The First Quarter:
The second half of President Mark Edgecomb’s year started in full-Zoom fashion in January of 2021. Lakewood Rotary’s first Little Free Pantry was unveiled. A program on Lakewold Gardens was featured. Major Donors Rose Stevens and Phil Eng were honored for reaching the $10,000 level of giving to the Rotary Foundation. Puffin James Osundwa asked, “What are Puffins exactly?” Well, that set off a paroxysm of explanations and photos! A Valentine’s Eve Zoom Party was announced; many new traditions were born during this Covid-19 pandemic. There were 60 attendees at one Zoom meeting that Mark managed masterfully, with the help of Leanna Christian. Mary Horn announced a move away from Clubrunner to DACdb.
The Treasurer and the Bulletin Editor were noticed to be cringing, but it worked out OK, eventually. The online auction prep started in February, and one program featured Domino’s Pizza, soon to be a major sponsor. Fellowship included hikes to stay outdoors together during Covid. The second LFP was started. We got a thank you from Wreaths Across America, one of the hundreds of small to medium gifts LR makes all year long, such as the Break Bags. Our very-own DG Greg Horn reported that over 400 attended the District 5020 training. At Lakewood Rotary, it was announced that over $6000 was raised for Rotary Foundation in one week!!
The Second Quarter (almost halftime):
In April, we had our DG visit, all the way from Lake Steilacoom. Greg Horn reported that 5020 has 993 clubs and about 4400 members—the biggest international district in the RI world. Spring Fling game night was announced as a smaller fundraiser to support the LR projects and budget. We ultimately raised about $7695 on this unique game night. Sweat equity work included a work party at the South Sound Wildlife Park (the game refuge on Chambers Creek). As another fundraiser, LR Rotarians paid or pledged money to see our President Mark and President-Elect Jim Rooks jump into Steilacoom Lake on a date to be announced. When it finally happened, at the Mazoff=Whalen compound on the lake, new President-Elect-Elect Jason Whalen would join them. The Little Free Pantries are meanwhile popping up all over Lakewood!
The Auction grew closer, and Sip by Sip was born, a wine tasting and pre-auction event dreamed up by Steve and Anne Enquist. That fundraiser within a fundraiser added some more oomph to the Auction when it happened in June. Education Incentive Awards (formerly known as scholarships) were given to deserving local high school students at one (still) virtual meeting.
I think that was about $10,000 or more.
In the pre-meeting gathering, it was announced that President Mark had Covid-19, but he survived to finish his reign in style. A virtual District Conference was announced for June. In June, we held our first-ever online Auction, and the take was reported at more than $80,000, so it was more successful than we could have hoped.
Thanks were given to Nicole Hancock and Eric Quinn, co-leaders of the committee, who said that many more needed to be thanked. Sponsors galore were named at varying levels, so the costs of the Auction were more than covered by sponsorships. Domino’s Pizza gave so much that they are featured in a free ad in every bulletin of LR through next June! The Installation was held in-person at the Tacoma Country and Golf Club for our first time together in countless months. Yay! Goodbye to Mark Edgecomb was fondly conveyed, and a warm welcome was given to President Jim Rooks. John Magnuson wrote a nice summary in the bulletin of the 2021-2021 year at LR…worth re-reading. How about that awesome stable of writers of our Lakewood Key, led by Ole and by Greg Rediske, according to Donn Irwin and others who follow very well. We finished June with about 5 LFPs, thanks to the likes of Mark Blanchard and John Lowney, who do the physical building, and Bob Zawilski, Rose Stevens, and Sally Porter Smity, who were so instrumental in getting this program going. Bob went over to a Gig Harbor Rotary club and spoke about it; they immediately committed to building four LFPs over there.
Quarter #3: A New Reign Begins!
Little Free Pantries 5 and 6 have been installed by July.
An in-person Board meeting was held at Tacoma Country & Golf Club. Usually not newsworthy, but this has been nonexistent during the pandemic. A hailstorm erupted during one July meeting. No, notice pellets. It was just LR Rotarians going crazy to donate big to the Lakewood Community Foundation in honor of the late Ward Fletcher. He was a massive contributor to the RI Foundation. We celebrated an old LR tradition this month with a Floating Board Meeting—an in-person party on the party boats of Lake Steilacoom. At the Floating Board picnic, we honored Greg Horn and his Chief of Staff—Mary Horn—for this great and challenging year as District Governor of District 5020. August included great fellowship events, including the Reeder Roadster Romp, which took us past the Winlock Egg, and we ended up in Cannon Beach.
