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Bulletin Editor
Arnie Goldman
Jan 28, 2022
Peace Corps Experience and Path to Favarh
Feb 04, 2022
Introduction of new Director
Feb 11, 2022
Feb 18, 2022
Feb 25, 2022
Boys & Girls Clubs of Hartford
Mar 04, 2022
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Executives & Directors
President Elect
Immediate Past President
Foundation Chair
Board Member-at-Large
Board Member-at-Large
Interact Chair
Club Information
Rotary of Avon-Canton - Founded 1973
Service above Self
Fridays at 7:30 AM
Golf Club of Avon
160 Country Club Road
Avon, CT 06001
United States of America
(860) 760-6364
In person starting July 9, 2021. Zoom will also be available for those unable to attend in person.
District Site
Venue Map
October 22, 2021 Program
Violence Against Women
Susan Omillion JD
Come to Order:
President Christine Lamadrid called the meeting to order and the Pledge of Allegiance was recited. Thereafter, Salin Low led the group in singing "God Bless America." Arnie Goldman offered the invocation: "Dear God, We are profoundly thankful you've given us Rotary as a way to help others. Rotary values embody our understanding of your expectations of us, that we live our lives in your image, helping to better the world, all your children, and ourselves. The Hebrew concept Tikkun Olam, literally "striving to perfect the world", is imbued throughout Rotary activities. How fortunate we are that we can do all that in the spirit of fellowship, friendship and love that we share in Rotary. In your name we say, Amen."
Members Present: 31
Guests: None
Speaker: Reverend Gregg Woods, speaker
Visiting Rotarians: Chris & Rick Heath (virtually)
Happy Dollars: $12.00
Raffle winner: Rick Heath
Fines: None.
Birthdays: None.
Happy Dollars:
Gary Roman had 5 Happy Dollars in recognition of the launch of the community service event to begin tomorrow at Veteran's Base Camp in Chaplin, CT. It will involve painting, carpentry, rototilling and other necessary improvements. See Gary for details.
Larry Haber is off to the Hudson Valley for an event known as the "Blaze", a "lighted night time pumpkin trail" that includes 7000 pumpkins. A regular season ticket holder, Larry and his wife now have tickets for 10 shows at the Bushnell due to the pandemic-related backlog. It will be a busy, but joyous, theatre going season!
Gary Miller's golf team for the Rotary district golf tournament included his son-in-law, as well as Bob Cave and Kershwin Singh. The foursome was 7 under par but still didn't win! Gary's other good news was that his 2007 Subaru Forester passed its emission inspection despite 225,000 miles
Luke Violette reported Alicia Canning has been doing much better lately, after her recent surgery
Announcements: None today.
Calendar: Check back next week.
Awards: None today.
Community and International Service Grants: None today.
Hartford Rescue Mission:
God's Will. His Work. Our Hands.
Reverend Gregg Woods
Introduction by Arnie Goldman:
Good morning. I'm proud to introduce our speaker and my friend, the Reverend Gregg Woods, executive director of "Hartford Rescue Mission." Reverend Woods and his wife Lenora founded Hartford Rescue Mission in 2005, and it works to meet the spiritual, social and physical needs of needy people in their local community. Hartford Rescue Mission is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that depends on donations for its support. See:
Gregg and I met as classmates in the Charter Oak Leadership Program, which teaches community leaders how to communicate solutions to challenges through the principles enshrined in America's founding documents: individual rights & responsibilities, the proper role of government and an active and engaged citizenry.
Civil rights leader Robert Woodson Sr. of the Woodson Center in Washington DC, a guest speaker in the program, spoke of seeking out and supporting action oriented leaders in local communities who work to improve people's lives, particularly those he described as, "the least of these." Mr. Woodson characterized these leaders as "Urban Josephs", people who despite great challenges and risks to themselves, take responsibility for leading others to better themselves and those around them.
Reverend Woods is an Urban Joseph, and the Hartford Rescue Mission is his ministry. Their motto, "God's Will, His Work, Our Hands" reflects the good they do, their link to faith, the strength that faith embodies for individuals, and the responsibility we have to help others, particularly "the least of these."
Reverend Woods has a Master of Divinity degree from Asbury Seminary, is a former standout Connecticut football player who earned a full scholarship to the University of Kentucky and then played pro football in both the NFL and CFL.  He and Lenora have three children. Please give a warm welcome to Reverend Gregg Woods...
Reverend Woods began his ministerial career with the Salvation Army in Meriden, and while there met regularly with other pastors to pray and share ideas. He felt they needed to do something more concrete than just meet, talk and pray. He reached out to Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago, and learning from them, started Hartford Rescue Mission (HRM) as a program serving meals to the homeless on Saturdays.  Unfortunately, after a period of time a competing organization intruded and pushed HRM out of their space and local niche.
In May 2005, with the assistance and encouragement of a generous benefactor, Reverend Woods moved HRM to Hartford's north end, Zip Code 06020. At that time, 06020 was the poorest Zip Code in Connecticut. He looked for an appropriate property with the right zoning for their project and the benefactor helped them obtain 650 Woodland Street in Hartford, which had the advantage of being 23,000 square feet, but the disadvantage of a severely leaking roof.
Reverend Woods continued his story, declaring "Prayer seems most times to not be answered in our time frame, and what may seem to be a "no" (from God), is more often just "no, not yet, and as we know, God works in mysterious ways." Later, the same donor provided Hartford Rescue Mission with a loan for purchase of an even better building. In the end the donor simply gave them both buildings, and HRM sold one to repair the roof of the other.
