Russell Hampton
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Gary Miller
Jul 17, 2020
US Horse Welfare and Rescue, Saving America’s Horse and the Human Spirit
Jul 24, 2020
Covid 19, What we know and don't know and how it effects dentistry
Jul 31, 2020
Ha Phororo Youth Retreat Centre, South Africa
Aug 07, 2020
Canton Historian
Aug 14, 2020
Aug 21, 2020
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Executives & Directors
President Elect
Immediate Past President
Foundation Chair
Board Member-at-Large
Board Member-at-Large
Asst Treasurer
Interact Chair
EarlyRiser Presentations
A Promise to Jordan
The Annotated Guide to Ending Polio
Club Information
Rotary of Avon-Canton - Founded 1973
Service above Self
We meet Fridays at 7:30 AM
Avon Old Farms Hotel
279 Avon Mountain Rd.
Avon, CT  06001
United States of America
DistrictSiteIcon District Site
VenueMap Venue Map
June 12, 2020
Rev. Steve Klots
Being a Rotary Scholar
The meeting will be held on Zoom. 
Watch for an email from Heather.
Watch the presentation live on:
Sgt-at Arms Report
Members Present: 38 members participated
Visiting Rotarians: Paul Mikkelson, Craig Buhrendorf  
Guests: James Thornett - Speaker
Happy Dollars Moments: More valuable when they are shared
Raffle Winner: No Raffle.
None today.
Happy Dollars Moments
Editor's note: If you missed our Zoom meeting, the full meeting is posted to our Group Facebook Page
There were a few happy moments before the meeting officially began.
Paul Mikkelson reported that his grandson, Tommy, is doing wonderfully. Paul is missing baseball.
Susan Mitchell invited everyone to participate in this year's Ride the State bike ride from New Haven to Southwick, MA, on Saturday June 27th. The ride will start at 8AM with small groups heading out. She and Steve are hoping that Porta-Potties will be open by then. They are combining with a COVID-19 fundraiser for the horse rescue.
Robin DiNicola was sporting her new Rotary mask for which she thanked Gary and Debbie Miller. She will be donating to the Rotary Foundation.
Don Bonner has been working on Project Sandy for the lady down the street that has had no plumbing or other amenities for nearly 3 years. As of yesterday the plumbing has been fixed. Sandy has a functioning shower, toilets, etc. Don and helpers have cleared brush and tons of accumulated junk from the home. St. Ann's Cares will be helping to refurbish the house in September.
Gary Hyde will be a grandfather again for the 5th time. His son, Jason, and his wife will be having a son shortly. They live in Saratoga Springs, NY.
Gary Miller was zoomed in from Sedgewick, ME, near Deer Isle. He and Debbie had driven up to Maine on Monday to help friends get their lakeside cottage, Kill Kare Kamp, ready for the summer rental season. They will start their drive home after today's meeting concludes.
Soon to be Past-President Heather Pantano was happy to have a new first grader in the house. AJ has finished Kindergarten and will be attending the Simsbury Public Schools in the fall. Son, Sal, will be going to preschool.
Alicia Canning announced the District Meeting for new members. The link to join the Zoom Membership Meeting is below:
Topic: District 7890 Membership Meeting
Time: Jun 10, 2020 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Phil Ferrari said that the Pencil Box Program will likely return this summer. He will keep everyone informed on the date and plans.
Induction of New Members
None this week.

None this week.
Community and International Service Grants
None this week.
James Thornett
Baghdad Country Club Story
Rollie Sterrett introduced our speaker. James Thornett graduated the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in 1997. He joined the Parachute Regiment as an Officer in 1997 and then went on to the British Special Forces 2000. James deployed to Iraq 2002. He left the military in 2004 and went back into Baghdad to set up security for the US embassy. He ran UN elections in Iraq 2005. James opened the Baghdad Country Club speak easy bar in Baghdad in 2005 and started smuggling in millions of dollars of alcohol past the militias. He founded Buckshee Bourbon in 2017. James had planned to be a vendor at TOTV 2020 with a sampling of his bourbon. James lives in Avon with his wife who recently gave birth to twins.
James was looking a bit ragged this morning having just come off the night baby shift. He is a prospective member. The full story of the Baghdad Country Club can be found at
In 2004 the militias in Iraq started to cause problems for the locals. James was stationed in the Green Zone where there was almost no alcohol available due to control of the hardline groups. In 2005, James was on a return flight to the country when he met Achmed who claimed to have a duty-free license for alcohol. The demand was high in the Green Zone with all the military and foreign personnel. Achmed had a 40-foot container filled with alcohol in Turkey and wanted help transporting the container into Iraq. Thus began James "smuggling" adventure which involved a bit of "baksheesh" (arabic for a bribe). The container was safety moved and a makeshift shop was set up to begin service. Eventually the bar needed to expand. James knew of a villa in disrepair that would be a good location. With the agreement of the owner, they restored the villa and set up a bar/restaurant operation. 
A classy name was needed, so James came up with the Baghdad Country Club and the logo of the golfer with crossed swords. BCC received quite a bit of notoriety and was featured in a Time magazine story. A TV producer contact James wanting to make a movie documentary. The club no longer operates but BCC has become a foundation. According to the website, the Baghdad Country Club is all about connecting people and raising funds for veterans , good quality liquor, cigars and that 1940s Casablanca suave. 
The story of Buckshee Bourbon grew from James partnership with a whiskey operation in the US. The idea of producing a whiskey for fundraising lead to the creation of Buckshee (UK version of Baksheesh) Bourbon. James hopes to bring some of his bourbon to a future Rotary meeting to allow us to sample the product.

Special Announcements
None this week.
Mail Bag
None this week.
Photo Credits
Technology Credits
Zoom platform management expertise by Mike Mezheritskiy.
Editor's Notes
Submission Deadline: Members are kindly encouraged to submit all materials for each week's Early Riser as early as possible. Please note that some editions may be published and distributed as early as the Saturday following our meetings, and during those weeks further contributions to the Early Riser will be included in the subsequent week's edition.
“The FOUR-WAY TEST of the things we think, say or do”:

1. Is it the TRUTH?
2. Is it FAIR to all Concerned?
4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?