What’s a water bank? Does it have a drive-thru? ATMs? Does it have an app? How do we make withdrawals? Next week’s guest speaker, Sacramento Regional Water Authority Executive Director Jim Peifer, will answer those, and much more pertinent questions, at our meeting on Tuesday, March 21st, at noon at the Annunciation Greek Church. If you want to know more about what is being done to improve the reliability of our regional water supply, you won’t want to let a little rain keep you from attending our next meeting. Please watch for your personal email invitation and register right away—and bring a friend or prospective member!
Leaders Needed to Serve
Actually, you can serve, or you can help cook or both. We need a few more volunteers to do one or the other, or both, on Thursday, March 30th, at Loaves & Fishes. Our club has a strong tradition of helping to prepare and serve meals for more than 700 less fortunate members of our community. If you can help out, email John Swentowsky (Swentowsky Photography).
Luck of the Irish
Recap of the March 14th Meeting
Reported by Paul Keefer
Past-President Dan McVeigh (Downey Brand, LLP), representing the eight “Mcs” and one “Mac” of our club, introduced our Sacramento friend, Kelly Brothers. Kelly, well-known for his work on both KCRA TV and KFBK Radio, helped club members warm up for St. Patrick’s Day by taking us on a memorable trip through Ireland and the close ties that the small island has with our Sacramento region. Of note, Kelly has dual citizenship with Ireland and ye’ olde USA. Kelly grew up in ye olde brick house that famed actor Tom Hanks once owned for a wee bit. Kelly mentioned he might have had one or so pints in his day, in keeping with the tradition of at least part of his family (but not his mum and dad, who didn’t drink at all!). Kelly let us know that Gaelic was spoken a bit in the Brothers household until his sisters spoke some colorful slang to three Irish priests at Sacred Heart. Then, the fur went flying! Kelly suggested that if you are going to Ireland, you should get off the beaten path and visit the small villages and ask where the best live music is. In particular, Kelly suggested, people should visit his father’s village at Wexford and his mom’s village at Galway on opposite sides of the country.
Also a financial advisor and founder of an investment management firm, Kelly couldn’t escape being asked by audience members about the state of the economy and the importance of the recent Silicon Valley Bank failure. He said he hopes the bank failure, which he attributes to poor management, was more of a “one-off” than a harbinger of systemic problems. Some people, he said, are likely to be going to ye olde prison.
Thought for the Day
Leo McFarland (Volunteers of America, retired) almost pushed out a joke that he said might have been off-color, but wisely decided against it. Instead, he treated us to wisdom from the Middle Ages from Saint Brigid of Kildare of Ireland, who was born a slave and led a life of service (like Rotary!). Saint Brigid is the patron saint of babies, women, shepherds, refugees and those in childbirth.
Head Table Introductions
President, Linda Geery (CFO/California Lawyers Association), introduced the other illustrious folks seated with her at the head table: Chair of Day Past-President Dan McVeigh, Kelly Brothers (Principal/CapTrust), and Meeting Sponsor Diane Woodruff (Retired Chancellor/California Community Colleges).
Past-President Diane donated her three sponsor minutes to fellow Rotarian Danielle McGarrity (Development Director, Children’s Receiving Home of Sacramento). Danielle introduced our club to Lasagna Love, a volunteer-driven nonprofit with which she volunteers. Lasagna Love is a nationwide program providing meals to anyone who asks; no questions asked! Typical recipients are parents with babies, individuals with illnesses, and students. More than 1,000,000 meals have been provided since the inception of this group by one person in Southern California. There are 74 chefs in Sacramento and more than 30 requests are received every week, so volunteers are welcome. If you are interested in helping out by making one lasagna (or other meal) a month, email Danielle by clicking on her name, or visit www.lasagnalove.org.
Rotarians helping Rotarians
President Linda Geery thanked the volunteers who helped with today’s meeting: Bryan Murray (Technology Risk Advisor/Bender Insurance Solutions), Jim Mattesich (Retired/Greenberg Traurig), and Jarrett Osborne-Rivas (Senior Counsel/Buchalter Law Firm) were the Greeters. Paul Scoop McKeefer managed The Pulse reporting. John ‘Keep’n it focused’ Swentowsky (Swentowsky Photography) used his professional skills to capture incredible images of our meeting. And Jim Henderson (Attorney/Messing, Adam & Jasmine) served up the red and white wine in preparation for St. Patrick’s Day! Past President KEVIN SMITH-FAGAN (Executive Director/Fairytale Town) later set the stage for Kelly Brothers by entertained club members with a solo rendition of “The Irish Rover.” And STEVE SHIFLETT (Retired/California State Parks) sent members on their way with the Smile for the Day. KATHE NATHAN (Retired/Merchants Bank of Commerce) and ROBYN DELONG (Coldwell Banker) served as Sergeants-at-Arms.
Past Presidents THom Gilbert (Retired/Gilbert Associates) and Dan McVeigh provided insight into RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awakening) and their incredible experience with the program last year. They asked Rotarians to consider volunteering for one or more of the three weeks in June that more than 400 high school students from Districts 5180 and 5190 will attend. Each weeklong session is held at Grizzley Creek Ranch Camp near Portola. Our very own Youth Incentive Program and partner College Track help us secure students to participate. You can contact Thom or Dan by clicking on their names (above).
