More than 70 Rotarians from all around District 5160 – including a pretty impressive coterie of District “brass” – came to help us celebrate the most important event so far in our Club’s history, the celebration of our official status as a fully chartered Rotary Club.
Special Events Chair Ed Stern and his working group – Cheryl Feldman, Cathy Preovolos and Polly McCall – had our meeting room done up in royal Hawai’ian style – ready to greet our visitors and members as they began to arrive at around 5.
Nader El Kabanny and his Marriott crew put out stupendous island-style heavy hors d’oeuvre – all nicely presented in the hotel lobby – for the enjoyment of our 70+ attendees, who were in no hurry to “get to meeting”, as they partook of drink and the delight of renewing old friendships and making new ones.
In the fullness of time President Tom called the proceedings to order. Sheryl Lea led us in the Pledge of Allegiance, then President Tom introduced the dignitaries at the head table: first and foremost was our keynote speaker and Past Rotary International President Cliff Dochterman. Also, honored guests District Governor Laura Day; District 5160 Rotarian of the Year Cecil “Pancho” Padilla; Past District Governor Karl Diekman and his bride Romi; District Governor Elect Steve Lack; my bride and Rotarian Gina Snyder; our MC, Charter Committee Member and Special Representative to the District Governor Pete Friesen; Past District Governor Dave Dacus; and Assistant District Governor Ken Courville and his bride Mary Ann.
With the preliminaries completed, President Tom turned the evening’s program over to our MC, Pete Friesen.
The first order of business was Past President Brian Kendall‘s narrative of the history of our Club from a gleam in a few Rotarians’ eyes through idea to remote possibility to possibility to probability to growing the club to Chartering. It is a terrific story, and when I receive a transcript, I’ll send it to all members, and post it on this blogsite for all to read. Brian also mentioned for special thanks, our Sponsoring Clubs: Alamo, Cordelia, Dixon, Rio Vista and Vallejo.
Next up, President Tom offered special recognition of our Charter Committee – the folks that started with that eye-glint, and delivered a Chartered Club:
Past President Brian, Club Vice President Jim Aquino, the inimitable Vallejo noon Club Past President LaGuan Lea, MC and Vallejo noon Club Past President Pete, and long time Vallejo Rotarian Jerry Wilkerson.
Past President Brian was next to be honored as Carol Larson, Janet Kendall and Gina Snyder presented him with a big poster emblazoned “Thank You Past President Brian” and “Watch the Sunset Rise!” featuring photos of each of our Charter Committee and each of our Charter Members. They also gave Brian a “Memory Book” containing images of each of our Charter Members with a quote and word of thanks from each of them. Finally, the Committee gifted Brian with Cliff Dochterman’s book “As I Was Saying…”, specially inscribed to Brian by the author.
The Past District Governors who oversaw the nearly two-year process that got us to Charter then rose to recount their impressions and Past President Brian and the Charter Committee labored. PDG Karl Diekman recounted the earliest steps, and told of his frustration at the seeming snails pace of our Club’s growth. He said that he almost “pulled the plug” on the process, but that having seen the success we’ve attained, he is glad it went through. PDG Dave Dacus related the pleasure of seeing growing momentum as we grew toward our required Charter Membership of 30; he expressed pride that it was his signature that appears on our Club’s Charter. It fell to District Governor Laura Day to physically present our Charter to President Tom Snyder. She added her pleasure at seeing as to how we “did it our way”, and offered best wishes for continued success as the newest Rotary Club in district 5160.
Our Keynote Speaker Past RI President Cliff Dochterman entertained and inspired us with a speech that was based on nearly 50 years of Rotary experience. Both funny and inspiring, no Rotarian who’s heard Cliff will ever forget the impact his words have had upon them, both in their Rotary lives and in their personal, business lives as well. Cliff received a well-deserved standing ovation at talk’s end.
President Tom presented Cliff with a memento from our Club: a miniature of the “Thank You Past President Brian” poster featuring images of all 30 of our Charter Members, signed with appreciation by Past President Brian and President Tom. President Tom then asked Special Events Chair Ed Stern and his Committee, Cheryl Feldman, Cathy Preovolos, and Polly McCall to stand for our applause in appreciation of the work they did in mounting this special event. Our attendees also gave warm applause to hotel manager and Club member Nader El Kabanny for the work he and his hotel crew did and the food they provided. Thanks also went out to the Special Recognition Committee, Carol Larson, Janet Kendall and Gina Snyder for putting together Brian’s mementos.
After reminding Club members about our 1 August meeting, President Tom closed the meeting at 7 PM. Amazingly, right on schedule!