The Spoke
Rotary’s Most Widely Read Newsletter
February 23, 2017
Submitted by Joseph Corona
Rotarians: Ross Willink, Donna Hepburn, Rich Comins, Bill Ruoff, Don Pegelow, Bob Goldstein, Terry Comins, Dolly Kujawa, Herb Gauch, John Schuler, Joe Corona, Brian Winslow, Tom Smock, Dennis Zink, Ray Manginell, Robyn Whittaker
Visiting Rotarians: Jim Isaac
Visitors: Dolly McGuire, Karen Collins, Steve McAlpin
Pledge of Allegiance: Dennis Zink
Prayer: Ross Willink
Location: Penfield Country Club
  • Rich discussed a recent Garlic Festival meeting where they discussed the donation program of the festival
  • The festival will benefit Miracle Field and also a charity of each club’s choice; we may consider Camp Haccamo, Hope House, Comfort Care, etc.
  • Rich emailed Captain McGrath and Mike Plummer trying to schedule a meet and greet with our Adopt a Platoon; targeting end of March/early April
  • Tom ran into Nate’s mother at the Webster Rec Center and she said Nate is doing great and is looking to possibly go to Brazil to work on a pure water project
Special Guest Steve McAlpin
  • Steve McAlpin is a Webster resident who spent a tour in Bosnia and Afghanistan
  • In Afghanistan, he was based at Bagram Base – February 2002
  • Bagram Air Base is the largest in Afghanistan and was built by the Russians
  • He was charged with getting supplies for Afghanistan and expanding the base
  • They had 23 translators on base to assist
  • There were 2 “Allies” on base: Gen Baba Jaan (warlord) and BG Sherl Alam
  • He was allowed to attend many cultural events
  • He also worked on battle damage assessment
  • One of his favorite saying is Mushlail Nast, which means No Problem!
  • He started a project on base where he started a school to help educate the Afghan children
  • He is a special ed teacher by trade and started Humanitarian Assistance Program
  • The program requested items from churches and donations to help their school
  • He recruited 17 teachers to help out and ordered 208 desks for the school
  • He worked with Colonel Ed Dorman and allowed Steve to teach if he could teach; helped to teach conversational English
  • School taught men Afghan men 17-29 and girls which was forbidden by the Taliban
  • The school was outdated and students had books that were 23+ years old
  • With the assistance of Jawad, his translator, he was able to teach the Afghan children
  • Many students didn’t know why America was in their country or even where America was located; they brought in a globe to show them where America was located because they thought most students would think the world is flat if you brought a map
  • Unfortunately, the school was forced to close and Colonel Kassem Saleh told them “Teaching English to Afghans is stupid”
  • Steve was then transferred to Kabul where he started painting
  • He painted “Window of Opportunity” which show many of the contrasting things that were taking place in Afghanistan; the humanitarian efforts vs. the effects of the Taliban
  • The painting has 5 Americans that represents the 5 points of the star and 21 people to represent the 21 gun salute
  • He sent the painting to President George W. Bush and the painting ended up on display in George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum
  • During President Bush’s term, he received over 43,000 gifts and 300 are on rotation in the museum but Steve’s painting is the only permanent display
  • Steve travels with Reagan, a service dog, due to suffering from PTSD; Reagan’s jacket and leash are made from one of Steve’s old uniforms
50/50 Drawing
  • Steve McAlpin wins the 50/50
Happy Dollars - $76
  • Dolly, Dolly, Karen, Bob, Don, Bill, Donna, Ross, Dennis, Tom, John, Brian, & Joe – for our guest Steve McAlpin
  • Jim – Penfield and Rochester Rotary euchre tournament tickets
  • Terry – for Steve McAlpin and for upcoming surgery
  • Rich – for Steve McAlpin and Steve’s parents have been great supporter of Charities Dinner
  • Robyn – for Steve McAlpin, great Valentine’s party, and Brian with no facial hair
  • Ray – for Steve McAlpin and for feeling better after the flu
  • Herb – for Steve McAlpin and for his new car lease
Upcoming Schedule
  • 3/2 – Tour CDS Monarch Life Transition Center (860 Hard Road) @ 6
  • 3/9 – Penfield Country Club – Surprise Guest
  • 3/16 – Penfield Country Club – General Assembly
  • 3/23 – Penfield Country Club – Fritz Sierk on Patagonia
  • 3/30 – Induction of Dolly McGuire – Location TBD
  • 4/8 – District Assembly @ Newark High School
  • 5/5 – Charities Dinner
  • 5/13 – Bike tour
  • 5/19-21 – District Conference in Erie, PA