BBRC Artists at February Rotaract Paint and Wine Night
President's Message
Hello, BBRC Friends!
It was great to see so many members (and guests) at last week’s meeting, which featured the increasingly critical topic of homelessness.  As you know, BBRC and Kern County’s other Rotary Clubs, are contributing financially toward Covey Cottages, the tiny home project being constructed to provide permanent housing for homeless veterans.   Stay tuned as BBRC explores other opportunities for serving in this arena.
Speaking of teaming up with other clubs, we have two special social/meeting opportunities coming up.  Frank’s write-up includes details about a Cabaret event on February 25th at The Mark, plus we’re working on the All Club Luncheon, set for March 5 at the Crystal Palace. I’d love to see a whole bunch of BBRC faces in the audience!  Our speaker for the luncheon will be Davide Di Giorgio who will speak on being “Unapologetic Rotarians”!  Email invitations will be coming soon!  Cost for this luncheon comes out of the Club budget, but we need a solid RSVP list…be sure your name is on there! 
In Rotary Service & Friendship,
What You Missed
When the Grand Poobah, charter member and Past President Jerry Starr speaks we all keep a keen ear for what he says. Jerry had wise advice for all Breakfast Rotarians on Wednesday’s meeting as he offered the blessing. With particular focus upon our service men and women, Jerry asked for protection to those that dedicate themselves for our country’s security. Songstress Past President Denise Haynes followed Jerry’s blessing up with the song Glory Hallelujah-Battle Hymn of the Republic. You know, by the look on her face, Denise appears to have found her calling. Like the legend a “The fifth Beatle”, I think Denise may be “The fourth Supreme”… Just sayin’.
Holy Cow! Did we have guests!  Plenty of them. Deidre Brown brought Denise Sales who works at Golden Empire Transportation GET in the financial department, Temo Lopez invited his new computer technician Jenero Lopez, Michele McClure introduced us to Cassie Fernandez the new executive director of Habitat for Humanity and Connie Bensusen brought her husband Al. If you went to the Super Bowl party at Connie’s last Sunday, you saw a lot of Al. We can’t get enough of that guy, and apparently Connie can’t either because they are celebrating their 31st wedding anniversary. Congratulations to the both of you!
Prayers have been answered for our Ken Quarnberg towards his medical recovery and we will expect to see him at an upcoming meeting soon.
**Featured Program**
Mr. Louis Gill is the Executive Director of the Bethany Services’ Bakersfield Homeless Center. Mr. Gill has a lot to talk about and believe me 20 minutes is not nearly enough time to discuss one of the more obvious and talked about topics in town:  homelessness. As Executive Director and CEO Mr. Gill is front and center of the debate about the application of resources designated to address this crisis.
Mr. Gill prepared a PowerPoint presentation to graphically display to us visual learners what the stakes are. He shared what contributed to homelessness, its obvious impact and the need for prudent response. So if you don’t know, the Bakersfield Homeless Center is a safe haven for women and children. There are 240 beds, yet no one is turned away, according to Mr. Gill. He states, that if there is a woman and child that are in need of rest, “We will put a mattress down for them”. Yet on an equally important and much bigger scale, Mr. Gill has been either tasked, or blessed, with the challenge to change lives.
One must be encouraged that the shelter serves as a refuge for women to become free from domestic violence, a place for job development, and a starting point to reverse what Mr. Gill states is the “circumstance of being homeless”. Finding homes where women and children can begin new livelihoods is not easy according to Mr. Gill. There are limits on the availability of proper housing, and to address this, he has staff that are opening doors, literally, to make dreams happen. Regardless of the circumstance, be it unemployment, physical/mental impairment, substance abuse, or human trafficking, we must see though our own egos, and community distractions to seek lasting solutions to homelessness. Mr. Gill supports what he calls a “Crisis Disruption”. In doing so, Mr. Gill knows the challenge he and our community faces is overwhelming, but not impossible.
What is Crisis Disruption, Mr. Gill? He responded that community outreach, emergency food and shelter, childcare, job development and housing placement are all good places to start. “Who we are does not have to be what we were”, according to Mr. Gill, and I fervently agree. What does this mean for Breakfast Rotarians? My thought is that we consider the work that Mr. Gill is accomplishing as reflective of what we do locally as Rotarians and become part of the solution. Does that mean volunteering, donation of time, resources, funding? I think it means what we choose. 26% of the nation’s homeless live in California and unless you have been living on the Moon, you are well aware of their presence throughout our community. Thankfully, we have Mr. Gill in our city, and he has the heart, patience, passion, most importantly faith to guide us in what I think can be a monumental opportunity in finding a solution that is Beneficial to All Concerned.
Thank You Mr. Gill for your time, your leadership, your open heart and open doors.
