Rotary Meeting: May 11, 2021



President KEVIN SMITH-FAGAN (Executive Director of Fairytale Town) called us to order with the promise of a surprise announcement to come, after which, DENNIS SMITH (V.P./Asset Manager-Office & Property Director of Tsakopoulos Management Company) did the honors of leading us in the Pledge of Allegiance.


Thought for the Day

DANIELLE MCGARRITY was over the moon in reaction to our region’s incredible demonstration of generosity at last Thursday’s Big Day of Giving, which shattered giving records for the 2nd year in a row! Collectively, our community generated over $13 million for local nonprofits. After the Big Day of Giving, DANIELLE had one overarching word in her mind: Generosity.


  • Generosity is defined as being kind and understanding; willing to give others things of value. It is often defined as an act of selflessness; however, studies show that generosity is actually in our own best interest as well, providing a host of health benefits. Living generously is exemplified by giving others the benefit of the doubt, suspending judgment, and maintaining an open heart, something this group knows plenty about! DANIELLE sincerely thanked all Rotarians for embodying generosity in the way we interact with the world.


Meeting Sponsor

TED WHITE (President of Sacramento Delta Property Management), embraced generosity by donating his time to SHARNA BRAUCKS (President and CEO of YMCA of Superior California). SHARNA shared the Y’s main areas of focus: Youth Development, Healthy Living, and Social Responsibility, and reminded us that while some people associate YMCA strictly with serving youth, they have programs and offerings for all ages (and presently are offering memberships with no joining fee). She also noted that the Sacramento fitness center and indoor pool are now open!


Club Announcements

PRESIDENT KEVIN SMITH FAGAN shared the surprise announcement and momentous news that our Club will be returning to in-person meetings beginning June 8, at the Greek Annunciation Church. Our first in-person meeting since February 2020 will be complete with a catered lunch. All that you need for entry is proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test. Make sure to keep an eye out in your email for the ClubRunner sign up form to reserve your spot or contact MEGAN WYGANT (CLARA Claire Raley Studios for the Performing Arts).

We are also seeking sponsors!


BOBBY REED (CEO at Capitol Tech Solutions) updated us on fundraising for the Old Sacramento Waterfront sign which will welcome fellows to the city! After the Young Professionals’ (YP) Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day fundraisers, the YPs have raised $21,000 toward their $25,000 goal! The project is expected to begin construction in August. BOBBY showed some of the action shots from this weekend’s Mother’s Day Flower Farm Extravaganza, which featured portraits by JOHN SWENTOWSKY (Owner at Swentowsky Photography), live music by the Rotary Rockers, a tour of the urban flower farm, and a live tutorial by JAMIE FURLONG (Securitized Real Estate Specialist at Bangerter Financial Services) about creating boutonnieres.


CALLEE SETZER (Sales at Setzer Forest Products) gave us one last chance to be a part of Golf 4 Kids coming up on May 21. While we only have until May 14 to reserve tee times, anyone can come by on the day of the tournament to enjoy some lunch from Nash & Proper.


NANCY SMITH-FAGAN (Philanthropy Manager, International Bird Rescue) welcomed our Speaker of the Day, DR. JAMES POLO, who is the Medical Director of Behavioral Health for Regence Blue Shield and an expert in Child Adolescent Psychiatry.

COVID’s Impact on Substance

  1. JAMES POLO explained why the COVID-19 pandemic is such a unique disaster – it is ongoing, ever-changing, and global. Typically, after a natural disaster, we can surge resources to an affected area but the globality of the pandemic renders us without that option. When affected by disasters, humans often progress from shock and uncertainty, to feeling a loss of control and sense of disillusionment, and eventually achieving recovery and reconstruction (as a nation, we have only recently entered this stage.)


Some of the byproducts of the pandemic unfortunately coincide with the top three stressors that contribute to substance abuse:


  1. Relationship stress
  2. Work problems
  3. Financial challenges


The healthiest ways to cope with these stressors are sleep, exercise, consuming well-rounded meals and plenty of water, and communicating/connecting with other people.


Alcohol is a depressant, which does not necessarily mean that it causes feelings of depression (though it can), but that it acts as a depressant for our Central Nervous System. It is also a mood intensifier, so it amplifies the mood you are in preceding your consumption. In high enough quantities it becomes lethal, and it is addictive for everyone.



Excessive alcohol consumption costs the U.S. $250 billion each year. Statistics show that 85% of adults use alcohol, and 23% binge on occasion. Binge drinking is defined as 4-5 drinks per day. Legally, people are considered impaired after 2 drinks and drunk after 3, though that differs depending on body mass. It takes our bodies one hour to metabolize every drink we consume, and despite popular belief, there is no way to speed up this process. Even people who believe they are “moderate” drinkers can suffer effects to their heart, brain, and liver after many years of regular alcohol use.


Since the arrival of COVID-19, alcohol consumption rates have jumped and many people who had been sober and in recovery have relapsed. DR. POLO shared some self-assessment questions we can all ask ourselves about our alcohol use. DR. POLO reminded us that alcohol use is okay if you are a social or moderate drinker, but use beyond that is a reason for concern. If you do exceed this range, you should consider consulting with your primary care physician.


Next week there will be no Zoom meeting. Ournext meeting will be June 25th, in which we will have the opportunity to honor our veterans for Armed Forces Day.


CLICK HERE to watch the full recording of the Speaker of the Day Dr. JAMES POLO at last week’s Rotary meeting.