Posted by Frank Wooldridge
A moment of respect was paid to our Nation’s veterans during Wednesday’s Breakfast Rotary meeting. I’d tip my hat if I would have been wearing one to President Jeff Haynes and of course our master Sergeant at Arms (IT support specialist) Rotarian Temo Lopez for coordinating a magnificent video that showed all branches of our United States Armed forces in their glory to the tune of each branch’s battle hymn. An emotional moment for all as lyrics to the battle hymns ran along with the video so that we could follow in song. To those who have come and gone, and those that volunteer to carry the flag for our freedom by serving in the military we in Breakfast Rotary honor you brave souls every step of the way. Thank you to the American soldiers and sailors.
 
The svelte Past President Neal “Slow” Walker made his way to the podium to lead us in an Invocation of thanks and tribute; Mindy Wilmot ordered the membership to stand at attention and state America’s Pledge of Allegiance. Yours truly had the duty to recognize visiting Rotarians. I’ll tell you, I said there were NONE, then quicky reprimanded for my oversight. I was corrected. Sitting right next to me was Ron White from East Bakersfield Rotary Club. Ron was our morning’s featured speaker, but it did not occur to me, nor was I informed, that he too is a fellow Rotarian. Welcome Ron!
 
Past President and unofficial Oildale Mayor Ron Nelms brought Cameron as a guest to our meeting a second time. Hey now that is optimistic. I’ll tell you, I hope he joins Breakfast Rotary. We could use a little Western flair as Cameron is most certainly an aficionado of Western attire.
***The Program***
 
 
Anyone who has been a member of Breakfast Rotary for more than several years is aware of our relationship with Habitat for Humanity. We have been a community partner of the non-profit roofing their homes and proudly contributing a lot of blood, sweat and tears over the years to help many families dream of having a home of their own come true. With new administrator in Ron White in the Directors seat, Habitat for Humanity seems to be in good hands. Ron’s presentation came at a perfect time to give us an understanding of some of the “newer” nuances of Habitat for Humanity to help us best fulfill their future needs.
 
While he has 35 years’ experience working in non-profits, local product Ron White has the distinction of being the new sheriff in town with his passion to make Habitat for Humanity successful in answering the call to our communities needs. That community need stands squarely on his shoulders like a 100-pound sack of potatoes. Ron, who is beginning his second year as director, described the Lines of Business of Habitat for Humanity. Those lines are naturally, construction, mortgage assistance, escrow management, disaster relief, family assistance, volunteer involvement and retail sales through their RE-STORE outlet. This, Ron says, “Is how we serve Kern County.”
 
Keeping in mind that Habitat for Humanity clients are not typical of those involved in real estate ownership. Many, or should I say most, of Ron’s clients are families who may have never been considered for home ownership through no fault of the family. Habitat for Humanity’s objective and Ron’s team is to enable qualified families acquire a home. In essence, Habitat for Humanity advocates for families to prepare them for successful home ownership. Ron tells us there is much to do to help encourage, promote, and cultivate potential homeowners to meet the obligations that come with acquiring and owning a home.
 
While owning a home can be challenging, equally as concerning is that home ownership is at its lowest since 1940. Whaaaaat! Ron lays it out like this; it takes an hourly wage of $32.68, and a $60,320 annual salary to even consider qualifying a family for a home. For those of you that know a thing or two about real estate, those qualification are just the start. Secondly, Ron tells us, and we know this from other presenters to our club in the last several months, there is a housing shortage. Ron says there has been an actual 85% reduction in low-income family housing.
 
Well, Ron can’t be Superman all by himself; he has his angels. He just happened to bring two of his angels to our meeting to help him share more about the good works of Habitat for Humanity. Sam Roddy, an Ameri-Corp representative, has been on loan to Ron. Unfortunately, Sam will be re-locating soon. Sam affirmed that he has learned much during his tenure at Habitat for Humanity. He told us that families selected to have homes constructed through Habitat for Humanity are expected to contribute “sweat equity” by contributing their own physical labor in construction of their home. Demonstrating financial stability and actively attending and “graduating” financial literacy class are prerequisites for homeownership.
 
Sam told us about the importance of Habitat for Humanity RE-STORE. A store in which kind public donations are transformed into treasures for shoppers looking to score a deal on some really good refurbished merchandise. By the way, if you have anything from clothing, electronics or furniture that you think may be donated to the RE-STORE, you might want to check them out. They are located at 5101 White Lane (661) 282-8090. Your donations serve as serious and much needed income for Habitat for Humanity.
 
Ron also brought Rebecca, the Kern County Habitat for Humanity construction manager. Rebecca has a way of seeking out land opportunities like a detective and is kind of a wheeler-an-dealer when it comes to acquiring the needed resources to develop dreams from the ground up! She is a truly valued member of Ron’s team.
 
Well, we as Breakfast Rotarians know how we can help, but just in case you forgot, please contact Habitat for Humanity at habitat@kerncounty.com , Facebook, or reach out to Ron at (661) 861-8449. Thanks to Ron and company for sharing with us as a trusted community partner. You can also ask Michele McClure about Habitat as she has donated countless hours towards the organization. The Beacon Clue is what is the address of the RE-STORE?
 
*Announcements Announcements*
 
Happy Breakfast Rotary birthday to John Guerard via ZOOM. I think John blushed when we sang to him…
 
Since Wine, Place and Show will be here and gone by the time this edition of The Beacon hits the press. I want to take a moment to acknowledge all of you WPS warriors for making this year’s fundraiser a success. You know, after a year of not being able to hold our event, we have raised $20,000 thus far and look to exceed expectations in attendance. Well done brother and sister Rotarians!
Past President Dave Spalinger is no Grinch when it comes to hosting Christmas Parties. Big Dave is coming through again by opening his home to an exclusive Breakfast Rotary Christmas Party December 3rd. Hey, ex-President Dave I got an idea. What-da-ya-say you, or someone, dress up like Santa Claus and go around the party arresting people who have been baaaad. Lock ‘em up, to get out they have to do something funny good or pay a fine! Ex-President Buford may be a candidate for this. Think about it… Thanks Dave!
 
President Jeff tells us that he is going to extend an open invitation to a really neat outdoor social at “Flying Flags” in Buellton in March 2022. Fashioned as an overnight RV camp site jamboree, those that do not have RVs can get into the social too! Stay tuned for more detail on this.
 
Wait wait wait, did I hear a far away echo? Is it a bird?, a plane?, no it’s Dale Bender trying to get our attention on Zoom. Dale wanted us to know before the meeting was over that he and his wife JoAnne are celebrating 44 years of wedding bliss. Glad he got that in before the bell!
 
Past President Mike O’Doherty wanted one and all to know that during a recent Reno trip he brought back gifts for the Prez. Picture President Jeff in his new Popeye the Sailor/Hugh Hefner/Capt’n and Tennille, you take your pick, sailor cap, and a 3 oz. bottle of Jameson. Whoa ready to party! Nice job Mike, now pay your fine.
 
It should not be just on Veteran’s Day that we pay a small tribute to our local Marines by donating to the local Toys for Tots campaign. The Prez would like our membership to bring unwrapped gifts to meetings over the next few weeks for the campaign. As much as the Young Marines have helped us in our Thousand Flags events by doing a lot of the grunt work; donating toys would be a most generous way to say thank you for their help over the years.
 
And yes we had a raffle, and no I did not win, but Athena Collup did. She has all the luck, well at least until next week!
 
In Rotary,
Frank Wooldridge
Beacon Writer