**Announcements Announcements**
Michele McClure is just about everyone’s favorite when it comes to event planning. I mean ,she is making quite a name for herself, most recently as the organizer of last week’s Super Bowl Party at Connie Bensusen’s super cool pad. I was there and honestly, a combination of Connie’s Cajun cuisine, hospitality and downright fun laid out by Michele and Connie made me so proud to have good friends in our club. Regardless of whether you are a 49’er fan or a Chiefs fan, all were delighted with the effort from those that contributed to the food cause. From the succulent meatballs, the appetizers by Marianna Buoni and others, beverages (like Dionysus beer) from the likes of Sandra and Jon Parnell, and that master chef Pat Thompson and his dear Karen for laying out those lamb “pops” it was a Super Bowl Rotary Party to remember. Can we have another … soon? Thanks to all!
Oh yes, I almost forgot Big Nick Simmons. You know he won the game pool at Connie’s, yes $600 bucks I was told, yet due to his ABSENCE, the group threatened to fine him $599 of that $600. In the end, we gave him a break, and he offered up $49.49 for the BBRF.  I bet that will teach him not to show up. Congrats 49’er Fan!
We have been receiving some real great candidates for this year’s Above and Beyond Award. Deadline is soon approaching, February 12th, so if you know of a business person who you feel meets the criteria of a qualified award recipient, let Sandra Parnell know ASAP. What is qualified you ask? See Sandra Parnell (, she will not only tell you the qualifications, she will provide the short nomination application for you to complete so that we have a broad selection of non-Rotarian candidates. The form is also available through a document download at the top of our website. Join in the fun, it could mean piquing the interest of a candidate or two who will actually become interested in joining our club.
The upcoming KernYES one day high school Rotary mentoring program is also approaching, and volunteers are needed to make this year’s KernYES the best they have ever held. The event is February 22nd at The Historic Fort in Taft. See Tom Burke (
The Prez’s guest was Jack Burcham, who is not only the choir director at North High School, he is leading the way for 12 high school chamber singers to travel to Prague to participate in a once in a lifetime performance this summer. These local students are in need of funding and Jack visited our club with plans to visit other Rotary clubs to seek funding for the trip. Jack has told us about what sounds like a fantastic and entertaining fundraising event at The Mark Restaurant downtown February 25th at 7pm.  Students and the program’s directors will perform for us, plus one drink and appetizers are included.  Sounds like a great All-Club Social! Tickets at $50 can be obtained through Jack, or visiting his website, Kern County International Youth Choir or
What is it about these guys who are not showing up at Rotary events that are winning all the cold hard cash, is it because we want to see more of them, so we tease them with money to show up?  Or is it just their lucky charm? Go figure, but here you go…winner of the day’s opportunity drawing none other than Shaun Kelly, congrats. Honestly, I think it’s just the way it is. Besides I am confident we will be seeing a lot more of all Rotary members because there is just too much fun and opportunity to miss out. See you all next week.
Invite a guest next week and spread the Rotary attitude!
Frank Wooldridge  
Upcoming Programs
Feb 12, 2020 6:45 AM
Get on the GET (bus)!
Feb 19, 2020 6:45 AM
Habitat for Humanity Golden Empire
Feb 26, 2020 6:45 AM
KCCD Economic and Workforce Dev. Programs
Mar 04, 2020
View entire list
Upcoming Events
Kern YES (Youth Empowerment Summit)
Historic Taft Fort
Feb 22, 2020
BBRC Charter Night Dinner and Program
Bakersfield Country Club
Feb 29, 2020
6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Club Social with Music and Beer and Street Tacos!
Dionysus Brewing
Mar 03, 2020
6:30 PM – 9:08 PM
All Club Lunch!
Crystal Palace
Mar 05, 2020
11:30 AM – 1:30 PM
District Training Assembly - Bakersfield
SBB College
Mar 14, 2020
8:30 AM – 12:30 PM
View entire list
 Meeting Duty Roster
February 12, 2020
Blunt, Darin
Bender, Dale
Bell, Jeffrey
Flag Salute
Bensusen, Connie
Visiting Rotarians
Baker, Stephanie
February 19, 2020
Brown, Dee
Bonanno, Karen
Burke, Thomas
Flag Salute
Brooks, Becky
Visiting Rotarians
Bryant, Harry
February 26, 2020
Goodmon, Bree
Collup, Athena
Desme, Greg
Flag Salute
Buoni, Marianna
Visiting Rotarians
Guerard, John
March 11, 2020
Hickman, Alison
Heise, Marlene
Haynes, Denise
Flag Salute
Kelly, Shaun
Visiting Rotarians
Lari, David
March 25, 2020
Lopez, Temo
O'Doherty, Michael
Maxwell, Jackie
Flag Salute
Nelms, Ron
Visiting Rotarians
Niemeyer, Heath
April 1, 2020
Pasek, MJ
Perkins, David
Quarnberg, Kenneth
Flag Salute
Walker, Neil
Visiting Rotarians
Nunez, Joseph
Bulletin Editor
Kay Pitts
Subscribe to Bulletin
Subscribe to our eBulletin and stay up to date on the latest news and events.
Russell Hampton
ClubRunner Mobile
Rotary Club of Bakersfield Breakfast