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Bulletin Editor
Arnie Goldman
Speakers
May 20, 2022
Introducing UR Community Cares
May 27, 2022
Memorial Day Weekend
Jun 03, 2022
Jun 10, 2022
Food Security
Jun 17, 2022
Jun 24, 2022
Update on FAVRAH
View entire list
Executives & Directors
President
 
President Elect
 
Immediate Past President
 
Secretary
 
Treasurer
 
Membership
 
Sergeant-at-Arms
 
Foundation Chair
 
Board Member-at-Large
 
Board Member-at-Large
 
Interact Chair
 
Club Information
Rotary of Avon-Canton - Founded 1973
Avon-Canton
Service above Self
Fridays at 7:30 AM
Golf Club of Avon
160 Country Club Road
Avon, CT 06001
United States of America
Fax:
(860) 760-6364
All meetings are hybrid both in-person and Zoom available
DistrictSiteIcon
District Site
VenueMap
Venue Map
 
May 6, 2022
Your Passport & Guide to Exploring Connecticut
Connecticut 169 Club
Marty Podskoch
 
The meeting will be held both in person at the Golf Club of Avon and via Zoom. 
Watch for an email from the Club for Zoom access and
please note we use a recurring ID for your convenience.
 
Sergeant-at-Arms Report 
 
Rotarians Present: 28 (23 in person, 5 virtually)
 
Visiting Rotarians:  Paul Mikkelson (virtually)
 
Guests: Sam Gray (speaker), Jim Voorhees (Tom Voorhees son)
Happy Dollars$33.00
Raffle Winner: None.
 
Fines: None today.
 
Birthdays: None today.
 
Invocation
Gary Miller gave the invocation and asked for a moment of silence for Connie Thamm.
 
Happy Dollars
 
Gary Miller recounted how, in his former role as a school facilities supervisor, Connie Thamm called Gary asking where his kids bus stop was and if it could be moved closer. They developed a phone relationship over time and eventually became friends.  Gary was also happy that he will soon be going off to a conference, followed by a trip to Alexandria for a Derby Day party next week with peers from his time in the armed forces.
 
Bob Cave recently joined some nameless Rotarians, which included Phil Ferrari, in order to make them look good at golf.
 
Yvonne Gardner gave 10 Happy Dollars to note that her younger daughter Kara just became engaged to be married. Yvonne also became a "grandmother" to two new dogs, as each of her daughters, Lauren and Kara, got new puppies. Finally, Yvonne had a great time seeing the fabulous new show, Pretty Woman, with her Mom and Niece. Yvonne is thrilled to be part of the club thanks to Don Bonner.  She has been a member for three years. Yvonne then gave a 100 dollar donation to the Rotary foundation
 
Peter Vignati recounted how Connie Thamm, a banker, often advised him on financial matters and they become friends. Connie had a number of celebrity clients including well known baseball players, and celebrity chef Jacques Pepin.  When visiting Mr. Pepin he would cook for Connie and they would and talk business.
 
Sue Budde will coincidentally be going to see Pretty Woman tomorrow herself, and also a longtime, close friend will soon come to visit. Finally, Sue is looking forward to her step mother's retirement party.
 
Salin Low was happy to report how easy it is to catch up with people by merely standing around inside Shop Rite. Had Chuck Joseph been present she would want to thank him for the welcoming atmosphere in his store. Salin ran into Colleen Grasso and Josh Gillooly at Shop rite.  Finally Salin recently saw Sue Young, former member Vaughn Young's widow, and was impressed with her verve and pizazz.
 
Jolly Lux had three Happy Dollars "from the heart."  The GLO family recently lost Christine, a child born with spina bifida on March 6th. Christine passed away peacefully in her loving caregiver's arms, but "we at GLO chose not to be sorrowful but instead to be joyful for the gift of having had her with us." While she never spoke or walked she was talented and loving. We were surprised and happy to learn she had created some small knitted blankets despite her handicaps.
 
