Russell Hampton
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Lauren Gardner
Getting to Know our Members
Getting to Know Jennifer Gonzalez
Jenny Gonzalez was born in 1970 in the small country town of Perry, Florida, where her parents grew up. They moved to Tallahassee when she was four and she grew up with her brother Jon who is seven years older.
Both of Jenny’s parents were hard workers. Her mom was in business administration first in the medical field, then thirty plus years at an environmental law firm until her retirement two years ago. Her dad was a proud Vietnam veteran who had a 32-year career with the Postal Service. He retired early and enjoyed a life of leisure until he was diagnosed with lung cancer and passed away three years ago. He was always working on cars, boats, and home improvement projects. In retirement he enjoyed spending time on my cousins’ farm in Alabama bailing hay, feeding cows, hunting, and fishing. His family misses him dearly.
Jenny met her husband in high school through friends they had in common, dated briefly during her junior year, and stayed in touch. When Larry graduated from the University of Florida out of the school of journalism, he moved back to Tallahassee to work. He looked Jenny up, and they decided to get married a month after dating. Jenny had been working at Holland and Knight Law firm as a file clerk and runner until they married a year later in December 1994. This past December they celebrated their 25th Wedding anniversary.
Jenny and Larry moved to Storrs, Connecticut once Larry was accepted to UCONN’s MBA program in 1995. Jenny worked in retail until he graduated, then spent a year matriculating into the CT college system at MCTC. She then applied and was accepted into the BFA program at UCONN. She was able to go to school full-time and completed a Specialized Concentration in Photography, Sculpture, and Ceramics. Larry and Jenny both graduated in 2000. He completed his law degree from UCONN, and she received her BFA.
She worked a few years after graduation as a Manager of the Non-Profit Women’s Exchange in West Hartford Center and went on to work for Capital Properties, first as a leasing agent for a residential property in Rocky Hill, later transferring to a West Hartford property as assistant property manager. She also began her Master’s program at CCSU. An artist at heart, she finished an MS in Art Education in 2007 with a concentration in Ceramics. She felt lucky to have studied with the best professor in her concentration and with one of the most talented students, who is still a good friend. She has had three art shows: a thesis show at Art Space in Hartford, a group show at Art Space with a painter, furniture maker, ceramicist and photographer, and another at the Farmington Library with three other ceramic artists.
Jenny started flying as a contract flight attendant for a small charter company out of Bridgeport and did sub-contracted flights for Netjets and Starflite International while she was finishing her Master’s program. In 2009 she secured a full time position with Travelers Aviation. She and her husband never thought that they would both end up working in the insurance industry, especially with Jenny in such a non-traditional role.
Larry and Jenny are very proud that their achievements have come about through their own efforts. They don’t have any children, but they are the happy to be aunt and uncle of seven nephews and one niece that they visit on trips to Florida and Atlanta, Georgia. They have two spoiled miniature dachshunds, Daisy and Oscar, who bring great joy to their home life. Their first fur-baby child was a Bassett hound named Marlee who was part of their family for the first 16 years of their marriage.
Jenny and Larry have been lifelong Thoroughbred horse racing enthusiasts and have a small stake in a NY breeding partnership and a couple of race horses with friends. Through their small interest they own perhaps a few horse hairs at most. This passion and their need to find a meaningful way to spend free time brought them to Shepard Meadows Therapeutic Riding Center. Jenny is on the fundraising committee and acting as Gala Chairperson, and Larry is VP on the Board. They still enjoy mucking stalls and feeding horses on the weekends as well as giving tours and acting as volunteer mentors.
Jenny is happy that Heather Pantano invited her to join Rotary. From the very first meeting she felt like she was home. She looks forward to getting to know all the members and working together to raise money and do good things for the community and beyond. 
Jun 12, 2020
Being a Rotary Scholar
Jun 19, 2020
For All Ages
Jun 26, 2020
Canton Historian
Jul 03, 2020
Jul 10, 2020
President's Installation Dinner
Jul 24, 2020
Mediators Beyond Borders
View entire list
Executives & Directors
President Elect
Immediate Past President
Foundation Chair
Board Member-at-Large
Board Member-at-Large
Asst Treasurer
Interact Chair
EarlyRiser Presentations
A Promise to Jordan
The Annotated Guide to Ending Polio
Club Information
Rotary of Avon-Canton - Founded 1973
Service above Self
We meet Fridays at 7:30 AM
Avon Old Farms Hotel
279 Avon Mountain Rd.
Avon, CT  06001
United States of America
DistrictSiteIcon District Site
VenueMap Venue Map
March 6, 2020
Club Day
Sergeant-at-Arms Report
Members Present: 35
Visiting Rotarians: 0  
Rauf Majidian introduced Esam Boraey, the speaker.
Mike Mezheritskiy introduced Singh Kershwin, a prospective member.
Gary Roman introduced Sarah Mitchell and Adria Giordano, of Chrysalis Center, Community Service grant recipients.
Rollie Sterrett introduced James Thornett, a prospective member.
Happy Dollars: $28.00
Raffle Winner: No winner.
Rauf Majidian (February 23) enjoys the community feeling Rotary has and looks forward to every Friday morning. 
