Scroll down to see recent meetings and other events...
Local media personality (and now CEO of a public relations firm) Joel Rubin entertained and informed the club at the November 15th meeting.
November 9th was the date for the 2022-2023 District Foundation Awards Banquet in Williamsburg. Kevin Yeargin was honored with the prestigious James Pierce Foundation Leadership Award. Shown here with Kevin are Suki Pierce, who gives out the award, Kenny Janes, 2022-2023 District Governor, and Larry A. Lunsford, Rotary International Trustee and keynote speaker for the evening.
On November 8th District Governor Rudy Garcia addresses the club during his official visit.
As Peninsula Club Foundation Chair Kevin Yeargin looks on, District Foundation Chair John Padgett welcomed President Elizabeth as a member of the Paul Harris Society.
October 25th found the club visiting the Virginia Living Museum, where Executive Director Rebecca Kleinhample gave us a view into what was happening at the museum, and we made the acquaintence of Moe the elderly otter.
October 13th through 15th saw the 2023 District Conference of our District 7600. The venue was the nearby Newport News Marriott at City Center. Our own PDG Diane Hagemann was the co-chair of the conference and played a central role in the organization and running of the event. Ray Spencer, with help from Kevin Yeargin, presented the club's recently-completed Global Grant at two different breakout sessions. And half of the Sergeant-at-Arms crew was from the Peninsula Club. Shown in the Sergeant-at-Arms photo above are (left to right) Kevin Yeargin of the Peninsula Club, Mike Jallo of the Historic Triangle Club, John Frantz of the Peninsula Club, Joe Hansley of the Churchland Club, Ron Lynde of the James City County Club, and Bill Ziglar of the Peninsula Club.
Speakers in late summer included Bob McKenna of the Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, Liz Wolfson of Langley Federal Credit Union, Lisa Howard of E3 (Elevate Early Education), Ray Spencer talking about the Club's recent trip to Costa Rica, and Jody Lassiter of CSX Transportation, Inc.
The 30th of August found us enjoying a pleasant, interesting, and tasteful ice cream social in Poquoson.
Speakers in early summer not described elsewhere included our own Mike Salka discussing his nonprofit helping veterans when they buy a home, Diane Hartley of the Peninsula Agency on Aging describing the dementia-friendly community, Derek Perry of the Newport News Department of Development describing happenings in the City, Kathryn Nemeth of CHKD discussing the psychiatry pavilion at CHKD, and J. B. Crowley of Historic Hilton Village.
In mid-August we took a trip to Costa Rica, joining the Heredia Rotary Club of Costa Rica to look at potential projects. Three members of the Virginia Peninsula Club, plus two spouses, were joined by three members of the Warwick at City Center Club, plus a niece. Shown here at the building of the Centro Agricola Cantonal in Santa Barbara on the central plateau of Costa Rica are (third from the left) Jennifer Daknis of the Warwick at City Center Club, (seventh from left) Leslie Borwick of the W@CC Club, (eighth) Kevin Yeargin of the Peninsula Club, (ninth) Ray Spencer of the Peninsula Club, (tenth) Holly Kidd of the W@CC Club, (eleventh) future Rotarian Rebecca Robinson, and (fourteenth) Bill Blanchard of the Peninsula Club. Others in the photo are members of the Heredia Rotary Club and staff of the Centro Agricola Cantonal.
On the 19th of July we were joined by Steve Drew, Chief of the Newport News Police Department. He gave us an interesting, informative, and sometimes moving talk.
On July 12th the incoming president, Elizabeth McCoury, was sworn in by Past District Governor Diane Hagemann. Her Board of Directors was sworn in immediately after.
Another honor for Adam Duncan: He was named by his peers as Rotarian of the Year for an amazing year of leadership.
??On June 14th John Frantz was recognized as the club's newest member of the Paul Harris Society. He is shown here with Kevin Yeargin, the club's Rotary Foundation Chair.?
On June 8th we had dinner and a game: a picnic at the ball park, and a baseball game featuring our hometown team, the Peninsula Pilots.