Gary Hyde gave Happy Dollars in deference to Bob Cave for a brief Connie Thamm story. Years ago a group would meet for breakfast at the old Avon Motor Inn. They all noted how Connie would hoard bacon, then bring it home. We all thought he just loved bacon, which he did, but it turned out he was bringing it home for another reason. Don Bonner asked if Bob knew why Connie was taking home all that bacon? Answering the question himself Don said:  "It was for his dog." He loved that dog and (despite the bacon), it lived a very long time. 
 
[Ed. Note: Be advised that 99 out of 100 veterinarians do not recommend feeding dogs fatty treats of any kind, including bacon, due to the risk of inducing pancreatitis, a painful, potentially life threatening and often chronic ailment. That said, none of the 99 could explain why Connie's dog lived to such an advanced age, despite the regular bacon infusions.] "We all loved him!" said Bob.
 
Ann Clark talked to Connie's widow, Chris Thamm this week as they knew each other for 40 years. She and her two daughters are doing as well as can be expected. She was glad to hear from Ann.
 
Tom Voorhees coincidentally knew Connie long before they came to Connecticut, because of each of their membership in a neighboring New Jersey club, when they were both residents of that state.
 
Paul Mikkelson virtual avatar asked who drives the fancy sports car that has the license plate "UCONN". He was wondering if it was Ray Allen.
 
 
 
Announcements
 
Cheri Morris thanked all who have donated baskets or funds for the silent auction to be held at TOTV. The goal is 50 baskets and we are just half way there. With only two weeks left please notify Cheri of your willingness to assist as soon as possible. The target range for basket value is between 100 and 250 dollars. FAVARH is donating a table for the Simsbury event worth 1000 dollars. They are also still looking for bottles for the bottle pull. Cheri or Heather Pantano will pick them up from your home. Phil Ferrari has put together a first aid basket in honor all those who have assisted him during his recovery.
 
Colleen Grasso will also pickup or accept wine bottles. She will be sending out signup sheets for help during the event. Yvonne Gardner complemented Colleen on the work she has done, stating she's done "an awesome job."
 
 
Jolly Lux is happy and proud to be a Rotarian and as a result, a woman of action. Said Jolly, "The people of my home country have benefitted greatly from our work. When I joined (Rotary) I was very shy, but you embraced me with a lot of love and you have given me my life's mission." She arises daily wondering "who else will I be able to touch." Continuing, "With your prayers, support and assistance I have become the woman I am." Jolly recounted how Phil Ferrari and his wife Beth went on a Uganda trip with Jolly,  where they saw the challenges the people had to access clean water. The Ferraris later raised awareness of these challenges in their church,  and subsequently raised funds such that a hydrological study was able to be undertaken. Thereafter the water project was successfully begun and completed with the support of many including, notably, Gary Miller who donated $10,000 to the project. The next stage, pumping the first water from the ground allowed proof the water was clean and potable. While we were there on one of our visits, water was first  pumped from the ground for the people's use. We saw many, many children come to the village to experience the miracle of having access to clean water for the first time. They giggled and splashed in the puddles. It was magical, indeed a miracle.
 
Since then Don Bonner has created a magnificent painting representative of the scene that day,  capturing the meaning and joy associated with completion of this project. [Ed. Note: The painting is breathtaking and deeply moving. Bravo tutti, Don!]
 
Calendar
May 14th: Taste of the Valley at Golf Club of Avon
 
Induction of New Members
None this week.
 
Awards
None this week.
 
Community and International Service Grants
None this week.
PRESENTATION
Hartford Boys & Girls Clubs
Sam Gray
 
Gary Miller introduced Sam Gray. Gary had heard him speak as a part of his own involvement with the Canton Boys and Girls Clubs.
 
