downtown Austin

Member Showcase—Vlad Bahrencu, Harold Benkoski and Barbara Van Dyke

Posted by on Tuesday, September 19th, 2017 in Blog

Reported by Laraine Lasdon

President Sara Pantin called the meeting to order right at noon. James Gavin led the pledges and Ann Marie Ellis gave the invocation. Kevin Hull led us in reciting the “FOUR WAY TEST”. Kevin and Vlad Bahrencu were our greeters at the top of the stairs and Ann Marie introduced our visitors and guests.

Diane Ventresca announced that we need to recruit host families for the incoming Group Youth Exchange students from Perth (Australia) for two weeks in December. Please contact her if you have questions or would be willing to host.

Mary Reynolds reminded everyone about the upcoming Early Act First Knight Tournament of Champions at Pecan Springs Elementary on Tuesday, September 26th at 9 am. Then Jon Yates announced that he needs volunteers to help at the Pecan Springs Literacy Night on October 26th (and they need donated candy, preferably not chocolate). You can bring bags of candy to the Tuesday meetings up until then.

President Sara made several announcements and thanked those who attended the recent “Meet the Mayor” Event at City Hall.

Ann Graham led the Thank Goodness Basket and we heard good news from: Jon Yates, Rick Ravel, Harold Ingersoll, Leslie Bagby, James Gavin, Mark Johnson and Michelle Reynolds.

After Fellowship, Harold Ingersoll introduced our three members participating in the Member Showcase: Vlad Bahrencu, Harold Benkoski and Barbara Van Dyke.

Vlad Bahrencu is from Romania and shared with us how poor their family was and how he determined to excel – Tennis was his love and he won major tournaments that eventually led him to the USA, to university scholarships and the desire to excel but also to give back as a moral imperative in his life. He finally gave up tennis and secured his background in Financial Services and Planning and works closely with friends and clients to help secure their financial futures.

Harold Benkoski is about to be First Husband as Julia is President Elect of our club. He talked about his love of finance, his family and yes – gardening. Camp Enterprise, Helping Hand Home and sitting on the Scholarship Committee are three of his favorite Club programs. He and Julia love dogs, horses and his new puppy should soon help him when he goes duck hunting.

Barbara Van Dyke shared how she has lived in many places as a top PR professional and realtor. After living in Hawaii for several years she realized she wanted to settle down in one place and chose Austin. She joined Kuper Sotheby Realtors with a mission to help people and offer concierge level service no matter how low or high the home price might be. In addition to being proud to be a Rotarian, she also supports two other organizations: the Jeremiah Program which helps single mothers go back to school to obtain degrees and the Joyful Horse Project where abused and abandoned horses are cared for and rehabilitated, and in-turn are paired with military veterans as part of the healing process.

President Sara adjourned the meeting at 1 pm and closed by highlighting Centric Commercial (Andy
Swanson) and Brilliant Smiles (Dr. Grant Glauser), two of our members with advertisements that support Club operations.

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