June 5 Newsletter

Meeting Date:  May 31, 2022

Reporter:  Art Norwalk


Cap Willey urged us to focus on the lives of the victims of the Uvalde school massacre, more than on their deaths. To that end, he read brief descriptions of the 19 students and two teachers; you can read them at the end of the newsletter.


Pres. Holly described her more-than-one-hour phone conversation with the president of the Rotary Club of Uvalde, Texas, to express our sympathy and ask what we could do to help her community heal from the horrific school massacre. Her request was for stuffed animals to brighten the days of students recovering from wounds, and our members stepped up with dozens of stuffed animals and Get Well cards.
Meeting attendance was way above our usual as Rotarians responded to the call to invite prospective members as guests. Holly and Art Norwalk gave brief descriptions of the club and its service focus, including the upcoming career presentations to second graders at Kizirian Elementary School. If you’d like to donate a bit of time to tell kids about your work life, contact Art.


We were visited by Rita and Sanjay Kalra of the Rotary Chandigarh Midtown.  Chandigarh is the joint capital of the Punjab and Haryana states in India.


  • Wendy Marcus marked her 48th wedding anniversary, welcomed Rev. Ralph Barlow and his son, and cheered the sale of her house by Team Applegate in four days.
  • Don Saracen reported that a documentary produced by his son and daughter-in-law is up for an Emmy, having won three other industry awards.
  • Kris David marked her 43rd anniversary and thanked our guest speaker, Sen. Jack Reed, for his work to increase government funding for polio eradication.
  • Cap Willey had praise for the club’s response to Holly’s request for stuffed animals and for his granddaughter’s lacrosse achievements.
  • Steve Hug was not happy to get a positive Covid test that cost him a third day as an extra in filming of The Gilded Age, but happy to get through the quarantine period with no symptoms at all.
  • Pres. Holly was delighted with her fun and family-filled birthday weekend.


Our guest speaker, Rhode Island’s senior U.S. Senator Jack Reed, thanked Rotary for its important role in “building community” and gave us his assessments of the major issues facing the country today:
  • Ukraine
    Like many, he expected a quick Russian victory but was surprised by the courage and fighting spirit of the Ukrainians. He sees the next 2-3 months as critical, hoping new American weapons and increasing effect of sanctions will keep Ukraine in the game. “This fight is our fight, too,” said Reed.
  • The economy
    Inflation is a big concern with multiple causes. Reed said he’s working on government support to re-establish chip manufacturing the U.S. so we won’t have to rely on Asian suppliers, and on a new support package for restaurants hurt by the pandemic. He placed part of the blame for high fuel prices on oil companies that have increased prices without increasing production.
  • Mass shootings
    Citing easy access to guns as the core of the problem, the senator said there’s a good chance for passing a federal law that would incentivize state to enact “Red Flag” laws making it easier for police to take guns away from people considered dangerous. “We can do this,” he said. “We have to.”
  • Climate change
    As a Jamestown resident, Reed takes this issue personally. “As sea levels rise, we will become three islands instead of one.”
  • But what’s the biggest issue?
    In response to a question, Sen. Reed called polarization the most critical issue facing the country. It undercuts essential institutions, dissipates effective journalism and pulls politics to the extremes. Linking it to the Memorial Day holiday, Reed said we need to fix it because “we owe a debt to those who fought and died to preserve our system.”

INSPIRATION (continued)

Let us remember the 19 young students and two teachers whose lives were taken in the school shooting at Uvalde, Texas:

  • Makenna Lee Elrod, age 10-She will be remembered for her smile which they said could light up a room

  • Layla Salazar, age 11-She loved to swim and dance, and she could really run excelling in track and field taking home a blue first place ribbon.
  • Maranda Mathis, Age 11- She was sweet, smart and a shy tomboy who enjoyed being in nature and the outdoors. She loved purple unicorns.
  • Nevaeh Bravo, age 10- Her first name is heaven spelled backwards and they say that she is flying with the angels now.
  • Jose Manuel Flores Jr, Age 10- He wanted to be a police officer when he grew up to protect others according to his father.
  • Xavier Lopez, Age 10- He excelled at school and his favorite subject was art. He loved to play basketball and baseball.
  • Tess Marie Mata, age 10- Tessy as her friends called her was an introverted girl who loved her cat. She was saving up money to go to Disney World.
  • Rojelio Torres, age 10- Remembered as a smart and loving son. Liked YODA and Batman.
  • Eliahna “Ellie” Amyah Garcia, Age 9- Wanted to be a cheerleader. Smiled a lot and loved to hug people.
  • Eliahna Torres, age 10- Wore number 4 on her softball team and was competing for a spot on the city all-star team.
  • Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez, Age 10- She was a quiet child and an earnest student having earned her place on the school’s honor roll.
  • Jackie Cazares, age 9-She had just received her first communion two weeks before. Her father said that she would always go out of her way to help anyone.
  • Uziyah Garcia, age 10- used to play football with his grandfather who taught him pass patterns.
  • Jayce Carmelo Luevanos, age 10- Jayce would always bring the neighborhood kids to his family home to play. He would always make his grandparents coffee in the morning.
  • Maite Yuleana Rodriguez, age 10-Maite was described as a sweet, caring, and goal driven child. She wanted to go to Texas A&M and become a marine biologist. Her favorite color was green.
  • Jailah Nicole Silguero, age 10- Jailah told her parents that she did not want to go to school the morning of the shooting which was uncharacteristic of her.
  • Amerie Jo Garza, Age 10- She dreamed of becoming an art teacher. She was calling 911 on her cell phone when she was shot.
  • Alexandria “Lexi” Aniyah Rubio, age 10-Lexi got straight A’s in school and had been awarded a good citizenship award. She wanted to be a lawyer and she wanted to make a difference.
  • Alithia Ramirez, age 10- She was a budding artist and loved soccer.
  • Eva Mireles, Age 44- A fourth grade teacher for 17 years. Her husband, Ruben Ruiz is a school police officer at the High School.
  • Irma Garcia, Age 48- was just finishing her 23rd year of teaching at Robb Elementary. Her husband Joe Garcia died two days later of a heart attack and they are saying died of a broken heart. They are survived by their four children, Cristian, 23; Jose, 19; Lyliana, 15; and Alysandara, 13.
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From District 7950

District 7950 Youth Exchange has been presented with a unique opportunity of hosting an inbound exchange student from the Ukraine.
The Rotary Club of Yarmouth has agreed to be the host club for this exchange. Unlike a normal exchange, the host club is being asked to facilitate and fund the complete exchange by purchasing the air travel, insurance, emergency money and any other necessities such as clothing and personal items the student may need.
This is a unique opportunity for the district and the Rotary Club of Yarmouth is asking for support from clubs and individuals in the district for this exchange. The total cost for the exchange is estimated to be approximately $8000 and we are hoping other district clubs would share in this exchange with the Rotary Club of Yarmouth.  
Donations can be made to the Rotary Club of Yarmouth, PO Box 448, South Yarmouth, MA 02664 with the notation “Ukrainian Exchange” by June 22, 2022.
For more information contact:
District Youth Exchange Chair Jill Albright –jill.albright91@gmail.com

Uvalde Relief

There is still a chance to support the families of Uvalde, TX through the local Rotary District.  You can see the ways by clicking here.
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