President Bill opened the meeting with 14 members and 3 guests in attendance.

The somber gathering was interrupted only for a couple of happy dollars.   President Bill offered one for his upcoming trip to Italy, which will cause him to miss the next three meetings.   Roy offered a happy dollar for that, but he did say his was because he was happy our president will be returning, not that he'll be gone.   George offered a happy dollar for the wedding last weekend of his oldest granddaughter (daughter of former Rotarian Jamie) at the Burke Mountain Resort.

Elizabeth presented a check for $500 from Charles Kirkiles of Greenwich, CT which was donated in memory of Obie Wells.   This brings the total donations in Obie's memory to $765, part of which paid for the two Spaulding students (Connor Moore and Troy Anderson) to attend the RYLA conference at Lyndon State College this summer.

Secretary Sue introduced visiting Rotarian Fred Bashara of Montpelier.

Roy introduced our guest speaker, Randolph Rotarian Anne Silloway, and her sister Betty Silloway Lambert.  Anne is the district's Shelter Box Ambassador.   Anne showed a short video on the shelter boxes, and also had an actual shelter box and its contents on display.

The shelter box program was started in Cornwall, Great Britain in 2000.  These units contain a tent for ten people, cooking utensils, blankets, heaters, tools and a water purifier.   They've been used anywhere in the world where natural disasters or other events have left people homeless, such as the aftermath of the earthquakes in Haiti, the tsunami in Japan, and the recent unrest in Syria.

The first shelter boxes were deployed in India in 2001 when 143 boxes were sent there.   Anne said the boxes are packed based on the climate of the region they're intended for.   As an example, if shelter boxes were going to a region with serious malaria concerns, they would contain treated mosquito nets to help prevent the spread of malaria.  The heating units in the shelter boxes are also matched to the region, as some use petroleum-based fuel, while others may use wood or even animal waste products as a fuel source for heating and cooking.   The 40-gallon plastic tub that holds all of the equipment can also be used to store purified water.

Anne noted that the tents can withstand winds of 80 miles per hour, and she has first-hand experience on their usefulness and practicality.   While attending the district conference in Stowe three years ago she brought a box for display and had to set it up outside.   With no way to secure the site for three days, and it not being practical to tear it down and bring it inside each day, she simply used the blankets that come with the box and spent three nights sleeping in her own shelter during the conference (saving herself a substantial hotel bill at the same time!).

Each shelter box costs $1,000 and that includes two team members accompanying each shipment to assist in setting up the equipment for those in need.   Anne is hopeful that every Rotary club will buy one shelter box, and then expand the program by buying one shelter box per club, per year.   Those interested in becoming volunteers for the shelter box program  can find out more by going on-line at Shelter Box USA.   Donations may also be made via the secure on-line web site.

The Barre club has already committed to buying one shelter box, and we have raised $650 toward the $1,000.  It was suggested by Elizabeth and President Bill that we utilize $350 from the donation made in Obie's name to pay the remaining cost of our first shelter box, and it was also suggested that we look into setting up a display and raise funds for additional shelter boxes during next year's Heritage Festival in Barre.  Further discussion on those issues will be held at next week's club assembly.   Anne's presentation left club members highly enthused about supporting the shelter box program.

Anne pulled the winning raffle ticket, which belonged to Joe P. who had no luck in finding the white marble.

Next week's program will be Bob Nelson, to talk about the history of Nelson's Hardware in Barre.