A visit from Eleanor Roosevelt, a joint project and tips on handling grief were subjects of interest for the Westfield/Mayville Rotary Club recently.
'Eleanor Roosevelt' visits Rotary
Eleanor Roosevelt was portrayed by Alice O'Grady, who had a varied career before retiring and devoting her time to writing.
Alice O’Grady, left, brought Eleanor Roosevelt back to life for the Westfield/Mayville Rotary Club. Introduced by Ann E. Weidman, club PR chair, Ms. O’Grady is author of a book, Ashanti Saga: The Fort, about her many years in West Africa with the U.S. Peace Corps.
"Eleanor Roosevelt spoke to us as an American woman who visited Chautauqua County seven times," she said.
Named Anna Eleanor Hall, she called herself by her middle name, Eleanor, because of her love for her father, who died when she was 10 years old; her mother died when she was eight years old. Then her grandmother insisted they live in Oyster Bay and the Roosevelts entered the picture.
When Eleanor was 18, she met Franklin Roosevelt, a cousin, who asked her to marry him in 1905 when she was 19. Although she called herself an "ugly duckling," she also said, "No one can make you feel inferior if you don't let them."
Several events in her life influenced her future: She learned of the affair between Lucy Mercer, her secretary, and Franklin, became involved in women's suffrage and gave her time to helping during World War II. Then, in 1921, FDR contracted infantile paralysis. It was then that she decided to "stand on her own two feet."
FDR, however, was interested in the columns Eleanor wrote six days a week. After his 1945 death, she was critical of him. It was then that she made many changes in her life which brought her more and more into the public eye.
O'Grady, who served one semester teaching after college graduation, joined the U.S. Peace Corps in 1961, one of the first members of that group that started working anywhere. She became a secondary school teacher in Ghana and stayed in West Africa for nine years.
After a stint in a variety of positions, including 13 summers as a staff writer for the Chautauquan Daily, she began a new vocation, that of bringing Eleanor Roosevelt to life. Currently, she is doing the same for Mae West. In addition, during her career, she has authored a book about her African experience, "Ashanti Saga: The Fort." She now is working on a sequel, "Ashanti Saga: Change of Plans" and is putting together the late well-known Chautauqua Institution resident Florence Norton's memoir.
Joint Rotary project
Greg Jones, a retired optometrist, was introduced by Sue Hammond, outgoing president, who noted that he served our country as a captain in the U.S. Army. One of his current community involvements includes being a member of the Chautauqua Lake Association board. In addition, he is the recipient of a Paul Harris Fellow award.
"Adopt-A-Shoreline Project" was Jones' topic. A member of the Jamestown Rotary Club, he introduced a joint Rotary undertaking to "save" Chautauqua Lake.
The recently formed project is aimed at urging all segments of society to become involved in an on-going 41-mile shoreline cleanup, he said. Part of the reason for this project comes from the fact that although Chautauqua Lake officially is owned by New York state, "No money comes from the state," Jones said. Ergo, those who will be solicited to become involved include all service organizations (including Rotary Clubs), individuals, business and industry, plus lakefront communities and property owners.
Jones said that 25 percent of the county's tax now is used for cleanup. "If the lakefront property falls," he said, "all county taxes will have to increase."
"The Jamestown club recently donated $5,000 to the CLA to get the project going," Jones said.
For further information, contact Jones at 386-4161 or email him at email@example.com.
Father Michael Jancek entered First Theology with the intention of being ordained into the Roman Catholic Priesthood and was a candidate/postulant and novice at St. Vincent Archabbey, Benedictine Monastery in Latrobe, Pa.
Born and raised in Erie, he made a decision in 2005 to enter a new path of Catholic faith the Independent (Eucharistic) Catholic Church and is now an ordained priest for the church in the Franciscan Order.
Having earned his master of education in the field of Counseling/Human Development from North Dakota State University in Fargo, he was accepted into the doctoral program in the field of Counseling/Research and Supervision at NDSU. In 2007, Jancek completed training and certification for the Grief Recovery Institute and completed training and certification with the EMDR Institute.
Jancek has worked as a counselor for 15 years as a licensed professional counselor in Minnesota and North Dakota. Having moved to Mayville with his wife, Mary, last year, he is having his license transference to Pennsylvania and New York, both active and in good standing.
In 2007, Jancek completed training and certification for the Grief Recovery Institute, which is based on one person's experience, John James, author of the book Grief Recovery.
James suffered the death of his baby when a nurse told him the body was gone. This broke up his first marriage.
"He had so much inner pain, he attempted suicide," Jancek said. "Something stopped him and he wrote down his thoughts. Thirty years later he wrote the book."
The book came from his heart and experiences, Jancek added.
"He is now married and successful with the institute."
Jancek soon will be opening a Grief Recovery Institute for classes in Westfield.