Notes from the Governor
People of Action,
We have now made it to the last edition of the newsletter for the 2019-20 Rotary year. As I finish out my term as your governor, I leave the post with a sense of gratitude for the experience. Every time you take on a leadership position, it is an opportunity to learn from others. And I have learned a lot this year.
I would like to sincerely thank the folks who have worked hard over the past twelve months to make the year a success. This includes the presidents of every club in every corner of District 7610; our 12 Area Governors who have been innovative and supportive; Special Advisor, James Holcombe who stayed on top of all of the day to day responsibilities and who was always a phone call away with the right advice at the right moment; and Dave Mercer and John “Jake” Almborg for overseeing the finances.

A tip of the hat to the Youth Services Committee and its chair, Matt Levitt, for another successful year with one of our most important lines of work in our district. Ronnie Chantker, for serving as Foundation Chair, and to Public Image Chair, Dave Borowski for advancing our communications and outreach. Also, to Diversity and Inclusion Chair, Rene Laws for taking my vision and turning it into action.

A big thank you to the DG String. DGE Harry Henderson for keeping me laughing, DGN Pat Borowski for keeping me sane, and DGND Sheila Brennan for keeping me excited about what Rotary can do.

To all of the other folks who held a position in the district and advanced our mission, I am indebted each of you all.

And lastly, the man with three jobs this year: AG, Membership Chair, and Editor-in-Chief, Earl Baughman. Earl, thanks for your commitment to excellence, for your hard work but mostly, your friendship.

Now it is time to look into the future and began another season of Rotary in Virginia. Now is the time to aspire for something greater, something that unites us in service to humanity. The world needs us now more than ever.

YIRS,
In This Issue
  • An Open Letter from District 7610
  • Black Lives Matter Walk
  • And the Winner is
  • Chuggin' Along
  • A Helping Hand
  • Scholarships for Seniors
  • Feeding our Communities
  • A Virtual Luau
  • New Members
An Open Letter From District 7610
By District Governor Elect Harry Henderson
At the urging and with the support of African American leaders in our District, we sent an open letter to our community on June 3, 2020 to advocate for and be part of an important change that is happening in our communities. In that letter, District 7610 leaders affirm: 
 
  • No person of color should live with constant fear;
  • No person of color should fear that color of their skin should determine the form of justice dispensed; and
  • No parent of a child of color should have to teach their children to fear the police – in order to survive and thrive in America.
 
We have been encouraged by the response. Many club leaders have asked to sign on to the letter. In the coming days, and with the explicit support of District Governor Jonathan Lucas, we have initiated a forum for District 7610 members and Community leaders to create a dialogue on these important issues. Our work begins with dialogue and continues with what Rotarians do best: People of Action to help our communities. We continue to welcome participation in this forum from Rotarians and Community leaders alike. Should you or a community leader wish to participate, please contact District 7610 Diversity and Inclusion Committee Chair, Rene Laws, at   7610diversitycommittee@gmail.com

Here is the entire text of the letter.
 
June 3, 2020 
George Floyd’s needless and heartless death has set in motion a dramatic nationwide response that we refuse to ignore. Like millions of Americans, we were sickened by the image of a police officer kneeling on the neck of a defenseless human being. No matter what your ideological position, these actions are indefensible. 

The protests that started in the streets of Minneapolis have spread quickly to Washington, DC and to communities in our backyard, including Alexandria and Manassas, VA. Our communities are now gripped by protests that have started peacefully and some have now turned violent. As Rotarians and community leaders, it is irresponsible to remain silent as thousands in our communities are tired of living in fear and frightened to speak the truth of how deeply racism is institutionalized in our society. Our responsibility as community leaders is to shine a light on what is unjust, unfair and what cannot stand any longer. We must and will work with our members and our neighbors to construct solutions that grow our communities, our nation, and ultimately our world. In our opinion, this is the definition of what a Rotarian does and is.

Change must come from the community and from constant - and often uncomfortable dialogue. Only by joining and working together can institutional racism be dismantled and a more just future created for all our community members.
 
Thus, starting today and starting now, let the world hear our voice that Rotarians within Rotary District 7610 support those that have taken to the streets peacefully in whatever voice they can muster that we as a society will not tolerate racial injustice. We affirm that:
 
  • No person of color should live with constant fear;
  • No person of color should fear that color of their skin should determine the form of justice dispensed; and
  • No parent of a child of color should have to teach their children to fear the police – in order to survive and thrive in America. 

We affirm these statements in the spirit of the words of Dr. Martin Luther King that “we dream of a day where children are not judged by the color of their skin but the content of their character”.