Memorable. A club assembly was highlighted by the RI Foundation report from Steve Enquist. We are up to $1,275,000 as a club in our all-time giving and can boast 96 Paul Harris Fellows,19 Benefactors, 8 Bequest Society members, and 13 Major Donors. Our RI Foundation giving in the recently completed Rotary year exceeded $50,000 when one includes the Annual Fund, Polio Plus, the endowment, and our club contributions to global grants. It is an LR priority for sure. August also so the club’s interest in a Peanut Butter Challenge, which involved collecting peanut butter at grocery stores and then giving it to the food bank. Then, in late August, it finally happened! We were back at the Country Club on a Friday at noon for an in-person Rotary meeting for the first time since March of 2020. Unbelievable. The only new wrinkle was that we also had a Zoom component with about a dozen members and guests attending virtually—a so-called hybrid meeting. A different and exciting program featured our very own Morris Northcutt and his escapades worldwide, playing his trumpet and making fine music. One September program featured Past President Ben Sclair (whose Mom was also an LR President), who spoke about his family’s love of airplanes and flying them. September saw the induction of at least one new member—something we excelled at in 2021 for some unknown reason. More on that in the fourth quarter.
The Final Quarter—it was a doozy.
Kendra Riconosciuto reported that altogether more than 2000 jars of peanut butter were collected in our two-day drive. Not bad! In October, we will support the South Tacoma Rotary’s Putt-Putt tourney and fundraiser at Harkness Furniture. The work party at the South Sound Wildlife area went very well. New District Governor Lorna Curtis motivated us during her DG visit this month and even helped induct another new Puffin into Lakewood Rotary. Community Concerns Committee led us to give $2000 to the Making a Difference Foundation, $900 to the Lakewood Art Festival, and $100 to the Hope Sparks Family Services, which helps families dealing with behavioral and emotional issues. A most interesting program was delivered by Andrew Siegel, a Seattle U. Law School professor who Anne Enquist wrangled into speaking to us about the current U.S. Supreme Court. Programs this year are truly being done by committee as several members stepped up to garner several programs each to make the Program Chair’s job a bit easier. In November, the Bulletin Committee had a rare glitch since we had no writer in attendance; in true LR fashion, Greg Rediske and Gayle Selden both stepped up to co-write a most extraordinary bulletin. We think a few items got reported twice but make no mistake: Mary Horn was awarded her 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th Paul Harris awards. That has to be the most PH awards awarded to one awardee in one sitting, at least in our club. November saw a lot of good work by LR Rotarians too. We were getting ready for the bike distribution at Christmas time again. So the Community Concerns Committee got us to pony up $2000 for the Waste Connection Build a Bike program. This is where we get about 40 bikes annually to give out. Rose Stevens said a special food collection was done at City Hall during the election cycle’s last days, and two vans worth of food were collected by LR working with Lakewood Lions. December festivities started with the Lakewood Rotary Partners sponsoring the annual Christmas Party at the club, featuring dancing and other festivities. Things felt pretty normal, even though we know they are not with the pandemic raging still. All of the December Puffin and LR giving projects are starting to heat up, as is preparation for the always fun Tom & Jerry party and Presidential Roast that all enjoy…well, all but one Rotarian enjoys it. At the second December meeting, the LFP committee and our Treasurer John Lowney updated us on the finances of the LFP. With a $10,000 grant from the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation and more than $3200 in member contributions, the LFP “balance” in the bank is healthy. John said it cost about $300 in materials alone to build one pantry, not to mention his hours and those of Mark Blanchard to install them. Hopefully, they get reimbursed for out-of-pocket costs at least. Of course, one of the year’s final highlights was the Roast of the President –Dr. Jim Rooks—on December 17th. The Roast and the Tom & Jerry’s did not disappoint. Amidst the merriment, a lot was raised for LR’s good causes. Speaking of which, the next day, a lot of us volunteered for either Break Bag distribution (for Communities in Schools) or bike distribution. Some, like maybe Greg Rediske, did both gigs the same day. Great job by our legions of Puffins in organizing the roasting of the president. This crop of Puffins is one of the largest I have ever seen in more than thirty (30) years in Lakewood Rotary. It was a very good year in some hard times; we cannot thank every one of you herein, but we have to mention the strong leadership of Mark Edgecomb, our 2020-21 President, and the very good first half of a Rotary year by our current Big Kahuna Jim Rooks.