Last month ended with a Roll and Stroll in Niles Canyon, and an encounter with Mill’s Mini Museum of amazing collections reflecting Niles History set in the Old Niles Firehouse. It was a PRICELESS Day! We began our day with coffee, donuts, and bicycles. Off we went into Niles Canyon with the goal of biking to Sunol and back (or, as in my case, as far as you could and back) – a 14 mile ride. The Rollers, just to name a few, were Sandi & Dick Pantages, Randy & I, Angus Cochran, Tim Gavin, Mary & Ray Pedersen, and Sandi & Don Cole. The Strollers included Amy & Steve Cho, Gary Raver, Scott Chambers, and Mary Lynn Pelican.
It was a beautiful morning and ride or walk. Lots of families and friendly folks taking advantage of a rare opportunity to really take your time and bask in the beauty of Mother Nature and our Niles Canyon, a very special place. Upon beginning our ride we ran into a few Niles Rotarians that volunteered as greeters and directors of the crowd – thank you to Steve Springer, Maggie Guilbeaux-Chambers, Sherry Higgs, Rich Godfrey, and Paul Andrus. You all looked like you were having as much fun as the Rollers and Strollers. Following the ride all that could joined together at the Old Niles Fire House currently owned and refurbished by Wendy and Gary Mills. They have done an amazing job of collecting, displaying, and sharing the past. It was a rare treat as we dined on a delicious lunch prepared by Gael Stewart. GREAT SOCIAL, PAST PRESIDENT ANGUS!
Our first meeting of the month was a very special meeting as we inducted our third Rotarian of our year into the club: Chiral Desai. Chiral was joined by her parents and her husband. Her Mentor Geeta was on hand to stand in for her sponsor Tony Boudames. Welcome Chiral; we are so glad you have joined us and look forward to getting to know you and your family better. Chiral then jumped right behind the podium to follow in her mentor’s footsteps and do her Ice Breaker seconds after induction. Steve Landon was asked to give a big Thank You to all the club members that stepped up and gave of their time and hospitality to host, welcome, and include the Alaskans in our exchange raffle item. Mike & Sunny Morrison from Alaska arrived on Tuesday Sept 26, 2017 to be welcomed into the home of Harry Avila. During the time they were here they were wined and dined by Niles Rotarians. They began their visit with a hosted dinner at Papillon with Tony Boudames and his lovely wife Heather. They came to the club on the 28th and then were whisked off to beautiful Monterey with Harry Avilla for golfing and shopping, ultimately joined by PP Steve & Terri Landon for a day. They returned to hospitality of the Joan & John Kimber’s home, wine tasting with Bruce Prescott, Fellowship evening at Steven Lloyd’s, lunch with PRIP Richard King and Paella Dinner, prepared by the Landons, at Chuck Canada’s, to cap off their visit. They flew home on the 3rd of Oct. This effort takes a team. Thank you to all that extended your kindness and friendship at all group events. I think they really understood when leaving why Niles Rotarians are Family by Choice. Our speaker was Robert Garfinkle, he discussed all things MOON! He gave a very interesting presentation on the moon and our evolution of understanding.
Avenues of Service – Our club showed up BIG time as 17 Niles Rotarians attended and we hosted two Rotaractors to the Dinner. It was a great evening of Rotary Fun, great information, good dinner, and a great Keynote speaker, RI Director John Mathews 2017-2019 Zones 25 & 26, “Leaders keep learning”.
The second meeting of the month started out with a big hug, hand shake, and smiling hello as I named the Rotarian of the Month for September: our beloved Greeter, A’s fan extraordinaire, Jeff Falk. Congratulations Jeff you are a real asset and blessing to our Club. Thank you for all you do! Paul Iannacconi presented Larry Bowen and Kathy Laidlaw with their framed Paul Harris Awards. The spotlight moved to Mary Lynn as she received her pin, necklace, and crystal award for becoming a Major Donor to The Rotary Foundation. Our speakers for the day were Eva-Marie Tisdale and Herbert Chiu talking about 300 years of time travel from Bach to Pop. They gave a background to the upcoming November 18 concert TOCCATA featuring Falk & Sons – this concert is a fundraiser for the Fremont Symphony. Towards the end of the speakers’ presentation, I glanced across the room to see both Manuel and Daren on fire with RED faces after tasting one of the hottttteeeessssstttt Chili peppers on the planet presented to them by Paul Andrus. At the beginning of the meeting it was agreed that this pepper was too hot for consumption. However, Boys will be Boys! Somehow about 1:15, common sense evaded them and they could not resist. Let’s just say it was a VERY HOT ending to a FUN meeting. See FACEBOOK for the video!
