Getting started: Don Paroda started the November 12 meeting with a recognition of former Strongsville Rotarian Barb Nyegran, who passed on Nov. 6. Barb served as director of the city's Senior Center from 1997-2006, helped form the Strongsville Community Foundation and led the effort to establish the Strongsville Backyard Preserve in 1999. She was honored as "Rotarian of the Year" in 2001. After a moment of silence, John Turnbull gave the Invocation.

Guests. Guests included Stephen Winnie of the Strongsville High School Stage Krue, and Russ Smith, host father of our foreign exchange student, Brenda Castelan, from Mexico. Brenda reported that she saw snow for the first time and attended the Strongsville High School girls soccer game. Unfortunately the team lost in the playoffs.

Rotary moments. Neal Klabunde, club president in 1992-1993, noted that Dale Finley was crowned king of the Strongsville Winter Festival in 1966. They don't hold that event anymore. Dick Kiplinger told about how the club's 46 members raised $33,000 to fight polio in 1988 under President Jeff Peacock. Eleven club members opened their wallets for more than a grand apiece. Rotary International raised $240 million in what become one of the organization's signature projects. In 2002 Rotary International expanded its polio efforts. Seventy Strongsville Club members raised $33,500.

Ways to give. "Every Rotarian Every Year" is the slogan of The Rotary International Foundation, which was established established by Cleveland Rotarian Arch Klumph. The slogan implied that each Rotarian should contribute at least $100 each year toward the foundation. Dick said there are a variety of ways to contribute to the foundation. You can make a credit card or debit card payment, or you can send a check. When you make your contribution you can earmark it two ways: 1. It can go to the foundation's annual fund, and the foundation will match the contribution by 300 percent; or 2. You can earmark it for Polio Plus, the program to fight polio. To find out more about contributing to The Rotary Foundation, visit the website, or talk to Dick.

Bored meeting. President Jerry Balint said 30 members attended the November 10 meeting of the Strongville Rotary Board of Directors. That's pretty good. The Cleveland Indians have to sell dollar hot dogs to draw a crowd that large. At the meeting, the Chili Open Charities Committee presented its recommendations about 45 charities who applied to receive funds from the 2011 Chili Open proceeds. The board, at its December meeting, will approve the 10 local finalists, plus an international charity. The international charity is a new thing this year. Elaine Taylor is putting together a chart of all of our club activities and who is the boss of them. When two new members - Barry Zimmerman and Tom Dross - are sworn in Friday, the club will be up to 150 members. We're the largest club in District 6630, which includes the Cleveland Rotary Club. The board approved the following donations: $250 for the city's Santa Claus breakfast; $300 for a Rotary table at the annual Chamber of Commerce Scholarship Dance, to be held December 3; $250 for a memorial bench in the Cleveland MetroPark in memory of Barb Nyegren.

Camp Cheerful. Cory Ramsey, of Achievement Centers for Children, was in attendance to receive an $869 check from the club to Camp Cheerful. The money was the proceeds of the club's recent clambake, which was held at Camp Cheerful. Camp Cheerful is one of three Achievement Center that serve children with disabilities.

Ding. Joe Santomen said we will ring the bell for the Salvation Army on Friday, December 10, at Giant Eagle. This is an annual club activity that we've been doing since the late 1980s. Not continuously - just the one night per year. Last year we had so many Rotarians volunteer that we may pick up a second location this year - maybe the Wal Mart in Maui. Last year we raised $1,094.

Bring your teeth. The annual Senior Holiday Luncheon will be held Friday, December 3 at the Senior Center. Setup will begin at 10:15 a.m. Rochelle Thuener said we need at least 30 volunteers to setup and serve. Come for the whole event, or which give whatever time you can spare. The Mustang Express, the high school's show choir, will provide the entertainment.

Be the Match. Do you want to be a bone marrow donor and possibly save a life? Donor registration will take place at Westfield South Park Mall on Saturday, December 4, from noon to 3:00 p.m., Larry Frawley said. The registration process is painless and doesn't involve blood. And, unlike getting on an airplane, you will not be groped unless specifically requested. They'll simply take a cheek swab. This is open to people aged 18 to 60, which is why they aren't doing it at the senior luncheon. Here is some more information.

Winers. Tonight, Thursday, November 18, is the club's Wine and Culinary Delights event, to be held from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Royal Park Wine in North Royalton. Dave Kolick said 50 people were signed up for this event. Being the Thursday before Thanksgiving, Dave opined that this is an ideal opportunity to buy your holiday wines while you're there. The cost is $25 per person. For more information contact Dave or Jeanine Hammack.

International Service. The Internation Service Committee, headed up by Laurel Wirtanen-Siloy, will soon choose two international charities that will be funded by our club. One will be funded through Chili Open proceeds and the other through the Strongsville Rotary Foundation. I am personally lobbying for the Tibetan Marching Yak Boosters.

Silver and gold. Greg Filo has invited Rotarians to an open house at his new Filo Jewelry Design store at 15308 Pearl Road, from 3:30 p.m. to whenever the hell everybody leaves. At 4:00 Mayor Tom Perciak will cut the ribbon to officially open the store.

Veteran's Day. Strongsville resident and World War II veteran Lou Szabo spoke to the club about his service to our country, including his participation in the Battle of the Bulge. Jack Miaskowski led us in the singing of God Bless America. Paul Richards and John Turnbull headed up the special Veteran's Day commemoration.

Think. There was a blind girl who hated herself because she was blind. She hated everyone, except her loving boyfriend. He was always there for her. She told her boyfriend, "If I could only see the world, I will marry you."

One day, somebody donated a pair of eyes to her. When her bandages came off, she was able to see everything, including her boyfriend.

He asked her, "Now that you can see the world, will you marry me?"

The girl looked at her boyfriend and saw that he was blind. The sight of his closed eyelids shocked her. She hadn't expected that. The thought of looking at them the rest of her life was too much to bear. She declined his proposal.

Her boyfriend left in tears and days later wrote a note to her, saying, "Take good care of your eyes, my dear, for before they were yours, they were mine."

Today, before you say an unkind word, think about someone who can't speak.

Before you complain about the taste of your food, think about someone who has nothing to eat.

Before you complain about your husband or wife, think of someone who's crying out to God for a companion.

Before you whine about the distance you drive, think of someone who walks the same distance with their feet.

And when you are tired and complain about your job, think of the unemployed, the disabled and those who wish they had your job.

And when depressing thoughts seem to get you down, put a smile on your face and think: You're alive and still around.