Alicia Canning (March 3) is grateful to be a part of Rotary for 2 1/2 years. She is not a morning person but can't help but look forward to Rotary meetings. Her fellow members are precious to her and are a true second family.
Happy Dollars
Alicia Canning was looking forward to training to become the next club president and leading this group in the upcoming term.
Don Bonner admitted he played hooky last week, but he was happy to announce his daughter gave birth to an 8lb 4oz healthy baby girl named Margaret, "Maggy Rose". Don reports all are happy and healthy!
Steve Mitchell donated $2.00; $1.00 for each bathroom that will be included in the new Walk Bike Avon project - they will be enclosed and heated on the trail! 
Salin Low was happy to not roof rake and happy for the Red Sox.
Ted Cowles was happy to share that the sap is flowing and they are packaging quarts and pints of maple syrup.
Gary Roman shared that he too celebrated a birth this week - the birth of the newest branch of Collinsville Savings Bank in Farmington!
Rollie Sterrett was happy to see a hockey game at Colgate with his old college roommate. Go Raiders!
Bill Barnes shared a humourous test that Forrest Gump had to pass in order to enter heaven. You can read the joke at the link :) 
Ann Clark is looking for volunteers for Tastes of the Valley.
Heather Pantano reminded Rotarians of the upcoming service project in collaboration with Roaring Brook Nature Center on April 4 and 5, weather permitting. Rotarians and girl scouts will pair and build an ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant trail at the Roaring Brook Nature Center.
Heather Pantano also reminded all of the club night at the Hartford Wolf Pack, scheduled for the evening of April 4th. Details can be found in the email that was shared. Interested members will share dinner ahead of the game at the Coliseum Club.
Sue Budde let Rotarians know the day and time of the funeral service for Sarah Leather's mother.
Calendar of Upcoming Events
3/7: Rotary Pub Night at FAVARH's Rotary Building
3/28: Tastes of the Valley tickets available now. $50.00/regular ticket. $75.00/VIP ticket, which includes the VIP function 90 minutes ahead of the main event.
5/29: President's Installation Dinner.  Details to follow.
6/??: Rotary Pub Night will be held at President Heather's new home
9/14: 37th Annual Charity Golf Tournament at the Golf Club of Avon
Induction of New Members
None this week.

None this week.
Community and International Service Grants
Gary Roman introduced Sarah Mitchell and Adria Giordano, who received a check for the Chrysalis Center. They were thankful for the support. Chrysalis believes in "hand UPs, not handouts" and provides supportive services across CT for those at or below the poverty level struggling with mental health, homelessness, substance abuse, and those returning to the community after incarceration. Chrysalis Center works to solve the root of the problem and shared an upcoming initiative called Empty Bowls. More info here -
Esam Boraey 
"I don't know what I am doing here," Esam said as he began his speech. He shared that these were not his words, but the words of Hosni Mubarak, the former president of Egypt. These words inspired a huge opposition of the president in Egypt, Esam's country of origin, but the problem was despite many groups opposing the president and the line of succession, it was difficult to stand as a united front. 
Esam was a student at the time, and he and 6 other students felt the same way and decided to form a grassroots movement to stand against the Mubarak. Despite the risks, Esam and the students stood in front of their supreme court and spoke against the president. They ended up in prison that night, and endured torture in a tactic from the authoritarian regime to break down their opposition. However, that did not stop Esam from pursuing the rights he believed his country deserved. Despite many obstacles from the military and the police in their attempts to stop the opposition from spreading, Esam and his peers continued to grow their grassroots campaign and grow their resistance. 
As their resistance grew, the group decided to hold a demonstration on January 25, 2011, the "Police Holiday" as a statement against police brutality as a result of Mubarak's regime. Esam had hoped that the demonstration would draw 10,000 people but it quickly grew after Mubarak instructed police to use violence and opened fire onto the crowd. Broadcasts and communications of the event were shut down, leaving those viewing the demonstration at home with the image of people being murdered by the hands of the president. The demonstration increased to 100,000 people who occupied Cairo. 1500 people lost their lives that day and Mubarak was okay with that.  
By the end of that week, 13 million people had backed Esam and the grassroots resistance he was a part of. He could not believe that what 7 students started years ago, 13 million people now stood behind. February 11, 2011, Mubarak resigned as president and turned the power to the Supreme Council of Armed Forces. 
However, this caused other issues with military in power. Esam wanted a free election and democracy. He ran for the Egyptian senate but was arrested for working for a human rights organization that advocated for youth engagement in politics and was held illegally in prison for 18 months as he awaited trial. He was eventually released after international organizations advocated for his release. He then learned upon his release awaiting a trial that he was found guilty would be sentenced for 2 additional years. With moments to spare, he boarded a plane with what little he had and arrived in Washington, D.C not knowing any English, anyone in America, not having any food, or place to stay. 
Esam arrived in D.C in 2013. He chose America because he is drawn and inspired by American values; democracy and freedom. 
Despite all that he has been through, he continues to advocate for Egypt and continues to inspire others to fight for what is right and to NEVER give up hope. 
To learn more about Esam's incredible journey of overcoming insurmountable challenges, visit his website. 

Special Announcements
None this week.
Mail Bag
None this week.
Photo Credits 
Photographs courtesy of Phil Worley.
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?