Ashley Kamrath, Veterans/Military Service

Posted by on Tuesday, November 15th, 2016 in Blog


Reported by Jacqueline Sinex

President Dale Lowe called the meeting to order. James Gavin led the pledges, Past President Gaines Bagby gave the invocation and Grant Glauser led the Four Way Test. Introductions and guest greetings were enhanced by Richard Payton and Myron Burse.

Special Events and Announcements

Steve Stearns earned his blue badge as an engaged Rotary Club member. Congratulations, Steve! During announcements, we learned from Jon Yates that the Books for Me program was a success, and the program is now full. A visiting Rotarian from The Rotary Club of Belize shared information about his club, including their work with local school children who are burdened with paying for private education. The Belize club is holding after school programs and Wednesday softball. President Dale announced the upcoming holiday part on December 12th. Past President Gaines and other members shared a post-event update for the wine tasting the previous week. Several members were recognized as Paul Harris Fellows including: Joe Breeland, Tillery Castillo, Andrew Mondi, Jackie Sinex, and Jack Wolfe. This achievement marked a milestone for the Club, having (almost) reached 100% Paul Harris Fellow participation. Michael Portman led the Thank Goodness Basket with several comments and stories from members including: a newborn niece for Ellen Hunt, gratitude from Barry Curlee to President Lowe and Michael Portman for their 100% Paul Harris Fellowship efforts, Joseph Hang’s recognition as a top representative for Crystal Cruises and his plans to sail on their new ship, as well as other news from Rick Ravel, Tim Von Dohlen, Mark Johnson and Don Cook.

Ashley Kamrath—Veterans/Military Service

After Fellowship, Past President Ladd Pattillo introduced featured speaker Ashley Kamrath, a media professional and community leader working on behalf of military veterans. Ashley began her story by sharing that even at a very young age, she was recognized as “talking too much”. She always had a lot to say, and “it’s always been about the story”. In the mid 1950’s, a man named Larry met a woman named Ann and fell in love, just before he completed his military training in the Air Force at the top of his class. Larry and Ann married and had a daughter named Elizabeth, and made a journey to Fairbanks, Alaska where he would be stationed; shortly after their arrival, Larry’s plane went down and he was killed at the young age of 24. That man was Ashley’s grandfather, and baby Elizabeth was her mother. So, from a very young age, supporting the troops was a part of Ashley’s family life. The 4th of July and Veteran’s Day were always important events in her home. Many of her family members including her uncle served, however it was still a “norm” that did not greatly impact her childhood. It was during college, when the 9-11 tragedy occurred, that Ashley felt a direct emotional connection to the military. Immediately after the 9-11 incident, some of her own close friends joined the military and deployed. She felt helpless, so she sought ways to help. In an attempt to contribute, she started writing daily letters to her friends. As time went on, she met more amazing military soldiers and veterans and learned their stories. One friend, Michael Thornton, is a Medal of Honor recipient and an original Navy Seal, and she has built a strong and impactful relationship with him that has connected her to other opportunities.

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