Portsmouth Rotary Log for June 28, 2018
by Lindsey Hery
Photos by Tube Loch
Portsmouth Rotarians gathered for our annual Change of Command, bidding farewell to President Ben and ushering in Cleo’s administration. Al Lantinen led us in a beautiful rendition of “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee,” while Matt Randall guided everyone through the Four Way Test.  Ben invoked his presidential power to say the invocation.
Having a packed agenda, we began our meeting with the 50/50 Raffle. Dick Seery won a pot of $59.  Congratulations, Dick!
President Ben’s Final Trip out to Sea
In his final address to our club, Ben reviewed a few of our many accomplishments over the past year:
  • 3,100 Community Service Hours
  • $200,000 in funds donated to the community
  • $30,000 in goods and services donated to the community
  • $20,000 donated to the Rotary Foundation
  • $100,000 raised for the October Rotaplast trip
We far exceeded our fundraising and club service expectations this year. Ben confided that he was humbled and honored to have led the club through all this success.
Ben also thanked his family for their support during this year. In a very special presentation, he awarded his father, Craig Wheeler, a former Portsmouth Rotarian and Raymond club president, with a Paul Harris Fellowship. He then eloquently summed up his thoughts for the past year.
“The greatest lesson I learned this year is that sometimes you have to take a risk,” Ben said. “Sometimes you have to say we are going to commit to doing good.  At first, you don’t need a plan. You need people like all of you.  People who can recognize a need to develop a plan and turn actions into results.  When you are surrounded by a group of people like the Portsmouth Rotary Club anything is possible.”
The Changing of the Guard
Incoming President Cleo began the program by thanking Ben for all his hard work and leadership this year. She reminded us of the special moment when Ben and the Board approved the Rotaplast trip. Without Ben’s courage and leadership, we wouldn’t have been able to undergo such an important project.
Fortunately, in preparation for today’s meeting, Cleo was able to obtain a copy of Ben’s diary (sic.) The volume detailed his experiences during the White Island hands-on project last year. With the help of the Rotations, Ted Alex, John Flagg and John Pappas, Ben’s journal entry was reenacted. Past President James provided hilarious “fact checking.” 
The “Tale of Beacon Ben” provided many belly laughs and gasps. The Rotations, dressed in foul weather gear, also came through with an outrageous song written to the Gilligan’s Island theme. Do any of you remember Gilligan’s Island?  It was quality entertainment for all, including Ben’s family and colleagues from the Newburyport Five Cent Savings Bank.
At the end of the theatrical presentation, Ben was presented with a decorated buoy commemorating the White Island Nine. He also was given the original rope from that fateful weekend and, of course, a Portsmouth Rotary Pen.
Next Week
In honor of Independence Day, there will be no club meeting held on Thursday, July 5th.
Respectfully submitted, Lindsey Hery