A dream without action is a fantasy and Rotarians are people of action. They live by a mantra that is possibly more important now than any time in our recent history: service above self.  Rotarians live by a four-way test that drives all that we think, say, and do that includes building a society of goodwill and better friendships. Our clubs are a forum where people of all ideologies, races, creeds, sexes, origins, and sexualities can come together to exchange ideas and create a better society than the one we currently inhabit. 
 
As such, we propose a forum that will facilitate community-based solutions developed by those most impacted and by those who must listen: community leaders, police and first responders, government officials, and others. This forum will provide the opportunity for participants to identify and speak the truth about racial injustice and discrimination – through a healthy and productive dialogue with the ultimate goal at all times of developing constructive solutions to the problems we have identified above. 

We offer our organization to serve as the hub of this new solution. If you are interested in joining us in this endeavor, we urge you to contact Rene Laws, Chairperson of the District 7610 Diversity Committee at 7610diversitycommittee@gmail.com . We commit to being part of the solution.
  
For far too long, the problems and devastating societal impacts from racial inequality, have gone unquestioned. In our communities, we know too many police officers unfairly labeled as racists who are judged by other’s actions. We also know far too many of our friends and neighbors who have been judged simply by the color of their skin and size of their bank account. It is time for a change. Let that change continue with us. 
 
We look forward to hearing from those interested in being part of the solution.

YIR,

Jonathan Lucus, District Governor
Harry Henderson, District Governor-elect
Patricia Borowski, District Governor-Nominee
Sheila Brennan, District Governor-Nominee Designate
Rene Laws, District 7610 Diversity Chairperson
Felton Page, District 7610 Diversity Chairperson-elect
Dr. Janet Brown, Past District Governor 7610
Shawn Lumpkin, President-elect North Stafford Rotary Club
Dr. Deborah Jackson, President McLean Rotary Club
Tyra Garlington, President Tysons Corner Rotary Club
Barry Gordon, President-elect Fairfax Rotary Club
Engie Mokhtar, President Alexandria West Rotary Club
William Berry, President-elect Alexandria West Rotary Club
Stephanie Arnold, President Falls Church Rotary Club
Loretta “Lori” Prencipe, District 7610 Public Image Chairperson-elect
Theresa Coats Ellis, District 7610 Area Governor, Area 6 Prince William County
Wallicia Gill, President-elect Centreville and Chantilly Rotary Club
Raquel Neumann, President Arlington Rotary Club
Katie Gould, President Leesburg Rotary Club
Black Lives Matter Walk
By Dan (Kaz) Kasmierski, Gainesville-Haymarket
On 12 June 2020, The Gainesville-Haymarket Rotary Club organized and participated in a Black Lives Matter Peace Walk for Justice in Haymarket Virginia.
The Gainesville Rotary Club demonstrated a strong and diverse membership that strives each and every day to be all-inclusive, supportive of change and people of action within the local community and beyond.
And the Winner is:
By Holly Graf, Youth Contest Coordinator
Results Of Youth Contests for 2019-2020
Results of District 7610 Annual Essay Contest

First place: Peyton Walcott sponsored by Great Falls
 
Second Place: Grace Kasten sponsored by Falls Church

Third Place: Avalon Gallardo sponsored by Herndon

First place, $750, second $500, and third $250. 
Peyton Walcott
First Place Winner
Rotary Clubs of West Springfield, Louisa County, Fairfax City, and Rappahannock also sponsored students who competed. The competition was open to all middle school student and their topic was the Four Way Test. 


Results of District 7610 Annual Speech Contest .
First Place Meredith Endres, sponsored by RC of Alexandria, in Area 7

Second Place Olivia Thompson sponsored by RC of Louisa Country Area 1

Third Place Abdullah Usufzai sponsored by RC of Gainesville Haymarket in Area 5

First place, $1000, Second $500, and third $250. 

We had 5 students competing at the District level competition from high schools across the District 7610. The topic for the speeches was the theme chosen by the 2019-2020 RI President, Mark Daniel Maloney – Rotary Connects the World, calling on leaders to expand connections to their communities and to embrace innovative membership models. Clubs can listen to videos of speeches given by going to District website.

Clubs may sponsor a student in next years youth competitions by following the directions on the District website and sent to all club presidents in pmail. Sponsoring a student in either contest is a great way to connect with your local community by involving the youth. Next year we will also add the Music Contest to the Youth Contests program. 
Chuggin' Along
By Tommy Neuman, President, Warsaw
The Warsaw Rotary Club, the Little Club that Could, has been busy these past few months while not meeting together. We meet via Zoom to share news on how our Rotary family is faring and to continue to make plans to meet our yearly obligations.

