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Robby Riggs — Rise Against Hunger

Posted by on Tuesday, February 5th, 2019 in Blog

Reported by Bobby Brown

Greetings! This is Bobby Brown, February’s Rotary reporter. As they used to say on the old show Dragnet “Nothing but the facts, ma’am”. Well the fact is that it’s February 5, 2019, and it’s a beautiful day to be a Rotarian! Spring-like weather and Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction of an early spring may be right. Today’s synopsis: James Gavin is the photographer — can’t wait to see those classic photos; and Sgt-at -Arms Josue Limon is keeping the riff raff at bay. Our greeter today is David Palmer and last, but not least, our Host is Rod Simonsen.

A call to order was made by our fantastic President Julie Benkoski. Pledges were led by Past President Dick Brown, our Invocation was given by President Elect Bill Davies, and the Four Way Test was led by Caroline Valentine. I practically tear up when we all stand and pledge the flags and thank God for our blessings and pray for those less fortunate.

The Membership Minute was provided by Jill Johnson who has great experience in the financial sector especially helping those needing a home and those who already have a home. Jill became a Rotarian to honor her father, a lifetime Rotarian, and to set a wonderful example for her son to do good, especially in this sometimes hostile world we live in.

Tillery Castillo reminded us to grab some friends and come to the annual Membership Soiree this Thursday, February 7, from 5:30-7:30pm at the Headliners Club (21st floor of the Chase Tower at 221 West 6th St. in Downtown Austin).

Now here are some real facts: Angels walk among us! Namely Ronney and Mary Reynolds whose good works and benevolence have earned them, not only a special place in our hearts, but also the Rotary Benefactor Award! Congratulations and thank you both for your service!

Girish Altekar updated us on the impact RCA has around the world during the Global Awareness Update. From helping the world attain peace, preventing disease, water sanitation, maternal health, child welfare, education, and the economic development of communities around the world, our Club has done some outstanding things!

President Julie reminded us that South by Southwest w ill preclude meeting at St. David’s on March 12, 2019. Cluster Meetings will be held on Tuesday, March 19th (during the week of Spring Break), and WE NEED HOSTS! Please contact Jennifer if you’re willing to host one of these smaller meetings on the 19th!

She also thanked everyone who attended the District Foundation Dinner on Saturday night; and she reminded us to reflect on the passing of former Club member C.L. Ray (retired Texas Supreme Court Justice). And to pray for Past President Bruce Golden who is recovering from his recent surgery.

The Thank Goodness Basket brought an introduction from Ann Graham who recently returned from a trip to Turkey and reflected that her Austin Presbyterian Group is promoting peace, freedom, and freedom of the press in Turkey. Don’t take our freedoms here in America for granted, Ms. Graham reminded us.

Mark Kapner is thankful he’s launching a new business venture (Solar Annuity Partners) with his partner Virginia Palmer. Mike O’Krent thanked Dr. Pat Beckham, saying “If you’ve got a pain in the derriere call Dr. Beckham”! David Menchaca asked if anyone needed an intern since he has a nephew at Texas A&M who’s looking for an internship.

Jim Gdula w as thankful for getting to play golf with son and his daughter-in-law; and he was proud of Kimberly, his daughter-in-law, who hit a hole in one (and that’s nothing but the facts)! Finally, Edis Oliver just got back from Chicago and had to leave during the “Big Freeze”– all went well!

After a few minutes of Fellowship time, Ann Marie Ellis introduced our speaker, Robby Riggs. Ann Marie also reminded us that after the hurricane in Haiti it was Rotarians who first brought in relief supplies.

“A man only begins to grasp the true meaning of life who plants shade trees under which he knows he will never sit” (ancient Greek proverb — Many others have taken credit for saying). This quote sums up our guest speaker Robby Riggs (native Texan/world traveler) with Rise Against Hunger.

Robby talked about how he and his organization, Rise Against Hunger, are fighting to feed the 821 million hungry humans (those who are unable to have continuous sustenance) on earth. From Malaysia to India, Thailand to Bolivia, Columbia to Venezuela, and all parts of the world Robby has been partnering with whomever he can to feed those in need.

He told a story about how, with the help of “Miss Venezuela”, they were able to get a container of 281,120 meals to those in need in the current Venezuelan crisis. More will follow if they can just get authorities (i.e. customs) on board!

Robby spoke about how he determined at an early age he wanted to spend his life helping others, and it sounds like he’s doing a great job! As I stated before…Fact: Angels walk among us! Help our Club with Rise Against Hunger on Saturday, February 23rd! Shifts start at 8 am, and we’ll be filling food bags at Tarrytown United Methodist Church.

Special thanks to two of our Rotary Reminder advertisers: Bill Koen — Joe Koen and Son Jewelers and Andy Swanson – Centric Commercial Real Estate. President Julie closed with a Thought for the Day: “A winner is a dreamer who never gives up.” by Nelson Mandela.

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