During April and May our speakers included our own Adam Duncan giving advice on retaining employees, Kalen Hammann talking about relationships at home and in the workplace, Pam Croom expounding on diversity, Amasa Smith bringing us up to date on An Achievable Dream, Billy Hannah telling the history of his own company, Diane Umstead talking about Smart Beginnings, Virginia Woodward talking about the Fear 2 Freedom program, and Judge Doug Miller explaining the U.S. District Court system.
March 25th saw our Casino Night. The intention was for this to be the first of many annual Casino Nights, which would become our chief fundraiser. The first of an event like this is always difficult, and the success of this one promises even greater success in the future.
The Ides of March was active in the membership area. First, we inducted James Hicks as our newest member; then James and Michael Vassalo told us about themselves in Classification Talks.
Some meeting programs early in the 2023 calendar year included Joe Massino joining us via Zoom to discuss our upcoming Casino Night, Linda Ficht speaking about the legalities of non-compete clauses in employee contracts, Jerry Markham explaining the Pentagon Memorial, and William Donaldson discussing the economy of 2023.
We closed out February with a multi-club social at the 1700 Brewery. Members of the Peninsula Club, the Newport News Club, the Warwick at City Center Club, and the Yorktown Club joined in fellowship.
Our Charter Night celebration this year was February 18th at the Oozlefinch Brewery Brewery on historic Fort Monroe. We recognized the 47th aniversary of the founding of the Club.
On February 8th Randy Gnatowsky and Amanda Gundry, portraying a pirate and his barmaid friend, introduced us to the daily life of the 19th-Century East Coast. They came from "Blackbeard's Crew," a Poquoson-based performing nonprofit.
Our own Phil Harris on the 1st of February spoke to the Club about how businesses buy business software, and how software vendors sell it.
On January 25th our newest member, Michael Vaasalo, was inducted into the Club.
On January 15th Amy Scott, a relatively new member of the Club, and her husband David presented the world with twins.
Our annual day of ringing the bell for The Salvation Army was on December 21, the Wednesday before Christmas. Shown here are Suki Pierce and Bill Ziglar.
Rounding out the end of the calendar year we were joined by Tammy Guido speaking about her family's memorial foundation, Sean Heuvel discussing CNU's Office of Graduate Studies, Luisa A. Vazquez-Lopez on the Mariners' Museum, and Monica Hill on how to use ads on LinkedIn.
Here we are showing off the Rotary Year 2021-2022 awards we garnered at the District's Foundation Banquet November 10th: the EREY (Every Rotarian Every Year) Award, the award for 100 percent participation in Foundation giving, the award for support of the Polio Plus campaign, and the award for giving $250 per capita or more to the TRF Annual Fund. Shown here are Club President Adam Duncan, Club Foundation Chair Kevin Yeargin, and Rotarian Suki Pierce, whose husband Jim was a long-time ardent supporter of the Foundation.
Some autumn programs not mentioned elsewhere included Mike Poplawski, Director of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism for the City of Newport News; Jack Gelman of the Peninsula Council of CEOs, discussing and demonstrating the activity of his organization; and John MacDonald, manager of the award-winning Hampton/NASA steam plant.
The Peninsula Club and the Warwick at City Center Club had a joint service project in late September, at the Four Oaks Day Service Center in Newport News.
As usual, this year's District 7600 Assembly just outside Richmond saw a good representation from the Peninsula Club.
The end of September saw a Club social at Bull Island Brewery, with a good crowd.
On September 14th District Governor Kenny Janes paid his official visit to the Virginia Peninsula Rotary Club.
Three late-summer programs not otherwise mentioned here were Coleen Bonadona giving us an update on Rotary's Polio Plus campaign, Chris Sapp from Yorktown's Victory Family YMCA told us about his facility's expansion plans, and Jonathan Provost of Pro/Vost Construction discussed his construction company and its project in downtown Newport News.
At the end of August we had a joint social event with the Warwick at City Center Club at the Smoke Restaurant.
On August 10th we inducted our newest member, Amy Scott.
July 28th found us out at the ball park--for dinner and for watching the Peninsula Pilots. Our team won!
