We had great attendance at the April 23 meeting with 37 members in attendance.  In addition to our speaker, we had two guests and a visiting Rotarian, Penny Fields from Highland Park.  Debra Bloom, the Vice-President of Hadley School for the Blind was Chuck Young’s guest and Peter Tragos of Northfield and the Assistant Principal of New Trier’s Freshman Campus was the guest of Wes Baumann.  It was also great to see Kristin Jazinski and Pat O’Day in attendance.
John Thomas said it was not too late to sign-up for our Annual Benefit on May 16th.  “Let’s all have a good time while raising money for our Club’s charitable activities and generate more awareness of Rotary.  The committee is still looking for items for the silent auction; a good suggestion was to get gift certificates from some of our local businesses.
Several members made paid announcements: 
Pat O’Day mentioned the Patriots Event Dinner being held by Great Lakes Naval Hospital.  Dr. John Bair will be the featured speaker talking about PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury.
Kristen Leahy reminded members of the Winnetka Youth Organization’s annual benefit on May 1st where the honoree will be our own John Thomas.  
Rebecca Wolf encouraged Rotarians to take the Library Survey for which she placed large postcards announcing the project.
Barb Tubekis put in a plug and had handouts for the Volunteer Center’s fund raiser in conjunction with Bake 425°.  Barb also presented Heidi Sibert with a long sleeve “Rotarian at Work shirt in gratitude for Heidi’s leadership in the recent Kids Against Hunger project.
President Baker acknowledged the anniversary of Liz Taylor’s 13 years in Rotary.
Connie Berman contributed a Happy Buck this week.
Debra Bloom provided the introduction to the speaker, Steve Beres from Orlando, Florida.  Steve is a past regional president of the Blinded Veterans Association. Steve has been a great ambassador for Hadley and has taken advantage of many of their courses.  Steve entered military service at the age of 17 and progressed quickly through the ranks.  He has a BA degree and two Masters Degrees.  He was part of the US Army’s Special Operation (Green Beret). He said he had numerous tours of duty in the Middle East.  He was in Afghanistan just 17 days after “911.”  While on patrol with his unit a rocket grenade exploded off the face of the rock wall they were walking by and literally blew off his face.  He was not expected to live, but he survived and has undergone over 23 surgeries to reconstruct his face.  It was predicted that he would spend his life in a nursing home, as he was the victim of traumatic brain injury.  He has many titanium plates making up his skull, cadaver bone was used to reconstruct his nose and he has artificial eyes.  It has been a miraculous road to recovery for Steve.
Steve said that his family found the Hadley School for the Blind and the services it could offer.  He credits Hadley for his social and psychological return to his ‘new normal’ life.  He also gives a lot of credit to his children and they made him feel needed, even by something as simple as making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. 
His story was truly inspirational as he view each day as a gift.