February 4, 2016
Call to Order: The meeting was called to order by President-elect Les Greer. Bill Kinnaird gave the invocation, followed by an a capella presentation of America the Beautiful by Tommy Blankenship. Tom Martenstein introduced our guests along with visiting Rotarians.
Student Guest: Saty Putcha presented our student guest, Emily Large, from Saraland High School.
Announcements: Rob Hackbarth made a plea for our CART fund, which helps fund Alheimer’s research. Bo Mattei discussed the Rotary’s contribution to Camp ASCCA.
Program: The speaker’s daughter, Kate Carver introduced our speaker, Mark Johnson, who was with the Mobile Police Dept. and served as former Director of United Way of South Alabama. Mr. Johnson has written a book titled, Apprehensions and Convictions, Adventures of a 50-Year Old Rookie Cop.
In 1995, Mark Johnson was hired to run the Mobile Area United Way, after serving in Waukesha, Wisconsin with the United Way. He spent 20 years in the United Way. In his 23 year career, his efforts helped raise more than $100 million. After so much time in the fundraising business, he began to feel burnout.
It was time to find another way to make a difference to his community closer to the front lines. This is when Mr. Johnson decided to join the police force. After being deemed unfit by the Albequerque, NM police force, he eventually was accepted by the Mobile Police Department. Mark saw the difference between the abstract (United Way) and the reality (MPD) in a first-hand manner.
The disadvantages of his age became an asset to be appreciated by his fellow recruits. In a show of “respect”, his first squad car was an elderly person’s scooter. He explained that in one particular situation, he was given a commendation for the same event in which he received a disciplinary letter.
Mr. Johnson’s book is based on his twelve years of experience with the MPD. He spoke about being wounded by gunfire while pursuing a cop-killer. His pistol was damaged by gunfire in this incident. Ultimately, Mark wrapped up his talk by saying, “A cop has the opportunity to meet evil face-to-face and actually do something about it.”
The meeting was adjourned at 1:00 pm.
February 4, 2016