At a gathering of District leadership July 16th, our President Adam was recognized as the outstanding club president in the entire District for the Rotary year 2021-2022. Well done, Adam!!
June 29th brought a bright sun and kind temperatures to our social at Styron Square in Port Warwick.
The evening of June 10th saw the Peninsula Club and the Warwick at City Center Club jointly holding a social at the Virginia Living Museum. There was camaraderie, good food, and an excellent venue.
On the 11th of May Oleksandr Humen, better known here as Alex, visited our club. He is a native of Ukraine, and gave us an interesting and thought-provoking talk about the informal but effective methods he and his fellow Ukrainians in the U.S. are using to help his friends and relatives back home. We Rotarians got first-hand insight into the ongoing war.
April 23rd was a work morning at the Virginia Living Museum. A crowd of Peninsula Club Rotarians and Warwick at City Center Club Rotarians worked on a new museum site--a playground area next to the Dinosaur Discovery Trail. We worked on preparations for a "treehouse" with a swing, climbing boulders, balance beams, and a slack line. And we took a large pile of mulch and distributed it over the area.
Schoolchildren in Costa Rica are still going to school virtually, and some of the students cannot afford the internet access necessary for online schooling. The Peninsula Club, partnering with the Warwick at City Center Club and the Heredia Club in Costa Rica, obtained a District 7600 grant to give two years' access to 23 families in Costa Rica. The photos above show a meeting at which the Heredia Club gave instructions and internet hotspot devices to high school students taking part in the program. A similar meeting was held for grade-school students.
On April 7th Adam Duncan and John Frantz attended the annual Christopher Newport University President's Donor and Recipient Scholarship Luncheon. Ariana Gatewood is this year's recipient of the Peninsula Rotary Club Endowed Scholarship. Ariana is a sophomore majoring in cellular, molecular, and physiological biology, and minoring in Spanish and Leadership Studies. Our scholarship fund is one of the oldest at CNU, and since its inception in 1983 we have awarded 38 grants totaling $146,435.
March 30th saw a social at Burger Theory.
Sunday afternoon, March 20th, saw three local Rotary Clubs--the Peninsula Club, the Warwick at City Center Club, and the Yorktown Club jointly turning a hallway in Patrick Henry Mall into a food factory, packaging thousands of meals for Rise Against Hunger.
In March we had a brewery fest--three programs, each presented by a different local craft brewery. On March 2nd Seth Caddell of the Coastal Brewery talked about the quest for excellence. On March 9th Eric Williams of the Billsburg Brewery discussed the brewery as a destination venue. On March 16th Tuan Bui of 1700 Brewing talked about brewing your own beer at home.
Our annual February party is Charter Night (46 years!), held at the Hampton Yacht Club. There was a good crowd, good conversations, and good food.? The upper photo shows Paul Harris honorees.
January 19th saw the inauguration of our new meeting venue at the Holiday Inn at City Center. Not quite coincidentally, the first program was by the manager of the newly-renovated hotel.
What would the holiday season be without the day of Peninsula Rotary bell-ringing for the Salvation Army? On December 22 we rang all day long at the Sam's Club in Newport News, in one-hour shifts of two people each. Above are Howard Waters and Charlie Edmonson.
On Friday night, December 17th, our annual holiday party at the Hampton Yacht Club was a great success. The usual seafood spread plus cut-to-order beef, and lively companionship.
During a meeting of the Board of Directors the morning of December first, President Adam laid out some possibly important shifts in the Club's direction: a change in the venue of the meetings, an innovative new type of membership, and a surprise in the core of the Club's year--the Tennis Ball.
Some happenings during the months of October and November not mentioned elsewhere include Wendy Drucker giving us an insider's look at the world of real estate, Greg Seigel discussing the streetcars on the Peninsula, Alex Ritchie Oniell talking about the current state of Rotaract on the Peninsula, and Martha Morris giving us a nostalgic look back at Buckroe Amusement Park.
Once again this year the Peninsula Club was active at the District Conference. As you can see here, two of the four members of the Sargent at Arms team were from our Club.
October 13th found us once again at the Bull Island Brewery.
