Falmouth Foghorn
February 24, 2014
            I could tell you I agonized over whether to cancel tonight’s meeting (not) but it wasn’t going to snow until well after we were done (even allowing for Jim L’s announcements).  There was a chill in the air and with tonight’s eventual snow Boston will almost certainly go over 100 inches for the season making it the second most in history – most 107.6 inches in 1995-6.
            We rebounded from two weeks of low attendance (10 last week) to 16 tonight so that was great.  Had a surreal conversation with an unnamed member about our increase in attendance being 160% (me) or 60% (him).  I suspect we were both right, it was a question of the number of calculations one had to make.  We opted to agree to disagree although it was pointed out I merely went to law school while they went to business school.
            Since we were still an intimate group we waited while Don H and tonight’s speaker went to get libations before starting. Linda R was present and before the meeting started.  The Pledge was led by Cuddy, the song by Chet F who continued into the benediction.  We immediately went to the plentiful buffet beginning with salad with seafood salad as a component, followed by stuffed pork roll, mac’n cheese with ham, baked fish, potatoes and green beans.   Chef Kevin passed through having made it back from the Caribbean (Eleuthera I think).  I thanked him for last week’s dinner featuring steak and duck breast.  It seems they had a function the day before and snow kept attendance down so we got the benefit – thank you Atria and Chef Kevin.
            The raffle ticket was drawn by the completely impartial Paulette Boudrot and Dave W was the winner.  Thanks to all who played.
V.R. & G:
            We were visited by Paulette Boudrot from District 7950 who is coordinating the Rotary Leadership Institute (not affiliated with RI but all about all things Rotary).  Amy D brought back a repeat guest Christine Novack.  Our speaker was Rich O’Connor.  Welcome to one and all.
            Rotary Leadership Institute – a great way to learn more about Rotary – deadline to register is 3/11 and event is 3/21.  Paulette Boudrot filled us in the schedule and the possibilities. Lots to learn about Rotary.
            Induction of Bill McD will tentatively be held on 3/3.
            Recognition of Craft Fair Suppliers is scheduled for 3/10.
            Jim L spoke “briefly” about the Walk for Water rescheduled for 4/17 which now also involves the Chamber, and our Guatemala project.
            District Conference is scheduled for 4/23-26.  We are doing this partnered with District 7255 and it will be in Mystic, CT.  Contact me for further information or go on line and check it out.
            Million Dollar Meal rescheduled to 4/28.
            Jim Tow is back from visits to the hospital for knee (?) surgery, discharge, back to the hospital, then to rehab and finally home.  You never want to stay too long in these places; people can get sick there.  You can send Jim get well or welcome home wishes at jimtow@att.com.
            Not so serious announcement – Headline on MSN.com – Oscars: what a ratings dip of 16% means.  According to the article not as many people watched as last year – should we blame Neil Patrick Harris (who to be honest was not so good).  According to the article the ratings dip means absolutely nothing - ABC doesn’t care – they still get more viewers than almost everything else.  There went a couple of minutes I’ll never get back.        
Happy Bucks:
            Newish member Dave W was kind enough to let himself get volunteered to collect happy bucks and he got right into the spirit by being happy for winning the raffle and returning the money!
            Paulette B was glad to visit us.
            Peter F was happy the Bruins won a game (not tonight) and for Jim T.
            Chet F is sure spring is coming.
            Ken B agreed predicting the snow will be gone by St. Patrick’s Day.
            Nick N spent quality time with two granddaughters.
            Scoba R was glad Steve C is back but not with us.
            George P was happy for Jim T.
            Will B was $15 happy for Paulette Boudrot and RLI which he has attended, and to be back with us.      
            Just for something completely different, I brought up the Black Death which as we all know occurred in Europe in the 14th Century and caused millions of deaths over a 400 year period.  It has historically been blamed on black rats and the fleas that rode in on them coming from Asia.  Scandinavian scientists have determined by examining climatic records that the rats were not to blame.  They have determined that instead the animals coming from Asia that were responsible were – giant gerbils (or their fleas).  This is actually true, although I have no idea how big a giant gerbil is (probably the size of a rat)!  Anyway keep that is mind if you’re pet shopping and thinking of a gerbil!  
            Don H introduced tonight’s speaker Colonel (ret) Richard B. O’Connor who is an adjunct Professor at the Van Loan School for Graduate and Professional Studies at Endicott College, Beverly, MA.  The Colonel served 37 years in the US Army leading complex organizations in the areas of supply, maintenance, transportation, distribution and emergency management; including serving as a Squadron Commander in Iraq (2005-6) and a Brigade Commander in Afghanistan (2010-11).  Rich also served as staff to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. 
            Rich was born in Needham, MA and entered the Army as an enlisted man in 1976 and received his commission as a Second Lieutenant in 1985 He is married with a son who served with him in Iraq where he received the Purple Heart.  Rich himself had a long list of awards and medals.
            Rich gave us some vignettes about service, thoughts on teaching, and reflections on leadership.  His first vignette was after living in Boston in the 1970’s he did his training in South Carolina where they had an entirely different view of what was happening in Boston.  He served with the 101st Airborne in Korea and the 10th Mountain Division in Germany, Bosnia, and Serbia.  It is worth noting that these are two of the most honored and historic units in the Army.  A second vignette was experiencing first hand “ethnic cleansing” in Serbia. 
            In 2000 Rich was assigned to the Pentagon where he was stationed on September 11, 2001 when the planes crashed into the Pentagon and he described the aftermath to us.  Rich shared a story of being assigned to Worcester Polytechnic Institute after 9/11 and discovering that there was no US Flag being flown on campus. He told us the story of getting the flagpole moved out from under a historic tree so that our flag could be proudly flown.  Subsequently he was deployed to Iraq in 2005 (along with his son and he reflected on the life of Army wives whose husband and son were both in the theater.  He was in northern Iraq among the Yahzidi who were Zoroastrians and not loved by other Iraqi and recently were under attack by IS.
            During his time at the National Defense University Rich authored a report on Collateral Damage and Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome including recommendations on treatment and handling.  In 2010 Rich commanded a Brigade in Afghanistan comprising 40,000 men.  He shared a story about the dogs used in the operations and a meeting he had with an Army Vet who couldn’t provide adequate treatment of the dogs that were injured because of the lack of an ambulance to transport wounded dogs and administer immediate treatment.  Rich was able to solve that problem as benefit of command.  Rich shared that the best leadership is Competent, Confident, and Compassionate.
            This was an outstanding program!  Thanks to Rich and to Don H for bringing him.
Next Week:
            Our meeting next week will be a Club Assembly at which time members of the Board of Directors will respond to questions from the members.  This is a great time to share whatever thoughts you have about the Club.  Please come with questions you have always wanted to ask about Falmouth Rotary and Rotary International.  See you there!