Meeting Notes, August 7, 2019

President Rosemarie quieted a room full of committee meetings with the opening bell promptly at 12:25pm. She called for a Moment of Silence to remember the lives lost over this last weekend.

Vic Stoeffler asked where we get our inspiration? He gets his from the indomitable spirit of the people he meets in his psychotherapy practice and the eager, attentive faces he sees when he reads to preschoolers at Head Start. Whether we get inspiration from nature, art, books, music, other people, he urges to embrace and enjoy inspiration, because without it, ‘we become hollow and shallow human beings.”

President Rosemarie thanked the Rotarians who make the meetings run smoothly, and had just finished greeting guests when the doors burst open and a frustrated golfer rushed in, asking where the 19th hole is??? Kati Bauer showed us a gorgeous golf bag that will be in the Golf and Tennis Outing Auction and told us of other great prizes on offer. More items, especially things to do and gift cards, are welcome so let her know if you have something to contribute.

Golf and Tennis Chairman Ashish Sarkar told us that there is room for more sponsors and golfers and reminded us to sign up for dinner. He extended a special invitation to new members as this is a chance to come to know other Rotarians outside of the formal meeting setting.

President Rosemarie recognized Dan Lewan and Mary Avrakotos for co-chairing the International Humanitarian Committee. She announced a special meeting of the Program Committee, who is soliciting ideas for speakers to round out our August schedule. Contact Dawn Johnson with ideas: dawnlynn@umich.edu. Ebru Misrli Mansfield reported a secret Social Committee event planned for Friday, September 20 – stand by for details.

Tom Millard, Director in charge of Public Image, confirmed that the hard deadline for items to be posted in Harpoon is 6:00pm Friday. This is a VERY hard deadline – your intrepid reporter got caught last week!

September and October are very busy and exciting months for our Club. President Rosemarie gave us a rundown of events:
Satellite Club: Tuesday, August 13, time and location TBA
Happy Hour: Dominicks’s, Thursday, August 15, 5:30
Golf and Tennis Outing, Monday, September 9
Rotary One Summit: Saturday, September 14, Concordia University
Meeting will be at the City Club: Wednesday, October 2
October 23: World Polio Day
October 24: Peace in the Streets
November 2: Rotary Foundation Dinner

Notes from the Meeting

Dennis Powers introduced our speaker, Bill Bryant.  Bill is the Director of Buddy-to -Buddy, one of five programs under the University umbrella that help veterans and their families negotiate the problems and issues that arise when veterans return to civilian life.  Dennis reminded us that PTSD does not go away, but peole can learn to manage it.

Bill told us that Buddy-to-Buddy is a peer support volunteer program.  There are 300 trained volunteers across Michigan who support veterans with listening and referrals to the many resources that are available to veteran but not widely known or sometimes easily accessible.  The biggest problem for veterans is overcoming the stigma associated with asking for help.  It is seen as weakness, something not acceptable in military service. Because they are peers, volunteers can break through this reluctance to ask for help. The volunteers not only make referrals, they also make the first contact, explain what the veteran needs, when and how best to contact the veteran, and then follows up to be sure the contact was made and the problem is being addressed.  More than 5300 veterans have been helped by Buddy-to-Buddy in the last ten years.

Michigan is home to more than 650,000 veterans, 45% of whom are 65 or older.  Only 18% of Michigan veterans receive benefits, which puts Michigan in the five states receiving the lowest benefits.  Bill regrets that the VA has a poor reputation among veterans.  It is Buddy-to Buddy’s greatest partner.  Although Buddy-to-Buddy is under a University of Michigan umbrella and has access to all the academic and social resources of the University, it receives no funding and relies on grants and philanthropy.