Posted by Brian Taylor
As we are all working to establish the new “normal” the Rotary Group of Lansing met virtually on Friday April 3rd at 12:25 over a Zoom meeting. The meeting was led by President Pat Hanes (still wearing his Rotary jacket!) and was opened a bit early to allow for members to virtually socialize and catch up with each other during this unprecedented time. For those that were early, we were pleased to know that Mike Clark is recovering well and was looking great!
 
At 12:25, President Hanes called the meeting to order. The meeting had roughly 70 participants and it was great to see people even though it wasn’t in person. The invocation was given by Sue Hansen who gave a wonderful prayer focused on the gifts of Rotary and asked for help for the first responders and leaders of the nation as we all deal with this pandemic. She also pleads for the Rotarians to be a source of hope for those in need.
 
Following the invocation, we were blessed to listen to a recording of the Patriotic Song “God Bless America” performed by John Dale Smith played on the piano. Diane Sanborn then updated the group on the health of the club noting that Joanne Hacker (wife of Ted Hacker) had recently passed away. The family requests that any donations be given to your own favorite charity in her name and the memorial service is being scheduled.
 
President Hanes then turned the time over to Teresa Kmetz with the United Way to give us an update on the current needs in the community and how the United Way is working to help. Teresa reminded us that during this time of quarantine, the needs are even greater as many are out of work. Additionally, the incoming calls for assistance are increasing as are the cases of domestic violence and abuse. United Way hosted a (1) day digital telethon relief fund and raised around $50,000 to help stem the tide of need. It is great to see the wonderful work that is being done by our very own Rotary members.
 
John Person was also given time to discuss the local grants and (42) applications. They are currently under review with the possibility of change based on the current local needs. President Hanes also made us aware of a fundraiser that is (possibly) coming up on June 9th at Urban Beat. Some of our members will be playing music and any monetary donation that can be made at the door would be of great benefit.
 
We were also treated to some very special music by Rotarian John Collins who treated us to (2) songs by John Mellencamp. We first got to hear him sing “Pink Houses”, followed by “Sweet Home Chicago”. It was wonderful to hear John share his talents with the group.
 
Janet Lillie introduced her friend and associate, Dr. Dennis Martell as our guest speaker for the day. Dr. Martell has been involved at MSU since 1985 and is currently the Director of MSU Health Promotion and a faculty advisor for the MSU Food Bank. He oversees alcohol and drug use, collegiate recovery, and fitness programs, along with a host of other responsibilities. His definition of health is based on our capacity to be on the earth and interact with the earth. In this sense, anyone can have health as a part of their life. He also commented that the health of the Lansing community is doing well. Dr. Martell also advised that during this time, we should focus on Physical Distancing and Social Listening as we take the opportunity to still connect with others by listening to them.
 
Dr. Martell spoke of his experience with the student run MSU Food Bank and how it is a model for other food banks around the nation. One of his focuses is on removing the stigma of the need to use the Food Bank. They do not ask for ID, instead, they focus on providing food for any who may need it. Currently there are about 5,000 students at MSU that are considered to be “Food Insecure”. The MSU Food Bank provided around 110,000 pounds of food per year and are currently working full time due to the present need.
 
The meeting was then opened up to questions at 1:00. There will not be a meeting next Friday due to the holiday weekend. At the end of questions, President Hanes rang the bell to dismiss the meeting.
 
Brian Taylor's email is:  brian@oddfellowscontracting.com