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Warren Wiedler — Texas Task Force 1

Posted by on Tuesday, November 27th, 2018 in Blog

Reported by Margaret Curtis

President Julie Benkoski called the meeting to order with member recital of our Club’s Vision Statement. Jim Gdula led us in the Pledges, Michele Heyman delivered the Invocation and Past President Mary Bird Bowman led us in the Four Way Test. Carl Noble introduced our guests and visiting Rotarians, and New Member Caroline Valentine greeted us at the top of the stairs. Caroline gave this reporter the OK to call her “Valentine”, but the rest of you will have to ask first.

Maxie DeBlanc, a captain in the Salvation Army, presented her interesting and inspiring Membership Minute. Rotarians can always talk faster and to best effect when the clock is ticking!

Andy Swanson highlighted the upcoming Rotary Annual Holiday Party on December 11th from 6:30 to 9:00 pm at Chez Zee Bistro, 5406 Balcones Drive. The social committee hopes you can attend, and please respond to your RSVP email from Jennifer Olsen.

Todd Coleman invited all members to take part in wrapping gifts for the children at the Helping Hand Home. Assembly line wrapping will take place December 11th at 1:05 pm after the regular Club meeting here at St. David’s. Many hands make light work, so plan to help if you can! Gifts will be delivered to the children at their special Rotary-sponsored party on December 18th.

New member Arval Headrick told us about his recent trip to the Philippines where Rotary Club of Manila members introduced him to several of their upcoming Global Grant projects, and showed him, once again, how Rotarians around the world get important humanitarian work done. Thank you for sharing the experience with us, Arval.

Sergeant-at-Arms Jon Yates made the final push for Books for Me week at Pecan Springs Elementary School, December 3-7th. Thank you to the 40-odd (or is that 40 plus) Rotarians who have signed on for this project, giving books to emerging readers. Community Service Vice President Mary Reynolds announced that the kids’ Early Act First Knight service project at Dawson Elementary is holding canned food and warm clothing collection drives. Food will be turned over to the Food Bank, and clothing will be given to the community center in the Dawson neighborhood. Your donations
to boost the kids’ service project can be given to Mary Reynolds. The Dawson EAFK Service Club also created a great ONE PAGE newsletter.

Ann Graham led the Thank Goodness Basket: Michele Heyman’s daughter is a great violinist to perform at your next gathering. Vlad Bahrencu described his first observance of EAFK, and praised the inimitable and invincible Mary Reynolds for all she does for children in our community. Scott Rider was thankful for seven football overtimes at the recent Texas A&M game, but there was low muttering in the audience. Thank you Jackie Sinex (from all of us) for refreshing our Club website as if it was your greatest joy in life!

Bill Baker, please continue your recovery and get back to us soon. We miss you!

Edis Oliver introduced our speaker Texas Task Force 1’s Warren Weidler, who was a last-minute stand-in for Jeff Saunders. We should all be so talented as pinch hitters! Chief Weidler described, as one example, a dizzying array of 2,200 personnel from 103 separate local, state and federal agencies that continuously deployed for coordinated Hurricane Harvey responses for two months last year. TTF1 can immediately respond to governor-declared disasters and emergencies of all kinds – throughout the country – and always in support of a local government. Since 1997, TTF1
has deployed 173 times for natural and man-made incidents requiring urban search and rescue personnel, expertise and equipment.

Learning from each new experience, now the TTF1 “owns” a rescued victim until they can be placed in a safe shelter, not left standing on the riverbank. At present, 45 counties in Texas have some sort of declared disaster response underway.

With his mother’s prophetic humor as palliative for the trauma he works around, Chief Weidler gave us an outstanding overview of complex disaster responses and the accomplished people dedicated to these efforts. Let’s have Chief Weidler’s mother come speak to us soon.

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