"My philosophy of helping the needy emphasizes liberty, both ours and theirs, in that we want to give a hand up, just not a hand out. Today's society seems to encourage giving to others, but without creating obligations, responsibilities or incentives for recipients to better themselves. The well-known Chinese parable about giving a person a fish to eat now, as opposed to teaching a person to fish, and allowing them to eat forever, comes to mind. I like to say that in every life, a time for change has to come. The Sam Cooke song "A Change is Going to Come" ( still inspires me. For every person, life is about making choices. At HRM we seek to change people's minds, as well as their circumstances, but we know that people must first choose to change. As such, we know we can't help everybody, but we are here as a pathway to the opportunity to change. People have to avail themselves of the chance. "A change has to come."
"An example of this evolution is a man named "T", who I'd known for years. The Bible says the eyes are a window to the soul and people who bother to look can see how you treat others. The first time T came to HRM he did so just to see what he could get for himself, yet over time he saw a bigger picture. T could see what we were trying to do. He eventually said "I want to do something for others. I want to buy hamburgers for everybody." T became willing to share with others in his immediate surroundings and finally was able to see that bigger picture. Sometimes you walk around with blinders on and just can't see the bigger picture. That was true for T."
"At HRM we survive through the generosity of private donors. We don't accept government money, as we don't want to be obligated to do things we don't believe in. I believe a change can come in everyone's life, but they have to want that change. We want to help people who've fallen through the cracks often through no fault of their own. I saw T at his best and also at his worst, and now I've seen the change in him. Once people know each other they can say some harsh truths to each other to help them change, yet they still know we mean them well. T changed and that was so deeply meaningful to me. I'm gratified when I see individuals "get it." A Change has to come."
"I don't look at what I do now as a job but rather it's a calling from God. I look forward to each day, who I can see, who I can meet.  You all know people in your periphery and sometimes they can be helped with just a word."
"While our world is so upside down, with what used to be right now seen as wrong and what used to be wrong seen as right, we need not despair or be helpless. Amen? Amen. The words we use today, the newly popular ideas, the catch phrases, are just so confused. While HRM is apolitical and non-denominational, we are aware of the way so much of what passes for supposedly enlightened thought today, is corrosive to society and to the spirit of individuals."
"An example of how screwed up we are is the controversy around Columbus day. It's been Columbus day forever, yet there are those who want to eliminate the holiday because maybe Columbus wasn't perfect by the standards we are privileged to be able to live up to today. Your member Luke Violette is part Italian and maybe he is proud of the accomplishments of someone like Columbus who shares his heritage, and while I am not Italian I can also appreciate those accomplishments. I refuse to regard people as hateful simply because of what their background may be, or their ancestors may have done, rather than appreciate them for the good things they as individuals do."
Further, people are afraid to speak openly today and we walk around afraid of each other. Arnie mentioned the Charter Oak Leadership program. In that program I learned to identify who I am as an individual relative to others and to more clearly understand how the confusion in the world today impacts people. It is like a tangled spool of yarn, and so often illogical. While I know I can't change the whole world on my own, I know I can positively affect those immediately around me. I am a man of faith, but I also know not to use the Bible or religion to pressure people. They must come to their spiritual change on their own."
"The common person often cannot make sense of all that's going on, yet for all of us there is a right and a wrong and that doesn't change. I recently heard on the radio that Chicago is planning to terminate or sideline the half of their police who haven't taken the Covid shot. Yet they couldn't control the violence in Chicago with all of their police; what are they going to do with just half? Crazy! When you hear about shootings in Chicago, it's far more often black on black, yet one only hears about shootings in the rare incidence of a white person shooting a black person. It's important for us all to speak the truth. Another truth is that Planned Parenthood was started by Margaret Sanger who was a racist. We can hope that one day soon we can all share in one common truth. The goal of HRM is to lift people up and help them to understand truth, so they can make better decisions based on that understanding. The Bible says one must study to understand."
 "There are people with needs and I have been called to meet this one specific need. As Sam Cooke has written: "Change has to come." Our motto: "Gods Will, His Work, Our Hands" inspires us to seek to make that change in people. Our program will soon add GED training, job training, the "Step" Program with a dormitory setting and more privileges for those who do change and earn them. Until the heart changes, nothing changes.
You are all invited to see our facility at 650 Windsor Street in Hartford and see the program as it is and the plans for the future. The Word says, "I'll never leave you or forsake you and I'll be with you until the end." That's what we offer those we assist. Thank you.
Q: Phil Ferrari asked if technical training is offered? A: Modeling after Capitol City Rescue Mission in NY. Our program includes tech training but we are focused on building a person up.
Q: Gary Roman asked how many people they serve and is there boarding? A: Currently we serve about 80 with a daily set down meal during which the people share their hurts and joys. We have no overnight boarding yet, but we will. Sometimes it seems that on the 1st of a month, people get their support checks and act like millionaires, and then we may serve just 50 people. By the middle of the month its generally at least 80.
Q: Ann Clark asked where the food comes from? A: We get food from 9 restaurants including KFC, Olive Garden, Chick Filet and others, and on weekends also from Whole Foods market. They are looking at a food truck to operate as a mobile kitchen and also a walk in refrigerator to extend their ability to provide meals with the food they are provided. It is a 7 day a week job.
Learn more about Hartford Rescue Mission at:

Special Announcements: None this week.
Mail Bag: None this week.
Photo Credits: Mike Mezheritskiy [Unless otherwise indicated]
Technology Credits: Mike Mezheritskiy [Unless otherwise indicated]
Editor's Notes
Submission Deadline: Members are kindly encouraged to submit all materials directly to the week's designated editor for inclusion in that week's Early Riser, and to do so as early as possible. Please note that some editions may be published and distributed as early as the Saturday following the most recent meeting, and therefore further contributions will not. be included in that 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?
4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?