On October 6th Past District Governor Judy Cocherell delivered a check for our District Grants.
Programs duing August and September not mentioned below include Randy Troutman, Regina Mobley discussing the life of a video-journalist, Betsy Layman explaining lean agility in business, and Holly Koons telling about the new CNU Torggler Fine Arts Center.
The evening of August 18th found us at a club social event at the Bull Island Brewery in Hampton. Good food, good beer, and good fellowship.
As the first act of his new presidency, Adam Duncan congratulated Bill Ziglar as the 2020-2021 Peninsula Rotary Club Rotarian of the Year. At a time of immense challenges--the Covid pandemic and the Club President moving away, to name but two--Bill's leadership made a success out of what could have been a disastrous year.
The Club's change of leadership took place on June 30th. Past District Governor Diane Hagemann swore in President Adam Duncan, and District Area Governor Bill Ziglar swore in the officers and board of directors as a group.
The Peninsula Club, in partnership with the Warwick at City Center Rotary Club and the Heredia (Costa Rica) Rotary Club, is doing an international District Grant to help school children in Costa Rica. School there is still virtual, and our project is providing internet access to 20 families that could not otherwise afford the cost. On the left is a computer screen during a Zoom meeting between the Peninsula Club and the Heredia Club, planning the project. In the center is a sample WIFI "hot spot" device being held up to his computer camera by Jose Rodriguez of the Heredia Club. On the right are some Costa Rican school children.
On June 23rd Bill Ziglar presided at the club meeting (featuring Kati McCarter of the Chesapeake Boy Foundation). This was Bill's last official act as unofficial acting president in the absence of Mike Nelson.
On June 14th a group from the Peninsula Club helped to celebrate, ribbon-cut, and tour the new house at 2102 Madison Avenue in Newport News--the first time multiple Rotary clubs came together to sponsor and help build a "Habitat for Humanity" house.
On Friday evening, June 11th, the Warwick at City Center Club hosted us for a two-club social occasion. The venue was the Virginia Living Museum. The photo at the top is a wide-angle view of the party; below it is the Peninula contingent present.
In June the Virginia Peninsula Rotary Club returned to in-person meetings, or as some call them, "real" meetings. This return to normalcy was warmly welcomed by all.
On a fine April Saturday the Peninsula Club and the CNU Rotaract Club upgraded the landscaping around the Newport News Public Art Foundation's "Hammer Tribute" sculpture in Oyster Point.
Beginning the new calendar year, presenters during January and February included novelist Ron Peterson describing a true crime story; Ha Koehler, Interim Communications Manager for the HRBY expansion project; Bill Ermatinger, Executive Vice President and Chief HR officer for Huntington Ingalls, explaining how the shipyard dealt with the pandemic; former member and former pilot Greg Richardson explaining how to fly a jet; District Foundation Chair Stephen Beer describing a recent international experience; Yared Lemjma, a 2020 graduate of the Duke/UNC Rotary Peace Center; Doreen Kopacz, Port Development Administrator for Newport News, speaking about the Seafood Industrial Park; and Kevin Otey, CEO of the Hampton Roads Community Action Program.
Even a global pandemic can't keep the Peninsula Club from ringing the bell for a day for The Salvation Army kettle drive. Above, hiding behind the masks, on the left are Susan Wolf and Bill Blanchard, and on the right Bill Ziglar and Karanita Fuller.
During December our Zoom presenters included Dr. Cynthia Romero from EVMS discussing the effect of COVID 19 on mental health, Dr. William Irwin talking about robotic surgery, and a trio from An Achievable Dream giving us a report on the just-completed Tennis Ball: Abbie Schaefer, Lee Vreeland, and Brittany Lavalleur.
The Tennis Ball, an annual event in support of An Achievable Dream, is the Peninsula Rotary Club's most important social event and most important fund-raising event. This year (no surprise!) it was a virtual event. Nevertheless it appears to have been a success, with plenty of sponsorships and plenty of bidding on the auction items. The sponsorships shown above are directly connected to club members. To find out more about the Tennis Ball, click here. To see the 2020 video from An Achievable Dream praising our Rotary Club, click here.
