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Thank You, Veterans!

By Marty Peak Helman
What a wonderful, feel-good, thank-you kind of night.  After three years’ absence due to Covid, the Boothbay Harbor Rotary Club once again welcomed our local veterans as our guests to say thank you for their service to our country and their continued influence in our community.  They are, after all, heroes one and all.
The event is being covered elsewhere in the Register, so I will just devote this column to saying  “thank you.” And there are a lot of thanks to say.
Thank you to our Interact club, our high school-age Rotary youth, who come together to provide service and who were actually very insistent that we do the Veterans’ program this year.  They were our inspiration.
Thank you to Irene Fowle and all her crew, who moved the tables and decorated in red-white-blue, and then took them down again at the end of the evening.
Thank you to Marine veteran Jim Singer, who each year updates and produces the video and this year in addition was instrumental in the veterans’ banners flying throughout the region.
Thank you to Rotarian and Navy vet Tom Churchill, who tickled the ivories (in various keys) for the military songs.
Thank you to Monica Churchill and the Rotations, who led the singing and kept us in tune. 
Thank you to club president Tory Paxson, who – because the Rotary Hall was so crowded -- actually agreed to sit at the head table for the first time this year!
Thank you to chef Amy, who cooked up a delicious supper for 90 plus people despite scheduling and family complications.
Thank you to Interact advisors Bruce Harris, Sarah Clark and Debbie Graves, who are integral to keeping it all together.
Thank you to Interact President Arial Alamo, who came up with a simple, meaningful way to raise money for families impacted by the Lewiston tragedy and shared it with all of us.  Way to go!
A few reflections … the club has been hosting this event annually (except for Covid) since 2006.  We started small in the beginning; but we started enthusiastically and that enthusiasm has never faltered.  Back then we welcomed WWII and Korean vets to the evening; now the “old guys” are Vietnam era.  Back then at least 12 to 15 Rotarians were vets as well as club members – and we made sure that their money was no good that night. Last week only two Rotarians – John Hochstein and Tom Churchill – stood to be recognized for their Navy service.
Veterans’ Day is behind us but the fun just keeps on coming.  This week we are turning into Holiday elves, and will be filling Goody Bags for the Food Pantry, totes for Boothbay VETS trailers, and a few other hands-on projects.  Wanna help set up?  Be at the Clubhouse at 1:00 this Thursday to set up the Goody Bags factory line.  Even better, if you're feeling strong, be at the clubhouse at 12:00 to set up tables and move boxes from the grey shed to the clubhouse.
On Nov 23 we will be closed so everyone can enjoy family and turkey.  We'll return on November 30th.  Our speaker that night will be Elizabeth McClellan talking about the amazing Partner’s For World Health in Portland, Maine whose mission is to improve health care and reduce environmental impact by collecting and repurposing used medical equipment.
And don’t forget the Rotary barn, which (weather willing) will stay open until mid-December.  In addition to all the usual and unusual goodies, don’t forget to do your Christmas decorating with us.  We’re open Saturdays from 8:30 to 11:00 and all proceeds come back to the community via Rotary’s various charities.
Interested in learning more about Rotary and joining in on what we do?  Ask a club member or show up at the clubhouse on Thursdays at 6:00 pm for fun, fellowship and fabulous meetings.