference:  Rotarians and guests sailed out of Ft. Lauderdale, FL on the Allure of the Seas to explore the greatness of how “Rotary Connects the World”.  But before we took our first step aboard, a great number of things had happened at our three designated Ports of Call.
Our conference cruisers were fortunate to have two VTT Team Leaders, Lezlie Murch - 2015 from Rotary Club of St. Catharines and Jennifer Schoenhals - 2019 Rotary Club of Niagara Falls AM along on the cruise.
Lezlie created a day of excitement in St. Maarten. Upon arrival, we disembarked and were warmly welcomed and greeted by Rotarians from District 7020 representing 13 countries and local dignitaries. We then traveled by coach to Sister Marie Laurence School and were greeted by Trustee and Director, Tanja Frederiks. Our District supported this school in collaboration with another District with a Global Grant for a total of US$345,000. The school was demolished by Hurricane Irma and is still not functional.  The students are now taking classes at another location and we had an opportunity to participate in a few group activities with them. This was followed by an international Rotary luncheon hosted by the Rotary Club of St. Maarten. Gifts were exchanged between District Governors, Delma Maduro, myself and our Rotary International Presidential Rep, Bob Menconi. According to Rotary’s protocol, we marched into the restaurant with the soundtrack, “Celebration” by Kool and the Gang led by RIPR Bob, Past District Governors Robb McLeod, Rick Sterne, and the two District Governors. RIPR Bob Menconi gave an inspirational speech. Later District Governor Delma and I were interviewed by The Island # 1 Radio Station, PJI 91.1 FM.
The afternoon was spent at Player Development School for ‘at-risk youth’. Here we were engaged in a few activities and yours truly played softball as a catcher. We also met with the Early Act Club and learned about their international project that includes re-building of a train, Engine 35, in the USA. http://engine35.com/.
VTT 2019 Team Leader, Jennifer Schoenhals, from Rotary Club of Niagara Falls AM created a ‘discovery project’ with the help of DG Bob Artis and co-committee members; Caz Rodrigues, a former member Rotary Club of Buffalo and Esq. Betty Enrique, Director of NYS Office of Trade and Tourism for Puerto Rico. This small but dedicated group created a CONNECTION with the Rotary Club of San Juan. A larger group was created that included Past Rotary International Director, Bob Menconi, our Rotary International Presidents Representative, Past District 7090 Governors Robb McLeod, and Rick Sterne visited Loiza and met with the Mayor of Loiza.  Loiza is a small coastal community that was ravaged by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Over 50 homes are still without roofs and people are living in squalor.  It is our hope to build a stronger CONNECTION and partner with Hearts 9/11 and create a Rotary in Action project for a future venture to the area. Prior to our arrival, 75 first aid kits were prepared by ‘Not Just Tourists’, led by Dr. Kenneth Taylor, Rotary Club of St. Catharines were shipped and received October 17, 2019.
The day in Labadee, Haiti was hampered by political turmoil, which prohibits entry or exit except for locals with proper ID. This did not deter Cathy Henry from the Rotary Club of St. Catharines South and a Board member of “Trees that Feed”. Cathy was able to arrange a shipment of Breadfruit Trees to the port of Cap Haitian for distribution.  Although we could not physically plant the trees, we were able to contribute to the Haitian community who did the planting.
During the early evening, we were entertained and challenged by Assistant Governor Milica Kovacevich from the Rotary Club of St Catharines South to a game ‘Trivia’.
Perhaps the most memorable event was our remembrance program choreographed by Cathy Henry with the aid of Jennifer Schoenhals. Pastor Brian Williams from the Rotary Club of Lancaster Depew provided words of spiritual wisdom. Domenic Cortese from the Rotary Club of Clarence was our MC and did remarkably well in orchestrating the program. For each deceased Rotarian, a single pearl was placed in a teal/turquoise cloth. As the deceased Rotarian’s picture scrolled across the BIG Theatre Screen, a Rotarian representing their Rotary Club placed the cloth containing the pearl in a vase of saltwater symbolizing from which we came we shall return.
Our Sailabration District Conference Cruise has definitely embodied this year’s theme of Rotary Connects the World.  The First Lady of the District and I have had an experience of a lifetime to last a lifetime. We are grateful to have the opportunity of serving each and every one of you. To date, we have visited 63 clubs and have had many new CONNECTIONS.
Dear Christine and Brian,
Let me introduce myself…I am Bob Grinewich, the current President of the Rotary Club of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC) in Buffalo, NY. Shortly after mi installation as President, our DG Bob Artis visited our Club as the new DG and had me pull out of a bag a business card that happened to be yours and asked me to connect with you as part of the RI’s theme of “Rotary Connects the World.”
Our Club is only five years old and my wife, Joyce, and I joined shortly after its charter was drawn up.  Our Club started off with a very strong membership number but it has pared down to 38 members on the Roster with about half attending our meetings.  We meet every Monday evening from 5-6pm at the BNMC.  We do not have a food component as many other clubs do and this seems to be a positive factor in attracting new members as well as meeting in the evening after work.
We will be having a Visioning exercise shortly in hopes of bringing back a focus to our Club that will make it more exciting and hopefully increase our members participation in meeting attendance.
Hopefully we can connect again in some way convenient to you.  If you ever find your way to the Buffalo area, we have a spare room!
Best wishes for an exciting and fruitful 2019-2020 year.
Bob Grinewich
President 2019-2020
Rotary Club of BNMC
Greetings from D5360 Bob!
Thank you for reaching out! I'm attending the District Conference in Grand Prairie Alberta D 5370 this weekend. I’ll reconnect with you soon to chat about Connecting!