 
1. Mr. Gray's Biography:
 
Samuel S. Gray, Jr. is President and Chief Executive Officer of the country’s first Boys & Girls Clubs organization, The Boys & Girls Clubs of Hartford (BGCH). Promoted to this position in October of 2007, Gray is responsible for providing leadership for all aspects of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hartford, which annually provides youth in Hartford with quality after-school and non-school hours programming.  He recently led his Board and key stakeholders in raising more than $20M to build a new Boys & Girls Club in Hartford’s South End community.  The South End Clubhouse opened in the Fall of 2021.
 
Gray began his career with the Boys & Girls Clubs movement in 1991, serving as Program Director for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Richmond, VA. In his 31 years as a Boys & Girls Club Professional, Gray has worked in numerous program and management capacities in Richmond, Virginia and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 
 
Gray received his Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Albertus Magnus College.  He also received his Master of Science in Management and Organizational Leadership from Albertus Magnus College.  He is a Woodruff Fellow through Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Gray has also received Executive Leadership certificates from Clemson University and Harvard University.  He also received a certificate from the University of Georgia’s Sherpa Executive Leadership program.
 
Gray is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated and is currently the Vice Polemarch of the Hartford Alumni Chapter.  He entered in fall of 2017 with the Hartford Alumni Chapter as the only initiate on its line. He truly lives a life equal to the fundamental purpose of the Fraternity which is achievement.
 
Gray has been associated with Boys & Girls Clubs since the age of eight.  He believes that his journey as a club member to a youth development ambassador is a gift.  He challenges youth to dream and exposes them to things they may not otherwise be exposed, to become productive, responsible, caring citizens in our community.  What he cherished the most is his responsibility as a father. He can be best described as a caring and supportive father to his three sons, Marcus, Myles and Mason.   He balances his work life to ensure that he is an example and visible in his son's life. Gray wants the best for his son’s and challenges them to be better than he is.
 
2. In his opening comments, Mr. Sam Gray said he "is still having fun after working with the Boys & Girls Clubs for over 32 years. The Hartford Club was the country's very first, founded in 1860. Since then many thousands of kids have benefited from its programming, now for for over 162 years." He immediately presented a short video portraying kids and adults interacting within the Clubs. The messages within the video were:
 
I said Yes and the rest is history;
 
Be involved, Be here;
 
Yes grows, Yes teaches;
 
Be a friend, Be connected;
 
Yes lifts, Yes provides;
 
Be a mentor, Be a volunteer;
 
Great things happen when you say Yes!
 
At the conclusion of the video, Mr. Gray said: "I'm hoping upon the conclusion of my presentation today that you too will say yes!" Continuing, he said "I love what I do for kids every single day. Our mission as an organization is to serve young people every single day."
 
He went on to present a Powerpoint show, as follows:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Children between the ages of 2.9 to 18 years old are served.
 
 
The 6 pillars of the Boys & Gorls Clubs.
 
 
 
Note the new club in Hartford's "South End" section.
 
 
 
60% of Hartford students live in the South End, approximately 6000 kids.
 
COVID reduced the number of participants from 1300 to 600.
We closed on 3/18/2020 and went virtual for the pandemic's duration.
 
 
 
Our capital campaign raised 20 million dollars.
 
 
Six major companies gave generously, and as a result we are a fiscally sound organization.
 
 
The McKenzie Scott gift was unexpected and deeply appreciated. We are one of just 62 Boys & Girls Clubs out of 1500 nationally that she funded. That gift helps us to ensure our staff have livable wages, so that they can be doing something with their hearts, not living check to check, and also getting paid to simply have fun. It has also helped to ensure our facilities are up to national standards and allows us to have reserves for the future.
 
 
How to get involved? Just say yes! Share our website.
 
Concluding his planned presentation, Mr. Gray said, "The reason why kids come to a boys and girls club is not because of the building but because of the staff, the people. Please give of your time. What was most memorable to me when I was a Club kid, were two Club board members, people that didn't look like me, yet who took me to my first college visit at William & Mary, and my first college football game. I'll never forget the kindness of those two gentlemen."
 
