Sept. 1, 2016

Minutes of the September 1, 2016 Meeting
The Rotary Club of Mobile
Call to Order: The meeting was called to order by club president Les Greer at 12:15 PM. Wayne Miller offered the invocation and then Gordon Korb led the club in song accompanied by Bill Oppenheimer on the piano. Tom Martenstein welcomed guests of members and visiting Rotarians.
Recognition: Bill Sisson was recognized as the newest Paul Harris Fellow.
Program: Paul Giardina – Ronald McDonald House Charities of Mobile
Rick Harvey introduced Paul Giardina, a fellow Rotarian and Executive Director of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Mobile. Paul gave a brief history of Ronald McDonald houses noting that McDonald’s is not an owner of the houses but rather a regular supporter. A penny per Happy Meal sold goes to the organization he explained. Currently there are 350 Ronald McDonald Houses in the world with the majority located in the U. S. near hospitals.
Paul said that the purpose of each of the houses is to provide a home away from home for families of hospitalized children. The Ronald McDonald House in Mobile opened in 2000 with 12 bedrooms. A capital campaign allowed the facility to grow that number to 38. Each has a private bath and there are common areas as well as a laundry and playroom.
Some 60% of the children of families staying at the Ronald McDonald House are infants born prematurely. The average family will stay weeks or even months, he said adding that through 2015 over 800 families have been served. At Christmas “Santa’s Workshop” arrives allowing the families the convenience of selecting toys for their children without leaving the property.
Local support is vital he said and recognized the fact that three of his board members are also members of the Rotary Club of Mobile. Paul said that their website provides a wish list, explaining it can be as simple as picking up an extra bottle of laundry detergent and dropping it by the facility.
Les thanked Paul for being our speaker and noted that in his honor a donation has been made to Rotary International.
Tom McGehee