October 19th Diwali! Our club came together in an amazing way this day as we celebrated Diwali with our Rotary Family for the first time – The Festival of Light. Geeta, Padma, Chiral, Savita, Rav, and Manohar put together a beautiful program of celebration, information, dance, food and sweets. The room was decorated with LED candles, beautiful scarves, and gems, and most were in festive brightly colored traditional clothing. Walking into the room made one smile. We opened our meeting with our own Sophia Ahmad doing her Ice Breaker and exchanging her Red Badge for BLUE – her parents were in proud attendance. Geeta then took the stage and got the party started. All told of their Diwali Traditions, and Padma did a beautiful dance. Check our Facebook page for pictures. Because I was worried about time, I began the program early without fining or Happy Cup. Because I had some extra time at the end, I announced the Happy Cup and had the Happiest Cup donations ever. Everyone was happy-happy-happy! Thank you Niles Rotarians Family members for a wonderful meeting and one that I will never forget.
That evening Niles Rotarians gathered at La Pinata for our first Social Change meeting lead by Sophia Ahmad and Aziz Akbari. We invited Rotarians, Rotaractors and young professionals under 40 to an evening of Margaritas, great food, Ice Breaker games, and just a time of getting to know each other. Aziz and Sophia gave the group some basic information about Rotary and why they became Rotarians. It was a great evening; about 30 attended. OH and not to be forgotten, yes, we took time for the HOT HOT Chili Pepper Challenge. The waiter thought Jeff and Colin were crazy. I know the younger participants had a wonderful time; we can expect that they will bring their friends in November. Congratulations on an evening well done to Team Leaders Sophia and Aziz with the team of Maggie Guilbeaux-Chambers, Don Cole, Tammi Souza, Chuck Canada, Lisa Lorenz, Mary Lynn Pelican, and Jeff Schinkel.
Our last official social of the month was the annual bocce party at the Prescott Casa. It was a beautiful day of socializing, vineyards, and bocce. Thank you Bruce for hosting this fun event every year. Thank you to the Social Chair, Angus, for organizing along with Steve Landon, Chuck Canada, Dana Jones, Lisa Lorenz, and Tammi Souza for putting all the details together for a wonderful afternoon. Someone had the influence to get our own Bubba back on the grill. We miss you Bubba. It is always great to see you and EAT your BBQ. THE Bocce Winners ARE — Rose and Randy, Orlando, and Steven Lloyd.
Our last meeting of October (can you believe it?) began especially great as we inducted our 4th Rotarian of the year Larry Day, sponsored by Nader Ayad. Larry will be mentored by Steve Landon. Larry introduced the club to his wife Kathy and gave a little overview about kids, travel, and sports. Welcome to the Club, Larry and Kathy.
Paul Iannaccone was present once again to honor Rosemary Ashley’s daughter Christine as a Paul Harris Fellow. Rosemary’s daughter flew down from Seattle for the presentation. This is the last child of Rosemary’s to receive their Paul Harris Fellow; she will begin to work on her grandkids next.
TODAY was the DAY Rav and Maggie finally get to say they have exchanged their Red badges for Blue. Congratulations. The HOT HOT Chili Pepper challenge is about at an end. Today the twist was from Padma who brought HOT Indian prepared chilis and challenged everyone to come forward for $10.00. We had a line!! Niles Rotarians are the BEST and step up for any challenge. John Dutra introduced our Speaker Suzanne Wolf from Fremont Parks and Rec. She gave an interesting presentation about our City – current happenings and plans for the future. Parks are very important to the City and I was very proud as she outlined Niles Rotary’s involvement in assisting the City in maintaining our parks and supporting wonderful programs.