Winter Dispatched March 20

Winter wound down with our April 20 meeting the day of the Vernal equinox. it was a gloomy day but Brendan Black lightened our mood with a very bad joke and then an Inspiration that drew parallels between the life skills our speaker Coach Berenson instilled in his hockey players and our Rotary MOTTO.

And to further celebrate our speaker, Rick Ingram led us in the Michigan alma mater and of course, Hail to the Victors.

President Greg opened the meeting wondering why the “colors that float in the night” are yellow and blue and not Maize and blue, but Rick was unable to answer. President Greg then thanked the usual suspects and asked that our many visitors stand to be be recognized as he read their names.

Our Japanese exchange student, Rune Kiguchi, exchanged flags with President Greg.  She goes to Pioneer and has lived with three host families this year. She has seen much of the US during her stay, going to Boston, NYC and Washington DC  and after school gets out she is going out for West for two weeks.

Moms, Motors and a Meal, our Spring Fling event, will be Sunday, May 12 at the Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum. We will stroll around the cars and enjoy a buffet by the Sidetrack. The party is 4:00 – 7:00 pm. Cost is $30.00 per person, $10.00 for children under 12. There will be a cash bar serving beer and wine. Reservations begin April 3 and must be paid by April 30. Sign up at lunch or by email to Agnes Reading,

Karen Kerry took the podium to announce the very happy news that Fisher House has just received its first seven-figure donation.  The donor has not been announced but this generous gift put the project over the goal.  This ambitious project was suggested by Past President Ashish Sarkar and brought to this finish line by Karen and her husband Brad Chick.  Shovel Day is June 14, Flag Day.  There will be much more information about this as the wonderful day approaches.

Past President Ashsih brought Burt Voss and Eldon Berry to the podium to join him in presenting a plaque to Shelley MacMillan, who is retiring as Executive Director of the Glacier Hills Foundation.  He credited Shelley with the great success of the Rotarians at Glacier Hills meetings that have meant so much to Rotarians – members of our club as well as other clubs – and that now are open to all who want to attend.

Phil Weiss is looking for eight to twelve DOGS (Doers of Good Service) to do some Spring clean up Leslie Science and Nature Center on Saturday, April 13.  The project will be from 9:00am to Noon at the center, 1831 Traver.  Bring gardening tools and gloves, and let Phil know you are coming:

Brandon Black introduced Sam Talsma and Kaitlin Hermanson, two of the fifteen Rotaractors who went for the second year to El Porvenir, Honduras, to rebuild the school.  The Rotaractors joined an international group of long term volunteers and staff as they repaired the roof, replaced a walkway that preserved the foundation, and power washed and then painted the school, making it safe and useable during the rainy season.  They showed a video that chronicled a big amount of heavy work done with smiles and determination.

Notes from the Program

Dennis Powers introduced our speaker, former ice hockey coach Red Berenson.  Coach Berenson then delivered a very lively and entertaining afternoon.   He has always been committed to education,  for himself and his players, preparing for life after hockey.

As a high school student in Saskatchewan,  Gordon Arthur “Red, The Red Baron” Berenson researched US universities that emphasized academics but also had a good hockey program,  settling on Michigan.  He graduated from Michigan’s School of Business and played professional hockey for 17 years, coached briefly, and came to Michigan in 1984.  He and his son, Gordie, both came to Michigan in 1984.  The Michigan hockey program had been ranked 9th in the Big Ten for the last two years, as all Michigan fans know, Coach Berenson brought the program to national prominence.

Coach Bereson retired from coaching in 2017 but not from active and passionate involvement in Michigan hockey.  He is working on endowing the 18 hockey scholarships allowed under NCAA rules, and is hoping that other sports, especially the non-revenue sports, will also endow scholarships.  He currently needs $25 million for this endeavor.

Coach Berenson told some wonderful stories about his reunions with several of the teams he has played with over the years.  He also told us about his canoe trips.  Those trips are an annual event, last year it was a long one on the Missouri.  He is often tapped as a speaker, and told of being at a loss for a topic when addressing a group of autobody professionals.  He struck on noting the similarity of successful sports participation and business:  the need for leadership, motivation, discipline, and team work.    He addressed the challenge of coaching through the generations, noting that it is hard to get buy in from Millenials and that coaches have to turn around the expectations and presumption of entitlement of many current young people to demanding dedication, hard work, and discipline – what can you do for the program – from students and players.

President Greg closed the program observing, “The lesson you teach is the life you live.”