I begin by sharing something very personal to me. I am typing this letter from the DaVita Dialysis Center in Norwich, Connecticut. For the past four years, I have been managing a diagnosis of end stage renal disease. This requires me to spend approximately four hours, three days a week, connected to a machine, known as a dialyzer, to remove toxins from my blood, and excess fluid from my body. What is needed to manage the disease is a transplanted kidney.
I am scheduled to receive a donor kidney from my elder son, Greg. This surgery will be performed on May 2 in Hartford. There are many moving parts to this process, and Greg and I have created powerful teams of family, and others who love us, to manage the myriad details.
Of note is that I will not be with you, physically, in Springfield on May 6 for the spring conference. I do, however look forward to joining you via Zoom, from isolation at Hartford Hospital, as I am able.
I cannot join you, if you’re not there. I urge you to register for the in-person spring conference experience. We are providing masks, if you care to wear one. We are providing color coding for your nametags (G, Y, R) for your physical contact preference. Green? Handshakes and hugs (if you are comfortable with being hugged). Yellow? Let’s keep it to fist bumps or elbow bumps. Red? Social distancing please. We will have hand sanitizer. The Sheraton has upgraded the ventilation system with improved filtering and more rapid air exchange. David Freedman and his committee have prepared a stellar program. Presenters and many District 53 Toastmasters will be there. Please go to the District 53 website now, click on the conference link, register, and join them in Springfield.
Club Officers: There are several clubs who have not submitted dues for the renewal period of April 1 through September 30. There are other clubs who are not in good standing because they have not submitted dues for at least eight (8) members for the same renewal period. I urge you to attend to this immediately. Check your club’s status using the Toastmasters dashboard. Additionally, your Area Director stands ready to assist you. If you have difficulty in reaching your Area Director, your Division Director is also available. If you are still stuck, contact me. We’ll get your club moving in the direction of Active Status very shortly.
Annual Business Meeting: District 53’s Annual Business Meeting (ABM) is Thursday evening, April 27. The starting gavel is at 7:00 pm, and we shall complete by 9:00. The ABM is on-line, so there is no need for you to travel away from home to participate. Club Presidents and Vice presidents – Education are voting members of the District Council. Your participation is vital. Be on the lookout for a “Call to Meeting” from District Administrative Manager Norm Thibodeau. I look forward to seeing you.
District Speech Contests: This year, the International Speech Contest and Tall Tales Contest will be conducted at the spr ing conference in Springfield, MA, and they will be conducted in a hybrid manner. Be sure to join us in cheering on the best of the best in your divisions who have moved to this level of competition. PQD Patti Walter has much more to communicate on this topic, so I shall leave it to her to do so.
District Director’s Coffee Hour: Every second Saturday, through June, I am on Zoom from 8:30-9:30 am. Join me for an informal visit. There is no agenda beyond your curiosity.
Yours in Toastmasters service,
John J. Hogan, DTM
District Director 2022-2023