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Bulletin Editor
Salin Low
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 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
All meetings are hybrid both in-person and Zoom available
District Site
Venue Map
May 13, 2022

Literacy Partnerships with NFP Groups
Lacey Byrne, Barnes & Noble
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: 37(23 in person, 5 virtually)
Visiting Rotarians:  Paul Mikkelson (virtually)
Guests: Jim Voorhees (Tom Voorhees son)
Happy Dollars$11.00
Raffle Winner: None. ($100 at next meeting)
Fines: None today.
Christine Heath
Chris had a busy week with daughter and son-law's birthdays, a family anniversary, and her own birthday. It's good to have cause for celebration. We're glad that Chris and Rick are able to stay connected to our club through Zoom. Happy Birthday!
Happy Dollars
Arnie Goldman gave an update on Phil Worley, whom he had seen the week before. His memory continues to decline, and his family is considering whether an assisted living facility would be more comfortable for him. Arnie also suggested that the club should invest in an inexpensive commercial toaster for the Friday morning bagels. The current toaster is a bit slow for the toasted bagel crowd. It will be taken under advisement
Alicia Canning was happy to be going to Atlanta to see her daughter.
Salin Low had a confession dollar. She had neglected to set up the scribe schedule for the month and realized just in the nick of time that someone was needed that day. So she was doing what she could to come to the rescue.
Heather Pantano was happy to have attended the district conference with Gary Miller. Among the people she met was a Rotarian from West Hartford who is also involved in a project in Uganda.
Paul Mikkelson congratulated the NY Mets for a thrilling come from behind victory, which made Gary Hyde grin. He is doing a 100 mile bike challenge on May 14 and thanked those who had donated to his effort.
Colleen Grasso reminded members that they can pay for TOTV tickets online. The committee would like to have a number of additional baskets for the auction and more bottles of wine worth at least $20 for the wine. She was also still in need of volunteers to help with the wine pull and auction. Please contact her if you can help.
Salin Low is looking for at least one additional scribe to prepare the Early Riser one time a month. The current crew has worked together for about six years. They have a number of scheduling conflicts this summer, so it's a good time to try out your editorial skills. Gary Miller is a pro at training new scribes, so it's a fairly smooth learning curve. If you are willing to be a summer intern, please let Salin know.
May 14th: Taste of the Valley at Golf Club of Avon.
July 8th: President's Dinner at Golf Club of Avon. Dinner cost is $55.
Induction of New Members
None this week.
None this week.
Community and International Service Grants
None this week.
From Ukraine to the U.S.
Michael Mezheritskiy
Salin Low introduced Michael and thanked him for pinch hitting on the program when the scheduled speaker became ill. She had wanted Michael to tell the story of his journey from Ukraine to Avon, CT, and this provided the perfect opportunity.
Michael was sorry that the short notice didn't allow for pictures to be included, but he did find an online picture of the building where he grew up. It was a high-rise apartment building which housed mostly military families. Michael still has friends living in that building. In Ukraine people live with their parents until they get married. Michael's dad was an intelligence officer in the military. Michael was born in Kiiv in an area south of downtown.
He went to school in a building right behind his apartment building and walked to school. Teachers also lived close to the school and walked or took public transportation, because having a car was a luxury. With everybody living so close, there were no snow days. The standard education in Ukraine is 10 years, which was the system in effect when Ukraine was part of the U.S.S.R. The official language in the schools was Russian, and Ukrainian was taught as a foreign language and was optional. Michael was the only Jewish kid in school, so he took up boxine for self defense. After school kids would go outside the building and play. There were no cell phones or pagers. Instead mothers would lean over their balconies and shout to the kids when it was time to come home. It was a very safe way of life.
After the Soviet Union fell apart, Michael's dad was forced to retire from the Russian military. He had to wait four years to be able to emigrate. In the meantime he worked for a German company. After about a month, the company realized he had a lot of good connections, and he was promoted. He got a VW Golf, which was the only non-Russian car available. Ukraine has good mechanics as a result of keeping Russian vehicles operating, and that has been a big help during the current war. Michael was preparing for the mandatory draft after completing his schooling and was good at shooting.
Around this time Michael's parents prepared to emigrate from Ukraine to the U.S. Michael's great aunt had won the U.S. immigration lottery. After she moved to the U.S., she arranged for Michael's grandparents and an uncle to come to the U.S. Then in 1994 it was Michael's parents' turn to come and to bring their children. The actual time of the departure was kept quite secret. Each of the family members had a big bag which contained all they could bring with them. They put their bags in a van at night and went to the airport. They flew at night on a big plane to New York City. None of them spoke English. Michael's uncle picked them up and took them to Brookline, MA, where there is a significant Russian community, and it is almost unnecessary to speak English.
In Brookline the family had their first credit cards, because most transactions in Ukraine are handled with cash. They got into a lot of debt and had trouble paying it back, which is a common problem in the Russian community in Brookline. Michael started to work at a McDonald's near Boston University. He started as a dishwasher and moved to the kitchen and on to shift manager. In the process he learned English and Spanish. His dad wanted more for him after having had to leave so much behind. Michael went to community college to take an English as a Second Language course. After that he went to Suffolk College and studied Finance, which he enjoyed, and Information Technology, which he hated. During college he worked at a hotel near the Celtics arena. There was a job fair for seniors, which he wanted to attend even though he was only a junior at the time. He created a resume and bribed someone to get into the job fair. From that he got a job at Fidelity Investments which eventually led him to West Hartford. In 2013 he started a financial consulting practice with a partner, and in 2016 he went out on his own. He used his experience with his early debt problems to help others learn how to deal with debt. He met Peter Bakker from Avon who helped him get into the Avon Chamber of Commerce. He used some of Bakker's office space in his early days in Avon, but now has his own office space.
While Michael was going to school and building his practice, his dad started a truck delivery business. Much of his business involved picking up various products in New York and delivering them to the Brookline area. The business eventually grew to 40 trucks and also involved Michael's brother. They worked a lot with prisons and public schools. Dad has now retired from the trucking business, while Michael's mother is still working at a Russian store in Brookline. Michael's brother continues to live in Massachusetts. Michael, his wife, and four kids enjoy visiting when their schedules permit. Michael's wife is from Belarus and came to the U.S. when she was eight.
When asked about the future of the war with Russia, Michael does not think the Russians will use nuclear arms. He is not surprised that the Russians have had so much trouble, because his dad tells him that Russian equipment was always in poor repair. He attributes the strong Ukrainian patriotism for that country's success so far. One major concern is the food shortages that are bound to come. Ukrainians provided grain and other crops throughout Europe, and the crops are not being planted this year.
We appreciated hearing Michael's story. It helps us to understand how he developed so many gifts which he has generously shared with Rotary. He may have hated studying IT, but we're so glad he was techie enough to keep us together via Zoom during the pandemic and beyond. His can do attitude is an inspiration and an example of Service Above Self.

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?
4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?