Several Rotary Clubs participated in a work day for the "Rotary House" being constructed for Habitat for Humanity. Mike Nelson and Danny Carroll represented our club this time.
On October 7th in the center of Styron Square, the club's board of directors held its first non-virtual meeting for quite a while. It was a beautiful, crisp fall morning, and while conducting the club's business we all enjoyed the weather and each others' company.
During September, October, and November, Abbie Schaefer from An Achievable Dream spoke about the upcoming Tennis Ball; we heard from Dr. Angela Springer, CNU's Assistant to the President for Equity and Engagement; Jason Carney, an English Department lecturer at CNU, spoke about the phenomenon of pulp fiction; we had Scott Cash, Sports Director for 13News; Nancy Bynum came to us from the YMCA; Shel Douglas, Grants Chair for District 7600, talked about her many international projects; and Diane Gordon, also with the District, spoke about public image.
On September 19th the Club carried out a project in Newport News Park to refine the landscaping for the latest sculpture installed by the Newport News Public Art Foundation, "Man and Crocodile" by Girolamo Ciulla. We prepared the surrounding soil and laid sod to establish an immediate, neatly trimmed frame. Afterwards, we chatted while staying properly social distanced.
During July and August, Chris Jones described the active Rotarian; Dr. Gregory DeCinque gave us an update on TNCC; District Governor Judy Cocherell paid us an official visit; Robert Gifford, President of the Heredia Rotary Club in Costa Rica, talked about the current state of computer technology; Kevin and Lisa Wilkins told their own story about serious cases of COVID-19; and friend-of-the-club John Quarstein talked about the Spanish influenza in 1918.
To round out the 2019-2020 Rotary year, Anne-Lise Gere talked about HR, Amy Jordan discussed the Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance, Paula Bazemore introduced us to the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities, and Alex Ritchie spoke about Rotary membership.
It was a masked happening. On June 18th, with the sun coming out and the Pandemic rules gradually lifting, we participated with four other Rotary Clubs in the groundbreaking ceremony for the Habitat for Humanity house that Rotary was sponsoring. The Kameera James family, the beneficiaries of the project, were present.
On May 20th we had a virtual presenttion by Dr. Mike Dacey, COO of the Riverside Health System, giving us a thorough look--an inside view, so to speak--at the ongoing pandemic. The photo above, taken during the presentation, seems a fitting symbol of the current world situation. It shows a cell being attacked by coronavirus: the amorphous dark shape you see is the living cell, and the light-colored specks covering the cell are the coronavirus.
Starting in March, we acknowledged the coronavirus pandemic and shifted to "zoom" virtual meetings. This includes meetings of the Board of Directors. Our virtual meetings have brought us a presentation by Asa Jackson, artist and entrepreneur, about his various projects; a tour of the Norfolk Botanical Gardens; an update from Keith Roots of CNU about our scholarship fund; and a presentation by Stephen Beer, PDG and District Foundation Chair, about his visit to a Rotary Foundation Global Grant site in Africa.
Early in 2020, everything changed--the coronavirus pandemic struck. Meetings became virtual, and we saw our speakers, and ourselves, through Zoom.
On March 11th the club met at the facilities of "Gather," an alternative office facility in the Newport News "Tech Center" area, and got a tour.
Some things that happened in February that are not shown below: Rear Admiral (retired) William Vincent discussed diversity in the ranks of the US Navy, Joe Williams told us about Hope to Walk and the providing of prosthetic legs, and both Sandra Chong and Anita Williams spoke about the Hampton Mayor's Book Club.
The month of February saw two working days for our project, undertaken jointly with the Warwick at City Center Club, to renovate one of the centers of the Boys and Girls Club.
February 15th saw our annual Charter Night festivities at the Hampton Yacht Club.
After a November and December of mostly special activities, we started the new calendar year getting back to our normal programs. During January we had Hal Brauer of the Peninsula Community Foundation, Brittany LaValeur of An Achievable Dream, Kevin Otey of the Hampton Roads Community Action Program, and Doreen Kopacz from the Seafood Industrial Park.
