Posted by Jennifer Schoenhals



The Memorial Service for our Departed Rotarians Can be Viewed Above

be sure to click here to View Online in header of newletter for the video to show or check it out on our home page

This article was written before the Conference cruisers set sail.  Please read to see what they anticipated and accomplished and also check out their Facebook page, Sailabration District 7090 2019 Cruise for photos and videos. 
     We’re almost ready to set sail, the Rotarians and guests on the Allure of the Seas are ready to experience our first ever District Conference on a cruise and explore the greatness of how “Rotary Connects the World”.  But even before we take our first step aboard, a great number of things have happened at our three designated stops.
Our team was fortunate to have Lezlie Murch, VTT Leader from 2015, create a day of excitement in St. Maarten. The group will be greeted by Rotarians from District 7020 representing 13 countries and local dignitaries. We will disembark and travel to the school that our District supported with a Global Grant for a total of $345,000USD. This school was demolished by Hurricane Irma and is still not functional.  The students are currently taking classes at another location and we will have the opportunity to participate in some group activities with them.  We will follow this with an International Rotary luncheon hosted by District 7090 with the Rotary Club of St Maarten Mid-Isle as our guest.  The afternoon will be spent at Player Development, originally visited by the 2015 VTT and hosted by the Niagara Rotary Clubs in August 2016.  This afterschool program is for at risk youth.  We will engage in some activities with the children and meet the Early Act Club and learn about their International Project that includes the re-building of train, Engine 35 in the USA.
VTT 2019 Team Leader Jennifer Schoenhals, has created a ‘Discovery Project’ with the help of DG Bob Artis and co-committee members Caz Rodrigues, a former member RC of Buffalo and Esq. Betty Enrique, Director of NYS Office of Trade and Tourism for Puerto Rico.  This group has created a connection with the Rotary Club of San Juan.  A small group that includes Past Rotary International Director, Bob Menconi, our Rotary International President's Representative, Past District Governor Robb McLeod, Past District Governor Rick Sterne (also the RI Aide), and cruise Co-Chair Domenic Cortese will visit with the Mayor of Loiza.  Loiza is a small coast community that was ravaged by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.  Over 800 homes are still without roofs and people are living in squalor.  It is our hope to build a strong connection and partner with Hearts 9/11 to create a Rotary in Action project for a future venture to this area.  Prior to our arrival, 75 first aid kits prepared by ‘Not Just Tourists’, led by Dr. Kenneth Taylor, RC of St. Catharines were shipped and received October 17, 2019.
The day in Labadee, Haiti was hampered by political turmoil in the country proper.  This did not deter Cathy Henry of the Rotary Club of St. Catharines South and Trees that Feed Board member.  Cathy was able to arrange a shipment of Breadfruit Trees to the port of Cap Haitian for distribution at a later date.  Although we could not physically plant the trees, we were able to contribute to the Haitian community.
This District Cruise has definitely embodied this year’s theme of Rotary Connects the World