As usual, the regular Thursday evening Rotary Club meeting was a mixture of fellowship, good times and serious discussion. Featured speaker was Rotarian Marty Helman who traveled to Thailand last winter with husband Frank to see first hand the good works being done by Friends of Thai Daughters (FTD).
The evening commenced with greetings and invocation by Irene Fowle. Kim Mills’ famous mac and cheese, followed by real blueberry pie, was served by Foster Stroup, Craig Tukey and Debbie Graves. Welcomed guests were Trudie Seybold (mother of Rotarian Patty) and Barbara and John Cikut of Houston and Boothbay Harbor.
President Dwight Swisher seemed especially delighted to be leading the last business meeting of his term. He passed the hat one more time for donations in Ken Honey’s honor, proceeds to purchase a needed item for the Gregory Wing at St. Andrews.
He announced that the club has received some great donations for the Aug. 1 auction, including a laser boat and motor. Not such good news was that the storage trailer needs several repairs. Members were asked to think about whether we want to continue the early breakfast on auction set-up day or substitute coffee and donuts on the Common.
Voluntary club-member donations for an Auction Barn now total $12,850. Dwight reminded members that since the Scout Hall was converted it is no longer available for auction storage, and we don’t know how long we will be able to use the former laundromat space in Meadow Mall. Significantly more donations are needed if we are to take advantage of Mike Thompson’s generous offer to donate his labor for construction of a new storage space.
Donations for the Spokes for Folks bike fund total $5,961. Rotarian Doug Roberts took delivery of 26 new bicycles this past week to begin the rebuilding of the fleet. Doug was thanked for the many hours he has put into this effort which helps our foreign guest workers pedal to their jobs on the peninsula. Great work Doug!
Other announcements included Patty Seybold reminding us about Awesome Seniors People Helping People, a new support group for seniors which is holding regular Friday meetings from 2-3:30 pm at the Boothbay Town Offices. Irene Fowle announced that the Silent Auction committee is off to a speedy start this year. Next week’s meeting will be the Changeover Dinner and awards night at the clubhouse. Spouses and guests are welcome, but Dwight requests a headcount in advance so that Kim can plan accordingly.
Sergeant-at-arms Mike Thompson collected lots of happy dollars, many of which were to honor I.J. Pinkham for his retirement; 45 years total, with 37 of those years being here in Boothbay. Many Rotarians remarked how their children and grandchildren had benefited from IJ’s expertise and guidance. Fellow retired-teacher Tony Curulla gave a sad dollar for the fact that it took IJ 45 years to get out of high school. Dollars were also contributed to thank Debbie Graves for bringing the Interact Club back to life. Interact won’t meet for the summer, but with Debbie’s mentoring the group continues to expand and become more involved. Great work Debbie!
Marty’s talk for the evening started with very sobering statistics about human trafficking and slave labor, very often involving children, and probably closer to home than many of us realize. The US State Department estimates that as many as two and a half million people are enslaved here in the U.S.
Modern-day slavery can be domestic servitude or sex trafficking (including children). The average age of a girl entering prostitution in either the U.S. or Thailand is 12-14 years old, and boys even younger.
Friends of Thai Daughters was started by Jane McBride and Patty Zinkowski of Barter’s Island who first found a small group of at-risk girls fending for themselves in Northern Thailand. Because Jane and Patty “count not walk away from these girls,” a small but remarkable organization is now in place. Marty shared a long and fascinating history of how a home was created, a housemother found, and most importantly, the opportunity for education was created. As these girls graduate and gain skills they “pay it forward” to help the younger girls in the program.
Our Rotary club has pledged $900 to purchase two new computers for the girls, and our International Committee is working to help one of the graduates who is earning a nursing degree with her goal to open a health clinic.
One way to help FTD, and learn more about the work they do, would be to attend the Sunflower Celebration, an evening of fun and fundraising, with live music, which will take place at the opera house on Aug. 12. Please see www.friendsofthaidaughters.org for more information.
To learn more about Rotary and about our Club and all the good things we do, visit www.boothbayharborrotary.org, or like us on Facebook.