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December 2019 President's Message

I begin the message this month with the sad news that Chiang Mai International Rotary Club (CMIRC) charter member Laurence O’Keeffe (right) has died at the age of 61 after a long illness.

As an experienced Rotarian, Laurence was a key figure in the founding of our club, chartered in 2014. He was also the first chair and organizer of our fundraising committee, introducing the idea that fundraising should be fun, through imaginative projects like his Golf Ball Drop fundraiser where people bought numbered golf balls that were dropped from a tethered hot-air balloon with prizes going to those landing closest to the hole. Laurence lived a life that put service above self; his enthusiasm, energy, and sense of humor will be sorely missed. Those wishing to send condolences to Laurence’s family should contact me and I will send you contact information.

Well as we all suspected, November was a very busy month for the Chiang Mai International Rotary Club (CMIRC). The month started with a Club Assembly with Pizza from The Duke's and visits by Rotarians from the USA, Canada, the Netherlands, and Katharine Zahr, a Rotary Peace Fellow.

Our Children’s Winter Clothing Project for children in surrounding poor mountain villages got into full swing (delivery leaving for the hills, left). With over 20 truckloads of clothing collected for distribution in December. Just in time, since during the next few weeks temperatures are expected to drop to near 0 C. in some surrounding mountain communities.

District Governor Kamolsak Visitsakulchai and his wife Rtn. Wanthanee visited our club at our November 19 meeting. We were also joined by PDG Suparie, ADG Saran, and CP Pong from the Rotary Club of Chiang Mai-Wattana and representatives of our sponsored clubs: the Chiang Mai International School Interact Club and the Payap University Rotaract Club. DG Kamolsak was most impressed by how active our club is in conducting our service projects focused on Child Safety, Health, and Education. He also noted that we had a 100% giving rate for the Every Rotarian Every Year program of the RI Foundation plus a generous gift this year to the RI Polio Plus fund drive. Finally, he stated that CMIRC has recruited the largest number of new members in District 3360 thus far this year!

I'm pictured above with the honored guests on November 19. From left, Assistant District Governor Dr. Saran Chantalay, Past District Governor and sponsor of our club, Suparie Chatkunyarat, District Governor Kamolsak Visitsakulchai and his wife Rtn. Wanthanee.

At the meeting, we added two new members to our club, Moshe Mandelman and Sally Myatt, bringing our club to a record total of 27 active members plus two honorary members.

On Sunday, November 24, CMIRC fielded a two-person team at the RC of Chiang Mai North’s Bully Bowl charity bowling event, Rtn. Brian’s wife May and I bowled on the CMIRC team (pictured left); we didn’t win but we made a good showing being in the top 25% of teams. CP Roger also sponsored a PYU Rotaract Club team.

Speaking of sports, the CMIRC Fighting Rotarians Pool (8-Ball) Team, featuring PD Mike, PE Clarence, Rtn. Gawain, and P John had an early victory in the latest 8-Ball tournament.

On Friday, November 29, our Beatles Mania Children’s Charity Fundraiser featuring the Fab 4 from Bangkok at the Old Chiang Mai Cultural Center was a rousing success with over 160 attendees and a lot of dancing and singing along.

Also in November, a new Memorandum of Understanding with BEAM Educational Foundation has been written and it will be signed in December. We will continue to help BEAM students improve their communication abilities and prepare for the U.S. high school equivalency exams (GEDs) that allow them to seek college admission in Thailand and abroad.

Finally, we have a new drinking water project in Roi Et province thanks to Rtn. Dr. Narong and Rtn. Craig Clark’s Thai Thaim Foundation in Minnesota. We will be building a clean water supply for a small village in that province.

So we are now looking forward to December when we will have our club annual meeting and CMIRC Board elections, a Social Evening on December 10, and hopefully another new member induction at our regular meeting on December 17, and a Let’s Talk Rotary informal luncheon on the 27th.

I, along with all of our CMIRC members, wish all of the readers of this bulletin a joyous holiday season and a Happy New Year!


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