 
Questions & Answers
Question: Linda Pendergast asked about the Silent Hill Congregational Church and the "other" Gary Miller, who was associated with it. Answer: In 1860 Father Hawley gave a sermon which compelled 4 women congregants to start the first Boy & Girls Clubs. On 10/4/2004 we opened the Asylum Hills facility.  Lee Allison, Ray Ferrari and Jack Riga of that same church led the effort to build that Boys & Girls Club facility and raised 7.2 million dollars in the process.
 
Question: Bob Cave asked if Mr. Gray has looked at the Farmington Valley towns, such as Avon, Canton or West Hartford to see if there is a need for a Boys & Girls Club in them? Answer:  Yes, but we started in Hartford and there are still neighborhoods there that are as yet unserved. Expansion beyond Hartford is a dream and yes one day we will get there.
 
Question: Chris Lamadrid asked if someone wanted to give or volunteer how should they go about it? Answer: Go to our website and there are opportunities listed there, or reach out to Mr. Gray directly. 
 
In closing, Mr. Gray said, "The most precious gift you can give a young person is a conversation. Exposing them to things you have been exposed to yourself, is a gift."
###
 
 
 
 
In Memorium...
Conrad Albert Thamm
April 8, 1942April 24, 2022
Obituary of Conrad Albert Thamm

IN THE CARE OF

Doane Beal & Ames

Conrad A. Thamm of Centerville passed away at the age of 80 on April 24, 2022 at Cape Cod Hospital after a long battle with leukemia. Born in Queens, New York, the only child of Conrad E. Thamm and Mary Fay Thamm. He was raised in Northern New Jersey. He attended Seton Hall Prep and later earned a bachelor’s degree and an MBA from Seton Hall University.

He entered the US Army after college during the Vietnam era and was honorably discharged as a Captain.

In 1971, he married his college sweetheart Christine, his wife of 50 years. They lived in New Jersey and Connecticut, where they raised their two daughters, and ended up retiring on the Cape.

Conrad was a VP of Commercial Lending for several banking institutions. He would eventually go on to retire from Webster Bank in Hartford, CT. He and his wife went on to own and operate “The Old Hundred House B&B” in Centerville, MA where Conrad enjoyed his guests from all over the world.

He was a member of the Hyannis Rotary Club, and a former President of the Avon/ Canton CT Rotary Club. A lover of old cars, he owned a 1929 Model A Ford and was recently the President of the Cape Cod Model A Ford Club. He thoroughly appreciated the friendships of all the members of the club, especially the late Jack Schyner of W. Yarmouth.

He leaves his wife Christine, his daughters Veronica Peck of Avon, CT and Jennifer Braley and her husband Eric of Harwich, his granddaughter Kai Peck of Centerville, and his two youngest grandsons Chase and Conrad.

His family wishes to thank all those kind gestures during his illness, each one brought a smile. In lieu of flowers, please donate to The Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, MA.

There will be a funeral mass on Friday April 29, 2022 at 11:00AM at Our Lady of Victory Church, 230 South Main Street, Centerville, MA 02632. Family and friends are most welcome.

To share a memory or leave a condolence, please visit www.doanebealameshyannis.com .

###

 

Special Announcements
None this week.
 
Mail Bag
None this week.
 
Photo Credits
Mike Mezheritskiy
 
Technology Credits
Zoom platform management expertise by Mike Mezheritskiy.
 
Editor's Notes
Submission Deadline: Members are kindly encouraged to submit all materials for each week's Early Riser as early as possible. Please note that some editions may be published and distributed as early as the Saturday following our meetings, and during those weeks further contributions to the Early Riser will be included in the subsequent week's edition.
“The FOUR-WAY TEST of the things we think, say or do”:

1. Is it the TRUTH?
2. Is it FAIR to all Concerned?
3. Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?