Megan Laurie (Director of Development & Marketing/UCP of Sacramento & Northern California) let us know that Golf 4 Kids, which will be held on Friday, May 12th, at Land Park, with a dinner and silent auction to follow at Fairytale Town, still needs corporate sponsors and golfers! Sign up now by clicking here.
John Swentowsky said our crew for Loaves and Fishes kitchen duty on March 30th is very light, with only four volunteers up for the early shift and two for the second shift. Email John by clicking here if you can help.
President Linda geery reminded us to invite our son’s and grandsons to Son’s Day on April 4th, adding that sons are still needed to help with the program. Contact MIK MIKLAUS (Integrity Mortgage) for details.
President Linda also reminded us that the deadline was approaching for sign-up for our People of Action Day on April 15th. We need people to register now so that we can order t-shirts for everyone. There are three projects. For information and to sign up, click here.
And President Linda told members about our new Diversity Equity and Inclusion Work Group, the goal of which is to help our club mirror the community we serve, which happens to be the most diverse in the United States. She said more the workgroup would welcome more members. For information, contact President-Elect TODD KOOLAKIAN (Director of Philanthropy/Sacramento Children’s Home) or RCOS Executive Director STEVE HEATH.
Chris Ann Bachtel (Retired/Banking) has been active in Rotary for 24 years. She grew up in New Jersey and graduated from Wake Forest University in North Carolina. After graduation, she moved to Santa Barbara to take a job with the 3M Company. Having lived all her life on the East Coast, she had never heard of Santa Barbara. She drove across the United States with everything she owned in the trunk of her car. On the sixth day of driving, she says she will never forget the exhilaration of seeing the Pacific Ocean. She thought she was in heaven when she reached Santa Barbara, where she ended up living for 17 years. Chris Ann left 3M to join Wells Fargo Bank as a Trust Administrative Assistant 40 years ago. She got an education in fiduciary investments and estate planning, which culminated in her starting and managing the only locally headquartered trust department in Sacramento for 17 years. She retired in 2019. Fun Fact: Exactly 20 years ago this month, our club’s program was about the Academy Awards and was emceed by Kitty O’Neal. Chris Ann was asked by our Rotary Club to model a gown once worn by Cameron Diaz in the remake of the film “Charlie’s Angels,” which debuted that year. Kitty arranged for a red carpet and a few models to wear gowns from Charlie’s Angels, which were designed by a renowned designer from Sacramento. It was a stunning gown with a very plunging neckline which Chris Ann had the designer modify a bit. None of the other models would wear it!
John Brackenbury (Divisional Commander/Salvation Army) has been back in our club for about 15 months, since moving back to Sacramento. He met his wife, Pam, in the Salvation Army and they were married in 1990. Since being ordained as Salvation Army officers in 1994, they have served as officers for 29 years in California, Colorado, Arizona, and Alaska. Alaska was their favorite location, and yes, there was a village where they could actually see Russia. Their favorite position was working with new people who answered God’s call to full-time ministry. John is a sixth-generation Salvationist, meaning his family’s history with The Salvation Army dates to the very beginning of their work in 1865 in London, England. Both of his great-grandparents migrated to North America as Salvation Army officers. John is a LEGO enthusiast and has a combined set of more than 36,000 pieces that he enjoyed using to build things as a boy. He still finds building LEGO sets therapeutic. John and his wife are cruise enthusiasts and have traveled to over 30 countries around the world. Their longest cruise was a 25-day excursion from Seattle, WA to Sydney, Australia with many stops along the way. They will be going on their 18th cruise for 2 ½ weeks in the Western Caribbean in April. Fun Fact: John loves pumpkin spice anything. His friends send him gifts of this, and one year, a friend sent him pumpkin spice deodorant. While he loves pumpkin spice stuff, that was a hard no!
Sharna Braucks (Executive Director/YMCA of Superior California) has been a Rotarian for 2 ½ years. She has been the Executive Director of our local YMCA since 2019, and has worked for the YMCA system for over 25 years. Sharna has started YMCAs in new communities from scratch. From finding an office to rent and building programs, all the way through to building a new 75,000-square-foot facility. The fastest one was from zero to opening day in less than four years. She’s led the merger and restructure of two large YMCA childcare programs with more than $24 million, 500 employees, and 100 programs. Sharna was an exchange student in Norway for a year and says it challenged her in every way, shaping her into the person she is today. Sharna has been to 44 of our continental US states. She and her husband have taken that wanderlust to roam California since she moved to Sacramento 3 ½ years ago. Fun Facts: Sharna was born and raised in Minnesota, on a farm where her father bred racehorses. Their family vacations were in an RV, as they visited racetracks throughout the Midwest. She knew how to place bets by the time she was 7 and her first kiss was with a bugle boy who signaled the race starts. Sharna’s mother, Sarona, wanted a unique name for her lastborn. She was down to Sharmin or Sharna. She went with Sharna even though Sharna still got teased about not squeezing the “Charmin” toilet paper when growing up.
Do you know someone who would make a great Rotarian? Invite them to one of our lunch meetings. (Prospective members dine free of charge on their first two visits.) Just let us know they are coming and make sure they sign in as prospective members. If they want more information, send them to our website.
(Photos from Tuesday’s meeting, courtesy of John Swentkowsky)