In keeping with our long-time tradition, on December 18th the club took shifts to ring the bell for The Salvation Army all day long. Shown here is Jeff Brittain and Justin Wynings.
Held at the Riverwalk Restaurant, our annual holiday party December 4th was merry, happy, and well-attended.
November 16th brought us the 27th annual Tennis Ball for An Achievable Dream. The most important event in the Virginia Peninsula Rotary Club's year, it is a premier occasion for the benefit of the nationally-lauded Achievable Dream educational program. To see many more photographs of the night, click here.
At the District 7600 Foundation Awards dinner the Peninsula Club's support of the Rotary Foundation during the year of Immediate Past President Bill Ziglar garnered more awards. As Club Foundation Chair Kevin Yeargin put it, "We got every award that we could have gotten!"
Some October activities not described below included President Jeff and other members conducting a Club Assembly, Chief Terry Sult talking about the state of the police force in Hampton, Polly and Doug White talking about alternative office space possibilities, and historian Kurt Reisweber discussing ocean liners of the 19th and 20th Centuries and showing us examples from his collection of thousands of ocean liner post cards.
With his age still measured only in weeks, the young son of Adam and Jennifer Duncan toured the Saint George's Brewery facility, and in so doing attended his first Rotary Club meeting. Imitating some very elderly Rotarians, he slept through most of the tour.
September events not discussed below included Brittany Lavaleur and Julie Cruit Angilly giving us a Tennis Ball update from the point of view of An Achievable Dream, Doug Wilson telling us about the Elizabeth River transportation infrastructure, Caroline Taylor relating how a successful business was started, and Coliseum Central's Eboni Council inaugurating our new meeting venue.
On September 18th Linda Ellis, the now-retired teacher/advisor to our Peninsula Catholic High School Interact Club, swears in the new year's Interact officers.
We began September with a Club Assembly, where we got down to the serious business of the final stretch of planning for the Tennis Ball.
August 28th saw us in a social event once again at the "town square" of Port Warwick, and this time it was not just our club, but four Rotary Clubs were represented.
August 21st saw PDG and District Foundation Chair Stephen Beer twice--once at the breakfast meeting of the Warwick at City Center Club giving a check for the grant helping the Boys and Girls Club, and once at the lunch meeting of the Peninsula Club with a check for playground equipment for the children of San Bosco in central Costa Rica. Both District Grant projects were joint projects by the two clubs in cooperation.
On August 14th Adam Klutts, the new CEO of the Peninsula Metropolitan YMCA, was inducted into the Club by PDG Diane Hagemann.
July events not mentioned below included a Club Assembly where Tennis Ball co-chairs Jeff Stodghill and Patrick Tompkins got us geared up for the largest Club event of the year, Greg Siegel talked about the history and the reconditioning of the City of Hampton's old streetcar, and fellow Rotarian (and Past District Governor) Bill Pollard talked about his recent day-long visit on board the aircraft carrier USS George H. W. Bush.
Each year starting in July, the incoming District Governor begins the Rotary Year by visiting every Rotary Club in the District--all 63 of them. July 24th saw the annual visit by District 7600 Clenise Platt.
July 12th was the first meeting under new President Jeff. It was a Club Assembly, an introduction to the new year, and included talks by Jeff Stodghill and Patrick Tompkins, the co-chairs for the 2019 Tennis Ball.
July 12th saw the first meeting of the Board of Directors, under President Jeff, for the 2019-2020 Rotary year.
Meetings during June not mentioned below included Franklin Club Rotarian Bill Billings giving a class in taking photos with a smart phone; President-To-Be Jeff introducing us to the coming year; and the team of Kate Helwig and Katie Stodghill, talking about the Sister Cities organization in Newport News.
The evening of June 25th saw Rotary supper at the ball park, with the Peninsula Pilots game following.
On a beautiful and pleasantly cool June day (the 14th), we had our changing-of-the-guard ceremonies and party at the home of outgoing President Bill Ziglar. Above, PDG Diane Hagemann swears in the new President Jeff Brittain.
For more photos going back through the years, visit our History Pages.