We HAVE fed the hungry, provided help to our local food bank which feeds folks from 7 counties, helped our Domestic Abuse shelter fund counseling, provided 2 scholarships to graduating seniors going off to college next year, raised 100 Flags for Hero's over Memorial Day and getting ready to do so again to celebrate America's birthday.
We have also decided to meet face to face over a steak BBQ observing social distance at Naylors Beach Campground on Wednesday, 1 July.. We will have music, food, and fellowship along with the traditional handover of the gavel of leadership from current President Tommy Neuman to incoming President Michael Bergamo. We are limiting the size of our group while PDG Tommy will swear in the new officers. Year end awards will be giving at that time as well. PE Michael will unveil his plans for 2021.

Respectfully submitted,

Tommy Neuman...President Short Timer
A Helping Hand from Annandale
By Jim McConville, Annandale
Since the start of the pandemic, the Annandale Rotary Club has contributed a total of $3500 to the Annandale Christian Community for Action (ACCA) for food packaging. ACCA is a long time, non profit, coalition of 22 churches in Annandale. They have a food pantry which accepts non perishable food donations. and monetary donations to purchase perishable items. The Rotary contributions were used to purchase items, such as milk, eggs, butter, meat and fresh vegetables. All of these items are packed in food boxes and delivered to families in need. In May, 274 households with a total of 952 individuals received food assistance from ACCA. Food is given to any who are in need.

The club has also contributed $4,000 to the Annandale United Methodist Church which operates what they have dubbed the "Mission Center." Prior to the current crisis, the church had been dealing with the existing need for feeding our residents by providingt a food pick-up program every Thursday. The Church continues to maintain their Thursday food pickups and are using our donations to have food available for the rest of the week. Since the start of the pandemic, the Mission Center has also had food deliveries prepared by Chef Jose Andreas on Monday and Friday afternoons, The deliveries average 500 people per night and lines form in early afternoon.

Annandale in one of the most diverse areas in Fairfax County, with the lowest income levels. Every school in the Annandale High School Pyramid, with the exception of one middle school, has a food pantry.
Four Leesburg High School Seniors Receive Rotary Scholarships
By Frances Cox, Leesburg
Students Recognized for Academic Excellence and a Commitment to ‘Service Above Self’

The Rotary Club of Leesburg has awarded its 2020 Perry Winston Scholarships to:

Anna Lunt (Tuscarora High School),

Megan Seaman (Heritage High School) and

Farrah Raj (Heritage High School).

The annual awards support Leesburg students who demonstrate economic needs, academic excellence and a commitment to Service Above Self.
 
“The members of the Rotary Club of Leesburg are pleased to honor Anna, Megan and Farrah for their many accomplishments and to support their higher education pursuits. We applaud their academic achievements and commitment to serving their communities,” said Valérie Beaudoin, Chair of the Rotary Club of Leesburg Scholarship Committee. “During these challenging times, we are in special need of a next generation of leaders who put Service Above Self, and we have every confidence that these students are among those who will make this world a better place.”
 
Through its Perry Winston Scholarship Fund, the Rotary Club of Leesburg annually awards three (3) $10,000 scholarships for higher education expenses to deserving graduating seniors from the three Leesburg high schools – Heritage High School, Loudoun County High School and Tuscarora High School. Now in its 34 th year, it is one of the most generous scholarships available in Loudoun County. The Club also annually supports the Monroe Advanced Technical Academy Award.  
Feeding Our Community
By Dave Borowski, District PI Chair, Bailey's Crossroads
The Bailey’s Crossroads Rotary Club is continuing its efforts to help alleviate food insecurity in the Bailey’s Crossroads community during these difficult economic times. Our club is committed to distributing $40,000 in donations by the end of this Rotary year for food to area food banks like ACCA - Annandale Christian Community for Action and Dar Al-Hijrah Food Pantries. 
The club has also made cash donations to the St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church and Columbia Baptist Church food pantries in Falls Church.
In addition, members are holding their own meal packaging events at their homes and giving the packaged meals to food banks to ease the problem of food insecurity .
Bailey’s Rotarians are truly People of Action.
A Virtual Luau to Kick Off the Virtual Convention
By Lauri Menzel, Major Gifts Officer
A Donor Luau was held on June 14 th to show appreciation for Paul Harris Society, Major Donors, Arch Klumph Society, and Bequest Society members as we come to the end of our Rotary year and prepare for the first ever virtual RI Convention. Since we were unable to go to Hawaii, Rotarians were transported to Hawaii through beautiful photos, traditional music and even personal insight. Attendees wore their favorite Aloha shirt, shared a tropical background and beverage.
 
RI Director Stephanie Urchick offered her sincere thanks to all the Rotarians for their generous support of The Rotary Foundation. Many on the call shared their personal testimony of the importance and impact of giving to The Rotary Foundation. It was truly inspiring. The event closed with Don Ho and Tiny Bubbles!
New Members
These are the new members added in May 2020