A Roast or A Toast?

submitted by Ellie Schatz; photos by Mary Ellen O’Brien and Mike Engelberger

HO7A1947  HO7A2022  HO7A2024

President Jason Beren joined the Rotary Past President’s Club, riding out of office with respect, appreciation and fond memories of his leadership experiences. In his year in office he was impressed with the breadth of work of our club committees and endeavored to fulfill his intention of being a person of action who would help the club grow. In order to meet the challenges of the office, he noted that he exchanged 1400 emails with Pat Jenkins.

The Roast Committee paid tribute to Jason by telling his story “Otto Preminger style: as if all the world’s a stage and this one man plays a major part.” Establishing the scene as a courtroom of Rotarian lawyers and judges, Jason’s fellow Rotarians were asked to sit in judgement of his year.

The prosecution began by stating 4 violations of Rotary law made by Jason:

  1. High crimes in the gross mispronunciation of last names.
  2. Obsession with aquatic activities.
  3. Engaging in geeky mechanical engineering behaviors.
  4. Having an overt desire to be roasted.

The accused pled not guilty. The prosecution set out to prove that this person who began life as a child of promise took the road less traveled. The first witness called was Pat Jenkins (played by Heidi Frankson), who proclaimed she had to phonetically spell out most words in his weekly notes. It cost her valuable time in preparing what should have been 1-2 page documents but became 250 page tomes. When asked if by speaking nothing but the Rotarian truth he admitted to these elocution crimes, Jason refused to answer “on the grounds it might ’incinerate’ me.”  It was brought to the jury’s attention that his difficulty with pronunciation might be a by-product of his other hobby/misdemeanor: wine. Jason then named several of his favorites, attesting to the fact that he has impeccable pronunciation when it comes to wine.

IMG_1519  IMG_1431  IMG_1509  IMG_1513

Photo 1: “Jason Beren” played by Mark Westover; Photo 2: Judge Stephen Ehlke played by Judge Stephen Ehlke; Photo 3: Prosecuting Attorney Ken Kraus played by Ken Kraus; Photo 4: “Pat Jenkins” played by Heidi Frankson

Regarding his second violation, the prosecution stated that Jason was obsessed with controlling events as life “saver” at his swimming pool. One example is when he tells swimmers, “Don’t mess with the whistle!” In rebuttal, the defense avers he is simply a trained professional whose motto is: “When I guard, I guard hard.”

With geeky behaviors, such as wearing a pocket protector not to be denied, Jason proceeded to declare his desire was not to be roasted but just to be Rotary President because of his love of his fellow Rotarians. His proof: photos he’s taken of Rotarians at their weekly luncheons.

Although the defense declared the charges preposterous and thanked Jason for being an exemplary Rotarian, his peers declared him guilty. His sentence? One glass of Carlo Rossi burgundy and 50% attendance in the upcoming Rotary year.

Thank you Jason, enjoy a glass on us in appreciation of your year of outstanding Rotary leadership.

   Our thanks to Ken Kraus and new members of the Roast Committee for providing an entertaining program; to Mary Ellen O’Brien and Mike Engelberger for serving as photographers; to Brian Basken and Paul Ranola for serving as videographers  and to Ellie Schatz for preparing this review article.   Visit our club’s Facebook Page for more photos.

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